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Filed under: Straight from the Source (Interview)

Straight from the Source: Koji Igarashi on Castlevania in Smash, Bloodstained

Note: This interview was conducted at BitSummit Roadshow 2018 in Tokyo. The interview was conducted by PushDustIn, Brando and Eigotaku.

Special thanks to Gavin Greene for providing live interpretation and to the Dangen Entertainment Team for organizing the interview.

PushDustIn: Simon and Richter were recently confirmed for Smash Bros. Ultimate. How do you feel about that?

Igarashi: My only complaint to Sakurai-san is, ‘Why didn’t you do this when I was still there [at Konami]!?’

(Everyone laughs)

PushDustIn: Were you consulted at all for their designs, move set or anything?

Igarashi: I was completely unrelated, they didn’t ask me for anything.

PushDustIn: What do you think of the designs? Do you think Sakurai did an excellent job or is there something you would’ve changed?

Igarashi: I haven’t played Smash Ultimate yet, so I can’t really say anything, but I’m looking forward to trying it out myself.

PushDustIn: There were also a stage and bosses from a lot of different Castlevania games, what did you think about that?

Igarashi: Yeah, I saw Alucard in the videos I watched and it looks great. It’s coming out soon, so I’m really looking forward to it.

PushDustIn: Moving on, Bloodstained was recently delayed. Do you have any comments about that?

Igarashi: I really do want it to come out quickly, and for everyone to get their hands on it but we got some feedback from the beta backers and we really want to satisfy them. So it’s unfortunate, but we decided to delay it to next year.

PushDustIn: What was the issue? Was there a specific gameplay mechanic that wasn’t working or the level design?  

Igarashi: The areas where we heard the most feedback was lip-syncing and the writing. It’s kind of a special way that we did this, and we have to re-do a lot of things.

PushDustIn: How long will it take for players to complete Bloodstained?

Igarashi: It’s difficult to say, but my goal is to have the game take players about 10 hours the first time they are going through it.

PushDustIn: How many levels are there?

Igarashi: When we were doing the Kickstarter, it was less about the number of levels but more about the screens we have. Our goal is to do 1,600 of them.

PushDustIn: How do you feel about Kickstarter now? For your next project will you use it again?

Igarashi: As far as our experience with Kickstarter goes, there have been good and bad points. From the start, we were able to get the opinions of our fans and we were able to interact with the community. That helped us adjust the game to make it something that people really wanted. On the other hand, when you are adjusting things for your fans, they are kind of aware of what’s in the game. So the game starts to lose some of its surprise value and thus it loses some of the value of enjoying it as a piece of entertainment. It also makes creating promotional videos more difficult as people have already seen a lot of it. So there is both good and bad to using Kickstarter as a whole. If you asked us if we would do it again, I think one of the reasons we did Kickstarter in the first place was, we had a lot of people tell us there was no market demand for a 2D side-scrolling game like this. I think through this Kickstarter we proved there is a demand for it. We could use crowdfunding again, but I think next time we might use a different approach.

PushDustIn: Earlier this year, you worked with Inti Creates on Curse of the Moon. How has the reception been to it?

Igarashi: The fan reaction has been really positive. Inti Creates is exceptional at making those kinds of games. So I felt safe trusting them with it, and it came out really nice.

PushDustIn: One thing that people really enjoyed with Curse of the Moon was being able to switch characters. Will you be trying to incorporate that with Bloodstained?

Igarashi: From the start, I was planning on returning to my roots and going back to the action games I made. From the beginning, you are able to do all sorts of interesting things, so I wasn’t thinking about adding additional characters.

Brando: Recently there has been a surge of similar “Metroidvania” titles in the indie space, so I was wondering what are your thoughts on them. Have you taken any influence from them?

Igarashi: I have two conflicting feelings about the surge of Metroidvania games. The first is, ‘Stop, no! Don’t invade my space!’ At the same time, I feel a lot of joy that people have been inspired by my games, and they are showing respect and appreciation for what I’ve done. As far as other games inspiring me, as I mentioned before I’m really trying to return to my roots and offer really solid classic gameplay, so I’m trying not to be inspired by the other titles.

PushDustIn: With the other titles, is there something you think they miss?

Igarashi: Overall, I have to say they are all really good. They studied their stuff and they did a lot of work to make their games. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of time to play video games so I can’t really get in depth with these titles. To add to that, one of the best parts of being indie is that you get to do what you want. Creators can kind of experiment and do things in their own way. So I don’t have any real advice, I want people to have the good and the bad. For some people what I think is bad, is parts they think are good so they have their own flavor when making their games. Of course, my games have their own places where they could be better as well.

Eigotaku: How do you feel about the genre that you helped create being embraced by both Western and Japanese creators and have there been any games that caught your eye recently?

Igarashi: I’m happy that this genre has spread. Back in the day, I wasn’t really happy with action games, I didn’t like the ones that made you throw your controller. I started making these games because I wanted to fix that aspect, I wanted to make action games where you didn’t get really angry at them.. Before me, there was Metroid and that was more of a starting point. As far as games that I’ve enjoyed recently, it’s a game a friend of mine made, called La Mulana, and the sequel that recently came out as well.

PushDustIn: Thank you very much.

3 comments
  1. Great article. Just a thought on something, I think that “writing” was probably actually “lighting” here:

    “Igarashi: The areas where we heard the most feedback was lip-syncing and the writing”

    Brent Taylor on October 16 | Reply
  2. […] trabaja en Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Debido a la promoción de Bloodstained, ha atendido a Source Gaming durante la BitSummit Roadshow 2018 en Tokio y ha dado a conocer detalles del […]

  3. Some neat insight here. I think it’s kind of interesting, how the way the answers the questions, it seems like he only gave the Castlevania x Smash Trailer maybe one look, and left it at that. I probably would’ve been pouring over it if one of my own characters were to get into such a prolific crossover series. Considering how proud he seems over his work, this seems to me like an indication of how much free time he has.

    I also like the ways he looks at crowdfunding projects. It’s cool to see an experienced developer talking about the pros and cons of the dynamic relationship with the audience. The way he talks about it seems like from the perspective of an entertainer almost.

    I also think it’s super interesting how he feels somewhat possessive of the Metroidvania genre. He seems like a pretty relaxed and frank guy, in contrast to the typically more tight and regulated way industry folk tend to talk in interviews.

    SSJ22Terris on October 18 | Reply

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