Welcome back to Retro Spotlight! Today we’re covering Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. it’s a call back to the classic Castlevania experiences of yesteryear that seem to have been forgotten by the publisher Konami in favour of more 3D Action Adventure pastures.
Much like Yooka-Laylee is a spiritual successor of the Banjo Kazooie series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night takes many elements and inspiration from the Castlevania series. It’s being designed by plenty of the core team from the previous Castlevania titles, and is helmed by a man many consider the father of Castlevania.
Who is that man? Well let’s go over his story before we cover the game as it’ll better help you understand the creation of this fantastic game.
KOJI IGARASHI : FATHER OF CASTLEVANIA
Koji Igarashi, or as he is is often referred to by, IGA was one of the founding members of the new age Castlevania series. He played a pivotal role in the success of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night where he served as Assistant Director, Programmer, Scenario Writer for the project. For many, Symphony of the Night was a turning point for the series and brought in many new fans to it and spawned what would be known as ‘IGAvania.” This was due in part to the complex play style, power ups, and heavy gothic/western influences to the story and gameplay.
Iga oversaw that all these ideas came to frutition during his tenure, and for quite a number of years saw that many of the games in the Castlevania series would follow the same path. The Gameboy Advance titles such as Aria of Sorrow, DS games like Order of Eclessia, or even the Xbox Live and PSN Castlevania multiplayer experience that was Castlevania: Harmony of Despair were all give the Igarashi touch and regardless of sales, saw the core fanbase come to enjoy them appropriately.
However, it would seem after the release of Harmony of Despair there was a shift within Konami, the home of the Castlevania series. Instead of continuing on with the idea of strong action platformers with RPG elements that they have been doing for years with Koji at the helm, they decided to give a new studio the rights to make the series into a 3D Action Adventure game that had little of the same style or presence of the previous games. In turn, Koji was put on the back burner for the un-forseen future.
This didn’t sit well with the fanbase, and while Koji did his best to work day in and day out as he had done, he soon found that fans would flood his inbox with messages that they missed the previous Castlevania experience, and his involvement. When questioned about this, Igarashi had the following to say…
“I keep getting messages from fans, via Facebook and such, telling me that they wanted me to make consumer games, the people who like my games tend to play traditional video games. I’m in my mid-forties. If I don’t strike out on my own now, then when will I? The voices of those fans will just get softer and softer over time.”
So with the fans support and building pent up emotions of being on the shelf for so long, Koji decided to do what a lot of other creators have done so far and left the industry which seems to have forgotten their worth, left Konami behind and decided to make his own original creation…
BLOODSTAINED: RITUAL OF THE NIGHT: THE BEGINNING
So Koji leaves Konami and joins up with Inti Creates, a studio known for their work on the Megaman Zero and Megaman ZX series which is already a welcome home for the platforming genre. So what does Koji do? He sets off to Kickstarter and around May 2015 and June 2015 he launches a pitch for Bloodstained, complete with concept art, a heartfelt promtional pitch and the ususal sorts of goals as video game Kickstarters before it.
Koji isn’t alone for this either, his team is comprised of tons of talent that Castlevania fans will be sure to recognise. Michiru Yamane a composer who is known for her work on the series before she too left Konami to become a freelance composer is providing her musical talents for the game, so when it comes to the soundtrack, you can expect that familiar Castlevania sound behind the tunes as you explore a fast castle and slick and whip away hordes of violent and malevolent beasts.
Ayami Kojima joins the fray as well as a guest artist who will be doing the artwork for the special edition box art for anyone who donated over $100. Ayami being the same person to bring the gothic and elegant style of artwork that went alongside such popular Castlevania titles such as Symphony of the Night. A very exclusive and Thus completing what many people consider the Castlevania Trifecta, Igarahi, Yamane, and Kojima all being involved in some fashion shows that the passion to deliver a proper Castlevania-like experience will be brought to life when it comes to Bloodstained.
Set with a $500,000 goal for the start, the campaign ended up raising a whopping $5.5 million. That’s no joke either, it held the record for most amount funded towards a video game related project for a month until Shenmue dethroned it. But for a game which is encompassing a style of gameplay that many people consider to be a relic of the past, it’s clear that it’s anything but the past. The people are obviously excited and ready to play a new project from Koji Igarashi and his team.
So with the budget in hand, and an insane amount of support, the task of making Bloodstained a reality started to form….
Bloodstained is getting along with it’s development. It’s had a pretty heavy focus on perfecting all of the finite details, as it was pushed back to 2018 release date. Some might fear is a bad thing, however it’s been made clear that Koji wants to avoid any hiccups with any lack of quality behind the game. We’ve seen it happen with Mighty No. 9 and No Man’s Sky, vast promises and a lackluster release. It’s become increasingly clear that making a good video game is not a specific formula that can be easily made. Time and effort has to be put in specifically to make sure that all bases are covered.
Thankfully the fruits of Koji and his focus on quality are looking good, as early gameplay demos are looking nothing short of amazing. This can be seen in the recent E3 gameplay video shown below.
Based on the video, it’s clear that Bloodstained is going to be just fine in the future. Taking things slow and crafting the project with ease and a level of care that you can’t find anywhere else, and that’s a fantastic feeling. It’s true that Casltevania style games have fallen to the wayside recently, but there is a sun rising with a load of potential and it’s glorious. There is a gaming revolution going on really, developers are leaving to create their vision as they want to make it, indie game developers are turning in the big bucks while giving quality experiences, and there is so much interest in retro games with re-releases and new games entirely.
That’s about it for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, what do you guys think? Are you just as excited as we are for the game to release?
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