E3 2017: Koji Igarashi on Bloodstained’s Fresh Take on Classic Formula

Koji Igarashi, or Iga as he is commonly referred to, is nothing short of a legend within the gaming community. He is best known for his work in the Castlevania series, most notably Symphony of the Night and numerous handheld Castlevanias that follow its template. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a long awaited title for fans of Iga’s previous work. Bloodstained is a new IP but many elements of what made the 2D Castlevania titles so memorable will be present. Hardcore Gamer recently had an opportunity to discuss how his upcoming title incorporates this classic formula into this new game.

[Hardcore Gamer] Bloodstained is a brand new IP, but it also appears to be modeled after Symphony of the Night and other 2D Castlevania you’ve worked on. How would you contrast Bloodstained to your earlier work?

[Koji Igarashi] The concept, storyline and characters are all different from Castlevania games but recently we haven’t seen a lot of those Castlevania games come out so we wanted a lot fans that like the old school, 2D action sidescrolling games to experience that game again since Castlevania hasn’t released new games so we want to make Bloodstained be like those games but also be something completely new. So the main difference is the storyline and characters are completely different, but the gameplay itself is the same.

Can you elaborate on the characters and story?

It starts off in the 18th century when the industrial revolution started and in the game there is a group of alchemists that are afraid that their power would get lost because of the industrial revolution and new scientific discoveries that would make the alchemists obsolete so they started these rumors that demons are going to attack the villagers but no one believed them so the group of alchemists decided to make this a reality so the alchemists performed a ritual to summon demons but they needed to find a sacrifice worthy of the demons. Our main character, Mariam, was one of the orphans that was part of the sacrifice. When they performed the sacrifice there were two survivors and Mariam was one of them. She woke up after a ten year sleep because she was somehow mysteriously alive and there was another person who also survived the sacrifice but ten years later she found he summoned this demon filled castle and she didn’t know why and the other survivor was kind of a brother figure to Mariam so she wants to stop and goes toward the castle to face her friend whose name is Gebel to stop him so that’s basically how it all starts out. It’s a long, complicated story but it’s different from the previous games. It’s similar but different.

Right it’s a new story with a new hero and villain but the demonic and supernatural elements still cater to the interests of the old school fans.

Vampires in this story will just be like regular monsters.

The gameplay I’ve seen is reminiscent of the older 2D games. What are some familiar gameplay elements and what are some of the new things that have been added?

In regards to comparisons to the older games, we actually have the director of the GBA Castlevania games working with us on Bloodstained so a lot of the core gameplay elements won’t be changed much. The biggest difference is that it is a 2D side scrolling game but it is all made with 3D polygons so that visual difference is pretty big and different from the past games. Other than the core game there are some new elements that weren’t in past games but we want to keep those under wraps for now. Most of the core elements of the game are intentionally like the games of the past because we want to create that sense of nostalgia with players.

A lot of your past games have strong and memorable soundtracks. What can you tell me about the score for Bloodstained?

We’re using a composer we’ve been using for the past Castlevania games, Michiru Yamane. She has a unique, gothic tone in all of her music and a lot of the old school Castlevania fans really love her music so we try to base the music for Bloodstained in her kind of musical world and we also paired up with a sound company to compose some tracks for Bloodstained but they are basing their music off hers so that it feels like that authentic gothic soundtrack she is very well known for.

In the past games there have been various abilities like spell craft, the soul system and transforming into animals, for example. Are there any abilities like that in Bloodstained?

We can’t announce a lot of the elements yet, but we will have a lot of similar systems. We introduced the shard system which is where you can take abilities from monsters but otherwise we have this crafting system where we can use certain ingredients to make new weapons but we haven’t officially announced any of the new systems yet so we want to keep those a secret for now.

I apologize that this is a boring question but is there a current targeted release date? 

We don’t have one yet besides 2018.