The era of elaborate 2D adventure games being prominently featured on major consoles has long passed. Or has it? Koji Igarashi, a visionary and major creative factor of the beloved Castlevania series, begs to differ.
We all know how Castlevania has fared in the past few years. There were three Lords of Shadow games released, all created by Spain-based MercurySteam. Contrary to the series’ staple, these games were played in 3D as opposed to 2D. As standalone games, they weren’t absolutely terrible by any means. But they lacked the soul and charm of classic Castlevania. Lacked freshly baked chicken hidden in destructible walls. Lacked Dracula asking ‘what is a man?’ to bemused gamers enthralled by the corny, yet incredible conversation between him and Richter Belmont.
In the meantime, Konami had assigned Koji Igarashi to developing mobile games. What an insane waste of talent – and Igarashi felt the same. He left Konami and has since sought investors to aid in the creation of a reinvigorated classic in his vision.
Although he has found financial backing for this project, he says he must first prove to them that a sizable demand still exists for classic 2D gothic horror action adventure games, to which he calls “Igavania” games. To that end, he has fired up a Kickstarter for his new project, entitled Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. They seek $500,000 in total to make this a reality. The minimum pledge to receive a digital copy is $28, and there’s the typical ludicrous $10,000 donation to have dinner with Igarashi. At this time, 1560 backers have already pledged $119,404. And this is just beginning.
It goes without saying that Igarashi could not call this game Castlevania, even if he was a major part of its success. The rights to the intellectual property belong to Konami, the company he quit. This is a similar situation to Keiji Inafune and Mega Man. Capcom owns the franchise, so Inafune ensured the series lives on as Mighty No. 9.
Bloodstained stars protagonist Miriam, an orphan afflicted by an alchemical curse that crystallizes her skin. Her old friend Gebel has gone alchemically insane and now takes charge of a demon-filled castle. Fill in the blanks from here.
Unfortunately, the game will not feature full 2D artwork, sprites and environments. Bloodstained will opt for 2.5D using Unreal Engine 4, but the Kickstarter page cites the new Strider and Guilty Gear Xrd as examples of how 2.5D can both emulate and improve upon the original 2D formula. Hopefully this is true, and it’s undeniable that Guilty Gear is an incredible example of 2.5D’s potential.
In the Kickstarter video, Igarashi says he was told by publishers that there is no longer any interest in this game genre.
They’re about to be proven wrong.