Monday, March 17, 2014
Koji Igarashi Leaves Konami
Long-time series commander, Koji Igarashi, has left Konami, with Saturday being his last day of work. During his reign, beginning as writer and assistant director of one of the greatest video games ever made, "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night", Igarashi has been the producer of much of the series modern installments. He defined the word "Metroidvania" by making brilliant sidescrolling maze-like adventure video games. Those included the generally brilliant "Aria of Sorrow", "Portrait of Ruin", and "Order of Ecclesia". And also the badly misguided "Curse of Darkness", and the bizarre fighting game, "Castlevania: Judgement" (which featured the very worst character design of any video game in history). Igarashi's video games were often repetitive, but they were all generally all fun, had their own style, and kept Castlevania relevant to modern gaming for over a decade.
All of that ended, of course, with "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow", a mediocre video game built mainly to finally bring Casltevania into the third dimension... mostly by stealing gameplay from "God of War" and "Shadow of the Colossus". "Lords of Shadow" was developed by Spanish developer, MercurySteam, and had no input form Igarashi of any kind. MercurySteam managed to follow up their generally mediocre game with the far more terrible "Lords of Shadow 2" which landed with an inglorious thud last month. "Lords of Shadow 2" decided that the best way to keep the franchise alive was with awful stealth missions and pitiful gameplay.
So now Igarashi is leaving to find his own stars. He'll probably resurface the same way that Richard Garriot, Yasumi Matsuno, and Keiji Inafune have - with a Kickstarter campaign to make a new video game based upon his older better work. Kickstarter has become the inevitable graveyard of gaming celebrities. So Castlevania might live in, but under a different name - luckily Dracula is a public domain character, so he can easily saunter over to join Inafune without a lawsuit. As for Konami's Castlevania games well... You'll be missed. Castlevania: 1986 - 2014.