20-year veteran Castlevania producer quits Konami

Koji Igarashi leaves Konami after more than two decades with the studio.

Veteran Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi has left Konami after more than 20 years at the Japanese publisher. He's leaving to form his own small independent studio.

"I've decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make--the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well," Igarashi said in a statement provided to Polygon. "Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly. I've spent my entire career there, made many friends, and had a lot of great opportunities--but I hope all the gamers and fans who have supported me in the past will join me in being excited about what comes next. Wish me luck!"

Igarashi produced more than a dozen Castlevania titles during his tenure at Konami, beginning with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in 1997. He is known for transforming the series into a more adventure-oriented direction known as "Metroidvania."

During the 2014 Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco, Igarashi will give a presentation called "There and Back Again: Koji Igarashi's Metroidvania Tale." As part of the hour-long talk on March 21, Igarashi will give attendees an "exploration of his experiences and methodology in creating some of the most popular and influential games in the genre over the last 15 years.

The most recent entry in the Castlevania series was last month's Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC title Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, the third and final entry in developer Mercury Steam's trilogy. For more, check out GameSpot's review.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Want the latest news about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Discussion

66 comments
Iron65
Iron65

I believe he left because many japanese developers are finding a better spot on his own rather than being pushed to the companies. Still, I don't think it was because he felt uncomfortable there, I only believe at certain age, devs just wanted to make games on their own with his own ideas. Maybe people like Keiji Inafune, Suda 51 and Kamiya give some wigns to japanese devs, or It's just me

lewiston71
lewiston71

Well without him backing it, Konami will probably let Castlevania fade into obscurity like so many other publishers who have let their franchises die.

chev9342
chev9342

He is good at making 2D action games, but he is a terrible 3D game maker. And no, this has nothing to do with the ignorant fanboy argument: "Castlevania doesn't work in 3D." Anybody here remember Nano Breaker for the PS2? Awful, awful game that has nothing to do with Castlevania and proves that Koji Igarashi can't make good 3D games period.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

igarashi-san, i salute you. you are right up there with other prolific game producers like yu suzuki, shigeru miyamoto, hironobu sakaguchi, etc. you have brought me countless hours of enjoyment when playing 15 castlevania games in their primes, most recently the much underrated castlevania hd on xbox live arcade. you gave me enjoyment from my childhood years all the way to my late-30s. i cannot lie though that the 2d free roaming castle type castlevanias were the ones i loved the most. namely symphony of the night, the 3 gba and the 3 nds ones. the castlevania series will never be the same again and i think i speak for everyone when i say that you will be sorely missed.

thunderborne
thunderborne

Sorry, but there needs to be some clarity here.  Castlevania's "Metroidvania" style predates Symphony of the Night even though the term was coined in one of its reviews.  The style for the series actually started with Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest.  So, no, Igarashi wasn't responsible for transforming the Castlevania series into a more adventure-based one.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

I didn't think he would leave, but his choice though.

gamingnerd121
gamingnerd121

It's about time he left them as well. Creative talent is being wasted on these larger companies, so they need to make their own small team. Look at what happened with Megaman, and you have a perfect example.

Hopefully he'll create what the fans really want from Castlevania.

edubb85
edubb85

What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk... Have at you!

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I didn't like the Metroid-vania style that they presented with Symphony of the Night.  I wasn't a fan of being confined to the castle the whole time.  I like Metroid-vania... but not with just one area.  I much prefer what they went for with Portrait of Ruin(though the castle was still large, it actually had locales to visit) and Order of Ecclesia(the better example of the two).  I did however like the introduction of an inventory and multiple types of weapons.


Give me 7 or 8 large Metroid-vania levels with backtracking to collect on things you couldn't reach due to not having certain skills or abilities, or backtracking to open up larger portions of the levels(which could be considered sub-levels that connect seamlessly within that one big place), and I'll be happy.  Don't confine everything to the castle.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Hopefully he'll go the Inafune route and we'll see a SotN Clone Kickstarter within a few months.  I'll pay him then.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

Oh, the Belmonts are going to feel this one -_-



Good luck to Koji san, legend was behind one of my favourite games in the 32-bit generation.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

nintendo need to get this guy and have him make the next Metroid game, imagine it

playstationzone
playstationzone

well reason he quiting beecause poor sales oon the new game and i think company need a strong line up for next gen but for MGS5 is a good game but wait until the full game come out what be a long time but be worth the wait.

ahpuck
ahpuck

Looking forwards to whatever he has in mind. I'm guessing something symphony of the nightish type game.

Megamandrew
Megamandrew

I'm glad he finally left.  Konami haven't let him make a Castlevania game in five-and-a-half years, so he was gonna get out of there sooner or later.  I'm surprised he didn't leave when Lords of Shadow started production and Konami told him, "y'know that series you've been working on for over a decade?  Well, we're gonna make it a God of War clone.  Oh, but don't worry, it'll be a GOOD God of War clone."

Dark_Metamorphosis
Dark_Metamorphosis

You guys are funny. He was probably the best hope we had for another SoTN style game. I'm pretty sure he was responsible for the Game Boy Advance and 3DS ones, which for the most part were all quite good. Hopefully the following quote: "I've decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make--the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well" means that we'll get a new SoTN-style game, although it wouldn't be Castlevania, which I'd be ok with as long as attention is paid to what made the Castlevania games great in the first place (besides gameplay, I'm referring to art direction, music, atmosphere, etc...).

Halloll
Halloll

is this guy Fred Fuchs?

Moonco
Moonco

The last time I heard from him was at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show showing a trailer for a new 3D Castlevania, but that game was cancelled in favor of Lords of Shadows.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

SoTN was still the best of the series 3d is all good but imo 2d/3d is where the series belongs

Madridiq8e
Madridiq8e

if he's the reason for killing the classic 2D castlevania games into this sh*t LOS series then I'm glad he left and i hope he'll fail in his new company, and if he wants to bring back the 2D castlevania games then I'll support him in his new studio.

DarthMallrat
DarthMallrat

I like the Lords of Shadow series okay and all but, to me, they don't even compare to Iga's Castlevania games. I want run and jump, hack and slash with badass gothic metal music playing.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Who cares.  This guy is probably the reason we've never gotten a proper follow up to SotN on a console.

Mrod1212
Mrod1212

Does this mean more CV games with an actual storyline? I'm in, and I hope they continue within the LoS universe.

Barighm
Barighm

Well, they've got a good art department that's for damn sure.

Abaris
Abaris

Good. I hope he never gets near Castlevania ever again.

Shouoken4Peace
Shouoken4Peace

I loved the almost comical weirdness of the Castlevania games leading up to SotN. I also thoroughly enjoyed Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. I'd really like to have another opportunity to play as Shanoa. She was the Samus of the series.

jerozt
jerozt

i wish the best luck for him, and this are great news for the old school-castlevania fans.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Nice, the more developers break away from constrained corporate mediocrity the better the industry is.

cboye18
cboye18

hmm never heard about this series before....

santinegrete
santinegrete

Why now? Why not years ago? Not that your work is bad mister, but because konami is so mediocre, conformist and simply unambitious that I can't believe they still exist.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Looking forward to what his studio does. Igarashi is damn talented.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

The original Castlevania on the NES from 1986 was always my favorite.  I've never played another game in the series that was anywhere near as good.  I have SotN on PSP, but I've never gotten around to playing that yet.  

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

The most recent Castlevania game is intriguing. I haven't tried it myself yet (will wait for Steam sale maybe) but I've been following the reviews. It's one of those games where almost all review sites have given it low to mediocre scores, but gamers give it very high praises.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

So the guy who made some of the more interesting games leaves....I'm gonna follow what he does next....maybe he'll make something better than Castlevania IDK.....I wish him the best....

Ovirew
Ovirew

Wow.  So as far as I'm concerned, the Castlevania series has pretty much died now.  I mean this guy made the games interesting to me, personally.

But hopefully now that Igarashi is setting off on his own, we can expect to see more great games in a similar style.  And also, hopefully, some entirely different kinds of games altogether.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@Megamandrew I'm not getting how Lords of Shadow is a God of War clone...when Castlevania was doing all of that before God of War even existed.


Mythological creatures? Castlevania had been doing it since the first game (albeit it not entirely focused on Greek ones). 3D exploration and whip combat? There were the two for N64, and Lament of Innocence on the PS2. I suppose you could make an argument for QTEs, though.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

@Madridiq8e  he had nothing to do with the lords of shadow series that was done by a company from spain call mercurysteam

jerozt
jerozt

@Abaris  i wish the same for cox and mercury steam.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@santinegrete  true, the only other franchise konami puts money into these days is metal gear (technically it is developed by a separate studio though as it is under kojima productions). silent hill has been a disappointment for years, part 3 being the last good one. same can be said about suikoden, though it has been dead far longer than any of their other ip. not sure what's going on over there to be honest.

SaberStrike
SaberStrike

@Suaron_x  Symphony is probably one of the greatest GAMES of all time.  You need to play it =)

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@GSGuy321 Talk about confirmation bias.  I've heard horrible things about it.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

@GSGuy321CLOS2 has gotten almost universally trashed by critics, but it's far from a bad game.  Yes, it has a few issues, but -- many seem to forget -- SO DID CLOS1!  CLOS2 is a very good game and well worth playing.

Meanwhile, critics have heaped universal praise on DARK SOULS 2, and while I think DS2 is a very good game, it has some issues as well...  and doesn't reach the level of DS1.

Ah, how critics can steer the discussion/sales is regrettable -- and so  much unanimous praise or condemnation?  You see the same thing in the film industry.  Makes me feel that money is changing hands.          

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@GSGuy321  most people agree that it is not as good as the first lords of shadow game and a far cry from a GOOD castlevania title. having said that, it doesn't look terrible or anything. i cannot blame them for giving the series another stab in the 3d relm, but i think castelvania is at its best as a 2d side scroller.   

Megamandrew
Megamandrew

@Yomigaeru @MegamandrewIt's a God of War clone because it looks and plays almost identically to God of War.  I wasn't calling it a clone just because it had mythological creatures and 3d exploration, because that's a terrible argument.  As Yahtzee joked, Lords of Shadow 1 is basically, "God of War: Germanic Edition."  In LoS, you don't have a whip, you have a chain, and not just any chain, a chain that you use almost exactly how Kratos uses the Chains of Olympus.  

The combat in the two games is also extremely similar.  In both games when you hit enemies the hits don't even flinch them most of them, so you end up hitting them repeatedly while rolling around and oftentimes mashing a button when you've hit them enough times.  If you play them both one after the other, it becomes obvious that Mercury Steam basically copy/pasted the combat and its mechanics into LoS.  Even most of the platforming and climbing is extremely similar to GoW, only with some Uncharted thrown in for good measure.



Megamandrew
Megamandrew

@X-RS @MegamandrewGoW games actually have more weapons that LoS.  For instance, Kratos has that big sword.  In LoS, you only get the whip-chain and you can throw daggers.  Seriously, though.  Grab a GoW game and play it for 20 minutes and then do the same with LoS and THEN tell me that they aren't the same, damn thing.

X-RS
X-RS

@Megamandrew

Sure Titans/QTE's/combat elements I'd agree, but you really need to look beyond that. I remember from GoW was mash mash mash and you I'm not sure it had more weapons, LoS I thought had Castlevania series staples and once your all powerful felt leagues better than GoW. There many more similarities to PoP SoT on both gamelpay and plot imo.