The upcoming release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as a downloadable Xbox 360 game is noteworthy for a few reasons. Beyond adding the highly regarded game to the system's catalog, it breaks the mold of an Xbox Live Arcade game in several ways.
Symphony of the Night is not a "small-scale" game in any sense of the phrase. It's based on an existing home-console game, a distinction on Live Arcade only shared by the upcoming Alien Hominid HD. Konami has confirmed to GameSpot that the final size of the Symphony of the Night download will surpass Microsoft's 50MB size limit for Live Arcade games.
Microsoft's group manager for Xbox Live Arcade, Greg Canessa, told GameSpot why the company instituted a 50MB limit in the first place.
"By keeping the file size small for Xbox Live Arcade games, gamers can put one or more games on a memory unit and easily bring those games to a friend's house to share and play," Canessa said. "Small file sizes also mean fast download times, making it possible to download and begin playing any Xbox Live Arcade game within one or two minutes."
Even though Symphony of the Night will exceed the size limit, Canessa indicated that there is still a 50MB cap on Live Arcade games, although Microsoft is willing to make exceptions to the rule. "If any games do exceed 50 MB, it's for a very specific reason that would ensure that the gameplay experience is the best it can be," Canessa said.
Microsoft is willing to look the other way on Symphony of the Night, and according to Canessa, it won't be the last of its kind on Live Arcade.
"Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the most popular games of all time, and you can [bet] that you'll see similar high-quality games come to Xbox Live Arcade in the future," Canessa said.
However, there is at least one Live Arcade rule that not even Symphony of the Night will be breaking. Canessa said that a free demo of the game would be made available to all Live Arcade users, and that it would be small enough to fit on a memory unit.
[UPDATE] After the publication of this story, a Microsoft representative contacted GameSpot to clarify one of Canessa's comments. While Symphony of the Night will have a free demo version, it will not fit on the system's 64MB memory unit.