Interview: IGA-san Talks Castlevania Jugdment on Nintendo Wii

Author: Jorge Ba-oh, Adam Riley

Date: 7 November 2008

Source: Cubed3

Konami's Koji Igarashi is taking a risk by moving the Castlevania franchise into the world of fighting, especially considering the series' deep roots in the platform-adventure genre. However, but the question is whether or not this is a cleverly calculated venture. Will IGA-san be able to tap into an audience the series has yet to reach before, and will loyal fans follow as well? caught up with the man himself to discuss details of Castlevania Judgment on Wii, as well as if it has more of a future on Wii and even DS.

Cubed3: After only ever making platform adventures, what was your inspiration for now creating a game in the fighting genre, especially on Wii rather than 360/PS3?

IGA: Since the release of Wii, I've been getting requests from many people that they would love to use the Wii controller as a whip. So I considered how I could do this. To make an adventure game on the Wii using the Wii Remote as a whip would be very difficult because the player's arm will get tired and it will be hard for them to continue enjoying the game.

Based on the request, though, I knew that people would want to swing the Wii Remote like a whip and battle. So we came up with the idea of using short gameplay sessions and decided to make a 3D versus action genre game.

C3: When did development start, and what are some of the toughest challenges you have faced so far (for example, did the Wii controls prove to be problematic)?

IGA: We came up with the concept in May and started the development around August.

The toughest challenge was recreating the feel of swinging a whip and creating a camera which can perfectly display both players while they are running around in the 3D space and preparing for the attacks.

As for the feel of swinging a whip, we decided to use the light quick swing style considering the response issues etc. But of course, you can swing big, too. Please swing however you like!

C3: How did you decide which characters from the Castlevania world would be included in the roster? And will there be any special surprise "hidden" characters, possibly even from other Konami franchises?

IGA: This time, I selected only characters only the Castlevania series. I believe all characters have been announced already. You might be surprised to see some of the characters that were announced.

First, I just picked the characters I personally like and then I realised that all of them use whips... I didn't want this to be just a WHIP battle game! When I realised what I had done, I had to laugh at myself.

So considering both the existing fans and people who are playing a Castlevania game for the first time, I re-selected the characters based on their weapons, presence and attributes. For example, Simon and Trevor use whips, Eric uses a spear and Alucard uses a sword.

In terms of presence, I wanted to include big, powerful characters in this game. But because the human characters cannot be that big, I decided to pick some characters from the Golem category like Franken in the 1st game. I believe many people did not expect to see Cornell. I really wanted to include a beast man type character, so I picked him.

C3: Can you please explain what modes are on offer? What aspects of the game do you think will keep players coming back for more?

IGA: For the modes, there is the following:

  • ⤷ Story Mode where players enjoy the story of each character.
  • ⤷ In Arcade Mode players will fight through a total of 8 stages.
  • ⤷ In Castle Mode players will clear assigned missions in the Castle map and defeat Dracula.
  • ⤷ In Versus Mode players will enjoy battles offline.
  • ⤷ With Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection players can enjoy battles with friends who live far away.
  • ⤷ In Survival Mode players just have to continue defeating the opponents.
  • ⤷ Players can also get some practice in Training Mode.
  • ⤷ There is also Tutorial Mode (I recommend players to start with this mode).

Story Mode will end when players clear with all characters. But all other modes have different elements that make players keep playing. For example, in Arcade Mode, players can try "Time Attack." In Castle Mode players will be able to get accessories for their characters and Survival Mode has 100 stages. Players have to have pretty good techniques to survive in this mode without making mistakes.

There are many other elements that make players keep playing!

C3: Judgment makes use of both the Wi-Fi Connection and DS Link-Up. Can you please discuss these elements?

IGA: Wi-Fi Connection allows players to battle with friends who live far away. I tried it during a bug check. I was able to have pretty good battles using this feature. For DS Link-Up, players can link this with the DS version of the game, "Order of Ecclesia," and unlock hidden elements.

For example, players won't be able to play the main character of the DS version, Shanoa, at the beginning of the Wii game. But they can unlock the character by using DS Link-Up. Also, they will be able to unlock another character and use the character in battles. I can't say which, but there are other ones, too. Please use this feature and find out yourself.

Oh, I forgot to mention, if you use this feature, you can unlock some of the Order of Ecclesia level caps and items which you usually cannot get until you clear the game in the "hard" difficulty. I think these are good bonuses!

C3: If Castlevania Judgment proves to be highly successful, is it likely a Wii sequel will be made? And would you consider making a version for DS in the future considering the strong fan-base already on that system?

IGA: If this proves to be highly successful, a sequel is highly possible. It'll be a shame to quit after just one try... A DS version might be possible, too.

But first, this title must succeed, so I hope you will support this one...

C3: Considering this change in genre, is there room for Castlevania to also move into other styles of game? A Castlevania RPG would be an ideal candidate due to the amount of material to draw from. What are your thoughts on such an idea?

IGA: This game is a different style of game. But I created this game as an action genre game. I think RPG would be interesting, but for now, I would like to stick to "Action = Castlevania."

I am not sure about the future, though...

C3: A lot of readers are very passionate about the 2D Castlevania games, so we have to ask this question: Considering "Wario Land: The Shake Dimension" has been so popular, will you ever consider a 2D Castlevania either for Wii or WiiWare?

IGA: I am very interested in the option. I truly hope that the 2D market will be revitalised. I need your support to do that. Let's make the 2D market (world) more exciting!!