Pre-E3 2008 Interview With IGA
Date: 11 July 2008 (Updated 29 June 2016)
We talk Judgment with the Godfather of Castlevania.
Along with our preliminary hands-on with Castlevania Judgment for Wii, IGN had a chance to sit down with lead designer on all things Castlevania, Koji Igarashi. As a quick note, this interview was done via translator over email, and Mr. Igarashi is — understandably — staying pretty tight-lipped about the game until E3 is underway. Check out this preliminary interview, and be sure to tune in at E3 for even more with Iga, as we sit down and dive deep into what Castlevania Judgment is all about.
IGN: Wii owners have been waiting for an announcement ever since we saw the original "Connect to Wii" option on the DS menu. Nobody expected a fighter though. Why move the series in this direction for Wii? Have you always wanted to do a Castlevania fighter?
IGA: I had been thinking about how to utilize the characteristic features of the Wii controllers. I felt that using the Wii Remote and the "swinging" motion was a must and needed to be utilized. But the gameplay of the existing Castlevania games is designed for prolonged play and I thought it would be difficult for players to continue to swing for long periods of time. To do so, would be extremely tiring. Then I realized, with the 3D action style, I would be able to incorporate intervals so that players can rest and this would allow players to enjoy the swinging action of the Wii Remote.
IGN: If you could, take us through how the gameplay will work. How does basic movement and attacking work? Is the gameplay open 3D like Power Stone, or person vs. person like Soulcalibur?
IGA: You will swing the Wii Remote for basic attacks and use the Nunchuk to move around. Basically, you use the Wii Remote for attacks including sub-weapons and weapon attacks, and use the Nunchuk for non-attack moves such as defense and walking. It's easy to remember, right? It is going to be "person vs. person" but in the free-running style like Power Stone. There will also be special features depending on the stage.
IGN: We've gotten word that Alucard, Simon Belmont, and Dracula are already in the game, with the ability to unlock additional content (perhaps Maria?) via DS connectivity. Can you unveil any other fighters? How are you handling the idea of "multiple Belmonts" existing in the same time/place?
IGA: I'm afraid the information about unlocking Maria is incorrect. For things you can do via DS connectivity, I would like to keep it a secret just a little bit longer. If you know Simon Belmont and Alucard will be in the game, you also know that the heroes are not from the same time period, right? The concept of this game is to bring a variety of characters from different periods of the Castlevania timeline together for the first time.
IGN: Some of the most unique aspects of Castlevania have been the sub-items, magic, and summons from each game. Will we see those again in Judgment? On another note, will you be able to equip items and armor to your character in the vein of Symphony of the Night?
IGA: Yes, there will be sub-weapons. Things you can use will change depending on the characters. You will need to use them strategically to get an edge in the fight. Some summons are implemented as part of the effects, and there will also be some elements in the game that will make fans who are familiar with the series smile. Regarding the ability to equip items, I would like to keep this a secret for now.
IGN: How many fighters will make it into the game, and which locations will players be able to fight in? Do the levels span across all Castlevania titles, or are they set in one specific time and place?
IGA: I can't divulge the exact number of fighters yet, but there will be many familiar characters that you will recognize! In regards to the locations, players will be able to fight in the "throne room" and "old monastery." There will be other locations that are appropriate for the series too. The main theme I focused on was the gothic feel that is synonymous with the franchise, not the time or specific locations.
IGN: What types of modes will players see in Judgment? How will you be handling the single player Story or Arcade modes? How large of a focus is online multiplayer?
IGA: The details of modes will be released a little later, but there will be a story surrounding each character. The online multiplayer aspect is a very important focus for me, but it has proven to be somewhat of a challenging task.
IGN: DS connectivity is said to unlock new features in Judgment. Will it do anything in Order of Ecclesia as well?
IGA: Details of DS connectivity still have not been announced, but will be shortly.
IGN: How are you taking advantage of Wii's graphical capabilities?
IGA: We have been working on graphics with the help and know-how of some of the designers of "Elebits" and "Dewy's Adventure" who are now part of our team. With their help, the level of the quality is very good. I am particularly confident about the in-game textures as well.
IGN: Will Judgment make use of any of Wii's other services, such as the Message Board, Wii Connect 24 for downloadable content, or any other channels?
IGA: I can't share any details at this time.
IGN: Do you have a message for any Castlevania fans (or newcomers) that are skeptical about the series as a fighter? Or in other words, why should people be excited for Judgment?
IGA: It's a fighter, but it's been developed as a 3D action game — It's an extension of an action game. I have dedicated myself to create a super exciting action game based around the simple controls of the Wii, and I feel it's coming along very nicely. In celebration of the 22nd anniversary (it's kind of special, right?), I want fans of the series to enjoy the interactions and battles between characters that have been not been possible until now. I hope newcomers will be intoxicated with the splendid tricks of the vampire hunters that destroy evil as well as the evil powers of the dark family. I'll do my best to make this a compelling title for the series, and I ask and thank you for your continued support!