IGA Talks Castlevania Everything
Author: Chris Kohler
Date: 20 October 2007
Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi has a lot to talk about. There's a live-action movie. A new game for PSP. Another new game in the works for DS. And he finally figured out why Simon Belmont whips candles to get items.
Wired News: So, what's new and exciting in the life of Igarashi and Castlevania right now?
IGA: It hasn't been officially announced by Konami yet, but I went to meet with this director the other day, who's doing the Castlevania movie.
WN: I'd heard that this was going to be an animated movie? Is this still the case?
IGA: Was there a rumor that it was going to be animated?
WN: Yes! There was a whole blog by the guy who was directing the animated movie, there was concept art... it was supposed to be based on Castlevania III.
IGA: Oh, that's a totally separate thing.
WN: And now you're doing a live action movie.
IGA: Yes. The director is Sylvain White, who directed Stomp The Yard. I think the director's name has been announced by the production company but not by Konami. We'll have more discussions with him to realize the movie, and when the time comes, Konami will make an official announcement.
WN: What do you think are the challenges of translating Castlevania into a movie?
IGA: The movie should be handled by the movie makers. But the director and I, we discussed the world of Castlevania, and the conflicts, and the story. But the director plays the game a lot. He was actually showing the producer how to play it. He knows about it. So I feel really confident.
WN: What did he say was his favorite thing about the series? What attracts him to it?
IGA: We had just a brief discussion yesterday, we didn't have much time. So I just briefly explained the game. Hopefully we can talk more.
WN: What's coming up next for Castlevania, the games?
IGA: First, we're doing another Nintendo DS version. There hasn't been an official announcement, but we're doing it. First, we want people to enjoy the PSP version, and afterwards we're announcing it. So, please wait a little bit.
WN: Has the PSP version been released in any territory yet?
IGA: Not yet. It'll come out first in the US.
WN: Are there any pre-order promotions for it in America? Last time there was that CD package, is there anything this time?
IGA: This time... there'll be a special gift at GameStop. Do you know Neca, an American action figure maker? They made a special NES-version Simon figure for Comic-Con. Like a pixel picture. They're doing a Simon's Quest version, in black/white/red, for the pre-order gift. It'll be at GameStop, but the numbers will be very limited.
WN: Some of the reactions that I've read to the new version of Rondo of Blood for PSP is that taking the game straight from the PC Engine and making a PSP version, maybe wasn't the best fit — that the new graphics and the old gameplay didn't work together. Do you still think this was a good idea?
IGA: I think it's a great fit, but there are challenges that nobody will notice. In 3D, when you jump upwards, you expect to hit the ceiling of the second floor with your head. But in 2D, you know you can jump straight through it. So in 3D in this game, you can jump through the floor.
WN: Do you want to do more of these kinds of remakes, or new ones?
IGA: My ambition is to be the number-one action game. We still aren't. We've been doing this for 21 years, and we have a lot of core fans, but I want to appeal to new users as well. This coming title is a little bit hard, but the Castlevania series isn't too hard, and has replay value. It's not wasting money at all to have this game. So my ambition is to be the number one action game.
WN: It used to take a long time for a Castlevania game to come out. You'd wait three or four years. But now they come out regularly. Have you found that you're hitting a saturation point where people have had too much Castlevania, and they wait for price drops instead of buying the games when they come out?
IGA: As for the quality, if you compare it with other DS titles, these games' quality are really high. So I think we can maintain the price for these games. To make a high-quality game, you need to invest. It costs to create a high-quality game, so the price level has to be maintained.
WN: Do you think that the sales of the slim and lite PSP in Japan will help sales of this new game?
IGA: The PSP market has been revitalized a lot. Retailers are saying they don't have enough software to sell. So I'd like to watch and see how this game performs.
WN: When does the game come out in Japan?
IGA: November 8th
WN: I've wanted to ask this for a while: what do you think, in the whole history of Castlevania, was the worst decision anybody ever made about the series?
IGA: Probably when we put out the timeline. Because since Dracula only appears every 100 years, we made the whole timeline and ran out of places to put in another game. I made the timeline, but I shouldn't have actually released it, because now it's all official. That was a bad decision.
WN: Last question. Why does Dracula keep putting meat inside the walls of his castle?
IGA: You should ask, why do they eat it! I've thought about this stuff. I've actually thought about the candles. The candles are people's souls that were taken by Death or by the vampires. In Japan there are candles that represent life. So, when you release the souls from the candles by whipping them, they give you a "thank you" present. Thank-you hearts, or thank-you holy water.
The meat, I have no idea.