Igarashi on making Bloodstained a game for fans, making more games, Bloodstained's female lead

A portion of a Gamasutra interview with Koji Igarashi...

GS: So you’re making another Igavania, as the fans like to call them. Is this because it’s something you truly wanted to do, or is it more for the fans?

KI: There's no doubt that I love this genre myself. But in a related topic, I think the answer to this question is what makes us different from “indies.” When I think of indie, I believe an indie game is based on a developer's personal preference.

For Bloodstained, this is a title that started out on Kickstarter to answer the fans' wish for another Igavania game, moreso than what I want to create. I feel that it is my duty to answer the fans' wishes first, and so I’ve been shaping the game's vision in that direction.

GS: Are you hoping to make the perfect vision for this kind game and move on to something else, or do you want to keep working on Igavanias as long as people want them?

KI: We're hoping to create new kinds of games eventually, but right now we want to focus on franchising Bloodstained and have it really stick with the gamers. We’ll be creating at least one more game in this genre. This time around we wanted to emphasize that nostalgia, and focus on recreating the same gameplay experience players got in the past. In the future, we will continue adding new ideas and features regardless of whether we’re staying with this kind of game or genre.

GS: Bloodstained has a female lead, which is great. Japan’s bosses use to say having female leads would mean a game wouldn’t sell. How do you feel about that?

KI: A large reason for choosing a female lead was the Kickstarter. When we thought about collecting funds from Kickstarter, and thought about the modern social movement in America, having a female lead felt right, but also calculated. But in the end I could care less whether the lead is male or female as long as the game is fun to play. I did have a challenging time coming up with the story, but that could be said for a lead character of any gender.


Top Rated Comment
Mon Aug 21 17 08:34am
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

Why do they keep talking about having women in games as if it's something new? There's nothing special about it. If you want to make a female lead, just do it. Nobody cares, just make a good game. He basically just admitted he did it to pander to a certain vocal minority. I hate pandering.

Btw, it's called Metroidvania, sir. That term has been around for a long time.

The fans don't like to call them Igavanias. I think they just made that up during the Kickstarter. We actually like to call them Metroidvanias. Thanks.

Mon Aug 21 17 11:55am
Rating: 1

Yeah, I had never even heard of the term "Igavania" until they used it. Might be a japanese thing though.
Though after some very brief research research they didn't invent it as it was apparently used as early as 2005: http://castlevania.wikia.com/wiki/Metroidvania

Well, how about that. I just thought they wanted to avoid using "Metroid" in their campaign and thought that made sense.

Mon Aug 21 17 12:21pm
(Updated 2 times)

To be fair, ... both terms sound equally dumb to me.

Call me contrarian, but where have the old "Action/Adventure" - sort of labels gone?

I guess it's a more specific subgenre of Action-adventure, like survival horror.

People in this industry have always been kind of crap at coming up with names for these. I mean... "Roguelike-like?" "Collect-a-thon?"


I prefer Igavania because then it doesn't sully the good name of Metroid by making that comparison.

You don't at least like SotN? I think that game, along with a couple others, are absolutely up to the quality of the average Metroid game... though nothing yet touches Super Metroid for me personally. SotN even contributed its own elements to the genre that are very enjoyable, like experience points that help make backtracking feel worthwhile, warp points that further alleviate backtracking woes, and all the other RPG elements that make for a more custom, replayable experience. Soul capturing in the Aria games? Excellent.

Iga has made some good ones. I really hope Bloodstained will be up there in quality. I like what I see (and hear!) so far, and there's still lots of development time left.

The best way I can put it is that I like the OG Castlevania games, I like the Metroid games, I don't like the Igarashi style Castlevania games. I can only see Symphony of the Night as the game that ruined the series for me. I don't like leveling in games in general and I think the level design for the games is rather bland and unlikable. In general I like my games to be meticulously designed. I like a specifically crafted challenge where they knew what tools you'd have by then so they could take full advantage of your range of abilities. In general I think of leveling as a lazy design mechanism for people that didn't want to balance their own games, so they decided you could grind your way out of anything they didn't do properly.

Given all that, I will say what I said when this game was announced. I'm not a fan, but I hope the people who are get exactly what they want out of it.

Fair enough. It is a shame that classic Castlevania gameplay and design pretty much disappeared after the Metroid style games became a thing. I enjoy both and they could co-exist. Of course, now the series seems to be dead in general.

Maybe you'll like the mini game Inticreates is making to release as a prequel to Bloodstained. It is supposed to be an homage to classic Castlevania. Time will tell if it's any good.

I couldn't care less of the gender of a character, nor their nationality. As long as the character is good and plays well to the game's vision. And it looks like Iga himself was more focused on having a good game and good design. This is reflective to the characters themselves.

But being influenced by American movements for design is risky. At one moment we're against certain criteria, other moments we're all about Pokemon GO, fidget spinners and spamming furries in Splatoon.

Not to mention Miriam is pretty much copy pasted from Shanoa in Order of Ecclesia.

Mon Aug 21 17 08:34am
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

Why do they keep talking about having women in games as if it's something new? There's nothing special about it. If you want to make a female lead, just do it. Nobody cares, just make a good game. He basically just admitted he did it to pander to a certain vocal minority. I hate pandering.

Btw, it's called Metroidvania, sir. That term has been around for a long time.

Mon Aug 21 17 09:36am
(Updated 1 time)

Though I agree with the jist of your comment, I honestly don't think this case is entirely pandering. Pandering includes the inclusion of mentioning the lead character as a "XYZ character in an ABC world!" Or various relative responses.

I don't think Iga thought this. He didn't consider his main character yet and thought to see how the world over is talking. Saw something about more women, shrugged, and made a female character. That's probably the extent of his consideration of the gender of his character.

Mon Aug 21 17 10:39am
Rating: 1

I agree. He did it because it's what people were talking about at the time, but how many people is my question. I bet if they did a poll and said:

Would you like a female protagonist?
A) Yes
B) No
C) I don't care

I bet most people vote C. The fact is having a female protagonist is nothing new and should stop being treated as a novelty.

I completely agree this whole thing is so ten years old. Except ten/fifteen years ago feminism was already strong and an interesting cultural movement but grand scale marketing had not caught up with it yet. Now it's bastardized and shoved down our collective throat to the point where it's reduced to a pathetic selling point and looses all meaning.

Mon Aug 21 17 01:08pm
Rating: 1

Feminism has been bastardized for a long time, they've just hit over-saturation level in the past few years. It's just a useless buzzword now that certain people use as a bludgeon to force people to bend to their will.

Cannot genuinely disagree with anything here. How manu people did Iga see is not technically a huge consideration, either, though.

I mean, how much stuff does one really able to keep on with the movements of a nation that's not their own?

I want Japanese devs to make games according to their style and culture, not ours. That's what makes them special and imo better. Pay no attention to the stuff going on in American culture (it's mostly crap these days) and just create your vision.

I disagree with looking inwards when developing games. It'll alienate potential markets in the long run, and even bar some games from leaving Japan. Knowing your origins and maintaining an open eye and mind to other cultures to influence your creative process is the best bet going forward. Or else everything stagnates and dies.

Mon Aug 21 17 01:34pm
Rating: 1

Japan already has a lot of American influences in their media so they will always be connected. What I'm saying is that Japanese devs have their own styles and so do the Western ones. They both bring something unique and cool to the industry. if all devs were doing the same thing things would get really boring really fast.

But that's a problem these days because games that devs make in Japan like DOA beach volleyball etc can't even get released in America because of the increasingly puritanical media brought on by feminism.

DoA was not critically scrutinized for the vollyball game through feminism (at least not at first). It was brought forth by evangelists seeking to shield kids from such a site. For the same puritan goal.

Which is a funny example. Literally being shut down for different reasons but reaching the same goal. As if none of this was ever different.

Feminism is the new puritanism/evangelist. The gaming media had our backs when Jack Thompson came after the industry for violence only to turn around and demonize us for not "female objectification" or some other such BS.

They'll come around eventually. I mean, EA even distanced themselves from Anita after Mirror's Edge sold far below expectations. The phantom market is all it is and it will take one poor sale to get them to back away from it.

Or you can be Marvel and double down and take the whole industry with you. But I doubt most game development companies are willing to do that, nor are big enough to do that on their own.

EA should've been smart enough to know that woman knows f@#k all about gaming and is just an authouritarian prude trying to infect a burgeoning industry with feminist dogma. Thankfully they learned the best way of all, through their wallets.

Marvel has Disney money. They could care less what happens to the industry as long as their movies are raking in the big bucks they're happy to allow their comics division to die. God help them when that bubble bursts.

Their comic division dies, practically the majority of that industry dies with it. Sadly, wish it wasn't entirely true. And that is something that Marvel shouldn't disregard. Even if they had Disney money, making movies based on non-moving industry the market grew up in would merely drain the appeal of the movies they make (unless they want to reboot the universe every decade and a half).

Judging from the way their carrying their comics division right now, it seems they are actively trying to kill it. Just an endless stream of SJW, feminist buzzword spewing bile. I lost interest a while back and it's seems I'm not alone.

Oh you're not, I am in the same boat. In fact, there is a Youtube channel that seems to been giving me a good perspective of it as well. But it also shows a few tidbits that Marvel's comic sector may be catching on.

Not saying all of this "era" of comics has been a dredge, I honestly think Riri (the one "replacing" Iron Man) has a good potential of being a solid character. Like the channel mentioned, "There isn't SJW characters, just SJW stories." And I believe what Marvel created from this can be used in the future and salvage some good characters down the road. After all, there was a time Marvel made Throg, a Thor Frog.

I hope you're right because right now it really sucks. Feminist BS through and through.

Igavania is a decent term to differentiate the non-linear Castlevanias based around navigating a persistent world map with RPG-stye-progression that versus the classic-styled pre-Iga Castlevanias that are linear, stage-based, and revolve around the same mechanics from beginning to end.

(Granted, it does not really work for Simon's Quest, Circle of the Moon, or Judgement, but those games are not really worth remembering to begin with.)

'Metroidvania' is a bad term and people who use it should feel bad.

Igarashi loves himself very much without delivering anything the past years. He created a big buzz by introducing to us to a Kickstarter Campaign for a game which is getting delayed and delayed. Behind the curtains, it's obvious the development of Bloodstained is troubled. I take back my words if Igarashi and his team will deliver a decent product. But I highly doubt this project will ever reach a level above Cucumber.

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