Ruminations – Koji Igarashi

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair iconA couple of weeks ago, the news broke that Koji “Iga” Igarashi, the former producer of the Castlevania series, had left Konami. In interviews, he said that he wanted to start his own studio so that he could make the kinds of games he wanted to make, and by extension, the kinds of games his fans wanted him to make. As one of those fans, I can say that I couldn’t be happier.

Interestingly, he mentioned that one of the things that motivated him to take this step was Keiji Inafune and the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9. I can’t help but remember Inafune saying that he hoped to inspire other Japanese developers, so perhaps Igarashi’s move is proof that it worked. Not that we haven’t seen plenty of other prominent Japanese developers go indie in the past decade, but it feels like they are moving closer and closer to a tipping point.

I was playing through a number of Iga’s Castlevania games last year as part of my “Castlevania-thon,” and even then, I was wondering what happened to him and why he hadn’t worked on any new games recently. I had hoped that Iga would go indie, but I didn’t think it would actually happen. Now that it has, I’m looking forward to seeing what his next project will be.

Most fans seem to expect him to make a thinly veiled Castlevania clone, just as Mighty No. 9 doesn’t hide its Mega Man roots. I certainly wouldn’t object to that, but at the same time, this is an opportunity to do something new and different. Castlevania got bogged down by its own weight. There are only so many ways you can fight Dracula or the Grim Reaper or any of the other creatures that made regular appearances in the series. I would hope Iga would take the chance to start with a clean slate and come up with fresh ideas, and not to just rehash what’s already been done several times.

Iga has also mentioned that while he may do a 2D game, he still has a desire to try making a good 3D action game. Although I’m a fan of 2D myself, I also want to see Iga continue to evolve as a developer and try new things. So, if he did decide to do a 3D game, I would still be excited for it.

Most of all, I’m just glad to see him getting back into active game development, whatever direction it may take. I wish him all the best of luck.

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