Game producer Koji Igarashi has had a few interviews in recent weeks touching on his current project Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. The game is a throwback to classic Castlevania games like Symphony of the Night, which also seems to include the game’s title. Now that the Kickstarter campaign is finished, Igarashi has been doing the usual press circuit, and there are some pretty interesting insights to be gleaned from those interviews.
In a pre-E3 interview with IGN, Igarashi spoke a bit about the partnership between his development team and publisher 505 games. He was pretty positive about working with 505. “It’s a very developer-friendly company, so it’s easy to work with them,” he said. And that’s always good to hear when it comes to the smaller publishing companies.
He then went on to detail how they were using procedural generation to make the game feel more lived-in. This is an odd point, as procedural generation usually makes games feel much more repetitive – see No Man’s Sky for example. But Igarashi and his team seem to have found a way to make it work.
Koji Igarashi: We decided to make some changes to the way the visuals worked. You’re probably already aware, but we’ve implemented procedural generation to our backgrounds. It’s an investment now, but going forward we won’t have to create the stages by hand, we can sort of make fine adjustments later on quite easily.
IGN: Yes, I was quite surprised to hear that the procedural generation was to make the world feel more lived in. It’s quite a cool implementation of that kind of technology.
Koji Igarashi: The idea was that it’s boring to have the same asset repeated over and over in a level, so by adding these flaws to them or having procedurally generated levels of deterioration on these items, they’re the same asset but they all look different, so it makes the world feel more believable, or more real.
And then during E3, Igarashi spoke with Kotaku about differentiating Bloodstained from his work with Konami, and considering Bloodstained is a Castelvania throw-back, that had to be a bit difficult. Which, Igarashi noted, saying “Well, the core concept of Bloodstained is having that same gameplay experience as games from the past. The story and the characters and plot are quite different, but what we really did want to capture was having the same experience from the past and being able to play it now.” One of those major story differences is the strong female protagonist in Bloodstained – we’d have never gotten that treatment back in the old Castlevania days, so it is a pretty large difference.
And it might not have happened at all, if not for a split-second decision during development.
It actually happened accidentally when we were planning the Kickstarter. We started with a male character at first, and as we thought about how to have a successful project and what was going on in the games industry, someone said, “Let’s make it a female lead. That would be a good start,” and then we thought of ways to rework it. It didn’t change too much, but that is how it started. We didn’t plan it, but it was a very happy accident.
You can watch the E3 trailer for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night below.
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