Hello! I’m Koji Igarashi, producer of more than a dozen Castlevania titles. I left Konami in 2014 so that I could make the kind of games I’ve always loved to play; currently I’m running a Kickstarter for my new game, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. My agent Ben Judd will be translating for me, so please: Ask me anything!

Proof & more proof

EDIT: This has been fun but we’ve got to get back to work! Thanks so much!

Comments: 522 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

remainder302 karma

Many current action games (even recent Igavania-style ones like Guacamelee) use combos in their battle systems. Is Bloodstained going to use this approach, or will it stick closer to the Castlevania style of attack and dodge?

For me, Symphony of the Night is close to the perfect game! I'm really looking forward to playing Bloodstained.

Koji_Igarashi402 karma

Hello! Here we go. IGA wants to keep this closer to the style he is familiar with. There are a lot of pieces to balance for the game so a combo system might change the entire dynamic. Therefore he'd like to go with a more classic "dodge and attack" style.

donaldtranwins203 karma

One of the backer rewards is a ring personally hand-crafted by IGA.
We know you're a talented man, but does the great IGA-san have any other hidden talents? (Aside from your bat transformation)

Koji_Igarashi663 karma

Stumbling around the streets of Tokyo after having too much beer... does that count?

Um, I'm a creator at my core... when I was younger I did a part-time job creating stuffed animals. I guess that is one?

SmolderinStu142 karma

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is obviously your most popular and well-respected title. Would you say that game is your best work? If not, what game have you worked on that you're the most proud of?

Koji_Igarashi267 karma

There are two for me. Obviously SOTN is one. It helped forge more career and allows me to have all these great fans. The other one is Tokimeki Memorial - A dating simulation game. It actually caused a minor social "revolution" and change in thinking in the Japanese society when it was released. It was very popular.

grokr139 karma

Would you consider doing consulting work on future Castlevania titles if Konami approached you for help?

Koji_Igarashi240 karma

Of course! I love my new baby "Bloodstained", but Castlevania is also a great IP I would never turn my back on...

Daiyor118 karma

Greetings Iga, and thank you for making one of my favorite games ever, Symphony of the Night.

I absolutely loved the design used for Dracula's Castle, with places such as the royal chapel, the outer wall, and the library. I enjoyed how there were small ares that didn't serve much purpose, but were still nice to go to, and made Dracula's castle feel more like his home. Will the art design of Bloodstained be similar to SotN in that way?

Koji_Igarashi134 karma

That is the plan right now.

Alexander-N-Belmont94 karma

Huge fan Iga, I've been playing your games since SoTN, I even played Nano Breaker! My questions are about unanswered questions from your time on Castlevania. Would love to hear answers for all 3, but whatever you can tell us is appreciated.

  1. Why was Shanoa so special? You once said that Shanoa was a code name, but we never got her real name. I personally always thought she was the child or grandchild of Alucard and Maria, others thought she might be a Belmont or Morris, could you finally give us the answer?

  2. What is up with St. Germain? Aeon? This whole time traveling group, we never got any real information about them... Can you tell us anything? Are they related at all with the stop watch subweapon?

  3. Where were the Morris family during Order of Ecclesia? Were they not yet in action? How long after Symphony of The Night did the Morris Clan take up the vampire killer whip?

Koji_Igarashi93 karma

1) Neither of those theories is correct. Sadly, I didn't have a real name in mind... but I wanted to give her an aire of mystery. 2) OK... that was a long explanation that will be hard to type out but the bottom line is he liked the idea of St. Germain time traveling and then needed a reason behind it. So there were time-traveling "time watchers"... Sounds like he was looking for a balance but liked the concept of time-travel. 3) Will have to answer later...

Desertanimal75 karma

Hello Iga, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA, I'm really looking forward to Bloodstained. I really enjoyed playing Harmony of Despair when it came out back in 2010. Have you ever thought about making another game with that same type of multiplayer in mind? Are there any design ideas you would like to include in a new "multiplayervania"?

Koji_Igarashi100 karma

Wow! A fan of Harmony of Despair makes me happy. I'm constantly looking at the backer comments on the Bloodstained page. The more sort of requests we get for multiplayer, the more we want to prioritize it. That being said, online is a very expensive undertaking so we'd have to find a good balance.

Luhaja56 karma

How does it feel to have such an open development/communication with your fans...?

Koji_Igarashi130 karma

It's a new approach for me so it's kind of refreshing. I mean, someone just asked me about my favorite kind of ice cream! I didn't think I'd get to connect with fans on that kind of a level.

harshael55 karma

SOTN is my favorite game of all time, and I was happy to back Bloodstained.

What game mechanic in Bloodstained are you most excited about?

For the Castlevania series, you had its mythos and the legend of Dracula to draw on. What sources are you drawing from in your creation of Bloodstained's world?

Koji_Igarashi87 karma

It's not really a feature per say but one of the things I am looking forward to most is working with Inti. They are great a creating really challenging boss battles with a nice risk/reward approach. I think having them on board will make some of the boss battles very challenging. The current monster designs are based around the 72 lessor demons in Solomon's tome. But I love classic movie monsters as well so they will probably show up in the game too.

MMX251 karma

Were there ever any plans for a Castlevania game set in 1999, or was that detail intended to be left alone in order to allow the player's imagination to fill in the gaps?

Koji_Igarashi79 karma

There are lots of different development styles but the way we develop a game is by first thinking about the core system and then filling in the story afterwards. There were plans for a game set in 1999 but we could find a system that fit that story. Btw, that game was supposed to be multiplayer.

Endymion8645 karma


First of all, I want to thank you for all that you've done for the gaming community over the years. Your games have given me (and many others) so many awesome memories; Aria of Sorrow will forever remain one of my favorite games of all time.

I have two groups of related questions:

1) Do you keep in contact with any other ex-developers who worked for Konami? Are you friends/associates with Hideo Kojima? If so, how do you feel about the recent press (or lack thereof) about his departure from the company?

2) What do you think of the Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Bloodborne series developed by From Software? Do they remind you of your games in any way? Would you ever consider teaming up with From Software and co-developing a game together? A man can dream, after all...

Koji_Igarashi105 karma

Actually, I'm in contact with a lot of ex-Konami people. Konami is a company and probably has some kind of strategy but since I've been out of the loop for a year I really can't say.

I love From's games. A collaboration would be great and honestly, I get that question a lot, but I think the visual style is a bit different. I'm more classic Gothic where they are more based in Cthulu

BenjyMLewis43 karma

What is your opinion on Simon's Quest for NES and Castlevania 64 for N64? These are two of the most generally disliked games in the series, but I have a lot of fondness for both of them.

In my opinion, the worst Castlevania is Castlevania Legends for Game Boy.

Koji_Igarashi86 karma

In the US I think the game came with a strategy guide making it easier. In Japan it didn't and that made it less popular. Honestly, RPG elements are great but getting hit, then thrown off the screen and having to wait for it to reload was frustrating.

Nebbii43 karma

Can we expect the return of hard mode from Order of ecclesia?

Something that interested me a lot on this title was the fact that hard mode not only changed how hard the enemies hit, but it changed a lot of neat stuff like bats flying at bullet speed or enemies that appear later on popping early. It really changed how the game could be tackled.

Koji_Igarashi65 karma

We've already cleared the "Hard mode" stretch goal so there will definitely be a mode like that in the game. As to how it specifically will work and whether it will change individual enemy patterns, I'll be talking with Inti and getting backer feedback to find the best features for it.

rockesper41 karma

Love your stuff Iga-sama. I want you to know that I think Aria of Sorrow is a masterpiece!

Question: What are your favorite souls from the Aria/Dawn of Sorrow games?

Koji_Igarashi83 karma

It's kind of embarrassing, I can't remember the name but it's the soul that gives you a giant axe. I like it because, it's just big (overly so) for the sake of being big.

Sckeyth36 karma

Will there be an option for a physical copy of the WiiU version if (or rather when) the stretch goal is met?

Koji_Igarashi66 karma

This will be mentioned after we clear the Wii U stretch goal (smiles deviously)

zerotheblackmage36 karma

Hey Iga-San,

1) Do you have any comment on the recent talk of Konami focusing their efforts on mobile gaming?

2) with the recent goal of "your biggest castle ever" how much bigger are you aiming for?

Also, Ben. Seeing as how you have been a part of two successful Kickstarters of this nature, should we expect more on the horizon?

Thanks for your time. Looking forward to bloodstained.

Koji_Igarashi65 karma

1) Konami is a business so they are just following the market. It makes me sad but a business is going to business... 2) Our initial 500,000 goal was going to be a much more compact version due to budgetary limitations but thanks to the additional backer support, I'm finally able to make something bigger than even SOTN. And there will be lots of new modes. I'm really interested to see how far the campaign goes because that could unlock some other really cool ideas. Of course it's always a balance.

Ben - Yes. Any you will be excited. Now help me convince FanGamer to join me. They are awesome-sauce!

MikeyMcD35 karma

Some people have speculated about trademark and IP rights. Can you make a statement that addresses ownership of Bloodstained?

Koji_Igarashi84 karma

Bloodstained is MY IP. Anyone can trademark anything. IP ownership is a different thing altogether.

gtrogers29 karma

Will Bloodstained support online cooperation? I would love to explore the castle and kill monsters with a friend or two of mine.

Koji_Igarashi61 karma

Online co-op for multiple platforms is one of the most expensive things to develop. That means we have to be very careful about how we plan it and where it would fit in the budget. That being said, if the campaign continues to go well, there will be a lot of new opportunities for us on the development side of things. Maybe even online co-op.

Kralec28 karma

Did the overwhelming response for Bloodstained surprise you? Was it you or Two Player Productions that had the kickstarter planned out so thoroughly before hand? It really seems super prepared for anything!

To Mr. Judd: Whats it like translating for Mr. Igarashi? Are there any weird translation flubs or hard to translate jokes that made you both laugh?

Koji_Igarashi56 karma

Iga - I was expect 800K at the absolute most... I was wrong (laughs). Yeah, we prepared for something much smaller initially and really had to shift gears to provide better content and more goals attached to the stretch goals.

Ben - I can't think of a particular instance but I have to admit, filming Iga angrily throwing a wine glass on the ground was so much fun (That was Napa Valley by the way... who knew they had castles!)

RandomUppercut26 karma

Would you consider writing a book on game design, whether it's as a teaching tool or for any other reason?

Koji_Igarashi45 karma

It's true I am a scenario writer but I'm terrible at writing books so probably not in my near future but thanks for the encouraging words.

BlueSaber8026 karma

Count IGA, would you be able to beg or plead with Ayami Kojima to sign the $300 collectors editions also? That would be incredible to have the core Symphony of the Night peoples autographs on Bloodstained!

And are you truly going to hand sign every single one of the $300 editions?

Koji_Igarashi56 karma

Michiiru and I have pledged to sign the collectors edition. That tier was way more popular than we envisioned... Honestly, it means I'll be signing several a day from here until the end of production. So yes... it will be a personal challenge but I'm happy to see so many people want it. Kojima is so busy. We REALLY got lucky to have her do the 100 dollar collectors pack illustration. Now that was a miracle.

Gunlord50020 karma

Dear Mr. Igarashi,

First off, thank you so much for holding this AMA, and thank you as well for all the wonderful work you've done in video games over the years. Though I'm sure you've heard this a lot, SoTN--and your other Igavanias, for that matter--have brought so much joy to me and millions of others across the globe. Personally, I wouldn't have made many of the friends I have now if it wasn't for your games. So I'm truly grateful to you for all that you've done, and I'm sure the rest of your fans feel the same way!

My question relates to something you said in this video:


From about 1 hour and 15 minutes in, you describe (through your excellent translator, Ben Judd) the challenges faced with the profit margins of handheld games. To summarize what he said, any game on a cartridge format had a relatively fixed cost of development, but the prices of cartridges at retailers like Wal-mart constantly dropped, resulting in constantly dropping profit margins no matter how much you tried to cut costs. I'm wondering, does digital distribution (like on Steam) have this problem, and if not, was the rise of digital distribution one reason you decided now was the right time to strike out on your own and make your own masterwork? :)

Once again, thank you so much for your time.

Koji_Igarashi35 karma

Games going to disk has eliminated that problem there are actual cases in which the digital royalty you pay to first parties is much higher than a retail version's royalty. Strange but true.

MercurySKL19 karma

How many hours of game play can we expect from the game? Since I am spending more money on it, I do want longer story/larger map compared to the games that were published more than 10 years ago.

Koji_Igarashi54 karma

Previously we used to shoot for a bare minimum of 10 hours. We just passed a stretch goal guaranteeing a 25% bigger game so it will be at least 12.5 hours. Again, that's for someone who is really, really good and doesn't include the extra modes that clearing stretch goals have provided.

Emil11118 karma

Do you know if Konami or anyone in Konami has shown interest in a new Snatcher game or a HD remake?

Koji_Igarashi21 karma

It's been a year since I left so unfortunately I really don't know.

Wyscot16 karma

First I'd like to thank you for this project, and second I'd like to know if there is a possibility of you doing a fan art contest to make a boss?

Koji_Igarashi39 karma

Unfortunately, no. There is a reward in which you can design an enemy but bosses affect the whole of the game play and we need to make sure everything syncs up in the game. That being said... keep watching the campaign page. We will have a backer vote/contest soon. Should be exciting!

Koji_Igarashi16 karma

Unfortunately, no. There is a reward in which you can design an enemy but bosses affect the whole of the game play and we need to make sure everything syncs up in the game. That being said... keep watching the campaign page. We will have a backer vote/contest soon. Should be exciting!

philckd16 karma

Hi Koji! Which game was the hardest of the series to help create?

Also with Bloodstained, since we got the voice of Alucard, will we get more voiceovers? Will we get the composer for Symphony as well?

Koji_Igarashi57 karma

You already have her: She is called Miichiru Yamane.

NorbitGorbit15 karma

which part of making games is the most tedious that you wish could be automated by computers?

Koji_Igarashi64 karma

Ideally, I would attached a brain scanner to my head and everything I envisioned would be automatically created by a computer... But alas, that technology seems far away...

rexfloyd9415 karma

First off thank you so much for making so many games that are important to me. Its early in development but do you have any plans to have a Death/Grim Reaper boss fight in Bloodstained? If that's too close to the Castlevania games, are there any plans for a boss battle similar to the Death fights (random, multiple projectiles in the field, transformation, etc.?)

Thank you so much, Mr. Igarashi.

Koji_Igarashi32 karma

Projectiles - It's easier to make boss battles with these so yes Transformation - Oh yes Death... Hmm...

metafaniel14 karma

Wiil we be able to increase our pledges after the campaign ends, and upgrade our rewards via PayPal?

Koji_Igarashi31 karma

We will have to adhere to Kickstarter Rules. When the campaign ends, I don't believe you can increase your pledge...

MikeyMcD13 karma

Johannes seems a bit bookish to me, but Michiru Yamane is inspired by his concept art. Is there any chance that Johannes will get a new look that is more like a Belmont than a book worm? If not, Johannes is great. I want to know the story you have to tell, not just what I want to know. Thank you for everything, Iga san!

Koji_Igarashi44 karma

You want to make sure there is a difference in visual style and roles of your main characters. Johannes is meant to be a support character for Miriam. If he becomes a cool Indy Jones type character you end up with two leads and they have a tough time playing off of each other. That being said, he may look bookwormish as you said, but HE HAS A WHIP. So there's that.