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Mr. Castlevania: Koji Igarashi

by Jonathan Metts - August 17, 2008, 11:35 pm PDT

In this interview from E3, we talked to Konami's producer of all things Castlevania about his upcoming Wii and DS titles, Castlevania Judgment and Order of Ecclesia.

Nintendo World Report (NWR): You've talked about the reason for making Castlevania Judgment the kind of game that it is, talking about the motion control with the whip. Our thought on this was that in the DS games, the touch screen is not the primary method of control. So why did you feel that in a Wii game, motion control would have to be the primary method? Why not use it for special attacks and use buttons for the standard attacks, like you do on the DS?

Koji Igarashi (IGA): I completely understand that the touch screen is the main thing for the DS, but it has a D-pad and several buttons. So basically, you can have a complete game without using the touch screen at all. That’s why it felt right for my games, the Castlevania series. But the Wii controller has two buttons basically, so it's very limited in regard to the number of buttons. Yes, you can use the GameCube controller, but I didn't feel that was right. The other thing was, everyone thought using the Wii Remote as a whip was a cool idea, and a lot of people wanted that, so that's why things are the way they are.

NWR: We knew you were working on a game for Wii when we saw that screenshot for the DS game with a Wii connection. Can you talk more about that feature today?

IGA: Oh that? Yes. (laughs) By connecting the Wii and DS together, there are unlockable items that you get. One thing is that the Wii version unlocks Shanoa, the main character from Ecclesia, so right when you connect, you can play as her in Judgment. There are some other features, but I'll get into that later.

NWR: Does it affect the DS game as well?

IGA: Oh yes, it does.

NWR: You've made a few 3D Castlevania games, including Judgment. What are the difficulties in bringing Castlevania to 3D? What makes it an interesting challenge?

IGA: The most exciting thing about bringing it to 3D is the environments being much more beautiful and vibrant.

NWR: Many Castlevania fans are frustrated, because they are very loyal and have been following the games for a long time. When they found out there would be a game for Wii, they had certain expectations or certain ideas of what it would be like, and they were very surprised by Castlevania Judgment. How do you think Judgment will satisfy those fans who like to explore and go through action levels?

IGA: I understand that fans were very shocked when they saw the first screen shots and thought this is a fighting game and wondering why. I don't personally consider this to be a fighting game but rather a 3D versus action game. Also, I think something the fans will be very happy and interested in… Castlevania has a very rich 22-year history with a series timeline spanning thousands of years. This game allows characters who could never be in the same time period to appear together.

NWR: Now that Rondo of Blood has been remade for PSP, do you see any possibility of it being released on Virtual Console or remade for DS or WiiWare?

IGA: It's actually available in Japan on Virtual Console. With regards to WiiWare, I'm evaluating that right now, and to be honest, I think a 2D Castlevania game on WiiWare might be the right approach.

NWR: Would you consider taking the same approach that Capcom is with Mega Man 9?

IGA: Yes, I am evaluating that. As you might know, the Castlevania franchise has appeared on several platforms, so I am exploring a lot of different options right now.

NWR: Because you have been working on Castlevania for so long, do you ever feel that you would like to work on something different or original?

IGA: Yeah, once in a while I feel like doing something else, but I love Castlevania. I love the story and characters.

Interview conducted by Jonathan Metts and Steven Rodriguez. Thanks to Koji Igarashi and his translator for their time.

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