View Full Version : Interview with Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi

09-20-2002, 12:53 AM
We speak with Symphony of the Night and Harmony of Dissonance producer Koji Igarashi to get his thoughts on the final version of Harmony and the future of the Castlevania series.

Just before the start of the Tokyo Game Show, we had a chance to drop by the Konami Computer Entertainment offices to speak with Koji Igarashi--the producer of Symphony of the Night and the recently released Harmony of Dissonance for the Game Boy Advance--and discuss Harmony of Dissonance, Circle of the Moon, and the future of the Castlevania series.
GameSpot: Can you give us a little insight into your background at Konami?

Koji Igarashi: I've been working at Konami for over 10 years. I worked on Twin Bee and Gradius II for the PC Engine, or the TurboGrafx, as it's called in the US. But the first time I got involved with the Castlevania franchise was with Symphony of the Night. I was writing storyboards for the game, and then halfway through development I took over direction for the game as well.

GS: Now that Harmony of Dissonance is available in both Japan and North America, what are your thoughts on the final version of the game?

KI: Castlevania fans were very excited when it was released, and I'm very happy about it, even though it hasn't been a huge hit in Japan.

GS: Were the game's developers able to incorporate all the ideas and content they wanted to?

KI: Well, after Symphony of the Night, a different Konami studio worked on the Castlevania franchise, and now that it's come back to Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, where Symphony of the Night was made. I really wanted to create a game that was similar to Symphony of the Night for the Game Boy Advance.

GS: How difficult was it to make that sort of game with the Game Boy Advance hardware?

KI: We didn't have that much difficulty with GBA development, to be honest. For something like the PlayStation 2, you have to catch up with the technology and the programming. But with the GBA, you can focus on just the game instead of the technology, and that's what I was able to do with Harmony of Dissonance.

GS: What do you think of Circle of the Moon? Was it used as a reference during the development of Harmony of Dissonance?

KI: Circle of the Moon has great music, but with Harmony of Dissonance, we had to sacrifice the music and focus more on the visual side of the game. I [had problems] with the control in Circle of the Moon, and action games should always have good control. Of course, graphics-wise, it was really bad because it was so dark, so we wanted to make the next game much brighter. I also wasn't happy with the dual-card system in Circle of the Moon because it didn't really belong in the Castlevania world, and that's why we made the spell-fusion system in Harmony of Dissonance--because it's linked into the Castlevania world. That's one of the most important things I wanted to change from Circle of the Moon.

GS: In a previous interview, you mentioned that you would like to make the Castlevania universe identifiable. Does that mean we'll never see games in a dramatically different setting or with vastly different items and weapons?

KI: I really can't tell you much, but we're in development on another project right now. You might see some different features in the game that will make people say, "Oh, this isn't Castlevania." I would like to maintain what we have with the series, but at the same time, I want to challenge that and present a different type of Castlevania.

GS: Will we be seeing more Castlevania games on the Game Boy Advance?

KI: That's a secret. [laughter]

GS: Do you think you're limiting what you can do with the series if it continues on the Game Boy Advance?

KI: I think the GBA hardware doesn't present a problem, but the limitation comes with the visual presentation. If you want to do something really great, then you'll have to choose a different piece of hardware. But if you don't care that much about graphics, then the GBA isn't that much of a problem.

GS: Would you ever consider supporting the GameCube-GBA connectivity feature or the e-Reader in future Castlevania games?

KI: The connectivity feature is a good way to enhance the Castlevania world, but I'm actually more interested in doing an online Castlevania game.

GS: What's your favorite game in the Castlevania series?

KI: I like Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse the best.

GS: Speaking of some of older Castlevania games, on the Castlevania Chronicles disc, you mentioned that you would like to rerelease Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood. Is that still happening?

KI: I want to put that game into a second Chronicles game, but there are a lot of technical things on the company side preventing that from happening. I want Castlevania fans to send us e-mails saying that they want this, so we can move on to the next step.

GS: Thanks for your time.

Well, after reading this I guess my hopes for a GC Castlevania game are over:( What bothers me, is that a lot of companies are currently developing games with GC-GBA capabilities, but as usual, Konami refuses to give Nintendo a hand by working on the GC; can't they just stop making sports games and start releasing their best games on GC for the first time in they stinking life?! :mad:
A Castlevania online... what a letdown!


09-20-2002, 01:57 AM
Harmony gets my stamp of approvale, what after that horrid Circle of the moon game. And I'm sure Koanmi is working/thinking up ideas for the GBA/GC thing. Its just not going to be Castlevania. At least not at the moment. Its not like every company out there is using it yet. Konami rule.

09-20-2002, 04:05 AM
If Konami are going to do anything with the GBA/GC comm feature, it will probably be some kind of feature for a card Battle game alone the lines of Yu Gi Oh.

All things considered, CotM wasnt that bad, it was a hell of a lot of fun. HArmony is ebtter, but the music is worse. I am also not too fond of the bright backgrounds. I think that was mostly done because of the GBA's displaying limitations, what with it not being backlit and all. Castlevania is meant to be dark and almsot creepy, not bright and pastel-colored.

Heres hoping tehy develop a next gen Castlevania that is NOT Online. Online, online - bah. Its a freaking curse, everything has to be Online nowadays. Maybe companies should focus on story for a change rather than multiplayer-bility.

09-20-2002, 04:37 AM
No offense to anyone, but online gaming does sucks!

Why did they introduced it into the console world anyway, that's always been for PC games!.
I'd rather see a Castlevania game on GC with GBA linking posibilities than an online one. I don't know why people think every game, no matter what genre is, will work as an online game.
A Fps game will do just fine, but not even a console Rpg works out, Square faced a huge problem with FFXI in Japan for that same reason; Capcom is making a Resident evil online, and now Konami speculates about a Castlevania online, wich probably won't even appear on GC.

09-20-2002, 06:53 AM
And you forget about the possibility of MEtal Gear Solid online! Its a fad, everyone wants to cash in on the "Online" bandwagon. Im sure for console gamers its a big thing, but people who have been gaming with their PC for a while are hardly excited, since they have had it for a long long time.

The way I see it is that the fad wille ventually pass, and the online games we see on consoles will be ports of their PC counterparts, like EQ, Star Wars Galaxies, Unreal Tournament, etc.

Black Ace
09-20-2002, 11:08 AM
The Konami-Nintendo era is over. If you want to play most of their console games, get a Playstation 2. I'm never a big fan of them, I only liked their Contra games and maybe Metal Gear series.

09-20-2002, 11:16 AM
Konami is slowly making more games for the GC. I wouldn't be surprised if they ignore the PS2 mostly in a year. The system is dated.

09-20-2002, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by Alucard
Konami is slowly making more games for the GC. I wouldn't be surprised if they ignore the PS2 mostly in a year. The system is dated.

Ignore the PS2? I wouldn't put money on that! Like Bill said, the Nintendo-Konami era is over, but I won't buy a PS2 just to play their games. They aren't that good anyway, I only like their Castlevania games.

09-21-2002, 04:43 AM
You obviously have no clue what Konami and Nintendo are capable of. Look at the biggest selling games in the past year. Konami has quite a few of them, and so does Nintendo for what they've actually put out. And the ideas keep getting different as time goes on. Saying their 'era' is over is basically saying you know very little of each company, what they've done, and what they are about.

And by ignoring I mean offering less to the system compared to other systems.

09-21-2002, 05:18 AM
I don't think they really want to work with Nintendo. During the days when the GC was still called Dolphin, I remember seeing Silent Hill 2 as one of the games they were supposed to work on the system, but soon after that the game simply vanished only to appear later on the PS2, and now they're working on SH3 exclusively for that console.
I haven't heard of any other game they have plans to make on GC. Like I said, Castlevania was the only one I was hoping to see, but since now they want to make it online I don't need to be a genius to know GC will not be their chosen console.

09-21-2002, 10:58 AM
I dont remember the SH2 thing. I know one major title Hideo Kojima himself is working on is for the GC. I forget the name.. Eclipse? Konami is also making quite a few strange games for the system. Probsbly best to check their release schedual. I dont really remeber them.

And wasn't the castelvania online game aimed at the GC? But either way I wouldn't be surprised if they release a normal version aswell. I've got my GBA Castlevania so I'm happy. Majority of the games I'm waiting for are from Konami anyway. SH3, Contra, Suikoden 3, Pro evo 2, and a few others. Doesn't matter what console its on, Konami games rule. Always multiple hits, unlime most companies that have like 1 genre. I wont mention any company.. oh to hell with it, SQUARE!

09-21-2002, 11:00 AM
Hold up.. Castlevania online? wtf?

Sounds just like Resident Evil online to me...
I'll have to see it to believe it.

That is all...

09-21-2002, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by Alucard
I know one major title Hideo Kojima himself is working on is for the GC. I forget the name.. Eclipse? Konami is also making quite a few strange games for the system. Probsbly best to check their release schedual. I dont really remeber them.

That game sounds to me like a Hybrid Heaven. Crap!

Black Ace
09-21-2002, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by baratus

That game sounds to me like a Hybrid Heaven. Crap!

What about Hybrib Heaven? That game was cool.

09-21-2002, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Bill

What about Hybrib Heaven? That game was cool.

Hybrid Heaven cool? I don't think so. Some idiots actually said it was the succesor of Metal Gear, but that's a laugh if you ask me.

Black Ace
09-21-2002, 03:33 PM
Hybrib Heaven is not anything like Metal Gear Solid, wonder why some people think it is. HH is more like Parasite Eve, an RPG in third person perspective. The gameplay was average, but it doesn't suck.

09-22-2002, 03:06 AM
I'm not sure what Hybrid Heaven is. But Eclipse is no where near like Metal Gear. Kojima said its some sort of..not sure..simulation style game. Father and son game. I really can't say cause he was extremely vague. But it'll be out 2004 so he's spending ALOT of time on it.

09-22-2002, 09:20 AM
2004!? That's a ridiculous amount of time to wait for a game. Lemme guess- this is an exclusive title, right? Great!

This kind of support you announce 6 mos. before the game is out- not a a whole year and then some!

09-22-2002, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by Alucard
Kojima said its some sort of..not sure..simulation style game. Father and son game.

Simulation style game, eh... I'm having a bad feeling about that.

Black Ace
09-22-2002, 12:05 PM
Yes, this is supposed to Konami's original game for GameCube, it has been announced about 6 months ago.

09-22-2002, 05:06 PM
Can we trust it won't be as bad as Hybrid Heaven? (sorry Bill):D

09-22-2002, 07:57 PM
Well all you have to do is look at the games Kojima has supervised himself and see what you think of those games asa whole. Then I'm pretty sure you'll see it should be a one off experience of a game. Very different and worth it. I hope. And dont take my simulation description to heart. I'm not exactly sure on this game. He's ULTRA vague on it. Besides, alot of games take 2 years to make. Look at FF. And its nearly 2003.

09-22-2002, 08:01 PM
To early indeed to talk about "ECLIPSE" ,But it sure got my curiousity allready, it sounds like something that's never been done before ..and like ALUCARD said it's Kojima we're talking about here.... "nuffsaid"

09-22-2002, 10:38 PM
Well, I only know Kojima for being the creator of Metal Gear, but nothing else (I guess that should be enough eh?)

09-23-2002, 12:09 AM
Some of the games he's led development and stuff in is Snatcher series, Policenauts series, the hugely popular <in japan> Tokimemo Drama games, ZOE, and ofcourse the entire Metal Solid game series. Im not sure if theres more. But I know theres alot of other games he's worked on, but not been in charge in. Not sure what they are though.