When its Kickstarter campaign came to a close, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was the biggest video game crowdfunding project in the site's history, and has only been eclipsed by Shenmue 3. The incredible response to Bloodstained - which is regarded as a spiritual successor to the "Metroidvania" sub-series of Konami's Castlevania franchise - has proven that there's still an appetite for 2D action titles, and has put creator Koji Igarashi back on the video gaming map after years of being unfairly relegated to the sidelines.
In an interview with Glixel, Igarashi reveals a desire to work on the mainline Metroid series, and that he would be "incredibly honored" if the offer was ever forthcoming:
So the term 'IGAvania' has begun to gain currency, as another way to say 'Metroidvania.' I've always wondered why Nintendo never teamed up with you and Konami to create a new 2D Metroid.
Nintendo is very careful about protecting their IPs and making any changes to their games. Around the time that I was proving that I could do multiple titles and do them well, Nintendo had shifted to Metroid Prime and they were having success turning their 2D games into 3D. So they probably decided from that point on that Metroid was going to be a 3D game series, and by that rationale, my style of games didn't really fit their criteria. That would be my guess.
But, let's say the fans demanded Nintendo team up with you to make a Metroid game, and Nintendo actually approached you to make one, would you do it?
I would be incredibly honored.
The world-famous producer also eloquently addresses why he chose to go with a female lead in Bloodstained, which launches next year:
There are two big reasons. As a producer, I looked at what the market was telling me. It was clear that there weren't enough games out there with female leads, and I knew that by going in that direction, it would give us a "spark." And as a Kickstarter campaign, it's about getting more eyeballs, it's about getting more hits, more interest. And, sometimes making a decision like this will shake things up. So, I understand that it's a bit devious and crafty of me to do that, but at the end of the day, you need to make noise for an original IP and that was one of the choices that helped.
But, from a creator's perspective, the reason why I wanted a female character is that male characters are very dry. Typically, very straightforward and... just meaty. "I'm the main character and I kill the enemy. Done." It's very macho... a very blunt storyline. It's too "bash you over the head" obvious. To the point where if you go with a female character – and this is not speaking to their vulnerability or anything like that, I'm not suggesting that they are weaker – but there are natural progressions that you can go with a female character. Certainly different twists to the plot that you can't do with a male lead. It doesn't have to be romantic, but that's an option that exists sometimes. It's sometimes an easier jump to make. You see a female character that's protecting the male character in the game and normally you don't see that kind of dynamic. You can turn norms on their head just because they are in the minority in the current market, and that I find interesting.
Igarashi also touches upon the amazing reaction to Bloodstained, and how he feels it has "vindicated" his outlook on 2D game design:
Back when I was at Konami, the sales of the Castlevania games I worked on continued to drop year in and year out, mostly led by North America. So, what started as a $40 or $50 DS game, eventually dropped to $30 and then $20. I always felt that the Castlevania series had a core following that was willing to pay a premium price for a good game. That's what I felt our fanbase was made of – dedicated fans. But every time when the standard price of a DS game would drop, the sales team would tell me that we would have to sell the game for $30 instead of $40. I never agreed with them.
One thing I learned when we did the Kickstarter campaign is that people are willing to pay an even bigger premium over the standard packaged price for something if they feel they are going to get more value out of it and because they truly believe in it. So yes, I was right insofar as saying that the games that I make, these 2D Castlevania-style games, are games that people are willing to pay a higher price or premium price for so long as the game is good. And another thing I learned is that they are willing to pay even more than that to get the game that they want. So, that was my vindication – that at Konami, we were undervaluing the games that we were making.
The full interview is well worth a read.