Image: Konami

Konami's Castlevania series currently has a level of public awareness that is perhaps unprecedented in the franchise's 35-year history. Netflix's popular animated series has given Castlevania a legion of new fans, while re-releases such as Castlevania Advance Collection and Castlevania Anniversary Collection have introduced players to some of the greatest entries in the series. However, despite all of this, we haven't had a proper mainline Castlevania entry since 2014's much-maligned Lords of Shadow 2.

We do have, of course, had a new smartphone spin-off in the form of the recently-released Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls. The game's director Yota Tsutsumizaki has been speaking to Axios about the future of the series, and the chances of a truly new entry in the beloved franchise.

His reply? Well, it's not terribly surprising, to be honest:

I think it depends on what our users say.

It's the age-old problem of a massive company wanting to be sure there's demand for a project before committing any resources to it. We can understand why Konami is cagey at present; Lords of Shadow 2 was a critical disappointment, and more recently, the firm's efforts to revive another of its key franchises, Contra, resulted in the distinctly underwhelming Contra: Rogue Corps. Even the mighty Metal Gear series is struggling, with Metal Gear Survive – the first title in the series to be made without the input of creator Hideo Kojima – proving to be something of a disaster.

Tsutsumizaki goes on to explain that creating a new instalment in such a venerated franchise isn't easy:

I’m not in a position to comment on the company’s business, but in general, it is very challenging to release the main titles of a long-term series on a regular basis.

He added that Castlevania has "taken on many challenges" since the release of 2010's multiplayer spin-off Harmony of Despair, and he refers to Grimoire of Souls as an effort to make sure the series can "keep up with the rapidly changing times."

He also pointed out that "Mr. Igarashi’s retirement from Konami is not related to the prolonged interval between series releases." He is referring, of course, to former series producer Koji 'IGA' Igarashi, who left Konami in 2014 and has since worked on the Bloodstained series, which is seen by many as the spiritual successor to the Castlevania franchise.

[source, via]