Hideo Kojima Turned “Lords of Shadow” Into “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow”

By Ishaan . August 2, 2012 . 1:00pm

Speaking with Edge magazine, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series producer, Dave Cox, reveals that getting the Castlevania license from Konami was a bit of a bumpy ride for developer MercurySteam.


Cox says that Konami gave the Castlevania license to MercurySteam, only to take it away soon after, as the publisher’s upper management considered the proposed new direction for the series “too radical”. MercurySteam had created a prototype featuring Simon Belmont, and when they presented it to Konami in America, they were told to do something else.


Thus, the game was just going to be called Lords of Shadow—that is, until Metal Gear Solid series creator, Hideo Kojima, offered his support.


Cox went to Japan with a video of Lords of Shadow to present it to Konami once more. The meeting consisted of Konami’s senior managers, and Kojima happened to be in attendance as well. Upon seeing MercurySteam’s demo, Kojima allegedly stood up and said: “This is awesome, why isn’t this Castlevania?”


Cox recalls: “Everyone just looked sort of sheepish and then after that he said, ‘I want to help you guys’. And then it became Castlevania again.”


That’s how Castlevania: Lords of Shadow ended up being a collaborative project between MercurySteam and Kojima Productions. A sequel, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, is currently in development. MercurySteam are also developing a separate Nintendo 3DS game, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate.

  • XiaomuArisu

    XDThis is great!
    Kojima is THE man!

  • Arcm

    Awesome, Hideo Kojima will always be one of my favorite people ever. I loved Lords of Shadow I thought it was a great re-imaging of Castlevania. It’s great that he helped make it possible.

  •  And this is why Hideo Kojima is awesome.

  • Tales_of_Master

    It’s just Kojima working his magic XD I’m an old fan of the series, but I still found Lords of Shadow very enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to LOS2. My only hope is that Konami keep making classic 2D Castlevania games, preferably for the PSN and the XBOX L!ve, which is something they’ve been neglecting lately.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Hilarious. Kojima is way too awesome. It’s cool to know that his support helped get us Lords of Shadow, since I really liked how that turned out.

    • Laharl

      Not quite, LoS would have still been a thing. All Kojima did was convince them to make it a CV game.

      With his name attached to “Lords of Shadows” it would have probably been enough to secure a level of success.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Yea, the article makes that clear. So “It’s cool to know that his support helped get us Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, since I really liked how that turned out.”

  • Spirit Macardi

    I already knew Kojima was responsible for it being a recognized Castlevania game instead of it being just another generic action game (like it should have been). As if his penchant for ungodly long and boring cutscenes wasn’t enough to make me dislike him.

    At the very least, keep him far away from Mystical Ninja. It’s the only Konami series I like that has yet to see ruination… Even though it hasn’t gotten a new entry in years.

  • Setsuryuu

    “This is great so why it’s not Castlevania?”
    Oh Kojima, proving that to keep it simple is to keep it genius. xD

    I liked LOS but Symphony of the Night is still my fav, I like all that castle exploring and backtracking instead of that stage thing of the original ones. I wanna see a Castlevania with the 3D gameplay style of LOS but just changing the “stage” to “castle”, it would be fun to see how it would pan out I guess (probably not where they’ll go to with LOS 2 though).

  • …And that is how Castlevania died. R.I.P

  • Vampiric

    It isnt vania, I wish they left the name alone

    But thank god after these next 2 titles, it will probably go back to iga………

    we had 4 metroidvanias this gen thats vania

    • Ladius

      As sad as it is, if the LoS series is successful in terms of sales there is no reason for Konami to go back to Iga, especially considering MercurySteam is already covering the handheld spinoffs.

      • Vampiric

         As successful as LOS is, it isnt what the fans want, and it isnt more successful than metroidvanias.

        SPINOFF, 1.

        After these last 2 games they are finished with the series

        then it will go back to iga

  • Goes to show how much influence Mr Kojima has in the company he works for. I’d prefer if this had nothing to do with the Vania series and Igarashi would keep on making my vanias, but it’s not the end of the world for me, and I can understand how some prefer the way the series is now.

  • Yuri

    Look the series is fine but can we please go back to the proper continuity? Playing as Dracula has been meh.

    I want to know what happened in the battle of 1999. I want to know what Soma Cruz did after his climatic battle in DoS. What happened to the Order of Ecclesia, it certainly couldn’t have disappeared just like that right? So many questions left unanswered. Please Iga come back…

    • Spirit Macardi

      I want to see the battle from 1999 too! I mean, some of the first enemies you come across in Aria of Sorrow are zombified soldiers, so you just know some major stuff had to have gone down!

      • oscar debardeleben

        The epilogue of LoS was in 1999

        • oscar debardeleben

          lol I want mirror of fate!

  • Locklear93

    …so it’s Kojima I have to blame for that thing being Castlevania when it felt nothing like it. :/

    • Sperium3000

       It had a human hero using a whip-like weapon to battle hordes of classical monsters of lore. What more would you want?

      • Laharl

        You just described 90% of modern hack and slash games.

      • Laharl

        And really, Castlevania evolved beyond “Guy with a whip” a long time ago.

  • Keijisan

    Sort of wish Kojima would just have been quiet at that point, i do by no
    means hate LoS, it was playable at the very least and i love the
    castlevania series as whole but i don’t like the god of war clone it’s
    turning into

    • Angel Colon

      If you played through the whole franchise (or seen them) you will see that Lamment of Innocence came before God of War,so GoW cloned LoI which it was cloning Rigar.So that point of view is an excuse that only comes from the Metroidvania fans that don’t accept this.

      • Keijisan

        the game play in lords of shadow and lament of innocence isn’t even close to being the same, whereas the game play in a game such as god of war is more or less exactly the same as lords of shadow, so i don’t see your point at all

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          It’s some weird thing that’s popped up the last few years, where people insist that God of War copied Lament of Innocence, which is very far from the truth.

  • Sperium3000

    Lords of Shadow was incredible. I’m eagerly waiting on news about LoS 2.

  • After Castlevania Judgement, the series needed a reboot like this.

    I hope SoulCalibur’s a similar reboot with the story retold in a more serious and epic tone and a perfect excuse to disregard Patroklos and Pyrrha and even bring back Taki and Talim.

    Also, who wouldn’t want Patrick Stewart narrating and saying “Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold.”

    • British_Otaku

      A series hardly needs a reboot after a fanservice fighter on the Wii trying to use the same franchise fails to get critical acclaim.

      Castlevania was still running on the DS without a break as it is. It would be like Sonic rebooting completely due to Sonic and the Secret Rings (albeit plot not really mattering).

      More Patrick Stewart is good, yes… >_>

      • Nemesis_Dawn

        Yeah, but somehow that fan service fighter was actually supposed to be canon.

  • Letiumtide

    I’m so conflicted. I love Snatcher, I hate Lords of Shadow and I have Kojima to blame for that mess getting greenlighted, I may have to disown his games, not… that it’s really hard to do these days.

    • DiosFancifulRomp

      You’d have to stop enjoying something… because of something a guy who created them did? He didn’t rape anyone, kill anyone, or inflict any actual harm, but causing a minuscule amount of pain to you makes you “disown his games.” How simplistically hyperbolic, although there’s a good chance you never actually played Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Also, Kojima didn’t get it greenlit, it already would’ve gotten released, just not as Castlevania, but I can see why you might make this mistake. Oh wait, it’s so clearly stated, you just have to read it. Nevermind.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    I am enjoying Harmony of Despair far more than LoS. Sadly I didn’t finish LoS… the game just didn’t make me feel motivated to keep moving on. The combat system was great (I was playing on the difficulty before Paladin) but overall the game didn’t feel that good to me… but since I did not finish it, I can’t judge it really.
    Well, let’s just hope the traditional Castlevania games aren’t dead! LoS series seems to be quite popular, but not too interested in it.

  • TheDarkEmpress

    Carmilla’s level in LoS was absolutely phenomenal, I couldn’t have been any more captivated by that freaking castle….everything kinda dropped out from under after that…In all honesty that castle level made the game (no not because of CASTLEvania either), it was just simply awesome.

  • Metroidvania fans getting angsty at Kojima in 3…2.. Oh wait, already happened?

  • Lords of Shadow had a pretty good story going for it and the battle system was different enough from most other action games. Love how it was 3D combat but moved in a linear fashion. Required quite a different approach than just mash square. Felt far more satisfying than than God of War where I just had to beat things until they died without needing to learn defense.

    MercurySteam was also right in the decision to make it feel more like Rondo of Blood. Open world action games generally fall short in terms of variety. The art direction was just excellent and the epilogue they produced was also enjoyable. All I can say is bring on the next one. With Kojima overlooking it, it should be an overall better game with the experienced gained with the first title.

  • Syltique

    This is a great anecdote.  I loved LoS.

  • l777l

    Perhaps it would’ve been wiser to keep Lords of Shadow a game (and series) in its own right, and to separate as well as clearly distinguish Castlevania from it. That’s a difficult matter, though.

    • Agreed, now we are facing at another Resident Evil 4 or Phantasy Star Online situation: The old game style gets dropped, with no other companies around that can deliver a replacement.

      • l777l

        That’s an apt assessment.

  • any project that involve Mr Kojima , must be awesome looking forward for the 2nd at near end of Dec

  • Nemesis_Dawn

    It’s great to know that Kojima stood up for the little guy. My only complaint is that, after the epilogue of Lords of Shadow, I wish they had merged the two continuities. I’ve read a few ways online to do it and it seems like a missed opportunity to not. I mean, it took place before Lament of Innocence and you always could just have Gabriel taking up the Dracula mantle AFTER that title. There’s a whole lot of years between the all of the games, so it could have been easily done. Then make it a trilogy with the final Lords of Shadow game being the battle of 1999. 

    Oh well, still love this series, though. Hated the PS2 3D Castlevanias.

    • Laharl

      Little guy? You mean he convinced konami to throw away 20 years of CV history for a GoW clone?

      Hell if not for him I’d still have my classic games and LoS wouldn’t be chained to half assed refrences.

      • Nemesis_Dawn

        I never owned a DS and my first system was a PS1, so I didn’t have any classic games. The only classic ones I ever played were the two PS1 titles, so in my opinion, the series has taken a huge step up. The PS2 3D titles were awful as was Castlevania 64.

        • Laharl


          Just because you like LoS more than SotN you think that it’s a GOOD thing they’ve totally killed off CV for LOS?

          If Kojima never intervened, we’d still have both. How is that bad?

          • DiosFancifulRomp

            Your idiocy is astounding, pray tell, how is “CV” “totally killed off”? Because they aren’t making the exact same game anymore? Because Konami will obviously never come back in a couple years ago with a 2D Metroid-vania game and claim that it’s retro, and so you should totally buy this because it’s a special thing, even though there’s a dozen games out exactly like it already. There’s no reason to think classic Castlevania is gone, but if you want to continue parading around like an imbecile, go right on ahead.

          • Laharl

            Prove it isn’t. 

            There hasn’t been a sign of it since HoD. And LoS has used the term “Reboot” several times, that generally means the old series is gone.

          • Laharl

            Because Konami will obviously never come back in a couple years ago with a 2D Metroid-vania game and claim that it’s retro, and so you should totally buy this because it’s a special thing, even though there’s a dozen games out exactly like it already.”

            Isn’t that the selling point of Mirror of Fate? that’s it’s a “Retro” tribute to the older series.

          • Nemesis_Dawn

            First, “killed off?!?” Master of hyperbole much? 

            Second, where did I say I liked Lords of Shadow more than Symphony of the Night? But what I did say is that I like it worlds more than crap like Lament of Innocence, which is way less deserving of the Castlevania name than Lords of Shadow could ever be.

            The only thing missing from Lords of Shadow was the music. There should have been a lot of the classic songs, done in the LoS style, instead of just two.

          • Laharl

            What other word would you use for Rebooting a series while the original continuity games were still critical darlings (sans Judgement)?

            “The Two PS1 titles” SotN and Chronicles are the two PS1 titles. You said LOS was a huge step up… Ergo, you said LoS was better than SotN.
            And really, having never played the DS games it doesn’t really give you a good position to judge the state of IGA’s games or if LoS was a “Huge step up”

          • M’iau M’iaut

            @Laharl_Krichevskoy:disqus Guys let’s watch the vitriol on both sides here. These are points both of you have already made on this thread and others.

          • Nemesis_Dawn

            Laharl, why do you insist on ignoring I said it was a step up from the PS2 titles? Do you hate them as much as I do that you completely act like I haven’t mentioned them about three times?

          • Aztec

            I wont argue the music department regarding LoS but I will tell you there’s at least 4 classics: Vampire Killer, the intro stage from CV4, the waterfalls of agartha one from Cv4, and the Dracula Battle song from CV4 remixed into the spectacular Belmont’s Theme in LoS.

      • Aztec

        Shut up already with your whining that its a GoW rip off. It has more to do with LoI than GoW and LoI came first. 

        20 years of CV history? You know what IS convoluted? No not the ending of LoS… the original CV timeline was a complete and utter mess. Who cares they threw that out the window? I certainly didn’t as long as the reboot did it better and it did. The dwindling sales of the franchice before LoS shows not many really were caring already and every time less people cared. Iga had his chance with the 1999 game he never had the balls to do and the rest of the games besides LoI cared very little about any real story (and even then LoI was pretty weak).

        Its time to try new things and grow. And up to this point thats just what LoS is achieving.

  • Ace

    If this is true, that’s awesome. 

  • Laharl

    So instead of Having Lords of Shadow and Castlevania as two series…
    Kojima convinced Konami to kill off the classic series…THANKS?

    • DiosFancifulRomp

      How is it killed off? The 3DS game looks exactly like the mess of samey games that Castlevania is known for: meager, uninteresting plot hidden behind a generally not fun style of side-scrolling beat-em-up. Let’s face it, the Castlevania series is absolutely unmarketable to people who aren’t big fans of the series. Lords of Shadow might have been iffy as far as controls go, but it at least had an engaging plot that wasn’t: Oh no, I’m in a Castle, Gotta stop Dracula to save Za Warudo! The games have always had great art, music, and locals, but the gameplay and plot have been pretty much exactly the same every time. 

      Let’s just face it, Lords of Shadow tried to do something that none of the other games have tried to: stop suck at story telling.

      • Laharl

        Except it’s nothing like the old games, it’s just a 2D God of War with faint Castlevania elements thrown in.

        And succeeded in one of the most awful, convoluted final 30 minutes in gaming. Bravo?

        • Aztec

           Thats your definition of convoluted? For CV standards Im sure that could’ve seemed like a freaking 3 tomed novel but a couple of (very well done) unexpected plot twists at the end does not make a game convoluted. Xenoblade’s story is convoluted, Mass Effect’s convoluted, Metal Gear Solid is convoluted. Lords of Shadow was unexpected, well done and easy to follow: Good Guy was Bad guy who wasn’t the Final Bad Guy. Then 1000 years go by and Main Good Guy turned bad. 

          I wont try to shove this ending down your throat until you like it. I really did loved it, thought it was well executed and honestly found this new original a hundred times better done than the weak Lament of Inoccence one. You can not like it, of course. What I cant understand and can and will argument against it, is you saying the ending was convoluted.

      • Ladius

        No offence, but the 3DS game’s similarity to the Igavanias as of now seems superficial at best, the fact that you aren’t able to see the difference because you disliked those iterations doesn’t mean they’re the same.

        Also, Igavanias weren’t about the plot, they were all about gameplay. Plot was there, but it never had Kojimian ambitions, and considering LoS was all but perfect in that regard I have to question the idea that turning an unique gameplay-oriented experience into a story-driven hack&slash is necessarily a good thing.

      • You guys play CoD, Mario, Zelda games on a yearly and formulaic basis and you have the GALL to say Castlevania is the same as always?

    • Vadim Merzhey

      I think we really sould say thanks to the guy. He decided to kill it off fast rather than let someone prey on it dying body.

      • Laharl

        The Hand-Held Castlevanias received very high review scores, most higher than LoS.

      • Ladius

        If Order of Ecclesia is your definition of scavenging, I think I will have to reconsider my moral stance about that crime :P

    • Laharl

      EDIT: Oops

    • Aztec

      Oh cry me a river! Lords of Shadow may not have been of your liking but it didnt kill the series. Its the best selling CV game to date like it or not. LoS did somehting CV games stopped doing since SotN: trying something different. Not only did LoS succeeded in trying new things but it also found success in gaining new fans to an increasingly niche and ignored franchise.
      Thats right, if anything CV was slowly dying into obscurity with the IGA vanias with each new portable installment selling less than the one before with our without critical praise. And Im sure the meh Harmony of Despair and the absolutely horrible Judgement didnt helped IGA’s case one bit. Besides you speak as if LoS was critically panned when it was not. It enjoys a powerful 86 on Metacritic… more than any other 3D CV game and better than some 2D ones as well.

  • Guest

    And where was Iga during all this? Getting them coffee?

    • Laharl

      At least we know where IGA is now… Plotting Kojima’s murder.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      You earn a smile with that one, Sir. 

      Although he was probably out in the back practicing his bullwhip.

  • The fact that they could even still make the game without the “Castlevania” title should say something…

     So Kojima supported the developer’s desire to use the Castlevania brand name to support a game that has little in common with the rest of the series? Am I supposed to applaud him for this? The game might have even been better recieved if it had been a stand-alone title with no franchise-expectations on it.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Lol all the comment is totally like the storm passing by there.^_^

    Well, considering CSV:Mirror Fate is going back to the good old classic styles, i hope that it will bring the nostalgia feeling for Castlevania back there.^_^

  • Francisco Flores

    LOVED LoS.  The Franchise was getting stale.  The hand held Castlevanias were all the same with very few changes to them.  The last great home counsel game was SotN.  Everything after that was repetitive.  Go into castle blah blah blah face death and then fight some kind of incarnation of Dracula only to have Dracula be resurrected over and over and over and over (or foil some lame plot to bring him back).  Castlevania became the Madden of adventure games. Same crap over and over with very little changes in order to get suckers to buy the game.   I found the LoS reboot amazing.   The vampire levels where amazing and the ending was a great way to reboot the franchise.  I understand that fanboys don’t like change, but hey you can’t please everybody.   Bring on LoS II

    • Ladius

      One can very well dislike Igavanias, but they were far from being “all
      the same”, and in fact they provided a gameplay experience that can’t be
      found anymore (and that’s why lots of fans are so bitter about this).

      Also, it would be far too easy to retort your statement, considering LoS
      itself is really not so different from lots of hack&slash games,
      and is by itself more generic in terms of gameplay compared to the rest
      of the videogame offer than the Igavanias were (that doesn’t mean people
      can’t like it more, of course, but using the “series was stale”
      argument when LoS is all but innovative is kinda strange).

    • Perhaps the same could be said of ALL franchise:-
      – Mario: save princess, stomp on enemy, be a Mary Stu of all trades, rinse repeat
      – Zelda: save princess, collect McGuffin, beat Ganon, rinse repeat
      – SF: beat the crap out of each other, rinse repeat
      – CoD: shoot the crap out of each other, rinse repeat
      – Tekken/DoA/VF: combo the crap out of each other, sexy jiggle boobs rinse repeat

      • SirRichard

        – Castlevania: Go into a castle, kill demons, beat Dracula, rinse repeat.

        The fighting game examples are poor; each new game in the series refines the mechanics and adds or changes some (the tag-team mechanics in Tekken, the variety of different combos and super-moves in Street Fighter) to improve on the old ones. It’s a different genre, the same standards don’t apply.
        You’ve wheeled out Mario, Zelda and Call of Duty before, and I must ask: what makes you think the people here give them a free pass? No, they don’t mention them here but why should they? Mentioning that these series don’t change or innovate much doesn’t clear Castlevania of the same allegations.

        Fair enough if you object to his point (Ladius is right in that it’s not strictly true as there were some changes from one to the other), but that argument doesn’t really hold.

        • >You’ve wheeled out Mario, Zelda and Call of Duty before, and I must ask: what makes you think the people here give them a free pass?

          – Mario has sold systems on name alone, as well as a Mario game being amongst the top 2 most purchased game each time Siliconera post the game purchase list.
          – despite the fact that MW2 receive quite a severe backlash and complains, like the lack of dedicated servers for the PC version for example, it’s still sold a few million copies…ON THE PC. And last I’ve heard, Call of Duty Elite still exist and Bobby Kotick is still in office.
          – dont know much about Zelda since I dont play it as much. But from what I’ve played through Link to the Past, a little of Twilight Princess(which bored me) and Minish Cap, story and gameplay still remains the same: you use your sword and shield to hack n slash your way to save the princess…again. Sure, they might add *some* new mechanics to differ it, but that’s a plus point for Zelda games, yet a complain for Castlevania?

          • SirRichard

            That doesn’t answer my question at all. Yes, those series are big and massively popular, but how does that stop it from being a complaint about those games? None of them are free from criticism, bring it up to any seasoned gamer and often they’ll agree that those series need to change.

            Being too similar to the previous games is not a plus point for any of them, so why should it be for Castlevania? Those games sell on other merits, they have much larger audiences than Castlevania. Just because they can and do get away with laziness doesn’t mean they should, and that they do doesn’t excuse other series.

            I’m not even arguing that Castlevania was as stale; I agree that each instalment was different enough. I’m just saying that arguing because other series don’t innovate as much doesn’t excuse another from not innovating.

  • oscar debardeleben

    If you played the old games like Castlevania 2,3, Super Castlevania 4 even Lament of Innocence you will see the influences in the Lords of shadow game play. I like all the games and will probably like the new  3ds version!

  • oscar debardeleben

    Instead of Harmony of Despair IGA should have done SOtN 2 With Castlevania 3 characters as playable unlockables better graphics and a giant Curse of darkness open world. just playing in one castle got old for Me. Thats why I liked Curse of darkness so much, tons of farming to make my pokemons strong!

  • Calibraexis

    Cox loves to tell the world that Lords of Shadow was the best selling Castlevania in the series’ history. That fact doesn’t make it the “best” on in the series. The fact that the center point of his Trilogy is on a dinky handheld as an exclusive is horrendous. It farts in the face of those who made Lords of Shadow a big seller. The center story cannot be played by those of us who bought the first unless we go out and buy a 3DS. Nice way to alienate the audience, Konami! Why not make this a multi=platform title so it can reach a wider audience? That would make too much sense. I am not the only one who feels slighted. Do a REAL survey, Mr. Cox. Ask someone outside of the testers and reviewers. Ask us, the ones that buy your games. You may be surprised.

    • Ferofax

      I lol’d. Dinky. Never heard that one before.

      As it stands, this might be the first Lords of Shadow game I’ll ever play. I definitely hyped by the stuff shown so far.

  • Setsu Oh

    kojima just regained some of the respect i had for him post mgs 1 & i stripped him off post 2

  • René Davidoschnaps

    Well i think that Kojima just rescued MercurySteam´s skin by calling it out to be Castlevania. It´s like this: You see that someone has an idea that looks kinda good, but would ultimately fail on it´s own feet so you provide a big name for his idea, because you know it would then cash in alot of money… that would be your profit too.” Maybe it was like this: Kojima depressed on meeting thinking to himself “Damn i ain´t got enough budget to invest into Metal Gear Raiden Slasher, Twin Towers Future and Mindfucking Whales. There has to be some way…” he hears someone announcing a presentation of a game and as he looks closer at it he shouts out “WE GONNA MAKE THAT CASTLEVANIA BECAUSE DUDE THAT´S TOTALLY CASTLEVANIA IN MY EYES DUDE AND I´M GONNA GET… I MEAN WE GONNA GET RICH SO MUCH!”

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