Castlevania: Mirror of Fate Producer Talks Combat And Enemies

By Kris . February 28, 2013 . 3:00pm

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate walks the line between old and new. While the game continues the story of the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series, it isn’t a 3D game like its predecessor. Instead, it’s a 2.5D platformer that draws inspiration from Castlevania III and lets you play as multiple characters—Simon, Trevor and Alucard.


At the same time, it’s also very different from previous 2D Castlevania games in that the combat is more fleshed out, and there’s a very prominent focus on dodging, parrying and air-dashing. Certain enemies are capable of blocking as well, and don’t let you get hits in without really making an effort.


We recently got in touch with Konami’s Dave Cox, who is the producer on the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series, to ask him a few quick questions about the game, such as what inspired the combat and how movesets work.


What inspired Mirror of Fate’s art style? Did you initially plan on using a visual style closer to the original Lords of Shadow?


Dave Cox, Lords of Shadow producer: The art direction was something we were very proud of and that style has continued to develop within the team. Our original goal was to replicate the look and feel of the original Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game. The art style has evolved into something much closer to the classic feel and especially in terms of characters, I think we have improved tremendously our designs.


With the shift to side-scrolling, did you consider using combat and movement mechanics closer to traditional Castlevania? What challenges did you face when adapting the Lords of Shadow gameplay to 2D?


The brief was to replicate the combat mechanics from the original game but we faced many challenges along the way. The combat was something we really struggled to get right, the feeling of power and the fluidity was particularly difficult to replicate.


We looked at 2D fighting games like Street Fighter and Samurai Shodown and we tried extensive play testing in order to just get the feel right. The combat has a 2D fighting game quality to it and we have kept the strategic element that people really liked where you mix up your magic abilities and combine them with the sub weapons.


This is a game you have to think about enemies and a game where you need to learn the moves and use the tools we give you. Otherwise you are going to die a lot! Its definitely not a button masher and studying the bestiary and your travel book will pay dividends later on.


What’s your favorite addition to the game’s combat?


I really like the new abilities of Simon and Alucard. Simon summons guardians that protect him and softens enemies up from distance. Each ability uses magic but if you use the combo’s well, enemies will drop more magic and so you can become very powerful by playing with skill.


Likewise, Alucard uses vampiric abilities such as Mist and Wolf forms and this allows him to heal himself during combat and dish out a ton of damage in a very short space of time. As in the first Lords of Shadow game, secondary weapons are very powerful and can really turn a fight around but stocks are limited and so you have to manage your resources carefully. It’s this strategic aspect to the combat that works really well in the game and gives the Castlevania:Lords of Shadow series one of its strongest attributes.


Will we have access to more than just Combat Crosses and whips this time around, or do all of the Belmonts stick to the same general move set? If so, how have you integrated new weapons into the system?


Each of the character uses the iconic whip weapon synonymous with the Castlevania series but there are subtle differences and upgrades that provide new gameplay for each. Combos that are unlocked are passed onto the other characters but of course, new combos are opened specific to each character as you level up, too.


Each character has unique secondary weapons and unique magical abilities which also provides very profound differences amongst the characters. For example, Trevor has the boomerang and electric bomb secondary weapons, Simon throwing axes and burning oil and Alucard has the stop watch and bat projectile amongst others.


Will we see more bosses make use of the Ikaruga-style careful use of light and dark magic like the final boss of Lords of Shadow, or will bosses be more about combat alone?


The bosses in this game do pose one hell of a challenge, but this time the focus is really on skillful play. Using the tools we give, and patience, will allow players to take them down but just spamming the button will end in death. You will need to figure out the patterns but the emphasis on spectacular finishes means its very satisfying when you do see them fall.


Since the Castlevania designers in Japan have a lot of experience with 2D  Castlevania games, did you get any advice from Japan? And overall, what feedback did Japan give about the entire Lords of Shadow trilogy/timeline?


Having produced the most successful Castlevania in the series history, we felt that this was the right direction to go in. We feel vindicated as there were many naysayers and we also feel we have a mandate to deliver our vision of Castlevania to a new expanded fan base. Staff in Japan have been very supportive of that throughout and are excited with what we are doing with the universe.


Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate will be released in North America on March 5th and in Europe on March 8th for the Nintendo 3DS. A free demo is available on the Nintendo eShop in both regions. If you’d like to read more about the game, here’s a couple more features you can find on Siliconera:


Castlevania: Mirror Of Fate Interview On Designing The Castle

Castlevania: Mirror of Fate Hands On: Air Dashing Makes All The Difference


Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • andref

    Still after playing the demo, all of my earlier fears are now gone
    1. Combat takes thought and can’t just fight without taking into account damage received. Didn’t really notice floaty combat, everything was tight and definitely a fan of dodging with Trevor

    2. Enemy designs are quite good of what is shown and definitely comparable to old game’s counterparts, but with a few design differences. The large shielded skeletons were familiar in their fighting style.
    3. Linearity of the castle is fine, and the little out of the way paths are natural are natural of what the demo showed and hopefully continue to blend in with the environment instead of feeling tacked on. Really glad the health fountains don’t require quicktime events to utilize them

  • Happy Gamer

    i genuinely enjoyed the demo. It does feel more like a 3d char on a 2d plane than a real 2d game. I understand Lords of Shadow was successful, but I hope they revisit the old 2d titles again (which I don’t think will happen for some reason)

    • Ethan_Twain

      Oh, it definitely will eventually. Right now I feel like Konami Japan is backing off and letting Lords of Shadow be their headline Castlevania experience. Lords of Shadow was a pretty big hit for them and their metroidvania designs have been reaping decreasing rewards for a couple installments now. I feel confident that Konami Japan will get back to making Castlevania themselves once Lords of Shadow 2 is out.

    • Relytgninroht

      It would be awesome if they did a completely 2D Castlevania in the style of Rayman Origins/Legends (completely hand drawn artwork). It would look so good, especially if they went with a dark fantasy/gothic art style.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I can’t wait to play this. I need to get a 3DS already, man.

  • Relytgninroht

    Played the demo, and any doubts I had are gone. Looks much better on the 3DS than in screenshots/gameplay videos (low resolution of the 3DS isn’t doing it any favors, that’s for sure), and is probably one of the best looking games on the system. The 3D effect is excellent- it gives it a great feeling of depth, like a diorama except better. Really enjoyed the combat and movement as well- feels really nice, smooth, and natural.

    Hmmmm… Was going to wait on this, as there are a lot of other March releases I want, but crap… Might have to grab this instead of Tomb Raider next week.

    • Exkaiser

      If I have any complaints with the graphics, it’s really more an art thing- Trevor’s face is hideous.

  • how is the framerate?

    i can live with jaggies, but poor framerate and huge spikes in it, in games like this, is a letdown.

    • LustEnvy

      Framerate was bad, IMHO. Felt like it ran at 24fps. Not even 30. I’m disappointed, and I’m a HUGE Castlevania fan, Iga-vania and Mercy Steam.

      I don’t think I’ll be getting this one. Didn’t enjoy the demo.

      • that was my fear after seeing the video, thanks for the reply.

  • AaqibRawat

    the combat is nothing like street fighter or samurai showdown!

    i played the demo it just felt like a watered down version of lords of shadow.

    it still had QTE’s for bosses ergh ,ledges that needed climbing.

    Having produced the most successful Castlevania in the series history, we felt that this was the right direction to go in.

    a part of me died when i read that.

    • Ethan_Twain

      Well what lesson were they supposed to take away from producing the most successful Castlevania game ever? That they shouldn’t have faith in their own vision and instead design around the conventions of the previous, less successful Castlevanias?

  • Spirit Macardi

    I just played the demo, and it made me so mad that I rage quit and deleted it from my SD card.

    To start, the 2.5D tries having dynamic zooms and angles like the Klonoa games or Kirby 64, but the problem is that since the game is focused on combat you can end up with the action focused too close or at the wrong angle for you to notice oncoming enemy attacks.

    The platforming is clearly trying to ape Prince of Persia, except it’s not nearly as fluid. Plus, to quote JonTron: “They put FALLING DAMAGE in their motherf***ing 2D platform game?!” Also, while people may see this as a nitpick, it seems incredibly unintuitive to have to press the grapple button again to stop swinging instead of the jump button.

    Finally, the quick-time events. To start, this is a fad that should have died out the moment it was even suggested. It’s also what prompted my rage quit. Having to mash the B button to open a treasure chest was bad enough, but I then got to the end of the boss fight against the giant axe-wielding thing (who only seems to know how to charge at me in painfully telegraphed ways), and when I failed a timed button press to kill it I somehow got insta-KO’d and had to restart the fight from the middle! That’s not providing challenge to the player, that’s a d**k move.

    Can someone at Konami let Iga out of his cell now? I think he’s served his time for making Castlevania Judgement.

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