Former Castlevania Producer Koji Igarashi On Why He Left Konami

By Ishaan . March 18, 2014 . 9:01am

Speaking with Kotaku, Koji Igarashi of Castlevania fame explained why he left Konami. Igarashi announced yesterday that his last day at the company was March 15th, and that he intends to start a new game development studio.

 

Igarashi explains that, while he was at Konami, he requested to be shifted to the company’s social games department, since he was interested in that space. At the same time, however, fans of his games wanted him to develop consumer games.

 

“I keep getting messages from fans, via Facebook and such, telling me that they wanted me to make consumer games,” Igarashi shared. “The people who like my games tend to play traditional video games.”

 

“I’m in my mid-forties. If I don’t strike out on my own now, then when will I? The voices of those fans will just get softer and softer over time.”

 

Igarashi also mentions that he was inspired by the reaction Keiji Inafune got with Mighty No. 9 over Kickstarter. He goes on to say that Kickstarter is one of the options he’s considering, among others, such as venture capital.

 

As for the kind of game he intends to make next, Igarashi says, “I want to make games that people like, and that I’m good at.” When pressed as to whether it would be a 2D action title, he replied, “I haven’t decided yet, but maybe 2D.”


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  • Crevox

    Good for him. I wish him the best and hope he develops something he can be proud of that fans will love.

  • andref

    Wonder if he is planning to do social games
    Edit: considering Igarashi is gone, wonder if we will ever see anymore continuation of the 2D castlevania’s on handhelds or another question, would anyone be interested now that he is gone?

    • Locklear93

      Personally, I’d still be interested if it were someone sincerely trying to make something in the vein of the 2D Castlevanias I loved, and not trying to shake things up dramatically, or give it their own style. If it’s someone trying to play off of LoS, or reboot it another way, I wouldn’t even consider it.

      • andref

        I can understand not trying to make another edgy castlevania like LoS, but I wonder if a game too similar to Igarashi would be as accepted. Not that it wouldn’t be possible but if it tries to be too similar, there is a good possibility of failure and fan outcry. Another thing, would fans of Igarashi accept a clone of his work or an imitation

        • AkuLord3

          That depends if it its good or not. There are many games that tried to make the same similar feel to one game, some do it, some don’t, depends on the how they do it

          • andref

            But in the end, should his style be attempted or a retelling be necessary. Certainly I liked the franchise but the plot was getting out of hand. though can someone explain to me why Dracula was resurrecting earlier than he is supposed to

        • Locklear93

          Certainly possible. I’m only speaking for myself–I’d give an attempt that errs on the side of too similar the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn’t give the same benefit to someone trying to go an entirely new direction. That’s simply not what I want from Castlevania.

          • andref

            So exactly how would you define what makes Castlevania, Castlevania in light of the divergence of the style since symphony of the night and the spin off series, especially having dracula reborn as soma

        • http://queensblade.net/index.php/characters/cattleya gulabjamuns

          Well, there was The Adventure Rebirth, which had nothing to do with Igarashi but turned out awesome, imo. The classic 2D Castlevanias before SOTN were also done without Igarashi, so I think it’s possible to make a new, classic-feeling 2D Castlevania with new developers. Imagine if Vanillware could get their hands on it? In fact, there’s a few indie devs (both Japanese and non-Japanese) who have been emulating the Castlevania look and feel to various extents (in both visual style/atmosphere and design).

          What’s confusing is what Konami wants. I mean, wasn’t Iga trying to make a new 2D Castlevania for a long time now but Konami never gave him the green light? I doubt that’ll change now that he’s left. Castlevania is either dead or… who knows.

          • andref

            You make a good point though I wonder if its possible to continue the series established before LoS. My worry is that Igarashi was the brains behind the plot and now that he is gone, can the storyline be continued or is a reboot needed

    • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

      David Cox, producer of the LoS games, more or less said he thought 2D castlevanias were dead, probably because Mirror of Fate flopped.

      • andref

        Mirror of Fate sucked simply because it tried to bring 3d to 2d or so I think. I know that isn’t what you are asking. Either way, David no longer wants to handle the franchise after LoS2 so its future ultimately will depend on who Konami decides to hand the franchise off too next

        • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

          OH THANK GOD

  • Arz

    Wait, he has a Facebook account?

  • Sergio Hidalgo

    kickstarter here he comes

  • MrRobbyM

    I’m glad he left. Maybe we will finally get some old school action games from him.

  • leingod

    I’ll be eagerly awaiting for his Demon Castle Nosferatu game. I bet it’ll crowdfund as well as Mighty Number 9 did.

    I’ll still miss his Castlevanias though.

  • Wake

    It’s never too late to start fresh. Inafune and Mikami got a chance to make the game they wanted without being weighed down by being chained to a established franchise, it’s just right that Iga can finally stretch out creatively and make the game he wants too.

  • Brion Valkerion

    I’d donate to a crowd funded metroidvania.

  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    Well seems my example was correct about the Kickstarter. Shame how the industry has changed from if you had a good idea, it’d be funded compared to now if you have a good idea you gotta force it to be funded. Well, still, good luck to him I suppose.
    Not like him being at Konami means anything though to begin with considering Konami makes nothing in-house anymore.

    • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

      I don’t see a problem with moving pre-orders to precede the production phase. If I were a dev, I’d rather discover something won’t sell before I put years and thousands of dollars into completing it.

      • Fen Y

        The problem comes when projects fail, because players already paid. This entire kickstarter thing is a sign that the gaming business is EXTREMELY unhealthy.

        We essentially have huge sums of money in player pockets that just don’t find something to buy, which shows that the market is fundamentally broken.

        ANd when the kickstarter projects start to fail, we might get a *real* videogame crash.

        Which ain’t impossible. At all. In fact, it’s more likely than it was ’82 :/

        And that really, really sucks.

        • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

          So all the risk is moved to the buyers. Normally the publisher would have to eat this cost, just like the cost of an unprofitable game.

          I guess I misspoke. Kickstarter has its own host of problems. I just fail to see how it’s definitely worse than a private company investing in a game.

    • Testsubject909

      The creator of Earthbound was refused funding when he first attempted to get it funded by Nintendo.

      And as we all should know. Earthbound is an awesome idea.

      Honestly. Things haven’t really changed. The only difference now is: We’re more aware of the reality of thing rather then the more innocent dreams we’re being spoon fed from an early age.

      • Spirit Macardi

        Earthbound clearly got funded eventually though, and obviously didn’t have to sacrifice any of its creative vision in order to do so.

        These days if someone tries to get a company to fund a new IP, they basically need to gut everything until it’s a homogenized mess of “popular” tropes and features in order to appeal to share holders. Hell, even existing series aren’t immune to that.

  • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

    Woo! Go IGA!

  • Spirit Macardi

    *crosses fingers* Hideo Yoshizawa next! We need more great talent to escape from developers like this!

  • z_merquise

    It’s good that he listened on the fans in regards on what kind of games he should produce. It sounds like it became one of his reasons on leaving Konami.
    Personally, I think he made the right choice instead of focusing on social games. It’s just me but everytime I read that a known developer now focusing only to ‘social games’ games just give me a bad impression.

    Though it seems like it’s going to take a while before we can really see new game from him since he still hadn’t decided on a new game nor he stated anything about his new studio.

  • 60hz

    full support of this move, he’s been neglected as of late, with kojima’s god of war clone disguised as a castlevania, i would have left too… iga is one of my favorite designers, can’t wait to see what he does with out konami breathing down his neck…

    • http://queensblade.net/index.php/characters/cattleya gulabjamuns

      I say he should have actually left sooner… like back when LoS was announced, lol.

  • new_tradition

    So he originally wanted to get into mobile? Huh.

    Well if he took such a drastic measure to leave in order to make games people asked for, I hope the fans help when the time comes ^^

    • GH56734

      PR speak: maybe he doesn’t want to burn too much bridges, or is restrained from reporting by some NDA.
      While he might have wanted to go there, he might actually have not much of a choice (otherwise getting denied his prototype pitches). And it was established (by Mercury Steam workers) that he was effectively denied from ever working again on Castlevania.

  • http://queensblade.net/index.php/characters/cattleya gulabjamuns

    Itagaki.. Inafune… Igarashi… the rebellious Japanese game developer “rule of Is”? I actually think there’s another name I’m forgetting here, lol.

    • http://www.google.com/ LuckRequired

      Gēmu Kaihatsu-sha Rōnin.

  • epy

    I wanted to see the Demon Castle Wars before he left, but it seems that will end up like the Elf Wars of Megaman X. Better than have it end up as a social game though.

  • Ric Vazquez

    I’m worried that he was interested in mobile, please no.

  • Ty Arnold

    So… you left Konami because of a mid-life crisis?

    Well, probably a better decision than buying a sports car.

  • Shady Shariest

    Hmhm… Interesting. He talked to Kotaku, out of all.
    Not against them in any possible way, but don’t people tend to avoid Kotaku?

  • Croix Zapp

    Wow i remember that minotaur map!

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    Maybe you should stop talking nonsense and read the interview.

  • Minos

    Whoa, I knew this site was full of viral marketers, but Mods that insult their “Customers”?

    Remember that the sole reason this site exists its because people come here, a Mod its suppoced to enforce a proper and civilized “Environment” for people to come back. That if you guys don’t want to close like 1UP or making TV reviews to attract people like IGN.

    Anyways, the guy is saying that he wants to create “Costumer Games” or “Classic Games”, as such, the only logical reason to leave I can think is that Konami’s Management wont allow him.

  • andref

    wait how do you know what he said? I’ve been wondering what was said to have gotten deleted

  • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

    Doesn’t sound like an insult to me. Ishaan’s a good mod and I like the environment he perpetuates. It’s honest and keeps me coming back.

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