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Castlevania Interview: How Symphony of the Night Went Mobile

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I doubt I was alone in being pretty shocked when Castlevania: Symphony of the Night appeared on mobile platforms out of nowhere. The timing lined up with the Netflix premiere of the Castlevania series’ third season, but other than that there was no indication it was coming or why. Luckily, Siliconera found itself in the position to ask a few questions. It can be hard to get a hold of folks who work on projects like this, but this time it worked out. Our inquiry was met by Konami’s Katsuya Shimazaki, game director on this port and a member of Konami’s KDE Production Department 1 Production Division 1. It’s a brief interview, but one that nonetheless gives us a look at some of the official mindset behind smaller projects like mobile ports of classic games.

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castlevania symphony of the night interview

Lucas White, Siliconera: Is Symphony of the Night the easiest Castlevania game to port? Or is it consistently popular enough to justify the effort more than other games?

Katsuya Shimazaki, Konami: It doesn’t necessarily mean that the game was ever easy to port, nor is this the reason why we did it. We wanted to do it because Castlevania: Symphony of the Night first came out on the PlayStation over 20 years ago, and to this day, fans continue to be quite vocal about it. Thus, we wanted to give more people the opportunity to experience this classic title and chose to port the game onto mobile, as it has a larger userbase.

What motivated adding features like the extra save function?

Shimazaki: If you look at what games are like now, I think most players would consider a game like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to be quite difficult. For instance, there’s not a lot of people who can clear a boss fight on their first try. While you are taking hits, you start to grasp how to go about the battle, and eventually learn how to defeat the boss. That entire process is what makes the game very fun. To keep that rhythm going even more smoothly than before, we added a feature that lets players restart the game at the point where they are about to enter a boss fight.

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Is applying touch controls to non-native games a difficult task?

Shimazaki: The virtual gamepad is inevitable for a mobile version. We made adjustments to the game’s mechanics and made sure players can still perform those complex actions, such as transforming or using special moves even on a virtual gamepad. However, we realize it’s tough to measure up to the ease of using a game controller. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary to have full controller support, allowing those who want to dive deeper into the gameplay to connect a game controller to their device and play it that way as well. Also, with the controller, fans are able to get that full console experience they enjoyed back in the day, so I encourage people to play the game using a Bluetooth controller like the PS4’s DUALSHOCK4 controller or an Xbox One controller.

Is Grimoire of Souls coming to the US any time soon?

Shimazaki: We don’t have any new updates to provide at this point.

Is it feasible for the GBA or DS titles to come to other platforms, hypothetically?

Shimazaki: We’re always looking at content across all platforms, but we have nothing to share at this point.

As always, we’d like to thank Mr. Shimazaki for his time, as well as the folks who helped arrange this conversation. You can check out Symphony of the Night on iOS or Android for a whopping $2.99, and I can personally attest to the port’s quality. I definitely recommend a controller mount, though.

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Lucas White
Lucas writes about video games a lot and is a former Siliconera editor. Sometimes he plays them. Every now and then he enjoys one. To get on his good side, say nice things about Dragon Quest and Musou. Never mention the Devil May Cry reboot in his presence. Backed Bloodstained on Kickstarter but all his opinions on it are correct regardless.