[E3 2010] Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Interview

We spoke to Konami about the rebirth of one of their classic franchises.
Author: Ryan Green
Published: July 18, 2010
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The original Castlevania games are regarded as classics, as many of the pre-3D installments for the series are. However, in regards to the 3D iterations, like Legacy of Darkness on the Nintendo 64, there is a strong, negative consensus towards them. The 3D Castlevania games have not yet recovered and overcome the negative stigma or reviews, but Konami seems confident with their new title.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow looks to be a bit of a departure from both the original 2D side-scrollers as well as the 3D adventure games. Taking direction from famed video game designer Hideo Kojima's Kojima Productions offshoot, Lords of Shadow is beginning to look like a slight jump forward in design while keeping one foot planted firmly on the ground. During E3 2010, I was able to sit down in a group chat with Dave Cox, Head of Product Planning and Producer for Konami.

TotalPlayStation: How, if at all, did the main character change throughout the development process?

Dave Cox: We changed the design by Kojima's recommendation because he found the story to be very moving and very emotional. He said players might not identify with this type of "meat head" generic character, so we've been changing Gabriel pretty much throughout the whole development. He joked about this in the very beginning. He said, "You know, you're going to be changing Gabriel right to the very last day." I said, "No, no, we are very happy with him. What are you on about?" Sure enough, we changed his eye color a few weeks ago and have been tweaking little things here and there since.

TPS: Would you say conceptually that Lords of Shadow is a remake of the original Castlevania?

DC: When we pitched it to the senior management that's what is was - a remake of Castlevania. We actually did a short video that I'd love to release in a special edition or something like that.

TPS: So, structurally, how much has the game changed since then? Was the same format that we see now similar to the structure behind the remake as well?

DC: Yes, we basically wanted to do something more modern while keeping Castlevania's main elements. That's what we've done. Obviously we've developed the story and we developed the characters and we developed a world, but the overall concept was pretty similar. If anybody were to see the original pitch, it would be pretty much what's on the screen today.

TPS: Is Igarashi working in any way with the team?

DC: No. In this project we've decided to make a clean break from what's come before. We didn't work with anybody that's been involved with previous Castlevania games. We've kind of kept ourselves separate. We didn't want any outside influences on the project. We wanted to do our own thing and take the franchise in our own direction. The only person I've spoken with quite a bit was Masahiro Ueno who is the producer of Castlevania IV. I know him personally. When I originally told him what the project was he was quite supportive. He's the only person with a Castlevania background that has been involved in the project.

TPS: Would you characterize Lords of Shadow as a full reboot?

DC: Absolutely. It's basically a clean break. It doesn't fit into the canon. It's not continuing any existing stories. It doesn't tie into anything. We have introduced characters from previous games, but they appear in a new way. They don't appear like they ever have before in previous Castlevania games.
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