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Pixie The Fairy avatar 10:04 PM on 03.16.2014  (server time)
Iga Returns?

Koji Igarashi.

Perhaps he is what Dracula saw in his Mirror of Fate, aside from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2's Metacritic scores. Perhaps Dracula saw him speaking at GDC 2014 this week specifically about Metroidvanias.

We haven't heard from Igarashi in a while. He has an interesting sense of timing, to say the least. The title of his talk will be "There and Back Again: Koji Igarashi’s Metroidvania Tale."

Now, the title could just be a sly nod to the fact that there's a little backtracking involved with Metroidvania games, but could it also signal a return to form for Castlevania with Iga back at the helm? I certainly don't think its exactly referring a hobbit, perhaps aside from exploring and discovering treasure.

It'll be interesting to see what Igarashi has to say, at the very least, even if the whole talk really is just on the genre rather than a formal announcement of a game. I was kind of sad when it felt like Konami made him abandon the Metroidvania style after Order of Ecclesia to experiment with the series before handing it over to Mercury Steam.

I'm actually bouncing between Ecclesia and Super Metroid right now and I've always felt that Ecclesia was a good compromise between the classic Vania's stage-based progression and the Metroid-style progression of later Castlevania games. That it was the second Castlevania game to ever have a leading lady was just icing on the cake (though in Iga's canon, Shanoa's the first).

Shanoa sucks mystical gylphs into her tattoos to learn to summon weapons and spells from them, then kills her enemies with them. That alone sold me on the game. A Kirby-like female warrior that kills Drac with tats.

I wanted to see Iga and his team expand on the level structure a bit, though, perhaps adding alternate paths through the outdoor stages to take you to new areas and bring his brand of Castlevania closer to the classic structure of the older 2D games. The Castle itself could just do the Metroidvania part and in Ecclesia it mostly did.

I'm also interested to hear what it was about Super Metroid that inspired Symphony of the Night. I've read some interviews, but never saw Igarashi talk in-depth about Metroid and this talk seems to have that in mind. Its pretty clear it has a lot more sway than a pile of Crocomire references.

I'm also hoping he's come around to the idea of doing the game set in 1999 where Julius Belmont finally does Drac in. Not that its necessary, its just that one thing the two Sorrow games love to rub in your face. It doesn't help that Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia toy with the time periods the Belmonts vanish from history along with Vampire Killer, leaving things to the Morris and Lecarde clans and then Ecclesia folks meddle in these affairs, too.

So yeah, I still want more of those Castlevanias. 

I know David Cox said in February that 2D Castlevania is done for good. Big words. Every time someone says that about anything 2D, more 2D things start happening. In fact, I think the last time an industry head said that about 2D was when Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was released on Playstation and did really well. Talk shit about 2D and it will get its revenge.

Additionally, Iga had a talk back in 2007 outlining why 2D games will never go away. Not that he needed much proof, HD made 3D games skyrocket in terms of production costs. History was on his side.

Cox also said that if Iga was Tim Burton, he was Christopher Nolan. I can actually see Iga as Burton, but based on the last two LoS games, I'd say Cox is Joel Schumacher. He just didn't put nipples on Drac and Alucard's outfits.

Anyway, I'm interested to see what the future brings. I think its undeniable Igarashi has been a strong influence on a generation of developers. The influence of Metroid and Castlevania shows in many indie games right now and even Mercury Stream couldn't resist pilfering lines from Symphony of the Night, so I can't really buy into the notion this a kind of game Konami can't make anymore - particularly since the budget probably wouldn't even be a 20th of what the LoS games cost to make

I'm not really worried about Metroid so much. Nintendo IPs are sometimes prone to a lengthy hiatus and Miyamoto seems to bring up the subject of Metroid once or twice a year. Signs seem to point him wanting Retro Studios back on the job and we have plenty of proof they could pull it of in 2D or 3D. 

Anyway, I have a good feeling more Metroidvania is in the cards. Even without Konami and Nintendo at it we already have the new Strider and the next Shantae game to scratch the itch this year.

In the meantime, its back to the castle for me.

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