2D-Era Castlevania Producer Departs Konami After 24 Years

Koji Igarashi is moving on in order to set up his own development studio.

News by Pete Davison, .

Koji Igarashi, best known as the long-serving producer of the Castlevania series between Symphony of the Night and Harmony of Despair, left his position at Konami over the weekend.

"I've decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make," he said, speaking with IGN. "The same kind I think fans of my past games want as well."

Paying attention now, aren't you? While the Lords of Shadow reboot of the Castlevania franchise has its fans, it's also left behind a number of players who preferred the series' somewhat more light-hearted, pot-roast-hidden-in-the-wall, miserable-little-pile-of-secrets approach of the Igarashi era -- a fact that Igarashi appears to be keenly aware of. His new games, whatever they might be, may not have "Castlevania" on the title screen, but it's a fair bet they'll incorporate a hefty dose of "Metroidvania" exploration and ability-gathering along the way -- particularly since he's doing a talk about the challenges and methodology of Metroidvania game design at GDC on Friday this week.

The majority of Igarashi's career to date has the word "Castlevania" attached to it, but he also worked as a programmer on earlier Konami titles Detana TwinBee and Gradius II for PC-Engine, and as the scenario writer for Japan-only dating sim Tokimeki Memorial. He had been with Konami since 1990, and this move to independence will only be his second job since leaving college.

"Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly," he said. "I've spent my entire career there, made many friends, and had a lot of great opportunities -- but I hope all the gamers and fans who have supported me in the past will join me in being excited about what comes next. Wish me luck!"

Good luck, Igarashi-san; we'll keep an eye out for the inevitable Kickstarter in the next couple of weeks, shall we?

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Comments 13

  • Avatar for ob1 #1 ob1 3 years ago
    "we'll keep an eye out for the inevitable Kickstarter in the next couple of weeks, shall we?"
    Indeed we will !
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  • Avatar for christopherhughes97 #2 christopherhughes97 3 years ago
    Well shit, I guess now we'll never actually get that game where the Belmonts kill Dracula in 1999. I guess that was probably already decided a while ago.
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #3 DiscordInc 3 years ago
    Well this isn't entirely surprising. I'm a little sad that we probably won't see another Castlevania title from him, but I'll be interested to see what he release next. Who knows, without the pressure to release a new game every year he'll be able to put in the polish that was lacking on the last few DS Castlevanias?
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  • Avatar for Natabuu #4 Natabuu 3 years ago
    @christopherhughes97 Ah, yes. The hypothetical Julius Belmont and the military finally end Dracula's resurrection cycle during a full moon in 1999 HD Metroidvania. I had always set aside a tiny shred of hope that Konami would fund that. At least now he's free to follow the lead of Keiji Inafune making bizarre cameos in fan servicey games and making Monster Hunter clones for a few years before getting back to making the kind of games that he's great at.
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  • Avatar for Thinaran #5 Thinaran 3 years ago
    Best news of the day. My body (and credit card) is ready.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #6 CK20XX 3 years ago
    Bam, just like Inafune before him, Igarashi is now gone. I'm actually pretty relieved to see this; it's been some time since we last heard anything about the man and I was wondering if Konami had sent him off to Siberia or something due to Order of Ecclesia not meeting sales projections.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #7 retr0gamer 3 years ago
    @lonecow He offered to keep working on mml3 for free. Capcom killed that game not Inafune.Edited March 2014 by retr0gamer
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #8 CK20XX 3 years ago
    @lonecow I think you're reading too much into the comparison. The overarching theme is blockbuster companies bleeding out by alienating the people who made them great in the first place. That's why the Inafune and Igarashi situations have been getting and are going to keep getting compared to each other.

    Besides, Inafune already believes it was partially his fault that Megaman Legends 3 got canceled. That's one of the big reasons he set out to make Mighty No. 9. However, it's also certain that he left because he didn't want Capcom put him in the hospital, like the company did to Yoshinori Ono. Inafune's talked a lot about the conversion of game producers into stressed, overworked salarymen since, so I think it's still fair to scowl upon Capcom up to a point. There's never only one reason for why things play out like this.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #9 MetManMas 3 years ago
    I knew it was only a matter of time before IGA left, I'm just surprised it took this long for him to do so. Whatever he works on next, I think it'll be better off by him not being limited by Konami's deadlines and budget.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #10 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @lonecow Inafune was an executive, but hardly the top man.
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  • Avatar for Sugoi #11 Sugoi 3 years ago
    The question is whether IGA will be able to build a team capable of making games on par with the best DS Castlevanias, really.

    I certainly hope so, and I know I'm not alone in itching to kickstart whatever project he's hoping to undertake.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #12 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago
    Good. Most 3rd party Japanese publishers are ran by clowns.

    @lonecow Inafune was an executive, but hardly the top man."

    He was the only one there at the top who had a clue by the end.
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  • Avatar for Critical_Hit #13 Critical_Hit 3 years ago
    Meh. Oh hey - there's the React Button for that!

    Regardless of whether you liked his work or not, this isn't news. Konami has been moving further and further away from internal development all generation. Silent Hill? All outsourced to other studios now. Sparkster? Done by Climax. Contra? Hard Corps Uprising went to Arc, Contra 4 went to Wayforward. Goemon? Suikoden? Missing in action, unfortunately (get Wayforward to make one of THOSE).

    It's hard to even think of other Konami franchises & IP at this point. I feel like most of their internal development is focused on, like, Love Plus these days.

    This isn't a surprise.
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