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?