Koji Igarashi leaves Konami

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Konami legend Koji Igarashi left Konami March 15th.  Besides being one of the most prolific Castlevania producers of all time, he was the main man behind Castlevania: Symphony of the Night which revitalized the series and took it into a whole new Metroid like direction coining the name for the genre of open world 2D sidescrollers known today as Metroidvania titles.

Word on the street is that he had been “benched” ever since Hideo Kojima’s Castlevania: Lords of Shadow hit the stage.  Konami had attempted several times to bring Castlevania into a more modern 3D environment and failed each time, and while Iga’s games were successful they were still considered niche product in the grand scheme of things.   Despite this there has been an outpour of support for Iga and a bit of a backlash against the new Lords of Shadow series, and with him leaving Konami it seems that Castlevania won’t be returning to the Metrodvania style any time soon.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a revolutionary game at the time and single highhandedly put Koji Igashi on the map
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a revolutionary game at the time and single highhandedly put Koji Igarashi on the map

Iga, however, seems positive about the break.  In an interview done with IGN, the legendary Castlevania developer told them:

“I’ve decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make — the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well.  “Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly – 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!”

This could mean that while he won’t be working with the Castlevania license, he may be embarking on his own brand new Metrodivania style project with full creative control.  Could we soon see a new project by Igarashi hit Kickstarter in the near future?  It’s very likely, and this seems to be the path that many successful Japanese developers are taking to unchain themselves from the bindings of the monolithic companies they made their names with.  Kenji Inafune of Mega Man fame has recently made a similar move and his Kickstarter backed project, Mighty No. 9, has found a massive amount of support and is thought to be the next generation’s successor to the Mega Man series proper.

Might No. 9 has gained a lot of support.  If it's successful we might see even more Japanese developers jump ship and break out on their own.
Might No. 9 has gained a lot of support. If it’s successful we might see even more Japanese developers jump ship and break out on their own.

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