Today, Koji Igarashi (or Iga, as he’s more affectionately referred to) returns to gaming production spotlight by announcing plans to use Kickstarter to fund Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to the Castlevania franchise he helped make. While the new project is certainly at the forefront of his mind, the producer behind some of the most popular Castlevania titles in gaming history also has his former employer Konami on the brain.
While working on the Castlevania games, Koji Igarashi has undoubtedly been put in uncomfortable positions by the company before. Surely, being a potent creative force at one of the world’s largest video game corporations can put a person into some stressful situations. And with recent Konami news often being centered around their woes, such as the developer’s fractured relationship with Hideo Kojima to be specific, Iga aired some of his opinions on the issue by way of his agent, Ben Judd, during a discussion with IGN.
After being asked if Igarashi could have predicted such a volatile situation forming, Judd parlayed:
“He’s heard what’s happening, but mostly it’s been through the news and not people directly at Konami, because that company has a way of bullying their employees not to give out too much information – to say the least.
But as a top-level creator who also was put in difficult situations in which he had to make difficult choices, it’s always sad when really interesting franchises or really talented creators end up not being able to make the thing they’ve made in the past that has made the fans so happy, speaking brutally honest, that has generated revenue in the first place. So for him, it’s kind of a sad day to see that’s happening.
But while it is sad, he understands that Konami is a corporation and they naturally and organically chase money. That’s a business, that’s the key definition of it.”
Thankfully, Koji Igarashi no longer has to deal with Konami’s corporate politics. With Kickstarter being a viable option on the table for him, the sky’s the limit as far as what his imagination can produce. And in an even more exciting turn, should Bloodstained be a success, Iga will be put in the position of becoming a further proponent of helping video game production evolve into a more independent process. Essentially, Igarashi is free to do what he wants now.
Unfortunately, the news for current Konami employee Hideo Kojima is completely inverse to Iga’s, and even stranger to boot. Today, for instance, the Metal Gear Solid V head has come under fire from critics after he revealed a figurine of one of the game’s characters, Quiet, a scantily-clad female with giant breasts. While he assures critics that her design is an intentional parody of overly-sexualized women in video games, it hasn’t stopped some from deriding his choices in making the character.
In addition to the angry critiques against Kojima, the rumor train keeps on rolling about his connection with Konami. As of today, citing copyright claims, Konami took down a video about their strained relationship with Kojima. Of course, considering the contents of the segment, it’s possible that blocking the YouTube clip is really a concerted effort to conceal damaging information about the company being released to the public.
All in all, the gaming industry is rife with contention, difficult commitments, as well as deeper controversies to which most of us will never be privy. And typically, whether we like it or not, almost every decision is determined by how much money can be made for a company, Konami included. So ultimately, with his insight and long tenure in video game creation, it goes without saying that Koji Igarashi knows the score.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is expected to release by March of 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.