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Castlevania: The Koji Igarashi Interview

ame Informer: You said during the presentation that you chose to work on the Nintendo DS instead of the PSP because of the innovation aspect of the hardware.  Were there any other reasons why you chose the Nintendo DS over the PSP?


Koji Igarashi:  The big thing with Aria of Sorrow was that it had the Tactical Soul system, which seemed to be very popular.  We wanted to bring that back again.  Since that game was on the GBA, we just said, “Nintendo.”


It really wasn’t until E3 that I chose which system I wanted to do this game on.  But when I went to E3 and looked at the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, after seeing the Nintendo DS I said, “I like this.  This is cool!  I’ll make it for this one.”


GI:  We played the demo and I was wondering, outside of the sealing of the bosses and the removal of the boxes with the touch screen, is there anything else you do with the touch screen?


Iga:  I don’t want to reveal too much too early, but it’s used in various places throughout the game (laughs).  There is one more thing that uses it, but I haven’t told anyone about it yet.  I’m not going to say what it is, but it’s in there. (laughs)


GI:  So is the collection aspect of the Tactical Soul System and the adventuring to locate the different souls present in this game?  In Aria of Sorrow, there were some souls that were very difficult to find.  Will this game be the same?


Iga:  Of course!  There are some unidentifiable animals and things that we found on an occult website somewhere.


GI:  We also noticed in the demo that you took some of the control idea from Symphony of the Night with one of the big swords where you double tap left, or roll to the right with the D-pad and then hit attack, there is some sort of special attack with the weapon.  Will we see this used much in the game?


Iga:  Yes, those control options will be present.


GI:  From a graphical standpoint, what were some of the things about this game that you couldn’t do on the Game Boy Advance?


Iga:  Lots of enemies.  (laughs)  Like you saw in the demo.  There are lots of skeletons in a row, and you can crush them all.  Symphony of the Night would have been able to have pulled that off, but with the GBA it’s a lot more difficult.  Something a bit more subtle, like the scrolling in the background is a lot smoother.  Another thing is being able to put 3D elements or 3D-like elements into the background, and the foreground as well.


GI:  Since Castlevania DS is a direct sequel to Aria of Sorrow, are there storytelling things that you’ll be able to do with this game that you didn’t feel were necessarily possible with the stand-alone Castlevania games?


Iga:  Well, we got to keep the same hero from Aria of Sorrow.  We certainly didn’t want to make a game that you couldn’t play if you didn’t play the previous one.  We’re adding a character glossary where you can find out back story information about each of the characters.  Aria of Sorrow also works on the machine so you can buy that software too.  (laughs)


GI:  What was the feedback like that you got from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence?


Iga:  One of the biggest complaints was, “Where’s the adventure elements?  We like the adventure elements of Castlevania.”  So, this time, we’re like, “Lets put in more adventure elements in this game.”


GI:  In the last game, outside of the lack of adventure elements, I had a problem with the way the whip worked in the game.  Will we see the return of the whip in this game, and what have you done to improve it?


Iga:  The main weapon isn’t a whip, but we’re working on it.


GI:  We saw in the trailer several different types of weapons, a spear, a sword, a big sword, an axe, etc.  What’s different about using the different weapons in the games that make the action element different?


Iga:  To put it simply, depending on the weapon, the speed and attack power is going to change greatly.  The combo possibilities, motions, and animations will all change depending on which weapon you’re using.  The other thing that we’re also looking into is how the weapon your using matches with the innocent devil you’re using.


GI:  The storyline of Curse of Darkness was that Issac and Hector used to work together to protect Dracula.  Does the game go into their past at all – were they friends?  And then when Hector left there was some animosity?


Iga:  There relationship was more along the lines of a mutual respect for each other when they were lieutenants in Dracula’s army, of each others abilities.  Did that go into friendship?  No.  There was a rivalry to make them and each other better.  Why that came about was because there is only two Devil Forgemasters in the world - Isaac and Hector.


GI:  How much will controlling Innocent Devils be a part in the game, versus going around solo?


Iga:  The player itself can run around, jump, attack, use items, and equip armor.  All of the other support stuff that surrounds that is what the innocent devils take care of.  Some of the things are like they help you in battle during a fight.  However, you’ll be able to issue commands to the Innocent Devils where they can utilize some sort of special ability.  For example, you can command the crow, what we’re calling that flying thing you saw, into circling around you and protecting you.  You can also command the crow to carry you over a ravine, or the ogre to lift a heavy door.  Things like that.


GI:  How much direction in battle do you have over the innocent devils?  Once you get into battles do they just go to work on their own?


Iga:  Within the commands themselves there are three basic commands:  go do whatever, attack around me or support me, or don’t do anything.  Those are the three basic things, but each of the innocent devil types will have their own specific abilities also.


GI:  One final question.  Some would say that Symphony of the Night was the greatest Castlevania game in the series.  Are you done making 2D Castlevania games on home consoles, or would you ever consider making a really elaborate 2D Castlevania game on a home console?


Iga:  Personally I would really love to.  Though, the realities of the marketplace prevent me from it.  If I got the opportunity I’d like to take advantage of it.


GI:  We’d love to see it.


Iga:  Thank you very much! (laughs)

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