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I Held The Whip

Posted on Tuesday, June 10 @ 17:25:03 Eastern by Greg_Damiano
Disoriented by the summer heat and the chaos of flashing camera bulbs, it took me a moment to get my bearings – there I was, holding the famous Belmont Family whip! Even more unbelievably, the whip tethered me to famed Castlevania producer Mr. Koji Igarashi. IGA-san was in San Francisco this week to introduce Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, the third entry in the DS castle-crawl series.

Whips and Long Hair: Me and IGA-sanHours earlier, Mr. Igarashi demonstrated Ecclesia's new combat system for a crowd of balmy journalists at the Konami Gamer's Night in San Francisco. Ecclasia's heroine Shanoa fights entirely with spells called "glyphs," which are assigned to her two arms and back. IGA-san ripped a few glyphs off of walls and enemies before he unleashed them in a boxing-like flurry of alternating attacks. Any two glyphs can be fired simultaneously to launch a flashy stronger move, making for a ridiculous number of glyph combinations.

Shanoa is the first female lead in the 22-year-old series, and she's rendered in a new art style that departs from her anime-inspired predecessors. Game Revolution had a few minutes to ask IGA-san where this artistic evolution is taking Castlevania.

GR: How did you arrive at the new illustrative art style in Order of Ecclesia?

IGA-san: It fits with the style of the Castlevania franchise. We tried to appeal to a younger crowd with the anime style but I cannot alienate the fans right now. The anime style didn't work like I expected. Of course the DS is a perfect match for the 2D and the illustrative style as well.

GR: What worked about the anime style, and what didn't work?

IGA-san: I didn't think the anime style was bad in itself, it was easy to make trailers... Since we're used to the illustrative style, I felt we should go back to what's comfortable.

GR: Is the art department very different on account of the new style?

Mr. Igarashi lays down the knowledge for Castlevania's Assistant Product Manager Ray Hiyoshi and myself. P.S. That's Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka sitting behind me.IGA-san: This time we go outside of Konami, we got a young, up-and-coming artist named Masaki. There are still the same artists in our internal team who worked on two previous titles. With the same members we are looking for the new expression on art.

GR: So what is it about the art that makes a Castlevania experience?

(Mr. Igarashi and Konami product-manager-slash-translator Ray Hiyoshi discuss this back and forth in Japanese for a full minute to clarify the answer.)

IGA-san: The Castlevania franchise is synonymous with gothic style. Some artists, their work becomes so personal that I did not want to take it further. I am trying to find a fine line between the marketable and the personal.

GR: This is the third Castlevania on the DS. Is it a conclusion to the previous two?

IGA-san: I'm not saying it's a conclusion. DS development is getting more expensive, so we're looking at some other opportunities, but I would not call this a conclusion.

We were quickly swept from the table, and set in front of a Castlevania banner for a photo-op... It took me a few hare-brained seconds to realize that IGA-san was offering me the handle to the signature whip.

For a developer and a gamer, folks, let me tell you: it's a real thrill holding that whip.

Mr. Igarashi announced that he hopes to ship Order of Ecclesia by this Fall.


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