‘Castlevania’ Producer Koji Igarashi: ”I Honestly Don’t Feel That I’m a Big Deal At All”
He’s one of a handful of creatives who could rightly be described as a legend, but that’s not how he sees himself as he works to finish his latest 2D extravaganza: Bloodstained.
For years, Koji Igarashi – known as ”IGA” by his fans – was MIA at the storied game publisher Konami. Though he helped create the legendary 1997 classic Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night for PlayStation, he spent the bulk of his next 17 years at Konami working on a seemingly endless procession of mostly handheld variations of the same theme. While stablemate Hideo Kojima pushed for an ever bigger canvas for his epic Metal Gear series, Igarashi – who in person is the very model of humility – plugged away on the franchise he gave birth to. He enjoyed some breakout critical hits like Aria of Sorrow on GameBoy Advance and Dawn of Sorrow on DS, but eventually left Konami in 2014 to pursue his own creative vision.
His work inspired an entire genre that’s partially named in honor of his work — the ‘Metroidvania,’ whose name is a reference to the sprawling, contiguous design sensibilities that define Symphony of the Night and Nintendo’s Super Metroid. These days, ”IGAvania” is gaining currency, which reflects an attitude among Igarashi’s fans’ that his impact on the genre should be more overtly expressed.
Igarashi is now working with publisher Artplay which is overseeing his return to his preferred style of action game with Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night; notable for being both the genre that made Igarashi famous, and also for once being the biggest game-related Kickstarter fundraising project ever (before being overtaken a short time later by Shenmue III). With his recent public appearance indie game festival BitSummit, we caught up with IGA at his Tokyo office recently to talk about where he’s been and where his new franchise will take him in the future.