Koji "IGA" Igarashi converted the classic Castlevania series of gothic action games into sprawling, exploratory adventures like Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow, and his design touch was so unmistakable that similar games came to be known as "Igavanias," or "Metroidvanias" owing to the shared DNA with Nintendo's Super Metroid. Castlevania owner Konami appears to have little interest in releasing video games these days, but Igarashi is back with a new, self-proclaimed Igavania — it's called Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and it just broke $1 million in crowdfunding less than 24 hours after it went live on Kickstarter.
From the concept art, Bloodstained certainly looks like one of Igarashi's Castlevania titles. The suitably tormented lead character is Miriam, "an orphan scarred by an alchemist curse which slowly crystallizes your skin," who will have to fight through — yes — a castle filled with demons. However, the game uses Unreal Engine 4 and is described as 2.5D, meaning fans of the intricate pixel art associated with Castlevania may be disappointed.
Bloodstained is 2.5D for "financial and artistic reasons."
While 2D artwork can be very time-consuming and expensive to produce, the Kickstarter page says the choice was made for "both financial and artistic reasons," with the 2D gameplay style described as "non-negotiable." Igarashi is said to be "very excited about exploring the paths a 2.5D style opens up within the classic Igavania formula. As he begins a new chapter of his career as a developer, he's looking forward to trying things that will enhance, rather than detract from, that core gameplay."
Bloodstained will be developed by Inti Creates, the studio behind several Mega Man games and co-developers of original creator Keiji Inafune's revivalist project Mighty No. 9. Renowned Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane is also on board to score the soundtrack along with Ippo Yamada, known for his work on Resident Evil and the Mega Man series. David Hayter, who voiced Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series before being replaced by Kiefer Sutherland, will play villain Gebel.
Bloodstained is set for a March 2017 release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The project is already funded, but if you want to place an order now, $28 will get you a digital copy of the game. And for more on Igarashi and the lead-up to Bloodstained's announcement, you should go to our sister site Polygon for a new, in-depth feature by Matt Leone.