Konami Didn’t Want Castlevania to Be Like Mega Man

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was a 3D Castlevania game that broke the tradition of previous 3D Castlevania games and did incredibly well, mostly because it was basically God of War: Germanic Mythology Edition. This led to the equally successful Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, which our own Jeff Neuenschwander really liked, and a sequel to Lords of Shadow coming later this year. In an interview with EDGE Magazine, David Cox explained why his team at MercurySteam decided to shake up the Castlevania formula as drastically as it did.

We needed to make a change, so we did. The Castlevania series wasn’t going anywhere, sales were dwindling and it was appealing to only a very small hardcore base of fans. That’s how franchises die. The success of Lords of Shadow proved to everyone that there’s life in the series yet and that people could accept us going in a new direction, and we can do that again. We have to take these risks if Castlevania is to survive, otherwise it’s just going to be like Mega Man.

That’s definitely going to sting for fans of the Blue Bomber, but consider the state the Mega Man franchise was in before the Mega Man Legends 3 cancellation. Outside of that game, most of the games Mega Man has been in were sequels and re-releases of older titles. Since then, Capcom has had more cancellations than game releases. The few games it did release were a fan-game that it had nothing to do with outside of publishing and a game that was so despised by fans that fan outcry actually prevented it from being released internationally.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 will be available later this year on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. You can read the full interview with EDGE here.

About Kyle Emch

Kyle has been studying music at college for about three years now. He's played the piano since he was 6 years old and has been recently been learning how to write music. He has followed the Operation Rainfall movement on Facebook since it started and was happy to volunteer for the website. Just don't mention Earthbound or the Mother franchise around him.

  • Spookyryu

    we want castlevania for wii u

    • to clarify…we want a Castlevania game for Wii U…NOT Lords of Shadow 2. We want a game that continues the 25 year historic timeline.

    • agreed EVEN IF it is LoS2

  • zeezee

    Konami is misguided. For years, they’ve put very little effort into making games cross-platform (until Lords of Shadow). You just can’t do that anymore. If they had put most of their DS games on PSP, as well, and Lament of Innocence on XBox or Gamecube, there would be a much wider fanbase to connect with. This is why they are seeing low sales. Consoles are much more fragmented than they were at one time, and there are just too many games to choose from to keep up with it.

    There is nothing particularly revolutionary about Lords of Shadow that sets it apart from any of the other games in this genre, but it is a solid game with some interesting story ideas (presuming it is considered canon in the series). I’ve always been a fan of the Castlevania franchise, but they largely lost me after the GBA games, mainly due to their changes in formula and the fact that nothing has every really lived up to SOTN, which is regarded as one of the greatest 2D action titles ever made.

    They should have had Toru Hagihara directing more Castlevania games instead of soccer games.

    • I don’t agree. The DS games wouldn’t really have worked on the PSP, and probably wouldn’t have bought the series any more fans. Ditto with making the PS2 games more multiplatform. The fact is, the DS and the PS2 were juggernauts during their times. A PS2 game had a better chance of reaching a bigger audience than a game on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 today, just by numbers alone, since the PS2 sold more units than both the current gen consoles combined, and the DS has sold even more units than that. Multiplatform doesn’t necessarily equate to more sales. Just look at Epic Mickey 2.

      Also, LOS isn’t considered cannon. It’s considered something of a Ultimate Marvel universe to the mainline series’ Marvel universe: a universe with a new start where the unexpected can happen.

  • Herding_sheep

    A franchise doesn’t need to lose its personality and soul in order to evolve and change. The Lords of Shadows games completely lack Castlevanias soul. Sales were dwindling on the DS games because they weren’t good and fresh anymore. But that doesn’t mean discard everything, alienate the current fanbase entirely and seek a new one. Konami should have kept the series in Japanese hands, kept the spirit in tact, and tried to evolve the gameplay while maintaining that Japanese personality of the old games. Now, Castlevania has simply become another westernized franchise, God of War clone. No personality. Its personality is a mimicry of both God of War and a pathetic attempt at the old NES Castlevania personality.

  • Henry1368

    People would be fine with the changes, if the game weren’t crap. Lords of Shadow is hated by Castlevania fans because it’s a bad game, not because it changed everything about Castlevania.

  • Haha what a load of.
    Mega Man is no stranger to major shakeups.

    Being a God of War ripoff might not be a financial death but it sure as hell is a creative one.

  • Aiddon

    Suuuuure! I’m gonna be blunt, that excuse is a load of bull. It’s been proven it’s not the STYLE of the game that creates stagnation, but the execution. If this idea were true then Mario, Zelda, and Metroid would have died YEARS ago. No Cox, what you did was slap the Castlevania name onto a generic hack and slash and trying to disguise it as revolutionary. It doesn’t feel like Castlevania, not in the slightest.

    • what if it were more like the first DMC game? a hard hack’n slash game that incorporated elements from Castlevania? kinda think of it like the metroid prime of castlevanias.

    • Aiddon

      then it STILL wouldn’t be a Castlevania game. The Prime games were definitely Metroid, just as First-Person Shooters. There’s a key difference.

    • why can’t they change up the combat and perspective, but keep everything you know a love about the game?

    • Aiddon

      don’t get me wrong, there ARE ways to do that, but the LoS games were done from the wrong perspective. How it SHOULD work is you take a Castlevania game and then work elements in. You ADD to the franchise. LoS was merely just a mediocre hack and slash with Castlevania wallpaper.

    • ah i see. i think i stated me comment wrong, what you said is what i was trying to convey.

  • They also got rid of the more feminine/anime character design in favor of a typical square-jawed, roider, take-no-guff character design that seems to sell so well.


    Oh well there goes the Castlevania franchise. It was fun whilst it lasted. I don’t want to be a part of this God of Vania crap. Also go the “same way as the megaman franchise “? Really? The megaman franchise is only going down the crapper because Crapcom aren’t even bothering doing anything with it. Also “the equally successful Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate”. Might want to check the sales figures there lol.

  • PogueSquadron

    They’re not like Mega Man at all – they actually recognize that Castlevania exists, unlike Capcom, who hasn’t made a Mega Man game in 3 years, canceled their big MM project, and hardly even recognize him in their crossover games. A bold prediction, but I don’t know if Mega Man will get a true time to shine unless he makes it into Smash Bros. 4.

  • PogueSquadron

    Why don’t they just make a 2.5D “Metroidvania” type game? Take nods from something like Shadow Complex or something. There are plenty of new things they could do in that realm. Or make a 3D Castlevania that apes Metroid Prime (which I’m incredibly surprised has never happened). It’d basically be like Arkham Asylum but with a guy with a whip.

  • Vinicius

    Pandora’s tower felt more like Castlevania than lord of shadows.

    What I whant for Castlevania right Now is a mix of Order of Ecclesia, rondo of Blood and bloodlines. And maybe a remake of Castlevania II and III in the same vein as Castlevania Rebirth.

  • I should probably get around to playing a Castlevania game one of these days. Maybe when Nintendo gets them on the Wii U Virtual Console.

  • Josh S.

    Franchises also die when you change them so drastically that they are no longer recognizable… All Lords of Shadow did was copy the God of War franchise to an embarrassing degree, while cobbling together a confusing and muddled plot… I don’t think that the Metroidvania titles were killing the Castlevania franchise at all. Are there any numbers to support this? After all, the reason Capcom and others like to make sequels with little to no innovation is because it makes them lots of money, I thought…

    • Aiddon

      I just think it’s funny how within three games the LoS series has become just as confusing as the Castlevania timeline. It takes truly bad writers to do that.

  • The only 3D Castlevania games I liked were the PS2 ones, mainly Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. I have mostly played the DS Castlevania games since beating those two games. The success of LoS only proved one thing, that gamers really like God of War style gameplay. That’s all.

  • unknowncast

    Soul…you know, Castlevania was an linear adventure (unless you count 2) until SOTN. Look at the bright side, at least the “soul” isn’t defined by a single gameplay point so perhaps the SOTN formula can return one day. Konami could have build new IPs during last generation but they didn’t, just spamming Castlevania while waiting out the next Metal Gear (which they’re now doing D:). Now they’re irrelevant because they don’t give a shit because NeverDead would have been a much better game then it turned out to be.

  • Crapcom

    Oh screw you Capcom. You killed Megaman. You can’t claim there’s no fans when YOU are cancelling the games.

  • Ibi Salmon

    “The success of Lords of Shadow proved to everyone that there’s life in the series yet and that people could accept us going in a new direction,…”

    *looks at the comment section*

    Okay. Either some of the fans can’t accept changes in the franchise or there’s something wrong with the direction the series is going. And I’m not sure if either one is any better than the latter.

    • As a fan of Castlevania, I would say that it is a little of both. Mirror of Fate largely seemed to fall flat of fan expectations. The tight controls of games like Symphony of the Night and the rest of the Metroidvanias weren’t translated to the 3DS game. Nor was the combat depth of Lords of Shadow able to be accurately represented on a two-dimensional field. Fans of previous Castlevanias have enjoyed the exploration that the series has adopted, an element largely ignored by the Lords of Shadow games.