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 Castlevania  maestro Koji Igarashi strikes out on his own
Castlevania maestro Koji Igarashi strikes out on his own
March 17, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Today, Koji "IGA" Igarashi has announced that he is forming his own independent development studio and is hinting that he will make a game in the vein of his most popular works.

In a statement released to the press, he has revealed that his last day with longtime employer Konami was March 15. He is in the process of creating a "small" studio.

In a statement, Igarashi said, "I've decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make -- the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well.

"Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly -- I've spent my entire career there, made many friends, and had a lot of great opportunities -- but I hope all the gamers and fans who have supported me in the past will join me in being excited about what comes next. Wish me luck!

Igarashi released no further details.

He came to fame as the producer of the Castlevania series after joining it during development of Symphony of the Night, the 1997 PlayStation classic. He is best-known for producing games in the exportation-based "metroidvania" style, but has not worked on the franchise since 2010's downloadable multiplayer title, Harmony of Despair. Of late, development on the franchise has been taken over by Spanish studio Mercury Steam.

Notably, Igarashi is delivering a talk this Friday at GDC in which he discusses the genre he was instrumental in popularizing -- and may drop hints about his future plans. Keep your eyes on Gamasutra for more.

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Theresa Catalano
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I hope this leads to Igarashi doing his own Mighty Number Nine. It's a shame what happened to him at Konami.

Dean Boytor
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This seems to be a trend lately. I'm sure big names have been doing this for a while but since Ken Levine's departure from Irrational and currently IGA leaving konami, it seems that that larger studios have proven that a studio may hinder its own talent by its AAA standards.

Again, this is not new as far as AAA goes.

Back in the 90's AAA wasn't any larger then 5 people in a rented space or basement, burning midnight oil to bring ideas, and concepts to light. Indie games, today seem to be a reflection of that same method when games were just games without the aid of movie tier producers. Well known people like IGA and Ken Levine seem to desire that same freedom to explore without the pressure of approval from share holders.

Doesn't mean that AAA isn't fun, however seeing that people are willing to walk away from these bigger industries in search of a place to explore more unconventional concepts, does say something.

To what I'm not sure yet. But it is exciting to see what people like IGA may make when left to their own devices.

Kevin Fishburne
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Great news. For years now my mind has been consistently blown by the crap direction the Castlevania series has proceeded in on anything but handheld platforms. Everyone I've ever mentioned it to gushes at the idea of a SotN-like game with modern 3D assets but I've yet to see it. How can Konami be so blind? Maybe now we'll see something like that materialize. Here's to hoping.

Christian Nutt
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"How can Konami be so blind?" Politics.

Theresa Catalano
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I would rather have a SoTN game with modern 2D assets.

Luis Guimaraes
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Yes!! Like Rayman Origins & Legends!

Christian Nutt
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The good news is also that, all things being equal, it seems likely the dream creative team can reunite: Michiru Yamane is freelance now (she's been doing music for Skullgirls) and Ayami Kojima was already a freelance artist when she started doing Castlevania character designs.

I really hope that Igarashi is able to recruit some of the 2D artist talent that he had at Konami. He cares about those artists, and the level of quality they were able to produce is still not being reached by 2D games being made today...

Duvelle Jones
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I am not sure that the future would be as straight laced as it seems, that said the likely hood of these three coming together for a project is somewhat greater now since there isn't a corporate overhead to stop them.

Still that would take some time, IGA just left and building a Studio isn't easy work. It could take a few years before you see anything on that front. Take Inafune and Inti Creates... that took about 5+ years before they crossed paths again.

In a few years, this should be interesting.

Jonathan Murphy
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I said 2014 would define our industry. Expect this trend to continue. Designers are crunching the change in their heads and moving away from big studios. I expect massive chunks of large investors to pull out of AAA games starting 2015. That word could turn poison over the years.

Ricardo Hernandez
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Wow, these news made my morning. I wish Igarashi the best of luck and about time! It was pretty clear he was not doing what he wanted anymore and I will definitively join him on his next adventure on the gamer end.