We haven’t had a new IGAvania in six and a half years, but finally, Koji “IGA” Igarashi has come out of the shadows with a new project: a “A gothic, exploration-focused action platformer” called Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
His is probably not a household name, but as the person behind the masterpiece that is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Igarashi is somebody worth paying attention to. He’s one of the godfathers of the Metroidvania genre, taking the exploration-centric style of Metroid and pushing it in new directions with RPG mechanics and the trademark gothic setting of the Castlevania series. He followed up Symphony of the Night with a handful of similarly-styled games for Nintendo DS and 3DS, the most recent of which was 2008’s Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
Since then, Igarashi has been quiet. He’s produced a few more Castlevania spinoffs games, like Castlevania Judgement and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, and a couple of other titles, but nothing’s come out with his name on it since the 2011 Xbox Live Arcade puzzle game Leedmees. Then, in March last year, he announced his departure from Konami, with plans to start his own studio and make the game that his fans want.
Finally, finally, that game is here. Well not here in the sense of being available, but here in the sense that it’s been announced and we know it’s on the way. We know what it’s called , we know it’s going to a true IGAvania, an IGA-designed Castlevania in all but name. We also know that people want what Igarashi’s offering – the Kickstarter for Bloodstained has more than quadrupled its initial $500,000 funding goal in less than a week since opening.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night won’t be out until March 2017, but I’m happy to wait. Igarashi has said all the right things – I know that he’s making exactly the game his fans want to play. Exactly the game I want to play. This is a game that will be worth the wait.