By: Clint Gould
Just weeks after the news of a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie titled Yooka-Laylee hit the airwaves, the gaming world gets their castles vania’d over another popular franchise getting its own spiritual successor. Bloodstained – Ritual of the Night (Kickstarter pitch seen here) is the name of this new game being funded through Kickstarter, courtesy of Koji Igarashi, formerly employed with Konami. As of May 11th, the game has already reached its minimum goals of $500,000, with over 7,000 people backing this project, which is excellent news for those who are fans of the Castlevania series, such as myself.
The game, from what I have seen on the Kickstarter page, looks lovely, albeit a bit brighter than usual in contrast to previous Castlevania games. The Castlevania series, known to be a tale of Vampire Hunters out to defeat Dracula in his abyssal castle, is often set in a dark and dreary atmosphere. At least, it was about that until the franchise went in a new direction under the Lords of Shadow banner, which is more resembling of Ninja Gaiden/God of War, and you play as Gabriel Belmont who (spoilers…BECOMES Dracula). The Lords of Shadow series met much criticism for being more focused on battle and dodging, rather than exploring a large open area, accessing more and more of it with each new ability you claim. That venue of gaming became eternally known as Metroidvania, based on the first Castlevania game to do that, Symphony of the Night, due to its vast similarities to the Metroid series. While many complain that Castlevania should return to its roots, keep in mind that the original Castlevania games were much harder as simple side-scrolling platformers. Ask Sandbox Gaming’s Matt Cook, who did a run of Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse in our 9th Marathon for the Boys & Girls Club NL back in December 2014.
Bloodstained returns to those roots that Symphony of the Night brought to the table, with RPG-like elements, abilities to access previously unreachable areas, and new weapons to find ways to destroy your enemies. Of course, you will need all these and more to combat a curse of crystalline proportions, as your body slowly turns to glass. Crafting also makes an appearance in this game, where you can take unneeded items and turn them into something better, something that was seen in other Castlevania games such as Curse of Darkness and Dawn of Sorrow.
The main character’s name is Miriam, who is a female protagonist. Comment forums about this game have seen some criticism as to why the hero should be a female, seeing as how Castlevania has seen many protagonists being strong males, and females were usually reliant on magic instead of weapons. In saying that, a protagonist’s gender does not define the game for many, such as myself. As long as the game holds its own, and the character’s development is one that makes you feel connected to his/her story, then that is how you sell games. Besides, Castlevania’s females have been seen as incredibly strong, a more notable figure would be Shanoa from Order of Ecclesia, who can use weapons bound by magic. Gamers connected to her as she was a driven woman, who felt like she was chosen by fate to destroy Dracula, even at the cost of her life, so it made you want to feel for her and see her as very strong.
In closing, I feel that Bloodstained – Ritual of the Night will be something to watch out for in the immediate future. It will be released on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam (PC/Mac/Linux), hopefully with a Nintendo Wii U release, but unlikely. You can follow the social media accounts of this project and its developer here: