We’re getting close! Close to the 2013 NFL Draft! I am of course, kidding, though I am excited about that as well. No, what I’m referring to is the impending launch of one of my most anticipated 3DS titles, Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate.
If you haven’t already, go ahead and check out the preview from a couple of weeks ago; it’ll give you a nice setup for the interview below with producer Dave Cox, who I had the pleasure to meet during the preview event.
GE: I’m curious about the decision to release a 3DS sequel in addition to a console sequel to LOS. Why the decision to go with two vastly different versions?
Dave Cox: This was a decision borne of necessity and came about after we finished the original Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game. We didn’t know what the reaction would be nor if we would be making another game at all as we waited for its release. We had a studio to feed and needed a project fast, so we made a pitch for a handheld title which we felt could be green lit quickly. We started work on it and made a proposal and the game was greenlit shortly afterwards. After a few weeks and months it was clear that the original game was very successful and a sequel was greenlit shortly after that too. We then had the problem of two projects and a small team but honestly speaking its a nice problem to have!
[quote_center]It’s still an action combat game at heart but we have beefed up the exploration elements to replicate the series traits that fans of the series crave.[/quote_center]
GE: This seems heavily inspired by the SNES and PSX Castlevania games. Was it a goal to keep things similar to those versions as opposed to the more 3D oriented LOS?
Dave Cox: Our goal was to create a sequel to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. At the same time, we’ve always been influenced by the classic 8 and 16 bit games more than anything else. So it’s right that the game feels like a modern interpretation of the series whilst at the same time keeping one foot firmly planted in the classics. It’s still an action combat game at heart but we have beefed up the exploration elements to replicate the series traits that fans of the series crave.
GE: Will there be any sort of tie in with the console versions?
Dave Cox: Each game in the Lords of Shadow universe is a self contained adventure, so you don’t need to play each game to understand the story but there is an overarching story arc that if you play all the games gives you a better understanding of the characters motivations. I would recommend that if you want to really understand the bigger picture you should play all of the games.
[quote_center]Our goal was to make an epic adventure and give players value for money with the main game and with around 20 hours to complete the game 100%, we certainly aren’t shirking our responsibilities with our fans[/quote_center]
GE: With the eShop able to provide add-on content, is this something you see in the future of MOF? Might we be able to see extra levels, challenges, etc?
Dave Cox: It’s not planned but it is something we could consider at a later date. Our goal was to make an epic adventure and give players value for money with the main game and with around 20 hours to complete the game 100%, we certainly aren’t shirking our responsibilities with our fans.
GE: What led to the decision to incorporate 3D boss fights into the game, which is almost entirely 2D? The shift in perspective is jarring (in a good way) and really shows off what the 3DS is capable of. I think it’s used in a brilliant manner here.
Dave Cox: Thanks. This was something we wanted to do and that was to play with the expectation of a 2D side scrolling game by using cameras to make the game third person now and then and bring the player into the world for real. It’s a feature that makes the 3DS game unique and we do this anytime we can to really immerse you into the game world.
GE: I noticed that mini-boss and boss fights have checkpoints; can you tell us why you decided to make these a little more forgiving? I recall the classic Castlevania games being extremely unforgiving, and with the recent success of Dark Souls, it would seem that gamers are salivating for an “old school” difficulty level.
Dave Cox: This was because usually the players play these games on the bus or train and need the game to be broken down into smaller sections. We took the decision to help with that aspect of gaming on the go. Having said that I think it’s fair to say boss fights are no pushover and the series tradition of offering a challenge is all spent and correct. Trust me this is not game you will complete on your first go! Couple that with multiple difficulty settings too and you have your challenge.
[quote_center]This is a Mature title, one of only a few on 3DS and in that respect we wanted to portray enemies in a darker, grittier way than you might imagine but it is consistent with the “Lords of Shadow” universe and what we have delivered previously in the original[/quote_center]
GE: The horror genre has come a long way since the classic Castlevania games (though I wouldn’t really call them “horror” games per se). Were there certain games that inspired some of the enemy designs? I noticed a number of enemies that reminded me of characters from Silent Hill and Devil May Cry.
Dave Cox: Most of the designs in the game are directly inspired from previous enemies in the series. What we have tried to do it re imagine them for modern audiences and so I guess there is a more mature adult feel to some of the designs. This is a Mature title, one of only a few on 3DS and in that respect we wanted to portray enemies in a darker, grittier way than you might imagine but it is consistent with the “Lords of Shadow” universe and what we have delivered previously in the original.
GE: This game delves heavily into the Belmont family history. What was the reason behind the decision to explore the family history?
Dave Cox: We deliberately made Dracula the focus of the new rebooted series and this is also the case for Mirror of Fate but this time, we wanted to explain the relationship with the Belmonts to Dracula. Why is their this blood feud, why is it the Belmont’s have to be the ones to destroy Dracula? This has not really been done in the series before and in this game we will really get to the bottom of this and in turn this will give players a much better insight into Dracula.
GE: Is MOF going to be a one-off, or are there plans for sequels?
Dave Cox: Right now we have no plans for a sequel or ports to other consoles. Never say never but we have our hands full with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 :)
This is all I will say about my current playthrough of the game prior to the review; Dave Cox was right about the boss fights not being pushovers. They are NOT easy at all.
Thank you to Konami and David Cox for their time! And stay tuned for a review of Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate on launch day!
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