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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 interview

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 interview

LOS2Play: What were your main goals in trying to make Lords Of Shadow 2?

Alvarez: This is our chance to do something that has never been done before in Castlevania tradition, which is play as Dracula. The whole focus is to explain things from Dracula’s perspective. From the very beginning our intention was to explain Dracula’s story but start from the beginning, before the fall to darkness. So we started with Lords Of Shadow, lots of sunny forests and grassy fields everywhere. But this time around, things are going to get very dark. This is the conclusion, what we wanted to do from the very beginning.

 

Play: Was Lords Of Shadow always intended to be a Castlevania game?

Cox: When we first pitched the idea it was quite a radical departure from what people expected from a Castlevania. There was a lot of doubt [as to] whether we should call it Castlevania or not. When we first announced it at Gamescom, because we were showing Castlevania Judgement, we decided we wouldn’t overshadow that game so we announced it as just Lords Of Shadow. But it was always intended to be a Castlevania game, from day one.

Alvarez: The key thing is from a development perspective we never changed. The story, game, levels; it was always the same even when there were doubts at the corporate level. It was Castlevania from day one.

 

Play: Do you feel you’ve proven yourselves to the people who doubted you?

Cox: To a certain extent we do feel justified, but we don’t want to be arrogant about it. We had our own doubts, we weren’t sure if it was going to be accepted. But, over time I think people have gotten used to the idea we are doing something new with it and to us its been quite liberating to know that we can do things in a new direction. With LOS2 we’ve got a lot of surprises for the player, things people aren’t expecting, and I think we have the confidence now to introduce those things and not be afraid. One of the important things about Castlevania being such a long franchise is [that] it has changed. If you look at the original 8-bit games there have been key moments where it has gone along a different path, and it’ll happen again. Another dev will come and give their take on it. We shouldn’t be afraid to change it. With LOS2 the game feels more confident in many ways. It feels like something new and original.

 

LOS6Play: So were there ideas that you were apprehensive to try in the first Lords Of Shadow that are now in the sequel?

Cox: Definitely. LOS was a great game but it had its flaws, and we were very much aware of those flaws ourselves. When we talked about bringing the next one out we knew things we wanted to fix, improve and add. We just felt more confident about it and when players play it there’s going to be some shocks.

Alvarez: When we sat down around the table and said we could be interested in doing a Castlevania reboot, all of us wanted one thing – put the franchise in the 21st Century, make it one of the modern day’s successful franchises. We needed to inject some new blood and we felt exactly the same way with the 3DS sequel, Mirror Of Fate. We could have done exactly the same thing, it saves money and is less risky. If a lot of people buy the first game, a lot of people will buy the second – you have until three or four before people get sick of it. But we went the hard way, we did something totally different and for this one we’ve gone even farther. We redesigned the engine based on what we thought the game was going to be. Free exploration, no loading times, free camera and an immensely enhanced combat system. You put all this in a spreadsheet and it says ‘risk, risk, risk’ but this is the way we do it and I think it’s going to pay off because I think people will appreciate it.

Cox: We listened to the feedback from the fans, critics and our own feelings. We knew there were things about the first game that we could have done differently. I think all the criticism we had about the first game has been addressed. LOS2 will be a big improvement over the first.

Alvarez: It’s not your regular sequel… you’ll see!

 

LOS9Play: How open is this new open world?

Cox: The term open world has a certain connotation these days. People think of games like GTA. That’s not what we are doing. What we are trying to do is create a story-driven game that leads the player down a certain path. A lot of players aren’t interested in exploration, they just want to go through the game and find out the story. But others will want to do other things, explore the environment and do side missions, and we want to give them the opportunity to do that. As the world grows and grows you’ll learn you don’t have to follow the story straight away. We wanted to make it feel like a seamless world. Its not like GTA, but it does open up gradually and become bigger and bigger in what you can explore. Its not been done in a hack-and-slash before. If you look at our competition; God Of War, Devil May Cry, they all have very linear worlds.

Alvarez: We tried to put the same weight on the story and exploration. We tried to make them as important as each other. They are two halves to the whole that is Lords Of Shadow 2.




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