Igarashi, who is best-known for his years of work on the publisher's Castlevania franchise, explained to Polygon that he plans to launch a new independent studio, where he'll be making games aimed toward his fans.
"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," Igarashi told Polygon. "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 began his career at Konami in 1990, starting out as a programmer before moving on to produce some of the biggest and most beloved games in the Castlevania franchise, including Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow, and Dawn of Sorrow. Though he produced his share of non-Castlevania games--including the 2005 action adventure Nano Breaker, and the 2011 Kinect release Leedmees--Igarashi's name became synonymous with all things Castlevania from the '90s on. That changed only recently, with developer Mercury Steam taking the creative reins on its entries in the Lords of Shadow series.
Igarashi will be at this week's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, presenting a talk called There and Back Again: Koji Igarashi's MetroidVania Tale. It promises "an exploration of his experiences and methodology in creating some of the most popular and influential games in the [MetroidVania] genre over the last 15 years."