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Koji Igarashi Exiting Konami

The longtime producer of all things Castlevania plans to start up his own independent studio.

Who will take up the whip now that Igarashi's gone? No one, probably. I'd guess he's taking it with him.

After more than 20 years working at Konami, producer Koji Igarashi is striking out on his own.

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."

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Posted by BasketSnake

He's going to create an exact replica of his old studio, only inverted.

Posted by XplusY

I am looking forward to a Metroid-vania for the first time in a while.

Edited by chocolaterhinovampire

He brings a whip everywhere right? I smell a Kickstarter

Posted by MrProtagonist

Good on him! I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Can't wait to fund his inevitable Kickstarter next year!

Posted by Ouren

Awesome! :D

Posted by Atwa

NOW?
Damn, I hoped he would have gotten to make the next Castlevania now that Lords of Shadow is done.

Edited by Lab392

Just one more in a long line. If Kojima weren't so deeply rooted in Konami, he would probably be on his way out too.

Edited by Do_The_Manta_Ray

Well, this sure explains why Konami didn't feel comfortable scheduling interviews with him at GDC.

Posted by BaconGames

I feel like this could go one of two ways. Either Igarashi takes the Inafune route ala Might No. 9 or tries to branch out and maybe make stuff that isn't at all related to Castlevania. I would probably be more inherently interested in a "MetroidVania" style kickstarter from Igarashi but either way I wish him the best of luck.

I do love that Igarashi owns the whip and hat thing.

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

"OUYA FOREVER!"

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

This actually makes sense

Posted by Rirse

Glad he leaving since all I heard he was doing now at Konami was programming shovelwares the company puts out.

Online
Posted by trelution

2014 year of everybody leaving everywhere!

Posted by csl316

Good, I'm already set to kickstart Project IGA. Didn't seem like Konami was willing to take advantage of his talents in recent years.

Posted by cloudymusic

It's interesting to see the Japanese corporate culture of sticking with one company for your entire life gradually falling out of favor. Many of these sorts of people have been at these studios since the 80's.

Edited by Hailinel

I hope he does well in his new venture. Castlevania's going down the toilet with MercurySteam at the helm.

Posted by Vextroid

He's going to create an exact replica of his old studio, only inverted.

The studio better be called 200.6%

Posted by GideonAmos

Rumor has it that Igarashi left because Konami HR told him that whipping developers to make them work harder isn't very humane.

Edited by AngriGhandi

I'm sad about where this suggests Castlevania is probably heading, but happy about what this suggests for the future of good games of that style.

Maybe he'll do something crazy and great, like base a game on Blaster Master or something.

I mean, come on! Blaster Master is awesome.

Posted by mrfluke

anyone ever seen igarashi use that whip?

Posted by Rayeth

@vextroid said:

@basketsnake said:

He's going to create an exact replica of his old studio, only inverted.

The studio better be called 200.6%

The best name for a studio ever.

Posted by JackSukeru

Best of luck to him, and if this means he wants to make another game like those DS Castlevanias then he has my full support. I'm totally ready to play another one of those.

Posted by paulunga

Hell yes, Mighty No. 200.6 kickstarter!

Posted by Wampa1

@mrprotagonist: So what will the name of his new castlevania game be since he can't use the licence? We got the Mega man to Mighty No. 9.

Posted by MormonWarrior

Please tell me this is just an Inafune-like departure and he's just going to straight-up be making Metroidvania in everything but name. That'd be awesome.

Posted by sub_o

@mrfluke said:

anyone ever seen igarashi use that whip?

Maybe his wife did?

Edited by Draxyle

Well damn, I guess Castlevania is over with if they don't have someone to champion the return of the classic style.

Yea, they'll bring it back anyways, but this is Konami. For all the disbanded teams, they never got the right people to bring back anything.

Posted by pocketroid
Posted by Fat_Tomato

As much as I'd like him to make some more awesome Castlevania games, Konami simply was not letting that happen. I expect Igarashi to go the route of Inafune and basically make the same games albeit with a different name, and that makes me excited!

Posted by ProfessorEss

Maybe I haven't researched this stuff enough but have many of these "Big name Japanese guy leaves big name Japanese studio" led to an incredible new IP or success story?

I (like @cloudymusic) find this potential corporate culture shift very interesting but I'm curious is it really changing or all these classic developers just going to end up disappearing before anything happens.

Posted by LoktarOgar

@hailinel said:

I hope he does well in his new venture. Castlevania's going down the toilet with MercurySteam at the helm.

1) Lords of Shadow 1 made more money than any Castlevania Igarashi's done.

2) Even that weren't the case, Lords of Shadow 2 was the end of MercurySteam's work on the franchise anyway.

Posted by FLStyle

I look forward to using my Twitter account to promote his Kickstarter!

Posted by Robaota

Vania's Castle coming to you in 2015.

Posted by Lausebub

I rarely fund projects via Kickstarter, but this guy would have my pledge, the day he announces a new Igavania-style game. Wouldn't have to do anything with vampires. It could be about zombies. I don't care.

Posted by AuthenticM

I hope he makes a Metroidvania game. He's hinting at it, but I want confirmation.

Edited by mpgeist

Good for him. i look forward to supporting whatever he's working on!

Posted by GreggD

Good for him.

Edited by Shaanyboi

Get ready for Fortressvania

Posted by Winternet

Might as well just start a new news featured titled "This Week on Person Who Has Been Working For A Good Long While In The Same Studio And Wants To Do Something Else".

Posted by Rolkien

Oh man metroidvania PLS

Posted by el_tajij

@hailinel said:

I hope he does well in his new venture. Castlevania's going down the toilet with MercurySteam at the helm.

Amen.

Posted by Alyssia

Konami has a daily livestream, on twitch. Curious to what they say or think about it.

Posted by zladko

IGA IS FREE

Posted by hermes

@professoress: Inafune leaving Capcom leads to Mighty No 9. Granted, its an unproven concept, but it has a lot more potential than anything he was during for some time now.

And Kamiya, Inaba and Mikami leaving Capcom led to Platinum games, which gave us gems like Bayonetta, Vanquish and MGS: Revengeance... so yes, there are precedents.

Posted by beard_of_zeus

Welp, I had totally destroyed the memory of playing Nano Breaker until reading this article. Ughhhhhhhhh. Thanks @alex!

@hermes said:

@professoress: Inafune leaving Capcom leads to Mighty No 9. Granted, its an unproven concept, but it has a lot more potential than anything he was during for some time now.

And Kamiya, Inaba and Mikami leaving Capcom led to Platinum games, which gave us gems like Bayonetta, Vanquish and MGS: Revengeance... so yes, there are precedents.

These are the two scenarios that this article made me think about. Hopefully Igarashi is able to find success either doing something very Castlevania-ish (a la Inafune) or branch out and do something new and crazy. That GDC talk he is doing sounds like it would be quite interesting, especially as a fan of the Castlevania series.

He's going to create an exact replica of his old studio, only inverted.

Kudos, sir.

Posted by LarryDavis

Please tell me this is just an Inafune-like departure and he's just going to straight-up be making Metroidvania in everything but name. That'd be awesome.

If he made another game like that and nobody ever called them "Metroidvania"s again, I would be pretty psyched!

Edited by Daneian

Posted by ProfessorEss

@hermes: Guess I'm waiting to see if we get any more Platinums. I am anxiously awaiting to see what becomes of Mighty No. 9.

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