Konami Gambled on Castlevania: Mirror of Fate

Konami Gambled on Castlevania: Mirror of Fate

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Castlevania's 3DS entry was originally a way to hedge bets on series success.

Opinions have been pretty split on the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow reboot, and that ambivalence has carried over to its next two entries: Mirror of Fate on the 3DS and Lords of Shadow 2 on consoles (well, most of them, anyway). Konami is aware of the two very different parts of the fanbase it must please in the next few Castlevania installments, and has used Mirror of Fate as something of a testing ground. This entry was originally a low-budget lark, but the developer now wants to ensure that it delivers both a vital component of the Belmont clan's story and some of the more traditional Castlevania features for which fans have clamored.

"Some people liked what we did [with Lords of Shadow], and a lot of people didn't like what we did, so I think this time it's a bit easier because people kind of know what to expect," says David Cox, a producer at Konami. However, Cox wants to woo back some Castlevania fans who felt that Lord of Shadows was too lacking in traditional elements. "I think we tried, particularly with Mirror of Fate, to meet some of those detractors a little bit further and meet their demands." Exploration, says Cox, was a primary concern, since Lords of Shadow was a fairly linear game. "When we were designing Mirror of Fate, exploration was much higher up on the list of things we wanted to achieve in terms of the final product." This is a delicate balance, because Cox also wants to deliver a focus on combat that new fans have come to associate with the series. "We don't want people who bought Lords of Shadow to suddenly get something different."

While Mirror of Fate will now play a large role in reintroducing traditional Castlevania tropes and bridging the story between the two console entries, it started out as a much more humble project. "We weren't sure if [Lords of Shadow] was going to be successful or not," Cox explains. "We didn't know if the game was going to be popular, so we said, 'Let's make a handheld game; you don't need much money.' We could do something small in order to carry on the series if necessary." The game did not end up as a series torchbearer until Konami gauged the reboot's success and wanted to get to work on a new title right away. Luckily for Cox and his team, Mirror of Fate was already in the works and still very malleable.

Whether Mirror of Fate will scratch the Metroidvania itch of Symphony of the Night-style Castlevania fans, it's worth noting that nonlinear exploration and RPG mechanics have not always been series staples. In fact, about half the series has no such elements. That's something to chew on while waiting for Dracula to rise again.

Source: GameSpot

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Thanks for that bit at the end about acknowledging that the series hasn't always been in the Metroidvania style. Half of the fans have no idea what a legendary series this was before Symphony of the Night stole all of the spotlight, and seem to only want endless iterations of SotN instead of branching out or revisiting past glories.

You know as a long time castlevania fan I liked lords of shadow a lot and had no problems with linearity as I started with castlevania 3 for the nes and that's still one of my favourites I like the ability to play as multiple characters and being level based was how a lot of the older castlevania games played sure the metroidvania games are fun but they don't all need to be made that way.

Loved Lords of Shadow. was my GoTy that time. Can understand that the people people who liked the metroidvania style of gameplay weren't thrilled, but it still was a great game. Hope the the second one will be just a great and the 3DS one will also be good.

This is your last chance Konami, you fucked up with Lords of Shadow and somehow ruined the Silent Hill HD collection, if Mirror of Fate isn't amazing you join Crapcom in the "cant make a decent game to save their life anymore" bin.

There is nothing wrong with linearity but I do wonder why no one so far ever tried this approach

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One starting point (castle gate), one goal (throne room), and everything in between is (to a certain extent) freely interchangeable depending on your playstyle and curiosity. After all, this game takes place (most of the time) in a fucking castle filled with breakable walls, hidden paths and freaking teleporters. You could easily create a linear game where exploration is still rewarded (and it's more than whipping walls in hope for wall chicken).

It would be so motherNGHing perfect for metroidvania games.

major_chaos:
This is your last chance Konami, you fucked up with Lords of Shadow and somehow ruined the Silent Hill HD collection, if Mirror of Fate isn't amazing you join Crapcom in the "cant make a decent game to save their life anymore" bin.

I just don't understand the hate that Lords of Shadow gets.

I would you ask, why would Lords of Shadow be considered a fuck up?

Konami set out to make a 3D reboot of the series, and they succeeded.

Castlevania started out and for years was a linear action game(Except Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, but that game while classic is a jumbled mess) and I can tell they were shooting for a linear action game with LoS, though they at least let you go back to play past levels to get power-ups that you might have missed.

Yeah the game borrowed elements from other games, but really in this day and age, you have to really make something entirely bizarre to make it not feel derivative in some way, though even then people will point stuff out. Also, Konami pulled off those borrowed mechanics very well. Since it was a reboot, the story makes plenty of sense at being an origin story, granted I was confused a bit till the ending, but the ending cleared up most of my questions and I thought it was great. Also granted that the game had a great deal of QTEs but they were varied and different enough that I actually found them most enjoyable. Lastly of course was the icing on the cake that was the spectacular graphics; graphics don't decide games for me, but I will point them out when it is warranted.

What Konami should learn from what happened with LoS is that they have two fan bases and they could make truck loads of cash by splitting the franchise into two styles and make two sets of games each time they decide to make such games:

Lords of Shadow style games for the Classic Traditionalists.

Metroidvania style games for Metroidvania people.

I like both styles of game and I don't see why we can't have it both ways.

Well if it was a metroidvania type of game I would have bought this game no questions. However, since its a type of LoS sequel or whatever I won't even look twice at it. I have LoS and really its just a mediocre game that doesn't feel like a castlevania at all.

I've played the earlier installments of Castlevania, from the original on NES up to Castlevania: SotN. You know I stopped at SotN? Because nothing else Konami has made for the Castlevania series has come close to the overall quality that was SotN. Not Lords of Sahdow, not Mirror of Fate - nothing. And yes, I've seen these games played before - my uncle owns both games. (This is just, like, my opinion)

With Casltevania: SotN, they added the new elements in, executed them nicely, stayed true to what worked before and had an awesome soundtrack and story to round it out.

Sonic Doctor:

major_chaos:
This is your last chance Konami, you fucked up with Lords of Shadow and somehow ruined the Silent Hill HD collection, if Mirror of Fate isn't amazing you join Crapcom in the "cant make a decent game to save their life anymore" bin.

I just don't understand the hate that Lords of Shadow gets.

I would you ask, why would Lords of Shadow be considered a fuck up?

Happy to explain. Half the reason I come to this site is to engage in friendly debate.

Konami set out to make a 3D reboot of the series, and they succeeded.

Here is the first big problem: No one was asking for a reboot. Castlevania is loved because gameplay wise it is a dying breed, and story wise there is at very least one major event I would have liked them to dive into before killing rebooting the series

Castlevania started out and for years was a linear action game(Except Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, but that game while classic is a jumbled mess) and I can tell they were shooting for a linear action game with LoS, though they at least let you go back to play past levels to get power-ups that you might have missed.

I'm not %100 sure what your point is here. While I cant speak for everyone, my complaint with LoS was never that it was linear.

Yeah the game borrowed elements from other games, but really in this day and age, you have to really make something entirely bizarre to make it not feel derivative in some way, though even then people will point stuff out

there is "borrowed elements" and then there's "hey guys lets make God of War and Ctr C+ctrl V a boss fight from SoTC, then pretend its Castlevaina even though it has almost nothing in common"

Story/graphics

I actually concede that those two things were actually done well, just because I don't like a game doesn't mean I can't acknowledge its strengths. However while we are talking about presentation, I felt the LoS soundtrack was far below the standards of the rest of the series. It had some good tracks, but even then they felt well done, if somewhat generic. (I seriously though "Final confrontation" was a two steps from hell song for a second)

What Konami should learn from what happened with LoS is that they have two fan bases and they could make truck loads of cash by splitting the franchise into two styles and make two sets of games each time they decide to make such games:

Lords of Shadow style games for the Classic Traditionalists.

Metroidvania style games for Metroidvania people.

And this is absolute truth, and the fact that Konami seems somewhat ignorant of that fact is baffling. Although I would word it more like:
Lords of Shadow style games for the People who like the Castlevaina lore but not the gameplay

Metroidvania style games for Traditionalists

I personally found Lord of Shadows a genuinely great and well told story. The puzzle elements were fun and combat was challenging. It was linear, but I don't find this a flaw. Now, that said, I loved the metroidvania style game more. I played Castlevania since the NES days and have always loved the games, but the metroidvania style game, for me, was the ultimate iteration of Castlevania. But I'm not gonna lie, Symphony of the Night was amazing, but all the others that were in that style never really held up for me. They simply weren't as good. I am immensely looking forward to this next game, I was really mad when it was pushed back. It is one of the reasons I bought a 3DS. Suffice it to say, these things are simply different products. I like to look at games individually as much as possible and I enjoyed both Lord of Shadows and Symphony of the Night, just for different reasons.

I like the SotN style games way more. I don't need them to be Castlevania or Metroid games necessarily but they are the only 2 major producers of those games.

I never really liked Pre SotN Castlevania games. I kinda liked #2 way back when, but nowhere near as much as SotN, Curse of Darkness, or Aria of Sorrow. Those are actually the main 3 I like. I didn't care for PoR or the other Soma game on DS, and I sadly only borrowed Circle and Harmony on GBA and don't really remember them.

Lords of Shadow had a great cast, and art direction, but I didn't care for the gameplay and the story wasn't great. Better than the other games certainly, but I expected it to meet the bar that the rest of the game raised. I appreciated the gameplay as being good but not my thing if that helps.

Mirror of Fate doesn't interest me, mostly because I kinda hated the ending of LoS, and haven't bothered with the DLC so I don't care about Gabriel or Dracula or the story between.

I might love Mirror's gameplay for all I know, but I already know that its story doesn't interest me. I'm getting Etrian Odyssey 4, and maybe Fire Emblem even though I've only had one brush with the series previously that I didn't like on GBA. The demo was pretty good, and its not like Luminous Arc 3 is ever gonna get here to fill the TRPG gap.

Sonic Doctor:
I just don't understand the hate that Lords of Shadow gets.

I would you ask, why would Lords of Shadow be considered a fuck up?

I can't speak for everyone, but personally I saw nothing even remotely Castlevania-esque about the game.
Instead of the solid, challenging gameplay of most previous Castlevania games, its gameplay is pretty much just pure button-mashing, spamming auto-homing attacks that hit everything around you - and it gets worse - there are battle QTEs.
QTEs of any kind are pretty much the epitome of bad game design. If they're too lazy to design proper solid game mechanics, then perhaps they should go into movie making instead.

Sonic Doctor:
Lords of Shadow style games for the Classic Traditionalists.

Not really. I love the original Castlevania, and I love Castlevania III even more. I also love Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. If these can't be considered "classic", then I don't know what can.
And yet, I hate Lords of Shadow. Well, hate is perhaps exaggerating a bit, but let's just say I definitely don't enjoy it, and will not waste any time playing it or any games similar to it.

The problem isn't the linearity - it's that it's a mindless AoE-spamming buttonmasher with QTEs bearing the Castlevania name despite having nothing whatsoever of what made other Castlevania games great.
If they had simply called it something else, it would have just gone down in history as another highly mediocre GoW ripoff, but by naming it Castlevania they targeted the existing Castlevania fanbase and inflated expectations of the game. The higher the expectations, the harder the fall when it doesn't live up to them.

Sonic Doctor:
Metroidvania style games for Metroidvania people.

I like both styles of game and I don't see why we can't have it both ways.

I personally like both styles too, but LoS doesn't fit into either of the traditional Castlevania-styles.

 

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