Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a 2.5D side-scrolling “Metroidvania” style game developed by ArtPlay (Igarashi’s company with the major design blueprint) in collaboration with DICO (main development and localization) and Monobit (programming/engine support) with Armature Studio handling the PS Vita version specifically coming to a wide range of platforms in 2018 with the help of publisher 505 Games. The project is helmed by ex-Konami designer Koji Igarashi, a key member of the team that revitalized the Castlevania series with Symphony of the Night in 1997. Originally, Inti Creates was signed on to be the main developer alongside Igarashi but their role in development has been reduced since DICO and Monobit joined the fold, who have more development experience with Unreal Engine 4.
The game was funded via Kickstarter and PayPal. The operation is primarily overseen by Ben Judd, who also oversaw Keiji Inafune’s highly successful Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter campaign prior.
The FAQ section made it clear upfront that the final product will “2.5D” rather than what the majority of IGAvania games have been in the past. The explanation given:
Because this is an Igavania game, the gameplay and feel of traditional 2D games is non-negotiable. Even so, IGA decided to go with 2.5D for this project for both financial and artistic reasons. A 2.5D world built on Unreal Engine 4 was the right choice to balance development time, graphical fidelity, budget, and scope.
At the same time, IGA is very excited about exploring the paths a 2.5D style opens up within the classic Igavania formula. As he begins a new chapter of his career as a developer, he’s looking forward to trying things that will enhance, rather than detract from, that core gameplay.
However, we would NEVER discount the fans’ love for that classic style. The development team is looking forward to working with backers every step of the way to decide on custom shaders that will give the game a distinctive, hand-crafted look, so there are no surprises. Games like Guilty Gear and Strider are proof that 2.5D can be handled in a way that honors a classic aesthetic while allowing for new possibilities; that’s what IGA hopes to achieve with this project.
That said, one section of the castle will feature an area that Miriam can traverse in beautiful retro graphics. We are dubbing this section “the 8-bit level” although it may be close to 16 bit or 32 bit depending on how we mix it with the full game. While a full-blown 8-bit game doesn’t fit into the full budget, backer support allows us to have fun with the development and create a little retro magic in our game.
Stretch goals included getting David Hayter & Robert Belgrade voice overs in the game.