Koji Igarashi (1)

Everyone is up in arms about the possible departure of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima from Konami, but we never saw this level of frustration when Koji Igarashi also hit the road last year. Of course, it was a more transparent situation in which a high profile producer just up and said “I’m tired of this mobile stuff,” and walked away.

“Who is Koji Igarashi,” you ask? Well, he was the wonderfully animated producer from Konami who always carried a whip and wore a cowboy hat to conventions. It sounds a bit silly, and it is really silly, but he’s allowed to do whatever he pleases because he is responsible for some of the greatest 2D platforming games of all time. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow… you get the idea.

He was Konami’s dedicated Castlevania guy during the excellent handheld years until MercurySteam took over and crashed the beloved franchise into the ground after two releases. Good call there, fellas. He is responsible for one half of the “metroidvania” moniker, and hopefully, he will bring his experience and brilliant design theories into a new indie game he is teasing.

Nicalis’ Tyrone Rodriguez aided in the tease by tweeting a link to swordorwhip.com, a mysterious teaser site which could only be for Igarashi’s new game.

How do I know this is Koji Igarashi? One, the sprite sitting in the chair looks just like him. Two, it is an obvious nod to Dracula in the older Castlevania games. Three, his fanbase is decidedly split over which weapon stars in the better Castlevania games. Older fans like the whip from the NES and SNES days while slightly-newer fans prefer the sword in Symphony of the Night and most of the handheld entries.

Igarashi appears to be letting his fans choose which will be the star in his new game.

Koji Igarashi (2)

Either way, I’m excited. Igarashi was the best possible solution for a consistent Castlevania franchise at Konami, but with the company not really interested in traditional gaming anymore, the indie scene is the obvious best place for a legendary figure of his stature to continue his brand of game development, just on his own dollar. Only time will tell, but I am hoping for the best.

We’ll keep an eye out for any announcements or Kickstarter campaigns that pop up with his name on it.