Little is known about the forthcoming sequel to MercurySteam’s Castlevania reboot, save that series anti-hero Gabriel Belmont – AKA Dracula – will spend his time flitting back and forth between ancient Transylvania and a modern city built on the ruins of Dracula’s castle. In an extensive interview with Edge (in issue 254, on sale now), Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2 developer MercurySteam talks about bringing the game into the modern world – both the series and Belmont himself.
“By launching Lords of Shadow we made a change and we needed to make a change.” Dave Cox, producer, tells us. “The Castlevania series wasn’t going anywhere. Sales were dwindling, the appeal was only to a very small hardcore base of fans. As a company, that’s how franchises die.”
Not that they’ve abandoned everything the franchise stood for, especially not now this reboot has been established. “We have a lot of homages and a lot of character from the Castlevania universe we call back to but we’re trying to keep Castlevania relevant by doing our own thing.” says Cox.
Yet the team’s biggest struggle in developing Lords of Shadow II, was in deciding the form of the parallel future city, where Dracula awakens centuries after his fall. Enric Alvarez, director and writer, says: “Even among the artists there were many different perspectives on what it should look like. Someday we may release this artwork, because we have very different visions depending on the artists who created it. For me as a game director it was very difficult because I didn’t feel we were even close to what we needed.”
“A castle is a castle and it’s difficult to make it right but everybody has a clear image of what it can be, but a modern city that’s built on the ruins of Dracula’s castle? We needed a city that feels familiar and modern but at the same time has the vibe and presence of a castle. And we were stuck until one of our best artists drew a roundabout, with archways across the street and towers in the distance.”
“It didn’t work until we took it to the realm of fantasy – it’s a city crowded by sky scrapers but if you look across the skyline it looks like a castle. There are streets that feel like ballrooms…”