|Developer||ArtPlay (PC, PS4, XB1)|
DICO (PC, PS4, XB1)
Armature Studios (Switch)
|Release||June 18, 2019 (PC, PS4, XB1)|
June 25, 2019 (Switch)
|Genre||Action/adventure, role-playing platform game|
|Modes||Single player, multiplayer|
|“||IGAVANIA: A Gothic, exploration-focused action platformer, designed by one of the godfathers of the genre!||„|
|~ Kickstarter description|
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a 2.5D action/adventure, role-playing platform game created by Koji Igarashi, developed by ArtPlay and DICO (and formerly Inti Creates) and published by 505 Games. The game is a spiritual successor to Konami's Castlevania series. It was revealed on May 11, 2015 and funded the same day via Kickstarter. The planned release date for the game was March 2017, but was first delayed to the first half of 2018 due to increased complexity in achieving various stretch goals, and later delayed to 2019.
The game was developed for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The Wii U port was also embedded in the stretch goals, which the project managed to reach as of May 30, 2015 and June 5, 2015, respectively. The Wii U port was canceled, however, and replaced with a Nintendo Switch port. Backers who picked the Wii U version were automatically switched to the Switch version, but were allowed to re-pick if desired. Additionally, backers who didn't want to pick any version altogether after the news, became eligible for refund.
It was later revealed in the forums that Inti Creates was no longer involved in the development of the game since the end of E3 2016 and had since shifted work on to the prequel game Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon; this left ArtPlay as the main developer and DICO as a third-party developer.
On December 27, 2018, Koji Igarashi announced that the Mac and Linux ports of the game had been canceled due to complications with supporting the middleware, as well as online feature support.
On May 2nd, 2019, the release dates for the game had finally been announced by Roberto Piraino, 505 Games Brand Manager. The port for the Nintendo Switch is planned to be released a week later after the other platforms.
The setting of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is England around the late 1700's, about two decades into the Industrial Revolution. A group of alchemists, fearing its waning relevancy as science captures the 18th century setting, try to warn against the world losing faith. The alchemists then decide to summon demons to earth. Miriam, an orphan, is infused with magical crystals that attract these demons. However, Miriam falls into a comatose state, rendering her unable to be used as the sacrifice. However, using Gebel, the Alchemists are successful in summoning the demons. Having miraculously survived the ritual, Gebel decides to take revenge. Using his powers to summon demons, he destroys the Alchemist’s Guild. After 10 years, Miriam awakens, while at the same time a demonic castle emerges from the remains of the Alchemist Guild.
that threatened to transform the values of men.
No longer would spirituality be their compass.
But not all welcomed the change.”
In 1783, just as the fires of the Laki Eruption
had plunged all of Europe
into an ashen darkness…
a horde of demons spilled from the shadows
and fell upon city after English city.
It was a message.
The Alchemy Guild, fearing the rise of
industrialism and abandonment
by their wealthy patrons, had done
the unthinkable to defend their existence.
Through recondite arts, the Alchemists
had created Shardbinders:
humans transplanted with crystal
that attuned them to demonic power.
They sacrificed the Shardbinders,
and in doing so threw
the gates of the world open to demonkind.
Countless innocents died.
And though the Church succeeded in vanquishing the hellsent,
a steep price had already
been paid and collected.
As for the Shardbinders, they were presumed
to have all died in the sacrificial rite.
However, two survived:
Gebel, a boy for whom, by some miracle,
the rite did not prove fatal,
and Miriam, a girl who was spared the rite
altogether on account of the strange slumber
that took her just before it could begin.
Ten years have passed,
and mankind too soon forgets tragedy.
The demons have returned,
presaged by a great castle.
And on this very hour, Miriam awakens.
Upon learning Gebel is the architect of
this new, bloodstained ritual,
Miriam and the Alchemist Johannes
set forth for the accursed castle.
lancing toward the inevitable…
You are Miriam, an orphan scarred by an alchemist curse which slowly crystallizes your skin. You must battle your way through a demon-filled castle summoned by Gebel, your old friend whose body has become more crystal than flesh.
- Main article: Miriam
Picked up as an orphan by an Alchemist at a young age, she became a host for the dark Alchemists’ curse. Although the magi-crystals were fused with her body at a young age, for 10 years she lay sleeping while the curse matured to its full form. It was during this period that the demons arrived, meaning that she missed their appearance and awoke with a mild form of amnesia, not quite fully understanding what happened to her.
She is a woman of few words but strong of purpose. Her youth is deceiving, making her seem confrontational and quick to judge, though in reality she is constantly evaluating her next step. The pain she felt as an orphaned child fuels her compassionate desire to protect her loved ones and friends.
- Main article: Johannes
A member of the defunct Alchemist guild and Gebel’s best friend. Johannes (yo-HAH-nis) was the only Alchemist who dissented with the plan to call demons to the earth to cement Alchemy as the prevalent philosophy. His rejection of the other Alchemists' scheme is what kept him from sharing their fate. He has a vague understanding that Miriam’s awakening and the demon castle’s appearance are no mere coincidence.
- Main article: Gebel
Original host for the magi-crystal curse that summons demons to the planet. Gebel (JEE-bill) was the only one to survive its effects at such a high level. He destroyed the guild that created him, but in doing so realized he was no longer human and had no place on Earth. This in turn, lead him to summon the demon castle from hell to appear on the planet.
It is said that his real purpose in summoning the castle was to give Miriam a place of her own, but as his Magi-crystal disease progressed, he soon forgot his own reasoning. The more he surrounded himself with hell-spawn, the quicker the magi-crystals engulfed his body. He continues to plot the downfall of man and how to best convince (or use) Miriam to achieve his dark ambition.
The game will follow the "Igavania" model of game design, "A Gothic, exploration-focused action platformer", the setting being Gebel's castle which will house a variety of locations. Teleporters can be found around the castle that will allow the player to travel quickly in order to keep backtracking to a minimum. The game has been stated to contain of RPG elements in the same vain as previous Igavanias. By defeating enemies and completing quests, Miriam will gain powers enabled by the crystals on her body.
In addition, enemies in Bloodstained will drop which will play a role in the game's crafting system. IGA has said his current idea is that there will be five different kinds of drops, corresponding to different parts of an enemy, the heads, arms and so on and that even single monsters will have multiple drops. Of those drops, some of them will have magical abilities and they sparkle to show their rarity. Normal crafting materials will be used on quests or for weapons and armor, but the sparkling rares, if you level them, will become crystals. Those crystals will link with the magi-crystals on Miriam’s body and allow her to use special abilities/skills.
Another idea IGA has mentioned is for the drops to give different stat sub-effects: for example, an enemy head drop will raise magic power or a drop from an enemy leg/foot will raise movement speed. By using the different drop materials and the different stat sub-effects, the player will be able to customize Miriam to his or her liking.
The game will be presented in a 2.5D style and is built on Unreal Engine 4.
Development updateOn June 8, a video featuring early gameplay footage was released. The video showed Miriam's basic attacks and some of her movement animations as she fights against floating star-shaped enemies.
Within the video itself, IGA talks about some of the design styles and the basic direction has has for the gameplay, explaining that he enjoys when programmers have input into the art direction for the game, as feels it adds visual content to the game's look.
At the end of the update, he explains that he was surprised the game's "punch" was as good as it was and felt that the impact of playing through the art he'd seen previously was a good experience. With this in mind he is sure that he'll be able to move forward in development, making an amazing game.
On its 72th update (August 20, 2018) on the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night kickstarter page, it was announced that the game's launching would be pushed back to 2019 for development and quality reasons. It was also announced that the game would no longer be released on the PlayStation Vita due to Sony's plans to discontinue the system.
On its 84th update (May 23rd, 2019), 505 Games announced that a DLC for the game called, "Iga’s Back Pack," will launch on June 18th for the Xbox One, Steam, and PS4 while on June 25th, it will launch on the Switch. The DLC, which will cost $9.99, will allow the game's player to fight a monstrous caricature of Igarashi himself and receive a Swordwhip as a reward for his defeat.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is Koji Igarashi's newest "Metroidvania" following the release Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia in 2008. It is his first project after having left Konami in March 2014 where he served as producer of the Castlevania series from 1997 to 2010 until the series was rebooted by Spanish developer MercurySteam in the form of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Following this departure he stated: "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."
The project initially struggled with finding an interested publisher. First, there was interest in acquiring the game's funding through traditional business model. IGA hired Ben Judd, Executive Director of Business Development at DDM, as his agent and spent nine months meeting with publishers to pitch Bloodstained. However, for a variety of different reasons, all of them decided to pass on funding the game. In an interview with USgamer Igarashi said: "We had a great pitch and we took it around to pretty every single publisher. And while it's not cheap because it's an original title and you have to make assets from the ground up, it still wasn't something that was extremely expensive. Still, there were no publishers that were willing to take a chance on it. [...] there seemed to be a huge disconnect between what publishers are looking for and what fans want."
Because IGA was involved, it reduced the risk of the project according to Judd, but a lot of Japanese publishers were hesitant because their American and European subsidiaries had different views on successful the project would be in their respective territories; Castlevania being a franchise that historically resonated more with American audiences rather than European ones. "So, unless Europe and America agree on a concept together, then it doesn’t move forward.", said Judd. Western publishers believed the Japanese aesthetics would not appeal to the market while mid-tier with ties to Konami who didn't wish to go against the company. As a result, IGA decided to take a day job at the Japanese branch of Chinese mobile game studio Artplay. But he struck an agreement with ArtPlay that would allow him to pursue console game opportunities on the side, so Judd could continue looking for financing to make the game.
Eventually, some investment to support the project was found. Whether the investment came from a publisher or not hasn't been shared. However, proof that it would be something people wanted was still required. After becoming aware of Keiji Inafune's success with Mighty Number 9 on Kickstarter, a spiritual successor to Capcom's Mega Man, IGA decided to turn to crowd funding as well and a Kickstarter campaign was launched on May 11th, 2015. The base goal was to accumulate $500,000 which would cover the remaining 90% of development costs. When deciding to do a Kickstarter, IGA and his team made some estimates of how much funding we might be able to raise, the lowest estimate being $800,000. However, this amount was already accumulated after a single day. Prior to the Kickstarter, the project was teased with a website featuring a character resembling IGA dressed as Dracula asking to choose between "sword or whip". The Castlevania Dungeon and Anti-Chapel forums also featured a mysterious message on their boards, saying: "Soon, I will return.", featuring a sprite of sword on the former and one of a whip on the latter.
Inti Creates, who assisted with developing Mighty Number 9, Azure Striker Gunvolt and Mega Man 9 and 10, was involved with the production of the game until 505 Games took its place later on. Artist Ayami Kojima was initially unable to join the project due to being occupied with other work, however during the Twitch live stream she sent an email to IGA and his peers, asking if she somehow could become involved. The reason she gave in the email for wanting join was that she was impressed with how quickly the campaign was being funded.
Story and world
To increase the sense of realism, IGA wanted the setting Ritual of the Night to be an actual period in history. An important theme for the game to him was a stronger connection between the world of fantasy and the world of reality. He decided the story's location to be England as it seemed like the kind of place where a demon summoning might have actually happened. He also did research into English history to see if there had ever been such an event. During this search he read about the Laki volcano eruption in Iceland from the 18th century, which killed one third of the country's population, as well as 23,000 people in England who died as a result of inhaling sulfur dioxide. In addition, due to a thick haze that had spread to Europe, it was said the day was as dark as night and the sun appeared blood red. For the game's story, IGA imagined this event to have been murderous rampage by something inhuman and that the eruption of the volcano was actually a cover-up story.
For the overall atmosphere, it was decided to use the 72 demons from the Lesser Key of Solomon as a base. Earlier in development, it was planned that the player would visit different countries around the world, but this idea was scrapped because according to IGA, depicting the native monsters from each country’s myths would have been too much variety and it also wouldn’t have given the right diversity of enemies needed to make the stage design interesting. For this reason, the demons from the above-mentioned grimoire were added. However, for the sake of variety, the enemy repertoire will not just consists of these demons, bur also other characters from Gothic horror as well.
Console exclusive content
The Nintendo Switch and Vita versions will be handled by Armature Studios and will contain the following exclusive content:
The game had been in development for the Wii U; however, with the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, the Wii U was abandoned in favor of the newer hardware the Switch had to offer. While in development for the Wii U, Armature Studios had been attempting to use the Unreal Engine 4 in the Wii U port of the game, in order to have the Wii U version play just as smoothly as the other versions of the game.
At Gamescom 2015, IGA announced that the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of Bloodstained will support cross-platform multiplayer, letting owners of both platforms play together.
User-generated reviews on Steam were mostly positive. Most praised the nostalgia that the game had to offer due to memories from playing Castlevania titles such as Symphony of the Night and Order of Ecclesia. Others congratulated Igarashi for the successful development of a Metroidvania title without the Castlevania IP and claimed that the wait was indeed worth it. RotN, however, was not without its criticism upon launch. Kotaku writer, Joshua Rivera, states that the game's storyline and mechanics are too familiar to fans of the Metroidvania genre. For example, he writes, "loads of games have done what Castlevania did well. Hollow Knight isn't that far in the rearview. Timespinners came out this month. The Messenger comes to mind. And those are just the recent standouts." Rivera does, however, praise the shinier aesthetics that separates it from Symphony of the Night.
According to Polygon, the premium DLC for Bloodstained, "IGA's Back Pack", drew heavy criticism from several fans because they were initially promised that the content would be exclusive to backers. While 505 Games acknowledged about DLC discussion is a sensitive topic, Robert Angel-Corlux had this to say; "Making this content available to everyone wasn’t just about making money. I mean obviously that’s a part of it, but the chief things I was considering was making sure everyone had a safe and legitimate way to get the full game experience no matter when they find out about Bloodstained, whether that’s 5 months ago or 5 years from now, and that we were being respectful of the price backers originally paid (hence the DLC pricing).” On a related note, a year prior to the RotN's release, 30,000 backers took a survey regarding how they felt about DLC and according to the results, they were fine with selling it provided that it would be sold “at a price that would respect the purchase the backers originally made.” Furthermore, the 85th update on the Kickstarter page for Bloodstained stressed that while non-backers would pay $9.99 for the "IGA's Back Pack", those that backed the game in advance will receive it at no charge.
- As of June 11, 2015, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is confirmed to be the most funded game on Kickstarter. As of the Kickstarter's end on June 12, 2015, it had raised $5,545,991.00.
- Those who wished to back the game's development despite the Kickstarter's conclusion, could do so through their Paypal/Slacker Backer option. Players who helped fund the game this way could still qualify for the $28 ~ $500 rewards. As the game reached the final stages of development, this option became unavailable to new backers.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bloodstained Kickstarter page
- ↑ Development Update #43
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Development Update #14
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Development Update #18
- ↑ Development Update #50
- ↑ Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Official Forum
- ↑ Ask IGA #2
- ↑ Castlevania's IGA back with 'dream game' Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Destructoid
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Bloodstained – Developer Interview with Koji Igarashi originally featured in game*spark
- ↑ IGA on His Castlevania Spiritual Successor, Konami, More - Kinda Funny Gamescast Special
- ↑ Update 72 from the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night kickstarter page.
- ↑ Koji Igarashi Leaves Konami, Polygon
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Former Castlevania Producer Announces Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, IGN
- ↑ Interview with IGA, US Gamer
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Koji Igarashi Day in the Life, Polygon
- ↑ Castlevania's Koji Igarashi returns with new game, Gamasutra
- ↑ Castlevania Dungeon
- ↑ Chapel of Resonance
- ↑ Koji Igarashi Episode 3 - The Ess Gee Bee
- ↑ Nintendo Everything
- ↑ 
- ↑ Gamer Assault Weekly
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night at Wikipedia
- Development Update #76
- Official Boxart Designed By Mana Ikeda
- Bloodstained Ritual of the Night PC Beta Demo Full Playthrough All Secrets and Full Map 720p
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Release Date Announce
- Development Update #83
- Development Update #84
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Reviews on Steam]
- Bloodstained Is Goth Fun In An All-Too-Familiar Package
- Bloodstained premium DLC plans announced, angering some fans