As TheFeed's Brian Leahy noted in his excellent coverage of the Konami press conference, Kojima Productions is working on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Lots of people are thrilled that Kojima Productions has been tasked by Konami to make a new Castlevania game. I'm not one of those of people. Initially, the news pissed me off. Later that day, it made me sad. To me, it's a slap in the face to Koji Igarashi (a.k.a. IGA), longtime producer and director of the series.
Before I keep going, I have to disclose that I'm a huge IGA fan. Symphony of the Night was one of my favorite games for the original PlayStation. His Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS Castlevania games were fantastic. He's been very nice to me when I've met him and we've rocked a few karaoke rooms in Tokyo together. Having said that, I know that his PlayStation 2 games weren't very good. A lot of people think that IGA is just much better at 2D than 3D, but I don't think that's the case. I don't think he's ever gotten a proper budget for a 3D Castlevania title.
On paper, it's easy to see why Konami went with Kojima. The Castlevania franchise has been floundering on home consoles. Kojima is, by far, the best thing Konami has going. Getting his team to resuscitate a dying franchise makes sense. To me, it would have made more sense for Konami to give IGA a real shot (with a real budget) at making a next-gen Castlevania.
There's a very good chance that Lords of Shadow will be a good game (or better). This will make it look like Kojima's team succeeded where IGA's failed. That will piss me off royally. I'd bet a large amount of money that the budget for this game will end up being much bigger than anything IGA had to work with for his PS2 titles. An industry friend surmised that the budget will end up being at least four times than what was given to IGA. Both Kojima and IGA have talented teams, but it's much easier to make a good game if you have more money. Kojima Productions will have more money and will surely come up with something better than IGA's 3D efforts, but it will be because of a bigger budget, not (necessarily) superior talent.
To me it just seems immensely disrespectful for Konami to hand over IGA's "baby" to another team and put it in a much better position to succeed. I guarantee you that IGA would come up with something brilliant if he had a Kojima-like budget. There's no doubt in my mind. Maybe IGA is cool with all this, maybe he's not. I have no idea at the moment. What I do know is that Konami is making him look like a chump and it sucks.