When Koji Igarashi, godfather of the Metroidvania genre, announced plans for a crowdfunded spiritual successor to the acclaimed Castlevania franchise, the overwhelming support came in the form of more than $5.5 million in pledges, the most for a video game project at the time. The projected release date for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night back then was set for March 2017, and though many correctly predicted a delay common with most Kickstarter projects of its kind, few could have predicted a 2019 launch window.
Igarashi made an update to his Kickstarter campaign, citing a need to “raise the quality level” of the project after receiving feedback from beta testers. The second update was yet another heartbreak, as he announced the cancellation of the promised Playstation Vita version. “This decision is largely due to Sony’s plans to discontinue the Vita console, ending production of physical copies and stopping certain online store support features,” Igarashi said.
Though hardcore fans of niche titles still cling onto the comatose handheld, it’s no secret that Sony has officially pulled the plug on any future updates for the console. This makes it difficult for developers to justify investing any time and money into a dead system. The implications for this reach beyond just fan disappointment, however. Armature Studio, a Texas-based developer that was originally responsible for handling the Vita and Wii U ports of Bloodstained, had plans to release its code base to developers that may port games for these platforms in the future; the generous act was a result of Epic Games having never supported these two systems with Unreal Engine 4. Now, it seems unlikely – or even necessary – that this will happen, as both of these consoles represent failures for their respective companies.
Although it will have taken 2 years (hopefully) for Bloodstained to finally arrive, the care that Igarashi and 505 Games have obviously put into the title is similar to Nintendo’s pledge to never release unpolished first-party games, and is a philosophy that is both reassuring and respectable to gamers everywhere. The anticipated platformer should be well worth the wait.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will launch some time in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, macOS, and Linux.