There's a big part of the video game industry that a lot of gamers either don't know, or don't care to think about, and it's the time and effort that go into making videos. As a developer it's a very daunting task, and opportunities can slip through your fingers at a moment's notice, for reasons completely unbeknownst to you. These are all things that "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" Producer David Cox knows all too well, because two and a half years ago, he had to fight to keep his game alive.
"Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" wasn't always the hulking 50 level reboot of a beloved franchise; everything needs to begin somewhere, and most games start as proposals and sketches. Early on in the development stage of "Lords of Shadow," when it was mostly just a concept of a "more adult, gritty, much more mature" direction for a "Castlevania" game, Cox and his team ran into some resistance from the senior management who didn't really understand what they were trying to accomplish with the title.
"At one point I remember when we were told to stop. Project canceled. And we said, 'Well we've created a demo with the engine, can we at least come and show that?' They were very reluctant and I said, 'Look, I'm going to fly on a plane to L.A. to meet with senior management, and I'm going to show this. If you say stop, fine.' It was like really make or break. I'll never forget, I flew out, I showed the video, and they said ok, carry on, go to prototype. So we went to prototype, and it was the prototype that really changed peoples' minds in Japanese senior management when they actually saw and actually played it and said 'Okay, okay. This is great.' At that point that's when everything kind of happened. "
By "everything kind of happened" what he is referring to is the point at which "Metal Gear" creator Hideo Kojima came on board to offer assistance with the game, and, in turn, "opened a few doors" for the team. Cox mentioned that after he presented the prototype in Japan, Kojima came up to him to him and said he wanted to help, and do whatever he could. Upon Cox's return to Spain, he was notified that they had the go-ahead, and Kojima-san was on his way to the studio. "After that it was happy days," said Cox.
Looking at a near final version of "Lords of Shadow" it's hard to understand just how Konami could pull the plug on a game like this before a prototype had even been produced, but Cox went on to explain:
"At that point it was pretty much just PowerPoint and Word docs with some drawings in it, and its really hard for people to really understand what you're going to do with a project when that's all they've got in front of them. The proof is really in the pudding, when you start to see visually where you're going to take it.
"The first thing we did was Simon Belmont walking out of a castle...and it showed the atmosphere. It showed the gothic art. It slightly showed off Mercury Steam's engine...they had their own technology and it had kind of a distinct look to it, almost like a painting. That's something that's very unique to their engine, and when we showed that, they said, 'Okay, go to prototype.'"
Hardcore "Castlevania" fans may want to keep their fingers crossed to see Mercury Steam's prototype version of Simon Belmont, as Cox seemed to really hope that it is released in the future as part of a "making of," even though there are no plans in place to do so yet.