Ever since the Kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was unveiled in 2015, fans have been eagerly awaiting Koji Igarashi’s spiritual successor to titles like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night which he helped to develop during his time at Konami. While he may also be lending a hand to Revolvers8 (link here), a SEGA developed mobile game of the same name, for the last few years since the title’s rather successful Kickstarter campaign he has been predominantly focused on Bloodstained.
It was in a recent update to this Kickstarter campaign that a few new pieces of information regarding the game’s current state of development were laid bare for fans. Perhaps the most positive piece of news was the information that development on the title was, as Igarashi put it, ‘reaching its peak’, suggesting that it’s beginning to enter the home stretch for development as it aims for a 2019 release.
Be that as it may, it does come with some caveats. Not only is this much later than the originally planned March 2017 release (although such a delay is relatively common for a Kickstarter title), this also came alongside the news that the title would only release on Windows following the cancellation of the Mac and Linux release. Following the previous cancellation of the Wii U and Playstation Vita versions, 4 of the 7 platforms backers originally pledged for would no longer receive the title. Unlike when those versions were cancelled it also seems that there is no option for people who had been anticipating these versions to receive a refund, which further compounds this disappointment and has incited the anger of backers of these versions.
Ever since a glut of successful Kickstarter campaigns during 2015 which Bloodstained also found itself in, many have become sceptical about crowdfunding as a way to fund a game’s development. Title’s like Mighty No. 9, which received millions in funding before releasing a broken final product that betrayed the promises of the Kickstarter campaign, have made many sceptical about Kickstarter and crowdfunding as a whole. While many will be happy to see Bloodstained’s development reach its end, the long development cycle, increased scepticism have led to frustration at the game and its staff. Even though this isn’t the first time the team have informed backers that a version will no longer be developed, these could be understood due to the discontinuation of these platforms, which is definitely not the case with macOS and Linux, leading to understandable frustration despite justification being given in the update.
Bloodstained is set for a release in 2019 for Windows, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and these final stretches of development will be closely scrutinised by backers in the run up to release. At this point, it is a possible that even a successful launch may not alleviate their frustrations with Igarashi’s handling of this project, as the looming shadow of broken pledges hovers over the campaign.