Former Konami employees discuss the work of the elusive Castlevania creator

Photo: Nintendo Live / Damian McFerran

The creator of Castlevania, Hitoshi Akamatsu, is someone who is difficult to track down. Despite creating one of Konami’s most popular franchises, the director of the three major NES/Famicom games has disappeared from the industry. Akamatsu is never inclined to give interviews even in the day, he is shrouded in mystery.

However, in the latest issue of Wireframe magazine, the team was able to trace the author’s life and work, as well as interview some of the employees who worked with him at Konami and beyond. We’ve taken a few snippets from issue #62, but we highly encourage you to check out the entire article and the entire magazine for some great insights into the game industry, past and presents.

Thanks to the efforts of those at Wireframe, we now have a much more comprehensive picture of Akamatsu credits. While we already know that he worked on The Goonies II as a director and as a programmer on the unrecognizable Metal Gear sequel, snake revengeFew other projects were known until now.

One person Wireframe spoke to was a former Konami producer, Masahiro Inoue. It was revealed that Akamatsu worked on Finalizer – Ultra Transformationwhich was launched in Japanese arcades in 1985, as an uncertified programmer.

Masahiro Inoue is a former producer who worked at Konami on arcade games such as Gyruss, Crime Fighters, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He first met Akamatsu in 1983 at the original Konami headquarters in Osaka, where they were both working on arcade games, and was able to give us more information about the mysterious developer. According to Inoue, for example, before Akamatsu worked at Castlevania, he was working on a game called Finalizer – Super Transformation, a vertical shooter game released in Japanese arcades in December 1985. This makes Finalizer the oldest title we know about Akamatsu’s work in Konami .

While we don’t know if Akamatsu worked on anything between Finalizer and Castlevania, we do know how well he worked on the classic NES title thanks to tweets from Sonna Yuumi, organized by shmuplations and summed up in 2019:

After the release of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, and its disappointing sales in comparison to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, head over to Konami’s arcade section, helping out with this side-scrolling arcade game. sudden attackArcade 1992 beat them Asterix.

After the French comic book-inspired game, Akamatsu was supposed to be working on another arcade game, hello dunkHowever, co-director Masaaki Kukino confirmed that he left the project halfway through production.

It’s clear from our conversations with the former employees, that he ran into difficulties when he was back in the Konami Arcade division. As Kukino told us: “I used to respect him when [we] I worked on the same team, because of what he and the Castlevania team had accomplished and because he had been in the field two years more than I had. But as the development progressed, I realized that he wasn’t fit to be a team captain because he couldn’t decide on anything. Certified as a Director of [Astérix] The game that he and I collaborated on, but in fact, I’m the one who made all the decisions and ran the game.”

Akamatsu has worked on two more games after that but has since left the industry. Wireframe has filled a lot of voids in the Castlevania director’s history, but if anything else, it remains to be seen. We haven’t mentioned all the games Castlevania’s father worked on here, but the amount Akamatsu funnels between projects sheds some light on his turbulent time at Konami.

You can download Wireframe Issue 62 at the link below. If you’ve tried any of the games Akamatsu worked on in Japanese arcades (or other methods), let us know!

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