It’s been a hot minute since any Bloodstained updates have been given. Five years have passed since the game’s announcement and successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised over five million dollars. In 2018, Castlevania fans finally got a taste of what Koji Igarashi had planned for what would be known as the series’s spiritual successor since his departure from Konami. Bloodstained‘s 8-bit style companion prologue, Curse of the Moon, was released. Although short, (about 2-5 hours) it served as a satisfying appetizer for the main game, Ritual of the Night, which was released a year later.
Following an Igarashi-style Castlevania, there is always a demonic castle which the hero infiltrates to platform their way across puzzles, slay demons, and use newly gained abilities from bosses to access previous closed-off areas, leading up to multiple endings.
Since then, there have been numerous updates and patches to Ritual of the Night (primarily for the Nintendo Switch version), some promised Kickstarter features still yet to arrive, and unfortunately, an anticipated stretch goal reward which was withdrawn. That stretch goal was Roguelike Mode, in which the castle would have been recreated at the start of a new game with a different layout so players could experience a new dungeon each time they played the game. However, in an update on Kickstarter, Igarashi stated that the code they had written for Roguelike Mode was done in early development, and is no longer compatible with the current game.
To compromise, a new Randomizer Mode was implemented. In it, players can customize a run of the game across eight different categories of variables, such as enemy drops, treasure chest items, the number of save/warp rooms, side quest goals, or shard abilities. Players can endure full chaos, or only just add a dash of spice to keep them on their toes.
Randomizer Mode launched alongside Zangetsu Mode earlier this May, and Boss Revenge Mode is still in development.
Between every Ritual of the Night patch, Igarashi and ArtPlay have been working on a secret side project. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 has been announced. The game will serve as a direct sequel to Curse of the Moon, placing it between the events of the two already-released titles. Just how expansive the sequel will be is unclear, but given that it will be a digital-only release might say a single playthrough won’t be very long, much like the original. Have a look at the trailer below.
Koji Igarashi has cited that Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is one of his favorites in the entire franchise, and the influence of it on Curse of the Moon 2 is as vibrant as moonlight. Both games feature the ability to switch between playable characters at any moment on the map, heavier uses of magic and ranged weaponry, and a classic 8-bit aesthetic. Each character will have their own health bar, increasing player survivability as they recruit party members, as well as their own unique abilities to help players take different paths and unlocked hidden items.
The katana-wielding samurai, Zangetsu returns with, to a bit of surprise, Dominique, whom we saw in Ritual of the Night. The developers have traded her nun appearance for that of a spear-twirling exorcist capable of offensive magic, and even healing spells. New characters include the gun-slinger, Robert, and magic armor pilot, Hachi.
Also shown were six bosses, including the return of Vepar, the first boss fought in Ritual of the Night. Lavamandra is possibly giving a little nod to Salamander from Castlevania: Dracula X, while Gladiator Dozer could be seen as a parallel to the Phantom Train from Final Fantasy VI.
Lastly, announced on the game’s website were multiple endings as well as two different play styles. Classic Mode will resemble retro-style game difficulty with stock lives, knock-back damage, pitfall deaths, etc. Casual Mode will be more forgiving, with unlimited lives and no knock-backs.
Very little about the plot has been shown and a release date is currently unknown. However, Curse of the Moon 2 has been announced for digital release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. Be sure to check back with J-List for new updates on the Bloodstained franchise in the future.