Former Konami employees discuss the work of the creator of Elusive Castlevania

Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

The creator of Castlevania, Hitoshi Akamatsu, is notorious for being hard to find. Despite creating one of Konami’s most famous franchises, the director of three major NES/Famicom games has all but disappeared from the industry. Never inclined to interview even in those days, Akamatsu is shrouded in mystery.

However, in latest issue of Wireframe magazine, the team was able to trace the life and work of the creator, as well as interview some of the employees who worked with him at Konami and beyond. We’ve taken a few excerpts from issue 62, but we strongly encourage you to read the entire article and magazine for interesting insights into the gaming industry, past and present.

Thanks to the efforts of the Wireframe staff, we now have a more complete picture of Akamatsu’s accomplishments. Though we already know he worked on The Goonies 2 as director and programmer on the non-canon Metal Gear sequel. snake revengeso far, several other projects have been known.

One of Wireframe’s interlocutors was former Konami producer Masahiro Inoue. He said that Akamatsu was working on Finalizer – Super transformationwhich was launched in Japanese slot machines in 1985 as an unregistered programmer.

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

While we don’t know if Akamatsu worked on anything between Finalizer and Castlevania, we do know the extent of his work on the classic NES game thanks to tweets by Sonna Yumi, who mixing organized and summed up back in 2019:

After the release of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and its disappointing sales compared to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he moved to Konami’s arcade division, where he helped on a side-scrolling arcade game. surprise attackand the arcade beat ’em up from 1992. Asterix.

Following the French comics inspired game, Akamatsu had to work on another arcade game, slam dunkbut co-director Masaaki Kukino confirmed that he left the project halfway through production.

However, it is clear from our conversations with former employees that he had difficulties when he returned to Konami’s arcade division. As Kukino told us: “I respected him when [we] worked on the same team because of what he and the Castlevania team had achieved and because he had been in the business two years longer than me. But during development, I realized that he was not suitable for the role of team leader, because he could not decide anything. He is considered the director [Astérix] a game that he and I teamed up for, but really I’m the one who really made all the decisions and ran the game.”

After that, Akamatsu worked on two more games, but has since retired from the industry. Wireframe has filled in a lot of gaps in the Castlevania director’s story, but whether there’s more to it remains to be seen. We haven’t listed every game Castlevania’s father worked on here, but the amount Akamatsu switched between projects sheds some light on his turbulent time at Konami.

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

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