Former Konami employee discusses Castlevania Elusive creator’s work

Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

Maker Castlevania, Hitoshi Akamatsu, is a celebrity that is hard to track down. Despite creating one of Konami’s most popular franchises, the director of the three main NES/Famicom games has disappeared from the industry. Never inclined to interview even during the day, Akamatsu is shrouded in a mystery.

However, in The latest issue of Wireframe magazine, the team has managed to follow the life and works of the creator, as well as interview some of the staff who have worked with him at Konami and beyond. We’ve included some excerpts from Issue 62, but we strongly encourage you to check out the full article and the magazine as a whole for some fascinating insights into the game industry, its past, and the past. present.

Thanks to the efforts of the folks at Wireframe, we now have a more complete picture of Akamatsu’s credits. While we already know he worked Goonies II as a director and as a programmer on Metal gears next part, Snake’s Revengevery few other projects are known so far.

One person Wireframe spoke to was former producer at Konami, Masahiro Inoue. He revealed that Akamatsu worked on Finalizer – Super Transformationdebuted in Japan in 1985, as an unaccredited programmer.

Masahiro Inoue is a former producer who worked at Konami on video games like Gyruss, Crime Fighters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He first met Akamatsu in 1983 at Konami’s original headquarters in Osaka, where both were working on arcade games and could give us a little more info on the secret developer. hidden. According to Inoue, for example, before Akamatsu made Castlevania, he was working on a game called Finalizer – Super Transformation, a vertical shooter that was released in Japanese video games in December of 1985. This makes Finalizer the first game we know of Akamatsu worked at Konami.

While we don’t know if Akamatsu has worked on anything between Finalizer and Castlevania, we do know the extent of his work on the classic NES title thanks to tweets from Sonna Yuumi, which shmuplations organized and we have summed it up in 2019:

After release Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curseand its disappointing sales when compared to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtleshe moved to Konami’s arcade division where he supported side-scrolling arcade games Surprise attackand the video game of 1992 beat them Asterix.

After the French comic-inspired game, Akamatsu is said to be working on another arcade game, Slam dunkbut co-director Masaaki Kukino confirmed that he dropped the project midway through production.

However, it was clear from our conversations with former employees that he had difficulty rejoining Konami’s video game division. As Kukino told us: “I respect him when [we] worked on the same team, because of what he and the Castlevania team accomplished and because he’s been in the business for two years longer than me. But as the development progressed, I realized he was unfit to be the team leader because he couldn’t decide anything. He is credited as the director on [Astérix] the game he and I play together, but in reality it’s me who really makes all the decisions and directs the game.”

Akamatsu worked on two other games after that but has since left the industry. Wireframe has filled in a lot of gaps in the Castlevania director’s history, but if anything else, it remains to be seen. We haven’t covered all the games Castlevania’s creator has worked on here yet, but the amount of Akamatsu switching between projects sheds some light on his tumultuous time at Konami.

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

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