Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2010’s imaginative, and successful, reboot came out this Tuesday and critics are raving that Dracula… kind of sucks.
Awash in a bloodbath of mediocre scores, one anonymous MercurySteam developer has come forward with some decently scathing remarks hurled at the studio’s troubled management in the hopes of explaining why Dracula’s latest bites (all right, all right, no more puns).
Lobbying their complaints through a user on a Meristation forum, the unnamed employee confessed that he went through his own personal “Hell” during the sequel’s development, fitted with hot coals of “shameful wages” and “everyday bullying.” And who oversaw this pit of torment?
“If there’s someone to blame here, that’s Enric Álvarez,” co-founder and owner of MercurySteam. “He is the person who has led a broken development based on his personal criteria, completely overlooking programmers, designers and artists.”
The employee goes on to lambaste Alvarez, stating that the studio director’s ego inflated after the first Lords of Shadow’s success, to the point where he wouldn’t greet lowly team members he’d pass by in the hall. A general mistrust of his own workers was intimated, as “most of the development team often found out features of the game through press news, rather than from the studio’s head.”
The employee also claims the studio’s internal structure was “archaic,” citing MercurySteam’s flawed engine as a key example. “Access for the new programmers to the source code to update or refurbish the engine is denied, so things are still done in a 10-year-old fashion.”
New hires supposedly knew even more than the bosses that hired them on, leading to a fractured, almost chaotic dynamic behind-the-scenes. “This structure only leads to a slow, messy and absurd development process, with the end result of Lords of Shadow 2 being a perfect example of what happens due to that.”
Despite his damning comments, the unnamed employee made sure not to disparage his fellow team members, saying that he hasn’t seen such passion and talent in a group, though their potential is forever marred at MercurySteam under the current regime. “If all those guys who are not allowed to be promoted due to our Jurassic studio leads had the chance to set the course of the company, our future would be so bright,” he said.
That future, unfortunately, may be in trouble. 35 employees were laid off after Lords of Shadow 2 went gold, according to this source, and more firings are on the table, especially given Konami’s alleged dissatisfaction over the final product.
“The vast majority of this team is aware that the game we’ve done is a real piece of shit that has nothing to do with the first one’s quality and production values… Nobody is surprised by the low reviews we’ve got.”
[My two cents on the issue follow beneath the break.]
Lords of Shadow 2 is Nearly Upon Us
Go ahead, revel in the next-gen and its succinct lack of titles to digest right now. The current generation still has some fight in it… or should I say bite?
MercurySteam’s imaginative and grandiose reconstruction of Castlevania lore is coming to a close next month. It’s bittersweet for me – though I crave a satisfying conclusion to the Lords of Shadow mythos, it means Mercury’s brief tenure on the franchise is at an end.
But it looks like they want to go out on a huge bang. The campaign, which pits Dracula’s fight against Satan in the (rustically) modern day, is promised to clock in near twenty-four hours. Gabriel’s armory has been expanded to include the life consuming Void Sword and the powerfully destructive Chaos Claws… as well as the ability to transform into a Smaug-caliber dragon. That’s right. You become that wickedly metal dragon up above.
All good things come to an end. And though Lords of Shadow still hasn’t jived with 2D purists in the fanbase (and probably never will), this sprawling, beautifully conceived reboot has definitely been a good thing. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 releases February 28th on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Slated for February 2014
First projected for this Winter, MercurySteam’s final act in their critically acclaimed ’Vania saga, Lords of Shadow 2, will make its way to stores February 25th, 2014.
Following the trials of the holy warrior once known as Gabriel Belmont, now the accursed Dracul, the ultimate bastion of darkness, players will face hell’s best and worst in retaliation to Satan’s surgical strike on the mortal coil.
If the date push is too much to bare – and it truly is – Konami and MercurySteam will be dropping an updated HD version of MIrror of Fate onto Xbox Live and PSN this Halloween. Serving as a bridge between the first and second LoS titles, the 2.5D game also merges the combat and storytelling of the newer titles with the side-scrolling, exploratory gameplay that made the original Castlevania’s widespread successes.
And if you’re still completely unitiated to the reboot legacy by February, the 25th also brings the Lords of Shadow Collection, gathering 2010’s original game along with its two DLC add-on’s as well as Mirror of Fate HD.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2’s Trailer Will Indeed Melt Your Face
Konami’s now annual pre-E3 presser – all the cool kids are doing it these days – brought with it…Christ, how do I not fanboy all over this post? Basically, they dropped one of the greatest trailers I’ve ever glued my eyes to for Lords of Shadow 2.
Not just one of the “greatest video game trailers” I’ve seen. No, no, sir. I had more than shivers dancing up my spine; I had butterflies colliding into each other inside my stomach. The chord it strikes, the atmosphere it brings, the pained, melodic notes slowly swaying in the background…
It’s all so…oh, hell, man. Just watch it here. Once your mind is blown to shreds, you try to keep a coherent string of thoughts.
Billed as the absolute final chapter in the Lords of Shadow saga, which began with 2010’s jaw-dropping reboot and continued on in the much maligned but honestly underrated Mirror of Fate (3DS), Gabriel Belmont’s story looks to break a norm set by other monolithic video game franchises: it seems to actually have finality.
Konami and MercurySteam are aiming Lords of Shadow 2 for a Winter release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Above: Someone’s candid snapshot of Lords of Shadow 2 in action. It’s been so damn long since we heard anything regarding the game, I thought I dreamed that E3 announcement.