Memory of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. The Spanish video game on the international board
Photo by RodrixAP (Author), Public Domain (License)
Today we want to make a retrospective article, a text related to one of the best Spanish-style video games of recent years: Castlevania Lords of Shadow. We all remember the moment when it was presented at E3, the most important video game fair in the world. Originally released under the name Lords of Shadow, it featured a very interesting project based on medieval fantasy with a gothic aesthetic. Japanese company Konami interpreted the approach they wanted to take towards a historical saga like Castlevania as too risky. Thanks to the mediation of Hideo Kojima, one of the leaders in electronic entertainment, Konami agreed to put it in this universe. Kojima is the creator of industrial masterpieces known to the general public such as Metal Gear Solid or Zone of the Enders. His role was embedded in that of a consultant and the Spanish company MercurySteam was responsible for the implementation of the project.
It wasn’t always easy for the Spaniards to be successful in the discipline they wanted to represent. There are great examples of triumphs and failures that have prompted many people to reinvent themselves. We all know the case of Pyro Studios, the best video game company in Spain throughout history, creators of titles such as Commandos. Over time, this company merged with Play Wireless to face new technological challenges in the form of smartphones and tablets. A case reminiscent of other Spaniards, like Ramón Colillas, a soccer player who, after suffering an injury, became one of the best poker players in our country.
The cast of MercurySteam was led by Enric Álvarez, although as mentioned earlier he had the support of Kojima and Dave Cox. The team consisted of a total of 60 professionals who, for a year and a half, fulfilled all the tasks that were part of the success of the game. Almost the only direct outside involvement was that of the voice actors, who brought the characters to life and highlighted the role of narrator Patrick Stewart, an actor widely known as Captain Picard in Star Trek or Professor Xavier in the X Movie saga .
The game’s approach was based on third-person action, with a similar proposition as in the God of War saga. The historical context, on the other hand, was fantastic, set in the 11th century and heavily influenced by the Middle Ages. The enemies were all sorts of fantastical creatures that were well present in the collective subconscious. Werewolves, giant spiders, trolls or all kinds of powerful mystical beings. One of the most interesting pretexts was the use of stages with platforms that added depth to the game. The combat system offered the possibility of creating a large number of combinations that made the work a very fun and accessible title. With a runtime of more than 20 hours, it was also above the average for titles with similar characteristics. Gabriel Belmont, an institution in the video game industry, is the protagonist we control. He is part of a group called the Brotherhood of Light, an order of knights dedicated to defending humans against outside threats. Gabriel follows his late wife’s advice to try to restore peace and destroy the Lords of Darkness.
The game was received very positively by the community and the specialized sector, highlighting above all its graphic presence, very careful and spectacular. Regarding the Metacritic site, a reference site if you want to analyze the reception of a work, it received an 85 in relation to the PS3 version and an 83 in relation to the Xbox version. Remember that the game was released in October 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3 and in August 2013 for PC. In 2014, a sequel to MercurySteam was also created, following in the footsteps of the story left to us by its predecessor.
A work to remember and repeat to enjoy one of the most powerful creations of the Spanish video game industry in recent years. When the right tools are at hand, talent does the rest.