Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Dominic Sacco

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is the most ambitious revamp yet for a franchise that stretches back to the mid-’80s and has been consistently decorated with critical garlands from day one.

Created by the Madrid-based Mercury Steam studio, and overseen by the legendary Kojima Productions team, the new game is a breath-taking epic and emotional adventure that will amaze and thrill devoted fans and newcomers.

“Castlevania is one of Konami’s longest running and most acclaimed series,” says Konami’s head of product planning Dave Cox.

“Starting back in the infancy of consoles, the game can be summed up in one short sentence – ‘man with whip fights the undead’. Over the course of 25 years the series has appeared on virtually every format available – from GameBoy through to PlayStation – and now it’s making its current gen debut.”

As well as a sweeping storyline, in-depth gameplay, mind-blowing 3D visuals and a wide array of weaponry, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow benefits from the A-list voiceover talents of Robert Carlyle, Natascha McKelhone and Patrick Stewart.

It is set in a ravaged Europe of the middle ages. The tormented souls of the dead are trapped on earth, unable to find peace. Inhuman creatures wreak havoc amidst a living nightmare. So far, so big picture. But soon, it gets personal. And that’s when the game begins.

CRACKING THE WHIP

Gabriel Belmont (Carlyle), part of the legendary Belmont clan, woven into Castlevania lore, witnesses the brutal slaying of his wife (McKelhone). He pledges revenge on those responsible, the mysterious group known as the Lords of Shadow.

He soon learns from his sole ally, Zobek (Stewart), that each of the Lords possesses a piece of a relic called The God Mask that can purify the world and bring back the dead.

As Gabriel, players battle to vanquish the three factions of the Lords of Shadow in a quest that takes them across over 50 landscapes and brings them face-to-face with over 45 different enemies, including gargantuan foes.

Cox adds: “There are roughly 20 hours of gameplay in Lords of Shadow, and it tells a stunning story, draws the player in and has an amazing variety of gameplay in it.

“We still have ‘a man with a whip fighting the undead’, but within a believable, and beautifully realised play area – and presentation levels that elevate it further.”

The diversity of gameplay matches the breadth of the story and variety of environments. There is combat and action as Gabriel cuts through his enemies, or selects silver daggers to kill werewolves or holy water to ward off vampires. In total there are over 40 combo attacks to learn and master throughout the course of the game, adding an element of customisation to Lords of Shadow.

Gabriel can also grow stronger from the use of the Light and Shadow magic elements. These are gained by collecting orbs left behind by conquered foes and then attributed either Light or Dark qualities – the former enhances his physical wellbeing, the latter bolsters his offensive capabilities.

Players will also need to show platforming skills and puzzling smarts as they struggle to topple all of the Lords of Shadow.

The Castlevania series has already secured its place in the gaming hall of fame. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow elevates it to new heights and is sure to be one of the highest profile and most acclaimed hits of Q4.

MONSTROUS MARKETING

Castlevania’s debut on current generation formats is being backed up by a suitably eclectic and high profile campaign…

TV

The TV campaign kicks off one week prior to launch with a prime time sponsorship on male entertainment channel Bravo, across several key shows including Dog the Bounty Hunter and Deadliest Warrior.

The TV ad launches one day before release on October 7th – on key young male-centric channels, such as E4, Dave, and Sky1. Konami will also have a strong presence on video-on-demand services for target audiences on Sky and Channel 4.
 
PR

The game has racked up a huge pre-launch awareness campaign with a structured release of assets running for the last nine months. It has had preview covers with Play and Games TM, and a review cover on PSM3.

The press has been universally positive towards the game, with reviews set to hit across all press sectors the week ahead of launch. There is also a strong campaign centred on the CVG site, with exclusive interviews, footage and features set to roll as the game runs up to launch.
 
Online

Online kicks off on September 27th across a range of key sites with various rich media formats, covering all major gaming sites and moving into movie and lifestyle sites for sci-fi and fantasy enthusiasts – delivering six million impacts.
 
Print

To support the plentiful editorial, Konami has a large advertising presence in all the official platform publications, and within a host of other key titles.

Other

The game has already been showcased to great success at Gamescom, and will appear at the Eurogamer Expo. There will also be a full-range of POS in-store to support Lords of Shadow release, as well as retail pods up and down the country.

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