Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night Developers Deliver A Lot Of Bad News After Months Of Silence

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night Developers Deliver A Lot Of Bad News After Months Of Silence
Credit: PlayStation via YouTube

We’ve heard the infinite warnings for purchasing a game in early access, but it’s rare to hear warnings about a game that has already been successfully released, and have announced upcoming content.  Yet that’s exactly what has happened with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and fans of the title are becoming furious at the development studio ArtPlay.

While ArtPlay has released very little in terms of communication with their fans across all platforms (the easiest/only way to learn about the title is to watch their Kickstarter page), people have started wondering what was going on behind the scenes that weren’t being told to fans.  The Kickstarter for Bloodstained did amazingly well, with $5.5 million raised total; the game, once released almost three years past the originally planned release date of March 2017, enjoyed time spent on the Steam platforms Best Selling list for over a week when it finally arrived in June of 2019.  It’s also received fame and fortune from the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 fans.

On steam, the title is one of the few with 95% recommended out of a decent 13,895 users.

Yet despite all of this, Koji Igarashi himself has delivered brutal news to fans of the game; news that seems to come from nowhere, with little build-up or explanation.  It’s quite befuddling, considering how many titles were moved by the studio, and it’s overwhelming support that it’s received on every platform it launches to (again, sans Nintendo Switch which still suffers from issues).

We’ll start with the good news: content parity has been (relatively) achieved between PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch.  ArtPlay notes that there is still work to do in terms of bringing the Nintendo Switch’ performance up to par, but it’s currently being announced as ‘good enough’ for the studio to begin working on content that will come to all platforms.  The Nintendo Switch version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will continue to receive updates.

The roguelike version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been completely canceled.  It was added as a $5 million milestone in the Kickstarter and was a driving force in many picking up the title.  The official reasoning given by ArtPlay is that the game code is not compatible with Roguelikes, which seems a bit off as it was offered in the Kickstarter that was almost half a decade ago, but c’est la vie when it comes to ambitious goals.

Instead of a roguelike version of Bloodstained, players will receive a ‘randomizer’ game mode for free when the Zangetsu character is delivered.  The ‘randomizer’ game mode will feature the story campaign, with eight parameters that can be slightly altered to change how the game plays out.  Equipment necessary to progress through the game will likely not be randomized, as it would soft-lock players out of continuing through the castle.  In the screenshots that ArtPlay offered, the enemies did not seem to be randomized along with equipment, bringing some very real concerns about what could possibly be going on in the studio.

ArtPlay was relatively specific about what the Roguelike playthrough would look like, with a randomly generated castle to explore and fight through, much like Rogue Legacy.  The sudden loss of this selling point has frustrated both backers and players, as it didn’t seem like the current castle would be the one used in its entirety.  Nonetheless, it has officially been cut and is unlikely to return.  ArtPlay apologized for the misdirection in their Kickstarter update.

Boss Revenge mode, where players can play through the campaign as one of many bosses, has also been delayed.  It will arrive after the upcoming content (which has no planned release date) featuring Zangetsu and the ‘randomizer’ game mode.  Unfortunate news for fans that were looking forward to stepping into the shoes of one of many of the in-game bosses to play through Bloodstained with.  At this rate, there are murmurs that the Boss Revenge mode will be inevitably canceled. as well, although there is no supporting documentation of that claim.

Now, however, fans are taking a hard look at all of the stretch goals that ArtPlay promised, and wondering what’s on the chopping block next.