Castlevania is in my top three videogame franchises of all time, easily. Right now, Komani is doing nothing with it. Regular Castlevania director Koji Igarashi was unsatisfied with this state of affairs, which is why so he crowdfunded the Bloodstained franchise — his avenue to make new Castlevania games in all but name.
So far, there are three games under the Bloodstained banner, but only one in Igarashi’s characteristic metroidvania style. That game was Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and at the time was the most successful videogame Kickstarter ever. A sequel, if not a whole franchise, seems likely.
I’m going to make some predictions. I think it will be interesting (for me at least) to see, if and when Bloodstained 2 is revealed, how close I am to correct. Perhaps you will find these speculations interesting, too.
Before I start, know that I will make lots of comparisons to Castlevania, but I don’t want to imply that I think Iga and Artplay should simply follow the historical Castlevania blueprint. I don’t think they should, I don’t think they will, and I would even say they’ve done a pretty good job of building an original lore already, even if it is obviously done with the intention of having a Castlevania equivalent.
However, I think we can definitely get some clues about what the plan for the future Bloodstained universe might be, by understanding it’s connections to the previous franchise. And I think the best place to start is with Zangetsu.
The Future of Zangetsu/Zangetsuto
The signature weapon of the Castlevania series is the Vampire Killer whip, the only weapon that can kill Dracula. The equivalent in Bloodstained is the Zangetsuto katana, the only weapon that can kill Gremory. The Vampire Killer is only wielded by members of the Belmont family, and the Zangetsuto has a similar rule. It’s not a bloodline thing, but a title: if you are the warrior that wields the Zangetsuto, you are known as Zangetsu.
I think this little bit of lore gives us a massive clue as to how things will progress in the Bloodstained universe.
The Zangetsu we meet in Ritual of the Night will not be the only Zangetsu, but will be just the first that we have met, a member of a line of Zangetsu warriors that may extend into the past and future and whom we may continue to meet more of the longer the Bloodstained series continues.
The Zangetsus will be the Belmonts of the Bloodstained franchise. I think the use of red in Zangetsu’s design is a reference to this, as Simon Belmont was also commonly portrayed with red armor or a red coat in laster interpretations.
The Zangestuto will be the Vampire Killer of the Bloodstained franchise. It is the weapon needed to put the demon threats to rest, and will be passed from hero to hero through the ages.
In future Bloodstained installments, I can Zangetsus from various backgrounds, with both female and male versions of this warrior. Some will be side-characters, as Zangetsu was in Ritual of the Night, and protagonists, as in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon.
They may be family members (as Trevor and Simon Belmost were), or the mantle may be picked up by characters who have no familial relation. It may play into mysteries in the story, where a character who did not seem have any connection to the Zangestsus is later revealed to be one (Julius from Aria of Sorrow would be a good comparison).
And, of course, every time a Zangetsu shows up the Zangetsuto, and Gremory, will be close by.
In the next part I will be talking more about the villains of each franchise, starting with the similarities between Gremory and Death.