Konami's 1997 release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the Sony PlayStation is one of the most fondly remembered entries in the franchise, but few people talk about its Japanese-exclusive Sega Saturn version released in 1998. Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya, the team at KCEN wanted to leave their mark on their Saturn port, so they included a secret Microsoft Word file on the disc in which they comment on the porting process, music development, making Maria a playable character, and much more. It's all in Japanese, but The Cutting Room Floor has translated it into English (and offers the original Japanese document as a downloadable file, too). It's an interesting read that shines some light on how it all works behind the scenes and begs you to be kind to the new monsters the team created. Here's what designer Yoshinori Suzuki had to say, for instance:
Thank you very much for buying our game.
Thinking back, we had our difficulties, but we were somehow able to pull things together in the end. Because the SS version is a little different from the PSX version, a variety of new elements were added to the game, so I believe that those who own the PSX version will be able to enjoy this one, too.
I'll tell you a little story from the developers' point of view. There's actually another version of Maria with a full set of graphics different from the one the player meets in the actual game. It ended up going unused.
It might've been neat if she had been used, though. Because she was a dark version of Maria, the opposite to the light version of Maria, her attacks and such would have been entirely different. Go ahead and imagine for yourselves what she might have been like. (Perhaps, if she'd appeared in the game, she'd have been called Black Maria?)
Feel free to write us a letter or something. In any case, enjoy the game!
We've come so far in terms of developers being able to speak about and take credit for their creations. In the olden days of the Atari 2600, developers weren't even allowed to take credit for their work due to management's fears that competing studios would plunder departments and hire away the best talent. During the Nintendo Entertainment System years, developers were listed in credits by odd pseudonyms such as "Bun Bun" or "Yuukichan's Papa" rather than their real names. The 16-bit years finally allowed developers proper credit on a larger scale, and of course today players sit through more credits than anyone ever thought possible as not only developers, but publishers, international localization staff, marketing departments, and the many other people involved with creating a AAA+ game are listed by name. At one time publishers didn't dare mention real names and now they practically credit people who just drove by the studio one day. That's certainly progress!