The Internet is buzzing this afternoon with rumors of a new high definition Castlevania adventure for home consoles that's not only presented in old fashioned 2D, but also sports co-operative multiplayer. Screenshots of the alleged Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (notice that? Harmony of Despair, pulling the same trick as Dawn of Sorrow for the Nintendo DS) appeared at a now-redacted article at Never Know Tech and have been archived via NeoGAF, and from the look of things, this new title for the Microsoft Xbox 360 allows up to six players to assume the role of their favorite hero or heroine from the last handful of 2D Castlevania titles for handhelds and storm the castle with friends. Here's some of the since-removed article:
From what little we've seen of Castlevania HD, it's difficult to describe exactly what kind of Castlevania game this is most akin to. As you can tell from the screenshots, it's a 2D game using sprites instead of 3D polygons and looks very similar to the post-Symphony of the Night style Metroidvania GBA\DS games. You load into a game and can play with up to 6 friends on a single map, all at the same time. You're given a boss target that you must reach and destroy, helping your friends along the way to the same goal. Known playable characters at this point are Soma Cruz, Alucard, Jonathan Morris, Shanoa and Charlotte Aulin. We've only seen Soma, but we imagine each character will have it's own special abilities (think classes, like Team Fortress 2).
It drops you in with a wide camera angle where you're able to see most of the target area. It's not huge, so there wasn't much of an exploration factor. Clicking the right stick will change the viewing angle to the entire map (where you will see a teeny little Soma in the bottom left), or to the standard, close angle that we're all used to.
It's an intriguing idea, but would Konami really rely on upconverted DS sprites for the HD future? Those may well be placeholders, but I get the feeling that existing material is being recycled on the cheap. Longtime PTB readers know how much I adore proper spritework, but in the HD world I need something a little less blocky and jaggy. Still, it's all rumor and speculation short of an official announcement, so let's not dig too deeply into this until then. However, if this is a real project, I really hope that the Sony PlayStation 3 won't be left out of the fun.