The Castlevania video game franchise is one of gaming's most revered properties. Debuting in 1986 and spanning a variety of different consoles, Castlevania is one of the few gaming franchises that has managed to stay fresh while also sticking to the core values and themes that made the series so popular in the first place. Given its popularity, there has naturally been talk over a film adaptation in recent years but ultimately that never came to fruition.
As such, the announcement that Castlevania is to be adapted into an animated series was met with no small amount of excitement and yesterday it was confirmed that the series will see the light of day this year via Netflix. The press release stated that the project is to be written by Warren Ellis and produced by Adi Shankar, Kevin Kolde and Fred Seibert alongside Ellis himself, with Frederator Studios heading up the creative side of things. The series will seemingly be based on the 1989 NES game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and will be distinctly mature in content.
In an interview with Collider, producer Adi Shankar has been speaking about what Castlevania fans will be able to expect from the show, hinting that there may be a familiar feel. Shankar states:
"The show has a Game of Thrones vibe to it... I’m personally guaranteeing that this is going to be the best f**king video game adaptation ever made to date … I’ve seen it, and it’s f**king amazing."
The producer also claimed that the project has been free from the hassle of outside interference and the bureaucracy of writers' room meetings, claiming that the show is entirely written by Warren Ellis.
It's certainly reassuring to see how much faith Adi Shankar has in the Castlevania adaptation and also that the producer is well aware of the pitfalls many videogame-to-screen adaptations fall into. Fans will also be delighted to hear that the Castlevania series won't be shirking on the violence and blood. Mature content is a hallmark of the Castlevania series and if the animation was heavily sanitized then the show would run the risk of both alienating long-time fans and moving too far away from the source material.
Shankar's Game of Thrones comment may elicit a more mixed response, however. Aside from the medieval-style settings and links to the world of fantasy, the Castlevania and Game of Thrones franchises have precious little in common. The former is about a young vampire hunter attempting to take out Dracula and restore his family's honor, whereas Game of Thrones is far more political in nature, exploring the topics of allegiances and power and, ultimately, proving why CGI dragons are so cool.
Of course, it's likely that this comment was made mostly in relation to the series' mature content and aesthetic properties: two areas in which both franchises cross over. Moreover, Game of Thrones is arguably the most popular television series on the planet right now and a prime example of a TV adaptation - albeit from books rather than games - that is loved by fans of the source material despite not being entirely faithful. As such, having a "Game of Thrones vibe" is surely no bad thing.
Castlevania season one is slated to premiere on Netflix in 2017 and season two in 2018.