PC Gamer recently chatted with Luca Galante, the sole developer behind the indie hit Vampire Survivors. During the conversation, I asked about a brief initial controversy, which exploded and then disappeared almost as quickly: some people accused the game of going too far in its homage to Castlevania, and even that certain sprites were a direct rip-off.
“I had done my homework,” says Galante. “So even before publishing I checked all the sprites, specifically to make sure there weren’t, you know, ripped from Castlevania because they came from an asset pack. And that was fine. Honestly, there was nothing like a copy – necklace.”
The problem was that while Galante was focused on the sprites not being rip-offs, some of them were clearly “inspired” by the Konami series: and, as he realized, they probably went too far.
“The thing is, of course, some things were very Castlevania-like, so some people were really upset about that fact and were 100% sure that the sprites were stolen, or somehow they were taken down and repurposed, like resized or something. so. so. I wish it were so easy to make and sell art!”
Galante decided that before things got out of hand, he would simply change the sprites people were angry about. “I had a really hard time finding artists who could emulate the style of that asset pack [used originally]not emulating Castlevania, because even if you put the art styles side by side, you’ll notice that there are a lot of differences: how Castlevania doesn’t use as many colors and has that thick outline for example.
“Anyway: I found some artists who are helping to replace even things that are a little too close to the reference. I also left some things that, you know, there are some who will complain about the water icon. Sorry, but the little blue bottle will stay there.”
Vampire Survivors are worth a lookand for me the Castlevania homage is a selling point rather than something to piss off (and it’s not like Konami gives us much to cheer us up).