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Bloodstained's designers had to defeat the bosses they made without taking a hit

(Image credit: 505 Games)

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has its fair share of tricky boss battles but, as Malindy notes in her Bloodstained review, they're all satisfying scraps where you'll win by studying the boss, though a bit of a luck helps. According studio boss and Castlevania vet Koji Igarashi, the team took extra steps to keep the fights fair. 

Whenever someone designed a boss, they had to prove there was a way to defeat it, no matter the weapon or difficulty, without being damaged. It's a bit like not being able to upload a Mario Maker level unless you can finish it yourself.

"The developer who creates the boss must beat their own boss without taking a hit and only using a dagger," Igarashi told Gamasutra. "We almost didn't make it."

Igarashi added that it's a "golden rule" that the team follows, but trying to do it again would be a tall order. He still wanted the battles to be tough and for the threat of death to be real, but by removing unfair enemy attacks it's more likely a player will be happy to attempt the fight again. 

The difficulty ends up being just right, so it's not a bad place to look if you're thinking of dipping your toes into the world of Metroidvanias, but it probably appeals more to the crowd wanting a throwback. It's comfortingly familiar, but maybe too familiar. Igarashi tried to keep things as close to Castlevania as possible, something traditional for fans of the old games to return to. 

"The approach was very similar in terms of just the design," he said. "[H]ow the game felt was more important than challenging new ideas so it was important to keep the approach similar."

While the designers might have been able to pull it off, I don't think I'm quite up to the challenge of stabbing every boss with daggers and somehow, miraculously, not getting hit once. It's reassuring to know it's possible, though, even if I'm never going to bother trying. 

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.