Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 dev discusses troubled development, blames director for ‘mediocre’ game

Friday, 28th February 2014 09:56 GMT By Dave Cook

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 has received a mixed reaction from the press, prompting a developer of Mercury Steam to come forward and discuss the sequel’s development, and to place the blame with studio director Enric Alvarez, a man he claims is both “mean,” and bearing, “serious problems.”


The insight follows a string of middling Castlevania: lords of Shadow 2 reviews, and comes from the Meristation forums, by way of a user who is known for having direct contact with one Mercury Steam developer. The anonymous employee has expressed his distaste with the game’s development, and with Alvarez himself.

He explained that he experienced a degree of “hell” during Lords of Shadow 2 development, and stressed that Hideo Kojima actually had little to do with the first game. “He came by, set a seal, visited the studio, signed some things and that was it. He had even less to do with Mirror of Fate and LoS2,” they claimed.

“The vast majority of this team is aware that the game we’ve done is a real piece of shit that has nothing to do with the first one’s quality and production values,” he went on. “Nobody is surprised by the low reviews we’ve got.

“If there’s someone to blame here, that’s Enric Álvarez. He is the person who has led a broken development based on his personal criteria, completely overlooking programmers, designers and artists. Despite his nice look to the press, often considered as some sort of creative ‘visionary’ in the looks of David Cage and Molyneux, this guy has serious problems. He is a mean and naughty guy, and since the ‘success Lords of Shadows 1′ his ego has grown to the point of not even daring to say ‘hello’ when you meet him in the hallway.

“His distrust to his own workers is enormous. Most of the development team often found out features of the game through press news, rather than from the studio’s head – unbelievable. And there is no corporate culture here at all… this is just a handful of people working blindly and at the disposal of an alleged visionary.”

The employee added that mercury Steam’s internal structure is “archaic,” and that its founders have, “zero abilities for running a studio.” He also called the game’s art direction, “erratic and beheaded.” Quite damningly, he claimed that Mercury Steam’s “QA department is treated like cattle, with shameful wages and almost everyday bullying.”

He explained, “The studio’s signature engine (one with many flaws) was solely coded by two guys, one of them being a founder of the company and Enric’s confident. Access for the new programmers to the source code to update or refurbish the engine is denied, so things are still done in a 10-year-old fashion.”

“Often here newbie developers know more than their own bosses,” he stressed. “This structure only leads to a slow, messy and absurd development process, with the end result of Lords of Shadows 2 being a perfect example of what happens due to that.

“Absolutely every design idea has to be monitored, taken away and mutilated by Enric Álvarez. Several game designers have grown tired of this and have abandoned the studio.”

He revealed that since work on Lords of Shadow 2 wrapped, Mercury Steam, laid off 35 employees, and that more firings are expected. It is now feared that the studio’s future hangs in the balance as Konami is upset with the “mediocre,” game. “Expectations for our future are quite bad,” he said.

In closing the developer said, “And finally, because not everything is bad in here, I wanted to say that the real team behind this company is an incredible bunch of people. If all those guys who are not allowed to be promoted due to our Jurassic studio leads had the chance to set the course of the company, our future would be so bright.

“There’s just so much passion and talent here, more than I’ve ever seen anywhere else, but it’s completely held back. I really hope that those who read this understand what we’ve lived here. Someone has to say this so it is not lost in time after the game’s launch.”

What do you make of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, and the claims above?

We’ve asked Konami and producer Dave Cox for comment.

Via NeoGAF.



  1. FlyBoogy

    Call stupid(or troll or what ever you prefere) but I like Lords of Shadow 2 more than the first one

    #1 10 months ago
  2. FlyBoogy

    @FlyBoogy Call me* :D

    #2 10 months ago
  3. KAP


    I’ve been patiently waiting for Lords Of Shadow 2 for 3 long years and no bad press or low review scores will stop me from buying in later today but I must admit my hype has slightly lowered because of it.

    The first game to this day my favourite game of the last generation, so I’m glad to hear you say it’s as good as the first. I’m feeling more optimistic now.

    Thanx bro..

    #3 10 months ago
  4. The_Red

    This actually makes sense (Regardless of rumor / grain of salt / disgruntled employee) because there are many parts in LOS games that show some true talent behind the project, mixed with some seriously bad ideas that could only come for a egotistical designer / director who MUST enforce every single idea that comes to his mind without regard to the input from others.

    #4 10 months ago
  5. Mike W


    It’s really not as bad as the media made out to seem. Now don’t get me wrong there’s some parts thats annoying (but that’s in every game) however, there’s some pretty epic boss battles in there though.

    And they seemed to improve on everything that was wrong with the first game.

    #5 10 months ago
  6. Talkar

    I just finished the game, like an hour ago or so.
    And i think it is absolutely awesome!
    There are 2 major points of the game i have a problem with, everything else was stellar IMHO!
    The first and foremost is the horrendous “Stealth” mechanic. This is so poorly implemented i at times thought of dishonored, or splinter cell. As in, it isn’t even good enough to match those “stealth” games!
    I’ve got no idea why they implemented it, none, zero.
    The second point is that the first 3-4 hours or so are pretty damn boring. I had the same feeling with the original LOS, once you get past the first few hours, the game does become alot better! But let me put it like this, it wasn’t until 15 hours into the game i unlocked double jump.. Sooo yeah.. But overall i think it is a great game, if you like me can look past the prevously mentionend flaws. Because the boss fights are vastly improved compared to the original LOS, you can completely turn off both QTE’s and hints, which i would urge you to do.
    The environments in the game are simply breathtaking, which is aided by the fact that it isn’t divided into chapters, like the previous game.

    #6 10 months ago
  7. ij 44

    The vast majority of this team is aware that the game we’ve done is a real piece of shit that has nothing to do with the first one’s quality and production values

    I saw this.

    #7 10 months ago
  8. jon_

    Makes sense to me. The first one has his flaws on the gameplay but it was awesome in the art design and the storytelling.
    LOS 2 improved greatly the gameplay side but the story is plain stupid and inconsistent.
    Surprise when I finished the game and the first one to appear on the credits was Enric Alvarez as the writer.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. Shinji10TH

    Well, it’s a bit obvious that the game had a “stormy” development if we say how many additions have been made from the first game (Some that doesn’t fit the genre, like the stealth thing) which shows that there wasn’t a single vision for the game from Mercury Steam staff.

    But it’s really funny to see that the guy with the supposedly enormous ego is the one that I’ve never heard of in any news regarding Castlevania, since Dave Cox and Oscar Araujo were the ones that were always mentioned.

    #9 10 months ago
  10. RocknRolla

    Always someone bitching about this and that ffs… every game that has been released, nobody seems to be fucking pleased wtf? go and fucking make your own game then, or stop fucking gaming and bitching like a pussy??! I have never had any problems with any game I have had interest for ((Well GTA Online takes the fucking prize Woopty fucking Doo…)) , and I am talking about big ass games like Battlefield GTA and so on so fucking on!…

    People should Shut The Fuck up and enjoy what they have got for FUCKS sake? :)

    #10 10 months ago
  11. PSOCecil

    Judging by what I’ve seen and played of Lords of Shadow 2, and Mirror of Fate, it seems like LoS1 was a fluke. It’s and cutscenes were fantastic, and rather unique. While LoS2 opens with a “What is a man?” joke. Horrible.

    #11 10 months ago
  12. diego-rbb-93

    Terrible man. Im from Spain. Never saw that coming. Ive seen a lot of interviews with Mercury Steam and never felt anything like that.

    #12 10 months ago
  13. Tormenter

    This game is great.

    Screw the reviews, one of the best games I’ve played.. it has issues but what game doesn’t. I honestly don’t know what’s going on the heads of the reviewers because they’re not playing the same game I’m playing.

    It looks stunning, the story is interesting and well produced, it’s not innovative, but how many actually are? as for the combat, it’s great fun, it’s fast, responsive and full of enjoyable combos/moves etc.. I think it surpasses the original by a mile.

    As for the ‘stealth’.. THERE ISN’T ANY, it’s a fucking puzzle.. you have a situation where you have to get past guys and you have talents that allow you to do it, I haven’t had ANY trouble with those section yet, and that’s all you hear all this bitching about ‘WAA stealth’.. it’s just so stupid.. and to tank the game because of that.. CRIMINAL.

    If you’re going to give it a miss because of what some idiots have said about it, I GUARANTEE you’re doing yourself a dis-service.

    #13 10 months ago
  14. Tormenter


    Seriously mate, your judgement on this is all wrong. This is a good solid game, I’ve played the first also.. I prefer this by a country mile.

    #14 10 months ago
  15. Ainxo

    Not a rumor anymore: the story has been confirmed with additional sources by a spanish magazine:

    #15 10 months ago
  16. KAP


    I’m 6 hours in on LOS2 and honestly find this game incredible. The story, combat and gameplay is brill.
    This is why I can never work in the gaming industry, reviewing games. Because it seems reviewers are like fucking robots, robots on the convayor belt.. and its sad that most gamers listen to there shit.

    LOS2 is a must buy.

    #16 10 months ago
  17. Sublimeone

    Didn’t see this coming.
    To each its own. Some people like LOS2 some dislike it.

    I would have to agree with PSOCecil as well, in regards to saying LOS1 was a fluke, which I clearly believe so.

    I have seem quite a lot of the gameplay videos of LOS2. I will say this, the only thing that makes this title not a total train wreck it the boss battles and the excellent score by Oscar Araujo (best track – The Toy maker). Every thing else falls off from character development , story, pacing, stealth, collectibles, repeating boss dialogue and the hand holding (bats + tooltips) here is too much. If you have a keen eye you might even notice some chapters seemed just pasted in, like last minutes rush work, or the inverse where something was definitely taken out.

    About the Hideo K. comment from the staff, I thought that was all Konami’s doing, pulling a cloth over our eyes when it was first announced he was linked to the original title as a marketing strategy , only after the title was released it was revealed he relationship was just a mere consultancy and nothing more. I bet alot of people picked of the title because of the misconception he had a deeper involvement, when all we got was just a Kojima Productions logo at the start of the game and that was it. Well played Konami, Well played.

    Sad, this game could have been so much better, then again one can say that for a lot of things.

    #17 10 months ago
  18. Moonwalker1982

    I played the demo of this and absolutely loved it. Saw a few playthrough movies and again..looked great. My friend who is reviewing the game for our site is much further in and except for a few story things he loves it. Says in the early parts there is some ‘meh’ stuff but a bit later on it becomes fantastic.

    It’s 38 euros here this week, gonna pick it up in a few minutes now.

    #18 10 months ago
  19. Tormenter


    I’m all for opinions, god knows I have enough of my own.. but you haven’t even played the game yet you think having seen a few vids that qualifies you to write a big spiel how how inaqequate it is.. and at the same time trying to sound as if you actually know something?

    Yet it’s blatently obvious that there has to be something about the game because THOSE WHO ACTUALLY BOTHER THEIR ARSE TO PLAY THE GAME are generally on the positive side.

    Play the fucking game or STFU.

    Giez a brek!

    #19 10 months ago
  20. Sublimeone


    Hiya!! there,
    Yes! I haven’t played full retail game, but I did play the demo, which to degree is a representation of the game. Having said that, I have played all previous Castlevania titles, and from what I have played and seen, they all clearly surpass this even Curse of Darkness.

    #20 10 months ago
  21. solidrock82

    disappointed.. Should of waited on the bargain bin for this one. Had a lot of potential but this team dropped the ball and lost a consumer here for later purchases.

    #21 9 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.