A Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 developer has come forward to confirm parts of yesterday’s report that development of the Mercury Steam tile was a troubled endeavor.
Speaking with Spanish website Vadejuegos, the developer – who asked not to be named – confirmed most of the original story’s contents, citing leadership and communication problems issues between the game’s leads and core team.
“The problems we’ve been through are basically those in the original post,” said the developer. “There’s plenty of talented devs [in MercurySteam], though they’re not among the [studio] heads. There’s almost no actual lead in here. The only ones who really have something to say are those who have been here since the early days or those who struggle to please Enric [Álvarez, Mercury Steam CEO].”
In light of yesterday’s report, Álvarez took to Twitter to state that it was “sad [to] see people giving credit to the lies and insults from an enraged ex-worker. What a world we live in.”
The source went on to say that all ideas or decisions were monitored by CEO Álvarez, who also had to sign off on all decisions.
“It isn’t easy to be a creative guy in there, because people’s ideas are never really free to exist,” the source continued. “In fact, they expect you to not give any ideas, they do not like people who do so, causing many big names to leave without a second thought.
“Our art director [José Luis Vaello] went to Tequila and now he is making RIME. He left due to the creative situation here. He was being completely held back and couldn’t force any changes, so he was just like: ‘okay, see ya, good luck with your amazing ideas’, and left the team…”
Conflicts between key members of the studio, per the source’s opinion, were the cause of issues inherent in LoS2, with the developer citing the artwork, stealth mechanic and Dracula’s ability to turn into a rat as just a few examples of internal conflict.
“[Vaello] is the guy who made all the main art for the first Lords of Shadow, but LoS2 is a Frankenstein monster due to the lack of a consistent art lead,” the source stated. “After Vaello left we have had several art directors and there was like some sort of power struggle within the studio heads. That’s why some sections of the game are gorgeous and the newer are not.
“This Castlevania is a weird experience because everybody has been doing their own stuff without a proper lead. Each department has been minding their own businesses without any kind of communication between teams. They deal with people like… they don’t trust you. It’s a very uncomfortable atmosphere, it’s utterly uncreative. They don’t trust anybody.”
The source went on to say that a toxic atmosphere has permeated the studio for over two years, but the developer also insisted that wasn’t always the case: instead, dissidence has been growing slowly inside the studio.
Finally, the developer stated that they were unaware whether or not Konami was unhappy with the final product or not. The original source from yesterday stated that the publisher was displeased with the release of such a “mediocre” title and stated that “expectations” for the studio’s future were “quite bad.”
Vadejuegos’ source said there was no way to know whether or not this was the case, as lack of communication at the studio lead to “there not being any meetings” and to the staff learning about many things “through the news”.
“We can’t know that. Not yet. We don’t know if [our studio's relationship with Konami] good or bad at this moment,” they said.
In closing the source stated the six month delay of Lords of Shadow 2 forced the studios to self-fund the extra development time, but Vadejuegos’ other development sources have said the delay wasn’t an unusual occurrence in triple-A development – especially for a game of this size.
A second unnamed source credited as a MercuryStream employee has added their voice to the report, responding to demands that the original source be named and describing MercuryStream’s response to the alleged leaks as a “witch hunt”.
“If you knew just a little about how the games industry works (particularly in Spain), you would remain anonymous as well. At least, if you ever want to work in the industry again. So I completely understand that as mere employees (should I remind everyone what’s the situation in Spain?) they don’t want to reveal their identity. I can also confirm you that most of what’s been said is exactly how everything works in MS,” the second source said.
“I would like to add that the end product looks spectacular to me, you can feel all the passion and effort that everyone has put into it, however on the management side this development has been a complete mess.
“But you’re not going to find someone who’s willing to tell this publicly or even in a private conversation because, as I said, this is a veeery small industry, and life’s just not that easy. There’s a large witch-hunt at this moment in search for the moles that revealed the situation, and that will only turn in even more firings and being blacklisted not to work in the industry here, well, forever. There has been a large reduction in our workforce lately.
“So please show a little respect for those who are risking their asses for what some of you think is just resentment to our boss.”
You can read the entire report through the link above.