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.