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Grim Guardians: Demon Purge parties like a DS in 2006


Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)

Inti Creates have announced their latest in Grim Guardians: Demon Purge, coming for practically all platforms whenever. It is most evidently a Castlevania riff, as the studio clearly can't stop themselves even after knocking out some of the best Castlevania-likes ever in the Curse of the Moon duology as part of their Bloodstained collaboration. This time, the source material is twofold, as the protagonists of this game derive directly from the Inti franchise that many rightfully avert their eyes from, namely the Gal Gun series of softcore erotica railshooters. Even if you had never played those games directly, you might still be aware of them through association as Inti are relentless in crossing over all their properties in smaller and more significant ways--the Gal Gun gals have blasted with Blaster Master, and... volted with Gunvolt, sometimes to practically co-starring degree. That kind of cross-pollination is usually to the benefit of this particular franchise, as its fundamental exploitative nature doesn't make the transition in such cases, like the harem set-up with a male player insert nobody protagonist and the making-schoolgirls-climax aspect of the game mechanics, so all you're really left with is a cutesy player avatar wielding some kind of magic gun. So it seems to be in this game, wherein the Kamizono demon hunter sisters--who are already occupying that role in their home series--are transplanted into a genre that Inti have demonstrated to know among the best out of all developers currently active in rekindling it. One can only be hopeful the disconnected spinoff nature of the piece allows it to exceed the limitations of its source material.

The other half of the equation in inspirational texture is clearly 2006's Portrait of Ruin, the Castlevania that was ostensibly built on its partner mechanics but which ultimately treated them as occasional punctuation at most. The reason that this model being present here excites is not because Portrait was a great game--I'd stretch to call it even good--but because its frequent fouls and flubs read as the most damning and wasteful missteps out of all its peers as the conceptual basis that rooted them held so much promise that never went realized. Inti's take on Castlevania up to this point has always relied on multiple character scenarios, wherein the natural point of comparison is Dracula's Curse, but the course they took in adapting that work spun off into a wildly distinctive large-scale adventuring party mold as expressed by platformer mechanics, and completely transformed the retraux tissue of what they were making, arguably outdoing the venerated source material through expanding the concept's possibilities. That's why it's heartening to see a flawed, uneven work like Portrait used as the primary model in the tributary improvisation that will hopefully derive in Grim Guardians, where they're latching onto that unrefined potential instead of playing a round of catch-up with a more represented perennial classic of the canon. For what Portrait was aesthetically and tonally also, it's also the work that best fits the cartoony derivations in whatever of Gal Gun that may carry over into this spinoff, making the fusion less intrusive than it otherwise might be.

The trailer above doesn't ultimately show much beyond getting a primer on the game's base elements, so much of my feelings about it are based on hopeful conjecture, which may just as well turn unfounded. I'd rather wager on foolish optimism instead of skeptical cynicism in this case, for this project that carries so many suspect but promising potentialities within it.
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I was literally about to say "well that's an interesting one to remake but they're missing the most important-" and then nope, nope, there it is.