Castlevania producer and Symphony of the Night lead Koji "Iga" Igarashi said he wasn't inspired by Metroid, but rather Zelda when he rejuvenated the series as an exploration-based affair.
Iga - who recently departed from Konami - revealed this fun fact today at a GDC panel attended by Eurogamer. The legendary developer further explained that he wanted a game that lasted longer than a couple of hours - as was the case with many stage-based action games at that time. "In japan there were lots of games traded into game shops the day they came out," he said, before adding that he wanted to make the value of games closer to that of films, which lasted about the same amount of time, but cost about a sixth as much.
He then looked at Zelda for inspiration, as that game had a lot of exploration and backtracking that would increase the play time. Iga decided to add experience points and a light RPG system to incentivise retreading the same territory many times.
When asked during a Q&A session how he felt about the "Metroidvania" label, Iga said he actually only found out about it a couple of years ago and that he's flattered by the genre codename. "I liked the name and I respect it," he said. "I like the meaning behind it. I think it fits really well. I'm actually honoured."
He further noted that there was no internal codename for this sort of genre at the time and the studio simply called it a "2D exploration action game."
Iga failed to comment on what he'll do next as an independent developer, but concluded his talk with "Now that I've gone independent I'm able to create things as I wish and not be restrained by the company's realities."