Soma Cruz was named for Penelope Cruz, and other Aria of Sorrow trivia

Soma Cruz name Penelope Cruz Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Koji Igarashi

Shmuplations translates lots of fascinating interviews with Japanese game developers, and we’ve covered them before, such as with their details about Mario Kart 64. Recently, they translated a couple terrific interviews about Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow with Producer Koji Igarashi, as well as Director Junichi Murakami, Main Programmer Shutaro Iida, Chief Designer Hiroto Yamaguchi, and Sound Director Soshiro Hokkai. My favorite detail garnered from the interview is that protagonist Soma Cruz had has name inspired by actress Penelope Cruz.

Igarashi had this to say about Soma Cruz:

I wanted a name that would translate well to foreign players. As for “Cruz”, well… at the time, Penelope Cruz had just visited Japan. It also has some associations with “cross” that I liked. “Soma” is taken from the name of the Indian ritual drink soma.

Another interesting tidbit is that Igarashi thought it would be cool if the game’s collectable souls could have different effects based on where they were used in the game. However, the staff shot down that idea since it would have added so much to their workload.

One more funny detail is about why Igarashi kept the “music” theme going in series subtitles. He did it mostly to indicate that these particular Castlevania titles were their own distinct subseries. What makes it funny though is that Igarashi was starting to get sick of this convention, and he was contemplating getting rid of it. You will note that Aria of Sorrow‘s sequel, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, ditched the musical theme. (The game’s Japanese title, Demon Castle Dracula: Cross of the Blue/Pale Moon, did too.)

Check out the full Konami interviews for a bunch more amusing Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow anecdotes on this slow news day.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!