🦇 INTERVIEW WITH ALUCARD & RICHTER BELMONT 3D ARTIST, CARLOS CRUZ
May 03, 2022
Having heard from 2D artist, Daniel Kamarudin, we’re equally excited to bring you an exclusive interview with Carlos Cruz, our 3D artist. In addition to being a huge fan of Symphony of the Night, Carlos spent countless hours pouring over every detail of Alucard & Richter Belmont Elite Exclusive Statue to ensure it became a true collectible for hardcore fans. Here’s what he had to share about his experiences:
Symphony of the Night became famous for its genre-defying experiences. As a huge fan of Castlevania, what was the most memorable or mind-blowing moment you experienced when first playing the game?
🅰️ Symphony of the Night was my entry game to the series and the Metroidvania genre. I am a big fan of JRPGs and RPGs in general, so Castlevania had that sweet mix between exploration, real-time fighting, gameplay, and RPG elements. The most memorable part of the game was the music and the characters. There are too many good moments to choose one in particular, but I remember enjoying every moment of the game. Whenever I enter a new room and the music starts, or I fight an overwhelming boss, the art, in general, is just beautiful.
When you became a 3D Artist, was Symphony of the Night one of your wish-list licenses? How does it feel to know you sculpted the world’s first resin statue featuring both Alucard and Richter together?
🅰️ I always wanted to render a tribute to Ayami Kojima’s artworks. She is an iconic concept artist who defined gaming art from the 90s to the mid-00s. When I got the news that Figurama got the Castlevania license, I just couldn’t believe it, so obviously, I wanted to work on it. The labor was intense as it is by far the most complex project I have ever done in 3D. I am not sure if I will ever do a 3D sculpt this complex again because of the number of details and the difficulty. In the end, I am just really pleased with the result, and hopefully, fans will be excited.
You’ve sculpted many critically acclaimed Figurama Collectors statues in the past, including Teresa vs. Priscilla, Ban vs. King, and Naruto vs. Pain. What sets Alucard & Richter Belmont Elite Exclusive Statue apart from the rest of your work?
🅰️ Castlevania is a very different take compared to other statues I have worked on previously for Figurama. The main reason for this is because the gothic era heavily inspires the overall theme of the Castlevania diorama. This means over-the-top environments and heavily sculpted ornaments are part of the style. Representing this on a smaller scale was a big challenge. Figurama’s creative direction was very ambitious as well. They wanted two characters, the royal stairs, plus a shelf full of flying books, monsters flying around, and a mini Dracula Castle at the base.
Did you suggest any unique details or Easter Eggs to add to the statue when sculpting it? What is your favorite little detail on the statue?
🅰️ As part of the Figurama team, one of the main things I love about the creative process is that the artist is allowed to make a lot of proposals to enhance the original concept. Generally, the concept art is an idea of the statue or emotional expression of the scene but is not a mandatory script of how the statue should be. One of the Easter Eggs I added was the Bat in Alucard’s cape. There is a concept art piece from Ayami Kojima that has Alucard with his creature transformations. I was very eager to include that in the statue. The position and composition of Alucard was very tricky to make part of the diorama while, at the same time, maintaining his unique pose.
What was the most challenging element of sculpting Alucard & Richter Belmont? What was the most rewarding?
🅰️ Building the castle in the base was one of the most challenging parts of the whole Diorama for the level of detail, but it was gratifying to see it coming together at the end. Same with the library at the back of the diorama. Developing book designs that resemble the medieval period and blend with the Dracula theme was very time-consuming.
What was your “daily ritual” for sculpting this statue? Did you engage in any specific activities, listen to music, replay the game, etc. to get in the right headspace or mood?
🅰️ I bought some of the Castlevania games released for the Nintendo DS console. I didn’t go too far in the gameplay. Still, I managed to experience one more time the Castlevania theme, especially in the game Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia which has that old-school Castlevania vibe. I wish I had more time to play it, as it was excellent. Listening to the Castlevania orchestra was very useful as well.
On my desktop, I had the Ayami Kojima book Santa Lilio Sangre ~Akai Yuri~ Ayami Kojima Art Works. Often, I just open it and get inspired by the theme and the techniques she uses. One of the things that caught my eye was the way she used the canvas and oil painting to add some beautiful weathering and texture to her images, so I tried to emulate a bit of that while doing the 3D sculpt.
Tell us one thing about the behind-the-scenes process of sculpting or creating the statue that the average person wouldn’t know just by looking at it.
🅰️ One of the creative team’s central ideas is that the whole statue needs to feel like Dracula’s Castle—tall and spiky like the silhouette of Castlevania, so we put a lot of emphasis on how to make all the elements have that vertical composition. That’s why Alucard holds his sword in this way and why the stairs have a spiral shape with a vertical degree.
What do you hope collectors and fans of Castlevania will most appreciate about your work on this piece?
🅰️ One of the things I spent a lot of time on is the faces of the characters. Ayami Kojima is well known for drawing androgynous characters. I wanted to make a tribute as much as possible to her work just because I think it is so iconic and unique, and to me, personally, she is the only one who has been able to represent the whole vampire genre in such an elegant way.