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The first Castlevania timeline was created in 1997. It was used as a reference for another project but was accidently leaked.
While it is true that it was we who created the basis for the official timeline, at the start of things we had absolutely no intention of publicizing it. Indeed, this was because we felt it would only shackle us to dragging on the Castlevania series. It was unintentionally leaked from another project, and evolved into an official timeline.
Before the publication of the offical timeline there was not one coherent chronology in the Castlevania series. Because several teams worked on the series, without one particular person being in charge, some oddities in the storyline arose. For example, two games, Castlevania 3 (Akumajo Densetsu) and Castlevania: The Adventure (Dracula Densetsu) have stories that both state they take place before the era of Simon Belmont, the protagonist of the original Castlevania, while seemingly ignoring each other.
Some developers even choose to set their game in a completely different world while still borrowing the "look" of the series. Case in point, Castlevania Bloodlines (Vampire Killer), was originally intented to be this according to the Chi No Rondo Offical Guide.
The following games were included in the very first offical timeline:
- Akumajo Densetsu
- Dracula Densetsu
- Dracula Densetsu II
- Akumajo Dracula (Famicom/X68000)
- Akumajo Dracula II
- Akumajo Dracula X: Chi No Rondo
- Akumajo Dracula X: Gekko no Yasoukyoku
- Vampire Killer
During the following years Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe (KCEK) developed three Castlevania games: Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse, Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse Gaiden: Legend of Cornell, and Akumajo Dracula: Circle of the Moon. From the very start these games were intented to be "gaiden".
Gaiden is a Japanese-language word used to refer to certain works of fiction. It has many meanings, including "supplemental story", "biography", "another story" and a few other meanings. A common mistake is that the word gaiden automatically means a fictional work is set outside the continuity of a series. In truth, this only applies if the intented meaning of the word is "another story".
In case of the KCEK games, it means they are set in a different timeline, as stated by the offical Konami magazine in an article about Circle of the Moon.
For this reason, those particular games were left out in following timelines such as the one published on the Harmony of Dissonance offical Japanese website. The timeline in Dengeki Playsation Magazine from 2000 included them in special boxes which were supposed to indicate they were not part of the chronology.
Skipping back a few years, a few months after Symphony of the Night (Gekko no Yasoukyoku) was released, an origin story for the series came to light under the name Castlevania Legends (Dark Night Prelude). This story would not be included along with other games in the timeline and was removed from the story by IGA.
Because Castlevania Legends was a work that completely ignored Castlevania's look, when I became producer, I removed it from the proper history. I think it would be best to think of it as a story from a different world that used the same look.
From 2002 onwards, beginning with Harmony of Dissonance (Concerto of the Midnight Sun), new games made by IGA were added to the Castlevania timeline again. Among them was Lament of Innocence (simply known as Castlevania in Japan) which would tell the beginning of the saga.
As a special gift for the 20th anniversary of the series, a pre-order bundle came along with latest addition in the series. Among its content, another timeline was included. Aside from including all the games that were listed in chronologies before, the three games made by KCEK were included as well, bar a story descreption unlike the rest of the works included.
IGA later clarified this decesion by stating he very much respected these games for having a very original take on the Castlevania world, and that they were still part of the chronology as gaiden. In 2009, he went on to state in gaming magazine GAMESIDE that Castlevania Legends was set in another universe than the rest of the series while the KCEK games were alternative timelines, timelines that branched of at some point from the main timeline.
The continuity of the series is therefore as follows:
Continuity 1: IGA's timeline ---> includes several alternative timelines
Continuity 2: Castlevania Legends timeline
No other works have been added to the second continuity at this time.
The last timeline released was in 2006. Therefore, games and supplementary works that were released after that point should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in order to determine in what continuity category they fall.
To be continued.