Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku (悪魔城ドラキュラX 月下の夜想曲?, officially translated Devil's Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight), is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Konami in 1997. It is the 14th installment of the Castlevania series, the first installment released for the PlayStation, and a direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Its initial commercial success was limited, but it was critically praised, gained sales through word-of-mouth and eventually became a hit. It has since seen re-release on several other gaming consoles and is now usually considered a sleeper hit or cult classic of video gaming. It was extremely highly rated critically; both GameRankings and Metacritic list its approval score for the original PlayStation version at or above 93%. Symphony of the Night was an important milestone of the Castlevania series, and is considered a milestone in platform game development as well due to its wide-open level design and massive game world. It steered the series away from the standard level-by-level platforming formula of older titles and introduced a new style of open-ended gameplay mixed with RPG-like elements that would be emulated by most of its successors. A similar, earlier form of this type of gameplay existed in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. The development of these features can be attributed to Koji Igarashi, the game's writer and one of the team's newest members. Igarashi, a noted fan of 2D games, was instrumental in refining the game's control scheme. The direct sequel to the Japan-only release Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night takes place five years after its events. It departs from the general practice of the series of having a member of the Belmont clan as the protagonist, and instead features Dracula's dhampir son, Alucard in the role as the one who will face Dracula.