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Dead Cells: Return To Castlevania - What We Know So Far

Developer Motion Twin takes "Dead Cells" back to its roots with a DLC based in Dracula's Castle. It's no secret that Konami's "Castlevania" was one of the inspirations for the "RougeVania," so it's fitting that the latest DLC brings popular "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night" characters into the "Dead Cells" world. The Beheaded allies with Richter Belmont and Alucard against Count Dracula in the new content. According to its Steam page, the expansion features a new storyline, 14 new weapons, 20 outfits, and new enemies, including three new bosses. It also includes a library of songs from the "Castlevania" series and 12 remixed tracks coming to the game in the package.

This isn't the first "Dead Cells" crossover. Motion Twin has also included nods to games like "Hollow Knight" in the "Everyone is Here" Vol. 2 update. It also has multiple DLCs, like the "Fatal Falls" DLC, and bundles like the "Prisoner's Edition." Still, the "Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania" DLC stands out as one of the most high-profile collaborations and the only one done with one of the game's main inspirations. 

Here's what we know about the "Dead Cells" Castlevania DLC so far.

Is there a release date for Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania?

There isn't a release date for "Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania" yet. After all, Motion Twin just announced its existence on the night of the 2022 Game Awards. The most specific information it confirmed is that it's coming out in Q1 2023, anywhere between January 1 and March 31, 2023. 

It isn't easy to speculate exactly how much time it will take. The "Dead Cells: The Queen and the Sea" expansion launched only slightly over a month after its teaser trailer announcement in 2022. However, the "Dead Cells: Fatal Falls" expansion before it took almost two months after its announcement before it launched. Still, there's no shortage of content for "Dead Cells" players looking to kill time before the "Castlevania" DLC. 

Motion Twin publishes only one DLC per year on average, but it regularly updates the game every two to three months. Just last year, the "Enter the Panchaku" update and the "Boss Rush" update came out within two months of each other. The "Everyone is Here" update, starring the Knight from "Hollow Knight" and other indie protagonists, just came out at the tail end of 2022. However, these are updates and not fully packaged DLCs. 

Is there a trailer for Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania?

Yes, the "Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania" trailer debuted at the Game Awards 2022. The Beheaded pops into a suspiciously empty clearing, where a lone zombie is the only survivor to point him toward the direction of Dracula's Castle. He enters to find a dimly lit Victorian interior and a winding staircase littered with the remains of slain enemies. In the middle of it all are Richter Belmont and Alucard, who attack him before they realize they have a common enemy in Count Dracula. They charge forward for a three-person assault before the camera pans out, showing the three of them looking at the castle from a distance. The full moon shines from behind the dark spires of the castle.

"Castlevania" fans should also notice Richter and Alucard's signature weapons in the trailer. Motion Twin notes that "iconic weapons" from the series will appear in the DLC, so they could be included as just a few of the ones on display.

What is the gameplay like in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania?

Motion Twin lovingly calls "Dead Cells" a RogueVania, a.k.a. part roguelite and part Metroidvania. It takes place in an ever-changing castle that features non-linear progression. Like a rougelite, players need to make their way through the castle as far as possible in each playthrough and will start from the beginning if they die on the way there. Meanwhile, the part where the player builds their own kit as they progress through the randomized locations is where the Metroidvania part comes in. It's an interconnected world with the replayability of a rougelite.

The Beheaded, also known as the Prisoner or the Fallen One, is the mysterious headless protagonist of the "Dead Cells" franchise. He isn't really human, just a gaseous being that is possessing a headless body. Only "Dead Cells" players that have played through enough of the lore know what he really is, though. As seen on the Steam page, he can slash through enemies with a sword in the traditional hack-and-slash fashion. However, he also can bomb them into fiery oblivion or pulverize them with a spear. He can even whack enemies with kitchenware.