It's little secret that Dave Cox, the well-known producer of the Lords of Shadow series, is keen to continue working on Konami IPs, with Contra being a franchise that he's shown interest in reviving. His work with the Lords of Shadows games, including Castlevania: Lords of Shadow — Mirror of Fate on 3DS, may divide long-running fans of the Dracula-hunting brand, but he's nevertheless shown that he's willing to take on and shake up established names.
The subject of Contra came up when Cox spoke to Siliconera, and he insisted that a new game in the series would have to do more than simply recreate those that came before.
I think if you’re going to bring Contra back you’ve got to be able to do something unique and intuitive that hasn’t been done before. You can’t just bring out a generic shooter. You have to have a new idea. I think if we had a new idea and we could combine that new idea with the universe of Contra that would be special. Yeah, watch this space.
The problem with doing games like that (Contra 4 and Hard Corps: Uprising) is you are not doing anything new. You are basically remaking or doing your slant of something that has happened before. You have to have the things that made that game great, like Castlevania, you need to have that, but you have to not be afraid to do something new. The problem with Contra it hasn’t really had anything done new to it so it’s become this hardcore niche game.
If someone were to do Contra, to say hypothetically, it would be like a new IP in many ways. We are hardcore gamers, we played those games, but there are a lot of people that don’t know what Contra is. They have no idea. There is a massive audience out there, they play Call of Duty and love those games, but they don’t know what Contra is. I think if we were going to reintroduce something to that audience. It has to be new, unique, it’s got to stand out. It’s got to have a new idea, something really cool about it that’s never been done before.
Contra is certainly an old favourite in Nintendo Life HQ, and we suspect among many Nintendo fans with an eye for retro games. The argument for refreshing brands can swing both ways, too, as — for example — some Nintendo brands have only evolved in minor ways, while others have changed dramatically.
Where do you think Contra stands in this debate? Do you agree with Dave Cox that it needs a twist and new approach to bring it to a new audience, or should it stick closely to its roots? Sound off below and let us know what you think.