News Article

Dave Cox - A New Contra Has "To Have a New Idea"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Lords of Shadow producer still keen to work on the series

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.

[via siliconera.com]

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User Comments (44)

WaveyChristmas

#2

WaveyChristmas said:

Dave Cox would destroy the Contra series. While i agree that the franchise is need of something new, handing the series over to him would be a terrible idea. He would most likely turn it into another gears of war clone.

For now, I'd love to see a new 2D Contra in stereocopic 3D on the 3DS as the final send out to the classic series, with something completely fresh on the horizon possibly for the Wii U utilizing some unique & neatO ideas with the Wii U gamepad. B-)

Dinosaurs

#3

Dinosaurs said:

Contra is a personal favorite and after 4 and Rebirth I could go along with a newer experience. But I don't buy M rated games and I fear the Teen rating would go in favor of mature themes like Cox did with MoF. it's what's happening with many shooting franchises if not all like splinter cell for example.

Mahe

#4

Mahe said:

Ugh. Keep this guy and his team away from Contra.

@WaveBoy Yeah, where is that Contra 3DS that Konami announced?

haniwa

#5

haniwa said:

Oh great. We-want-CoD-audience now applied to Contra after their GoW treatment of Castlevania. If he's so insistent on changing things up so much then bring it under a new name, it won't be Contra anymore.

Mystemo

#7

Mystemo said:

No! Nope! Nein! Stop! These guys tried to murder Castlevania, they should never be allowed near any classic game series ever again!

banacheck

#8

banacheck said:

The original Lords of Shadows games where good, & so is the new Lords of Shadows game. To me the new Lords of Shadows game is nothing like GOW, but than again these are the same people that call the new DMC game good, thank god that wasn't popular, because NT did destroy DMC.

WYLD-WOO

#9

WYLD-WOO said:

Would like to see Contra and Castlevania games turned into something like Kid Icarus - Uprising. I love my classic games but it`s time to move on.

belmont

#10

belmont said:

They ruined Castlevania by turning it into a god of war clone that was fun but had nothing from Castlevania in. They should't do the same to Contra.

By the way Contra 4 for some stupid reason was never released in Europe even though the series is popular here. I would buy it even if it was called Probotector 4!

Araknie

#11

Araknie said:

That final part ruins all good will he can previously had for me, really don't aim at CoD target gamers with Contra, don't.

odd69

#12

odd69 said:

hard corps actually had rpg elements which I find to be the best of the series

Stargazer

#13

Stargazer said:

LOL - 'we need new ideas to create a game where you run to the right and shoot things'

Rebirth was great. Make a new game, with new levels, like that. Toss in a little Hard Corps.

BrightBeing

#14

BrightBeing said:

It's laughable this guy talks about new ideas for Contra when he nearly destroyed Castlevania with a bad God of War clone.

Ralizah

#15

Ralizah said:

I don't mind some minor changes as long as the core gameplay is preserved (as with the excellent Hard Corps.), but I don't want this guy anywhere near my Contra.

C'mon, WayForward, make a proper follow-up to Contra 4!

accc

#16

accc said:

Criticizes developers for making outstanding series updates that "don't do anything new" (which isn't even true in Contra 4's case — the grappling hook was new and added lots of depth to the gameplay)..

Creates a bad God of War clone with a terrible framerate and slaps the Castlevania name on it.

Go away, Dave Cox.

therick112

#17

therick112 said:

I just want the original Contra, with all its 8-bit glory and the Konami code fully intact. I cannot believe this game has not been VC'd, while it's sequels have. I refuse to buy them and support them without the chance to play this game again.

Parkavenue359

#18

Parkavenue359 said:

Dave Cox... He screws precious IPs and doesn't bring that IP to nintendo fans (the people that made that IP what it is today)

MAB

#19

MAB said:

Yes I want Dave Cox to make it so @WaveBoy will have to buy a soulless brown & grey Gears of War clone ;)

paburrows

#22

paburrows said:

I'm glad that I'm not the only one that hated the 3DS Castlevania game, I was happy when I saw it do so horribly that they had to discount it so soon.

unrandomsam

#23

unrandomsam said:

No it doesn't this guy removed everything that was good about the original Castlevania games.

Rondo of Blood is pretty much perfect. (Original version not the PSP one).

The only hope with have with Konami is that we get the stuff designed for the Eastern market. (The eastern market still seems to have some taste).

Look at the 3D Metal Slug it won't work anything he tries to do.

The first Bionic Commando Rearmed is the best that can be hoped for when it comes to modernising something. (Still added stuff like tutorial bits though which just shouldn't happen).

unrandomsam

#24

unrandomsam said:

Contra still in 2D but just with just the effort put into the sprites that Metal Slug has would be great.

(Surely it has made enough money by now to warrant the effort being put in.)

I love the first level of Contra Rebirth and one of the later ones. (Don't remember which).

Like Contra 4 but not as much as the levels I really like on Rebirth.
(Not sure if the scaling on my 3DS XL has anything to do with it. I would buy it again if they just sorted it so it fitted somewhat on the 3DS screen - too small if you hold down select when you start it but fuzzy otherwise).

The Genesis version of Contra : Hard Corps is really good.

flyguy6060

#25

flyguy6060 said:

@haniwa - I agree with this, apparently Tom thinks that a "new" concept is to make a game franchise look like another game franchise. That is not a new concept!

Ristar42

#26

Ristar42 said:

Contra is Contra, and trying to appeal to bland mass market tastes in the hope to make as much money as possible, is not the best path for an established series.
More often than not, you end up with a bad generic game that doesnt live up to it's heritage, and manage to alienate the people who enjoyed the originals at the same time.

jayclayx

#28

jayclayx said:

they destroyed castlevania and now they want to do the same with contra, damn it!

Caryslan

#30

Caryslan said:

Am I the only one who liked the first Lord of Shadows? I really don't get all the bashing the game gets, especially over how it "destroyed" Castlevania. What does everyone want? Another Metroidvania? Another Classic Castlevania?

I'm not going into my usual rant over how the common elements of Castlevania were in still in Lords of Shadows, but I will say this. I got a classic Castlevania vibe when I was playing Lords of Shadows. Something I have not gotten from any of the recent Metroidvania's.

I'm not saying Lords of Shadows is a perfect game, but it gets bashed alot more then it should. Let's be honest here, the Metroidvania's were nice, but Castlevania belongs on a home console. I don't know what game everyone esle played, but the Lords of Shadows that I played was an enjoyable game that had good gameplay, a great soundtrack, and some really cool ideas. Plus, it had one of the best stories in the entire series.

As for the God of War clone comments, I want to address that as well. Yes, LOS and GOW share some common elements in terms of combat, but LOI borrowed elements of DMC back in the day. I have played both God of War and Lords of Shadow, and there are some differences in the way combat is handled.

Lords of Shadows was a good game, and I will even say it was a good Castlevania game. Let me ask a question, did it have a character who carried the last name Belmont who used a whip, subweapons, and magic to fight the forces of darkness? Did he wander across graveyards, swamps, ruins, villiages, and castles on his journey?

Then it's Castlevania in the end. Yeah, the gameplay is different, but SOTN borrowed Metroid's gameplay back in the day. It we want to get real techincal, then nothing but side scrolling classic Castlevania games should be made.

I can't speak for the 3DS version, but Lords of Shadows was a good game. I can understand not liking the game, but to claim it destroyed the Castlevania series is going too far. It's not like were were talking about a AAA Console series on the level of Metal Gear.

Castlevania on the DS and GBA was good, but it was a far cry from the 8 and 16-bit eras where it was a major console series.

Caryslan

#31

Caryslan said:

@banacheck Thank you for saying this! The entire time I was playing Lords of Shadows, I was screaming at my TV "Why does everyone say this is not Castlevania!" There are tons of Castlevania elements in LOS, and it felt almost like a 3D mix of Simon's Quest and Super Castlevania IV.

Urbanhispanic

#32

Urbanhispanic said:

I love Castlevania and was a big fan of the GBA and DS series; I grew up on the NES and Super NES games and played Symphony of the Night to death! I was glad I downloaded Rondo of Blood from the Wii VC as it's good as everyone said. But why the hell is the 3DS version being crapped on?

I understand people don't like the "changes" brought onto the new Castlevania title but seriously...the "Metroidvania" style was starting to get OLD. I don't mind the series going back to its NES roots or Konami making remix editions of past favorites like they did with Castlevania Adventure Rebirth. But for the haters to run Mirror of Fate into the damn ground because it's a "God of War" clone?? That isn't ENTIRELY the truth as familiar concepts and themes from past titles including the portable games MADE it into MoF.

I get it.......to the people who hated it, YES you hated it...but God forbid when someone tried to breath fresh air into a series that's been around as long as Castlevania before it becomes as stale as other popular and long running franchises. As for Dave Cox to take on the Contra series, I'm up to hear what ideas he can come up to top Contra 4 (great title, IMO.)

ecco6t9

#33

ecco6t9 said:

Contra really is about side scrolling 2D action. Nothing more, nothing less.

SparkOfSpirit

#35

SparkOfSpirit said:

Contra 4 and Hard Corps Uprising are excellent shooters and better than any of MercurySteam's games. I don't know how long he played them but they definitely stack up with the first three games and Hard Corps as classics.

Caryslan

#36

Caryslan said:

@Gorlokk RIP Castlevania? You're acting like the series has been dead for ten years and Konami does not care anything about it. I know not everyone likes Lords of Shadow, but it is still a Castlevania. Many of the common series elements are in the game.

I think people are going overboard with this whole Castlevania is dead thing. Maybe Lords of Shadow is not your cup of tea, I can respect that. But it's not like LOS was about a Sparkling Vampire that fought aliens on the moon.

All the the classic series elements were there, and in many ways they showed up alot better then many recent Castlevania games. I'll be very blunt, Lords of Shadows felt more like a proper Castlevania game then Curse of Darkness.

jayclayx

#37

jayclayx said:

the problem here is that since konami decided make castlevania in 3d it lost the essence of the core game something similar happened with megaman, Curse of darkness was not a bad game but lets face some true fact, compare with other ip's like metal gear solid, 3d castlevanias looks like low budgets games, the problem with lords of shadows is that it feels like a god of war clone with a castlevania theme.

unrandomsam

#38

unrandomsam said:

@Caryslan I think just sidescrolling like Rondo of Blood would be just fine.

(Problem is even the Adventure Rebirth and the Dracula X PSP remake get it wrong).

In Rondo (With Richter anyway) If you try and just button bash the bosses you never win which is great and the way to do it is to kill everything if you try and rush through it you normally lose too much health. Every time you finish a level you feel like you have done it right and not fluked it.

unrandomsam

#39

unrandomsam said:

@Gorlokk Not sure, there is hope for Castlevania (Notice how it is subtitled) they also said the next one is going to be for the Eastern market. (The Eastern market I think still has some taste). The only problem is if it goes on Vita not 3DS.

Trying to make a 3D Contra definitely won't work. (Look at the 3D Metal Slug for example). The problem is the only way any 2D sidescrolling game will do well is if it is branded Contra or Metal Slug. (It will be reviewed at least 3 points lower on average if it isn't across the board regardless of the actual quality of the game).

If someone wants to make a 3D Shooter and if it is half decent it will do well anyway. (Putting Contra on it won't make it do any better.)

Gorlokk

#41

Gorlokk said:

@unrandomsam
Honestly, if a 'metroidvania' game came to the Vita and NOT the 3DS (although I kind of find that hard to believe), I'd be OK with it. I mean hey, that might be a system seller for me honestly.

therick112

#42

therick112 said:

@unrandomsam That would make sense if they didn't release ANY of the Contra games, but they released Super C and Contra 3: The Alien Wars, and Contra 4 on Nintendo DS, not to mention the WiiWare Contra Rebirth. So why not the original? Konami gave the ok on all the others, where the hell is the original Contra on VC??

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