Dave Cox, producer of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and the upcoming sequel, has made it no secret that he would like to work on Contra at some point in the future. Since Cox is about to finish his work on the Lords of Shadow storyline and Konami recently filed trademarks Contra and Contra: Run & Gun we had to ask him about Contra.
Cox laughed when I brought up the trademarks and replied, “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.”
I asked Cox how he felt about Contra 4 and Hard Corps: Uprising which were made by external developers WayForward and Arc System Works. “The problem with doing games like that is you are not doing anything new,” said Cox. “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.”
“How would you bring Contra back so it isn’t a hardcore niche game? Contra: Hard Corps has always been my favorite game in the series and like other 2D Contra games I would say the core of Contra is hardcore. The games are designed to be challenging, even if you use the Konami code to cheat,” I questioned.
“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,” Cox answered.
Since Cox made it clear that Contra is the main series he would like to revive, I asked him what other Konami franchises could use the same kind of refresh.
“I guess Silent Hill would be the obvious one. Sometimes a series needs a little break. Sometimes it needs to have fresh eyes, a new team to come in and bring their creative vision to it. Perhaps, Silent Hill will be a project Konami that can bring back,” Cox said. “It’s not something that I would be particularly interested in doing myself. I’m more of an old school guy. I grew up with Castlevania and Contra is what made want to work at Konami at the end of the day. They are my passions. I’d like to see Konami do some new stuff, bring something new to the table. I think next generation offers great opportunities to do new things.”