What's Next For Contra?

Unlike so many ill-fated video game franchises, Contra managed to endure. There were the glory years in the late 80s/early 90s, when we enjoyed the original Contra (NES), Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES) and Contra: Hard Corps (Genesis). Then, the series slipped into a mini coma in the mid to late 90s with Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure for PlayStation One.

Wouldn’t mind a downloadable port of Contra III for 3DS while we wait.

Things looked grim for the celebrated shooting series, but Konami managed to salvage it with the critically acclaimed Contra: Shattered Soldier on PS2, eventually going on to impress us further with Contra 4 (DS), Contra ReBirth (Wii) and most recently, Hard Corps: Uprising for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.

Different games, sure, but the theme of hardcore third person shooting remained intact, with swarms of enemies and humongous monsters in need of a beating.

That said, the last Contra (Uprising) appeared early 2011, leaving us to wonder what the future will bring.

Unfortunately, Konami has yet to shed light on its plans. There’s a listing for a 3DS Contra on Wikipedia, while Amazon has a preposterous release date of December 31, 2020, suggesting Nintendo’s system is on pace for a remarkable nine-year life cycle. In other words, the website has no clue.

For now, all we can do is speculate and offer suggestions, starting with the developer. As much as we dug the anime style visuals in Uprising, a game designed by Guilty Gear creator Arc System Works, it was a far cry from what we expect to see in a Contra video game.

With this in mind, we’d love to have WayForward create this new 3DS edition. If you recall, this talented studio did outstanding work with Contra 4 on 3DS, retaining the look and feel of those classic SNES and Genesis games we love so much. The company always seems to have one foot in the past (you see this in previous games, such as Aliens: Infestation,Mighty Switch Force and A Boy and His Blob), making it an ideal candidate to do Contra justice yet again.

This also means we want the game to be in 2D, perhaps with some 3D elements thrown in for good measure, ala Hard Corps. Contra has always worked the best from a side scrolling view, and it would be silly for Konami to take the proven formula in a dramatically different direction, as it did with those poorly received PSOne titles.

Still, 3DS’ increased processing power and 3D effects could make for some eye popping graphics, so long as the developers don’t compromise the run-and-gun gameplay.

We’ll just have to cross our fingers and hope that A.) Contra 3DS exists, and B.) that it’ll retain what made this franchise great. Heroes Bill and Lance would have it no other way.

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