Contra: Rogue Corps Interview — Executive Producer Discusses Contra’s Return, Transition to 3D, PvP, and More
Contra: Rogue Corps Executive Producer Nobuya Nakazato talks about the transition to 3D, PvP, Google Stadia, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
At E3 2019, the Contra series made a pretty unexpected return with the release of the Contra: Anniversary Collection and the announcement of Contra: Rogue Corps. This new PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch title is quite different from most Contra games as it plays like a 3D top-down shooter instead of a 2D sidescrolling shooter. Developed by Toybox Inc., the game releases tomorrow. A launch event for the game was held this past weekend in Seattle, and Konami flew DualShockers out there to try out the game’s campaign and a bit of PvP right before it launched.
During this event, DualShockers was able to sit down with Nobuya Nakazato and his translator to talk about Contra: Rogue Corps. Nakazato-san is the Executive Producer of Contra: Rogue Corps, and previously served as Director of Contra III: The Alien Wars and Rocket Knight Adventures. Over the course of our discussion, we discussed everything from the series’ return and transition into 3D as well as Google Stadia and if Nakazato-san would like to see Contra characters or Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures represented in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Tomas Franzese: In the west, the Contra series had been dormant since the release of Hard Corps: Uprising in 2011. Why was now the right time to return to the series?
Nobuya Nakazato: So actually, I wanted to bring back the franchise for a while, but I needed to get the chance to do it. When the mini-consoles, the NES Classic and SNES Classic, came out, it was popular with the players, especially the Contra games. I decided that it was my chance to get this approved internally, and this is how [Contra: Rogue Corps] got approved.
Tomas Franzese: So has Contra: Rogue Corps been in development since 2017?
NN: So, if you include pre-production and concept development it began three years ago, but the actual development started two years ago.
TF: What engine is Contra: Rogue Corps running on and why did you choose that engine?
NN: So it’s an in-house engine that was used by the development team [Toybox Inc.] and we chose that development team because they had worked on games that used online features.
TF: Contra: Rogue Corps does make the transition from 2D to 3D, but did you still analyze the classic games at the start of development and specify that you wanted to retain in this new game?
NN: What I wanted to keep from the other Contra games was that Contra has been easy to pick up, easy to control, and lets you have fun from the very beginning. You feel great when you are playing the game and shooting around at the enemies. That is something that we tried to keep when switching the game to 3D.
TF: So were those the steps you took to make sure that you did not alienate fans of the older titles?
NN: Of course we want the old fans to be pleased with the new game, but I also feel that a lot of games are more and more complicated these days, so I wanted to return to a formula that was more basic and fun from the beginning.
TF: PvP is a brand new element for a Contra game, so why did you decide to add that in?
NN: Contra has also been about being together, playing together, having fun together, but together can mean against each other. It’s also fun to compete in a game against a friend, so we wanted to include that. The other part is that to build to new players who are maybe more used to playing competitive games, we thought it would be a good idea to have a new game mode like this one.
TF: Will Contra: Rogue Corps support cross-play. If not, is that a feature the team would consider adding in the future?
NN: These days we are not considering it, but of course if players are expressing the need for it we may consider it.
TF: A Season Pass has been announced for the game, but it mainly includes items and skins, would you guys consider adding new levels or playable characters to Contra: Rogue Corps after launch?
NN: Aside from the eight DLCs we are also planning free updates that will include new stages and new weapons.
TF: As you probably know, Google Stadia is coming out in November. As a Japanese developer who has been in the industry for a long time, what are your thoughts on this new console?
NN: From a developer’s perspective, it’s always welcomed to have more and more way, more and more channels, to reach players. We are excited to see Google’s new platform appearing.
TF: While Contra: Rogue Corps is 3D, do you think this is the potential for there to ever be another 2D Contra game in the future?
NN: Yeah, I love the old 2D games as well and I’d love to make new ones, but just modernizing the graphics, upgrading the graphics, and creating something new in them would not be the right way to do it, in my opinion. I’d have to come up with a new innovation and maybe change a bit of the genre and then I can start working on one of those.
TF: On a bit of a tangent, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features a fair amount of Konami representation with Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Bomberman. Would you like to see Contra characters or Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures playable in the game?
NN: [chuckles] Yeah, of course, I would be thrilled to see a Contra character be in Smash Bros., or as you said a Sparkster character would be awesome as well.
TF: Is there anything else you would like DualShockers’ audience to know about Contra: Rogue Corps before it launches?
NN: So again, this game is about playing together, having fun together. It’s not too much about having to plan out your schedule to play this game. It’s not a game that you need two or three hours in a row to enjoy. We hope that with this game players will be able to reconnect with old friends and family that they may have played Contra games with before. We people to be able to come together through Contra: Rogue Corps.
Contra: Rogue Corps releases for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One on September 24. I am currently playing the full version of the game on Nintendo Switch, so you can expect a review of the game on DualShockers soon.