For any gamer of the 80’s, 90’s, or even 00’s, the name Konami is synonymous with some of gaming’s most renown franchises, such as Castlevania, Contra, Metal Gear, Bomberman, and Silent Hill to name but a few. It was thus a sizable shock when the Japanese developer made the startling announcement last year that it was basically finished with console game development. Instead, the news followed, it would be focusing entirely on mobile games.
While Konami has been developing or porting games to mobile for a number of years now, today saw the announcement of what would otherwise have been a console creation: a new installment in the Contra series made in partnership with China’s Tencent. Originally announced last November for the Chinese market, the new game will be released for Android and iOS at currently unknown future date and make use of microtransactions (also known as in-app-purchases). Here is a preview trailer for the project:
The game looks to be as exciting and challenging as any Contra game of old, however – as some have already questioned – there is already scrutiny in terms of what exactly the IAP model will look like. Will it simply allow for the full game to be played? Will it allow for new characters or powers? Or will it simply be used to give your characters more lives and thus facilitate the completion of a stage?
Indeed it will be interesting to see how the monetarized side of this game plays out: Whereas games like Candy Crush have been argued to “work” because of the way in which they play into our own psychology – the feeling of accomplishment for example, a game like Contra has traditionally been that of a side-scrolling action affair. Whereas people may become addicted to a “simple” puzzle game, can the same behavior carry out for an extremely difficult action game?
It certainly seemed to work in the hey-day of arcade gaming, so perhaps the answer is a resounding “yes”. Indeed this is no doubt what Konami hopes to achieve, though it should be clarified that it’s currently unclear as to if Konami itself is developing the game or simply licensing its IP to Tencent. Until more details are know however, it’s difficult to say just what will come about. At the very least, if this latest Contra installment allows for online multi-player it would become a much more interactive experience that can transcend what has traditionally been a front-and-center play experience.
On a final – almost ironic – note, there is the small possibility that if this game becomes popular, Konami could actually port it to the PS Vita or other “traditional” gaming platform much like Square Enix has ported Rise of Mana and Adventures of Mana to the Vita.