Contra: Operation Galuga

  • Couch Co-Op: 4 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign
  • + Co-Op Modes
Contra: Operation Galuga Developer Interview
Interview by

Contra: Operation Galuga Developer Interview

Find out if the new Contra is a remake or a reboot, what a Galuga is, and much more!

It's always good to see another game in Konami's Contra series of run-and-gun shooters in the works, especially when that game is in good hands. Contra: Operation Galuga is being directed by our old pal Tomm Hulett of WayForward, and it will be coming to consoles and PC in early 2024. To hold us over until then, we asked Tomm about whether the game is a remake or a reboot, what the title means, co-op features and issues, and a whole lot more!

Co-Optimus: Thanks for taking the time once again to helicopter over to our island fortress for this dangerously in-person interview. We discussed your gaming experiences when we interviewed you about Spidersaurs last year, so let’s catch up instead. What games have you been into this year?

Tomm Hulett: It's been a pretty nu-retro year for me. With Zelda coming up, I wanted to clear the runway, so after completing the main game in Persona 5 (I'll go back for Royal content, I swear!), I did some Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters alongside Theatrhythm. Then [came] Zelda, which I just finished in October. We Love Katamari REROLL got me to Super Mario Bros. Wonder's release, and that's where I'm at now. I'll be hitting Final Fantasy XVI next. Oh, I also did Signalis early on. Everyone, play Signalis.

Tomm Hulett of WayForward

Tomm Hulett, Director at WayForward

Co-Optimus: Cool games! Before we zero in on Operation Galuga, let’s talk Contra sequels. Everyone loves the 8-bit and 16-bit installments, but reception becomes more mixed after that. What’s your favorite 3D Contra, and how do you feel about Hard Corps Uprising?

Tomm Hulett: I think Neo Contra would be my favorite of the 3D games before now. It isn't the most faithful gameplay-wise, but it's a lot of fun! As for Hard Corps Uprising, I actually worked on it early on (as an associate producer at KONAMI). I even localized the boss names — as each fight starts and the text callout appears, that's me cheering you on!

Hard Corps Uprising Lotus Wyrm boss

Hard Corps Uprising

Co-Optimus: How cool! Now then, I understand that you also worked on Contra 4 for Konami before moving to WayForward, where you worked on Spidersaurs, a charming Contra-style run-and-gun platformer. Can you tell us how you and WayForward ended up in charge of the next Contra game, Contra: Operation Galuga?

Tomm Hulett: WayForward is always proactive in talking with various partners, and at some point Konami asked us if we would be interested in working on a new Contra game. I think they had been exploring a lot of different ideas on how to carry on the franchise, and they decided to try keeping the gameplay true to the classic games. WayForward seemed like a good fit, specifically because of Contra 4, Spidersaurs, and a lot of our other projects — and it seems to have worked out!

Co-Optimus: What is a Galuga, anyway? Does it have medicinal properties??

Tomm Hulett: The [fictional] Galuga Archipelago is a chain of islands off the coast of New Zealand. It's not very populated, but the main island (also called Galuga) is home to an indigenous people as well as an outpost for a military contractor called Frasier Enterprises. It's also ground zero for a strange astronomical event [in which] a large number of meteors rained down across the island.

Contra Anniversary Collection Famicom

Contra (Famicom) from Contra Anniversary Collection

Co-Optimus: Alright, so I won’t be putting any Galuga on my salads. Anyway, Operation Galuga seems to be more of a reboot rather than a traditional remake of the first Contra. How did you decide on this approach?

Tomm Hulett: Story-wise, KONAMI asked for this to be a retelling of the initial Contra mission so that players unfamiliar with the original game didn't feel left out. However, they were equally clear that we shouldn't just be re-creating the old game — this was a new Contra title with original gameplay and new situations to overcome. Think of it like the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, where half the fun for comics fans is to see how classic storylines were interpreted, updated, or combined.

Contra Anniversary Collection Famicom

Contra (Famicom) from Contra Anniversary Collection

Co-Optimus: The NES and arcade versions of the first Contra didn’t have much in the way of story, though the Japanese Famicom version added between-level cinematics that fleshed out the narrative. Are you drawing on any of the plot from the Famicom game or other installments for Operation Galuga’s narrative?

Tomm Hulett: Contra's storyline has been a wild ride over the years, often being entirely different in the US versus Japan (and Europe! Goodness!). Back in the Contra 4 days, we tried to combine it all into a big happy cake, poking fun at some of the inconsistencies, but that didn't exactly simplify things. With Operation Galuga, KONAMI really wants to establish the true Contra story that everyone can follow. So. the basics are definitely derived from the Japanese Famicom release, but there's so much more going on now!