Games For 2008: Command & Conquer Tiberium

By Alec Meer on January 29th, 2008 at 3:33 pm.

This is the only screenshot EA have released. It's like the cretins don't even want us to promote their game

It’s not “Command & Conquer: Tiberium”. It’s just “Tiberium.” At least Dwayne ‘ The Rock’ Johnson has the good grace to acknowledge his true heritage in his name. But what’s going on here? Are EA embarrassed by Command & Conquer now? “Don’t mention the Tiberium war…”

For all my slight prickliness about the ditching of a name often considered synonymous with the PC, it makes a certain sense. Every games publisher is hungry for a big new IP, and by doing this EA get a shiny-fresh sci-fi series full of all the big men and laserguns necessary to sell an Orca-load of copies to gamers at large, and the wallet-votes of the not insubstantial C&C fanbase. C&C can keep on doing its thing, and meanwhile Tiberium can go on to other places whilst enjoying the unspoken association with something that’s already wildly successful. It’s the gaming equivalent of former Sugababes releasing solo records. At least EA don’t nick Lenny Kravitz tunes, though.

So, what is Tiberium? It’s C&C: the FPS. It’s been done before, of course, with Renegade, but that didn’t work out so well. There was always this sense that Renegade prioritised fan-service over being a fabulous game in its own right, so perhaps the ditching of the C&C name from Tiberium can be read as a good sign. It’s got a job to do, and tipping its hat to Hands of Nod and Zone Troopers can come later.

The PR wagon’s only just started rolling so there’s a limited amount anyone outside of the EA empire knows about Tiberium. Here’s just the facts, ma’am:

- It’s squad-based.
- It’s set 11 years after C&C3, on the eve of another invasion by alien baddies The Scrin.
- Earth is in pretty bad shape.
- Its lead character is a GDI veteran commander named Ricardo Vega, hitherto only seen in the C&C3 spin-off novel. He is probably grizzled, or gruff.
- He has a neato transforming gun, the GD-10. (Shades of Codename Outbreak, the shonky 2001 FPS from Stalker developers GSC Game World). It can change mode to deal with men, vehicles, aircraft and suchlike, as the case may be. One mode is a portable version of the Ion cannon, one of C&C’s long-standing superweapons.
- You’re able to call in orbital strikes.
- The iconic camp-o-vision FMV cutscenes are gone in favour of in-engine and CGI exposition. C&C’s tongue appears to have been removed entirely from its cheek for this outing, in fact.

There’s only one screenshot out so far, so have a CGI trailer instead. It’s like a picture, but it also moves and makes noises, like a dog or an angry duckling.

Let’s go back a bit, though. The phrase “squad-based” suggests you’re followed around by the traditional three dead-eyed AIs. Not so. Vega can command in largish squads of men, which are then controlled with a mix of context-based FPS orders and RTS-lite overhead controls. Reinforcements are called in from dropships – so we’re talking expendable guys rather than overwritten personalities. So while Renegade was (in singleplayer, at least) just an FPS with C&C graphics, Tiberium could be an FPS with C&C mechanics.

The more vocal of RPS’ readers don’t seem to have responded well to Tiberium as yet. That’s understandable – this is an entirely unproven game with a whiff of stale cashcow milk to it, and one that in its aesthetic and tone seems to be blatantly chasing Gears of War, Resistance: Fall of Man et al. Whatever interesting stuff it might do under the hood, its screenshots suggest it’s a dreary archetype of the 21st Century FPS. Along with the C&C name, the bright colours and crazy exaggeration of the series seems lost – C&C3 was already going that way, to be fair, but it is a shame. Let’s hope there’s a Red Alert 3 in the offing somewhere, ready and willing to reimagine the series’ cartoonish heritage for us old hands.

The thing is though, we simply don’t know how Tiberium will play – we’ve not resisted the urge to say mean things about this book’s stern, grey cover. It might not have shown off anything truly inspiring yet, but the videos hint at actually dropping you into and having you command a war, not a mere skirmish – the sort of promise the first Halo hinted at and its sequels didn’t really take anywhere. The lack of visual character won’t matter if the game successfully realises commanding an army from the ground level, and conquering with a targeting reticule, not a mini-map. Or at least that’s my hope. Based on the in-game footage (see below) I don’t have the greatest confidence of that happening just yet. Let’s wait and see though, eh?

For more details, skip to the relevant bits of the first, hyperbolic episode of “GameTrailers TV”, which, it seems, can’t be remotely embedded. Gee, thanks, GameTrailers.

EDIT: Though some (somewhat wretched) gameplay footage was lobbed up there yesterday!


THANKS GAMETRAILERS!

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29 Comments »

  1. Steve says:

    I’m sure it’s because “Command and Conquer: Tiberium” sounds like an RTS, and “Tiberium” doesn’t.

  2. Chris Evans says:

    *shakes fist*

    I have previously made my…displeasure with Tiberium on RPS I believe, no need to go into it again….but this has had an effect in my enthusiasm for C&C to fall :(

    How I wish for some Red Alert 3 to give some life back to the series!

    Anyway EA are looking publicly for game engineers for Tiberium – more info.

  3. Okami says:

    Look, they’ve got a million different shades of brown. Must be next-gen or HD, or whatever they call it…

  4. sigma83 says:

    C&C is _all_ about humongo explosions, superweapons, goofiness, visual splendor, and those lovely, lovely FMVs.

    This is a step in the wrong direction imo.

    Edit: forgot to mention, RTS.

  5. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    There is actually a gameplay trailer now up at GameTrailers. Quite frankly it looks a bit arse at the moment, and reminds me a bit of Republic Commando (largely because of the Swiss Army gun and washed out visuals).

  6. Del Boy says:

    I think the real question here is what does ‘shonky’ mean?

  7. espy says:

    I suppose it might be a portmanteau of shoddy and wonky.

  8. Matt says:

    I actually have generally high hopes for this game. I’ve always been a fan of the C&C world and I’m glad that they’re expanding on it. From what I’ve read and heard it also seems like EA, in rather non-EA-like fashion, has really been throwing some resources into this title and given the team plenty of time and room to work on it. I’ve always been a fan of squad based games like Ghost Recon, and if this turns out to just be GRAW with a coat of C&C paint, I’ll be pleased as punch. Obviously I’m not expecting the next Half-Life or anything, but I definitely think a good rental isn’t too much to hope for.

  9. Del Boy says:

    I think the real question here is what does ‘portmanteau’ mean?

    j/k

  10. sigma83 says:

    Well gameplay will out in the end, so if the game is good then all is forgiven.

    I’m still pinning my hopes on Red Alert 3 personally.

  11. malkav11 says:

    If it winds up being like Republic Commando (which is the only good Star Wars game where you’re not a Jedi, latent or otherwise.), I’d be perfectly happy.

    Also, C&C Tiberium would be confusing, as it would sound like a truncated version of the main C&C RTS series’ titles.

  12. Chris R says:

    The actual gameplay video looks interesting. When you guys first posted the CGI Trailer last week, I was very skeptical about the whole thing, but after seeing the gameplay, it might not be so bad. The environment does look very bland, and brown, but hopefully they’ll polish that up a bit once they get the combat down?

    I guess we shall have to wait and see.

    By the way, never played Republic Commando, sounds like it’s worth picking up? Yes? No?

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    portmanteau: Two words crammed together to make a new one.

    KG

  14. Sum0 says:

    C&C: Tiberium, fine, but just “Tiberium” sounds like dodgy low-budget FPS to me.

  15. Icarus says:

    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is actually trying to with just “Dwayne Johnson” nowadays.

  16. Trezoristo says:

    I see bland maps, enemy thingies that look like they can get away with not acting intelligent, a machine gun with a grenade launcher attachment and giant battlewalkers. Nothing new really.

    Apart from that I’m done playing games with AI friendlies that are supposed to be helpfull and canonfodder at the same time. I’ve never seen that working and doubt it will be a different story this time around.

  17. Sucram says:

    Calling the game “Tiberium” suggest to me that it’s actually a farming game.

    ‘ I gonna grow me some Tiberium, sell that crystal to dem street kids’ and what not.

    Which is basically, what many suspect, EA want to do.

  18. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    Hmm…. despite the cliches and ganking ideas from Republic Commando, it looks like there are quite a few interesting ideas going on this early in the development stage; the “HUD targeting” creative cursor, especially for the grenades and ammo info, is a very nice touch, I thought.

    Aside from that: WTF was up with the flying? That suit certainly didn’t look like it had rocketboots. What, are stealing Scrin tech now? And the gun was a little cheesy, yes. *winces*

  19. JakethePirate says:

    All I have to say is this: that is the most phallic weapon I have ever seen.

  20. Phil says:

    @Jakethepirate

    You’ve clearly never played Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Or Custer’s Revenge, though to be fair, I don’t think anyone has.

  21. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    By the way, never played Republic Commando, sounds like it’s worth picking up? Yes? No?

    See here. I must confess that I’ve only played the demo, but I’ve been meaning to pick it up for a while now.

  22. CitizenErazed says:

    I’m going to rock the boat and state that I’m actually quite looking forward to this. From the trailer it looks like they’ve captured the atmosphere of the whole tiberium wars quite well – dark, basically. The idea of the whole thing in my mind is that the earth’s basically fucked. Red Alert has always been the ‘what if?’ franchise with the crazy mind controlled squids and the bulletproof robot dog that can leap half a map (I think he was in Aftermath’s missions).

    Then again you could probably just ignore all that because I actually liked the Scrin missions in C&C3, so I’m obviously crazy.

  23. Nick says:

    Republic Commando is a decent game, I bought it the other day thanks to GAME’s two for £15 thing and enjoyed it quite a lot. Has a nice sense of atmosphere and occasional humour and a decent enough squad system. Would have been more fun as a Stormtrooper killing rebel scum, but hey.

  24. yxxxx says:

    Perhaps the reason for dropping the C&C part is because they read this.

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=179482

  25. Sal says:

    looks like Republic commando…but with better guns

  26. Garth says:

    I’m the last person in the world to defend E.A., but I’m thinking of two things here:
    1) EA is actually really good at level texturing. Sure they’ve made a thousand NFS games, but most people will admit the cities at least look decent.
    2) It doesn’t look nearly as shit as Gears of War, which was the most infuriatingly gray game, ever. I’ve played a lot of games with terrible colour choices, texturing, etc. Hell, I nearly beat Fire Warrior for Christs sake, but GoW was so bad I could barely see the enemies for the friendlies for the fucking torn up couches.

    So, uhm, what I’m saying is that it doesn’t look that bad for an EA game in particular. If the shooting and killing is good, who cares if it’s not exactly original?

  27. Serondal says:

    Is this never coming out ? :P