Reddest Alert: C&C To Return

By Alec Meer on February 21st, 2011 at 6:50 pm.

This is Brian Conkers, star of the new game

This happened all of sudden, and quietly. EA stealth-rebooted its Command & Conquer website, announcing in quick sucession a new community manager, a whole new studio and a brand new, mystery C&C game.

We thought it was all over. (C’mon, we didn’t think it was all over for even a second). It isn’t now. Sounds like they’re really going for it this time. Commandingly, they sound like they want to conquer strategy again.

EditVoodoo Extreme report the site has reverted to its pre-OMG NEW GAME status, which suggests a cat was let out of the bag by mistake.

Very, very few details to go on as yet, but the new studio is based in three locations (LA, Texas, Shanghai), is called Victory Games and will head up EA’s entire strategy portfolio (somewhat hobbled by the closure of EA LA last year). Was there really not a Victory Games before? It is a fine name. They should be proud of it.

The telltale line, so far, comes from the aforementioned new studio’s boss Jon Van Caneghem, who says in an interview with his own site that “Our current focus is making a AAA Command & Conquer game, which I am very excited to be working on…”

Thankfully, AAA for once doesn’t mean ‘console.’ He continues, “I can tell you it’s a Command & Conquer game for the PC, but we’re not yet at a stage where I can go into any details— we’ll be prepared to make a more formal announcement later in the year. We’re not just working on a game, though. Our general focus is on the future of Command & Conquer. That means updating a lot of the core technology to create a stable base for future development, and leveraging that work on this first game.”

I’m guessing that’s going to mean something more persistently online, to be the CoD of RTS, or perhaps even the WoW of RTS. That is a complete guess, but as it’s an avenue more people are exploring and that StarCraft II perhaps didn’t go quite as far with as it could have done (preferring instead to stick to very swish ultra-competitive play) there remains a gap for it..

There’s also this line, hidden in the About page:

“With over 30 million sold, Command & Conquer now looks to the future, with plans to combine classic RTS gameplay with bold new technology, innovative new concepts and, as always, tanks by the dozen.”

I’m quite excited, to be honest. C&C4, despite trying very hard to be different and a bold break with the past, also seemed to me to hint that EA as a business had lost no small amount of interest in PC strategy. All this rather sounds like they’ve changed their mind. I’m going to wildly guess they’ll call the new game simply “Command & Conquer”. COLONS AND SUBTITLES ARE THE PAST.

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94 Comments »

  1. Teronfel says:

    Cool

  2. coldvvvave says:

    Soooo, let’s hire a guy who made HoMM and make him reboot C&C.

    Makes perfect sence.

    Activision should hire Notch to reboot Call of Duty.

  3. omicron1 says:

    So, are they going to learn from C&C4? The impression I got was that that game was pretty much an unmitigated disaster, with always-on DRM, a broken multiplayer progression system, and poor singleplayer. So… less of those things, please?

    • Dreamhacker says:

      I agree. All I wanted was Red Alert 2 with Generals-style graphics…

  4. Dominic White says:

    If they have any sense, they’ll retcon C&C4 out of existance, and try it again. This time, full-scale warfare between GDI (huge chunky tanks and mechs), Nod (legions of expendable cultists and cyborg monsters) and the Scrin (whatever the hell those weird alien guys want to do).

    I mean, the Scrin just kinda disappeared entirely between C&C3 and 4. Along with most of the strategy.

    • subedii says:

      If it’s a series reboot, I’m wondering whether they aren’t going to take the timeline all the way back to the beginning, where they based it in a sort of alternate near-future. Tanks and infantry, A-10 warthogs and chinooks, mixed up with slightly more advanced and weird tech like Orca’s (effectively helicopter gunships) and laser towers.

      For that matter, I wonder whether they’re going to stick with the FMV’s.

      But the primary thing I’d want to see from a new C&C game is NO FREAKING UNIT UNLOCKS!

      Seriously, that’s ridiculous for a strategy game. You may want to take your cue from CoD4 and ranking, but it just means that you’re either left with a weaker army composition than competitors or simply not nearly as many options.

      Three moves ahead ranted on this a bit in their C&C4 review (and again in the end-of-year review) since it was IIRC, their disappointment of the year.

  5. MinisterofDOOM says:

    If it doesn’t have Tiberium harvesting or base building, they may as well just slap a different name on it and leave the C&C franchise dead in the gutter where they left it. I don’t care if those two mechanics aren’t fresh or new or groundbreaking, they work, and they work well. Give me back my tiberium harvesting or quit wasting my time. And by harvesting, I don’t mean “build your refinery 3 feet from the tiberium field so your harvester can spin in circles the whole game” and yes I’m looking at you RA3.

    RA3 was a severe disappointment and C&C4 an even greater disappointment. My faith has been exhausted. I’d like to think EA can pull off another Kane’s Wrath (a genuinely excellent RTS) but I don’t honestly believe it.

    Also, I hope they’ve learned their lesson regarding the cutscenes: no one ever had a problem with the camp, and no one outside EA ever wanted them to be genuinely serious. So stop it. Gimme Kane in a crooked plastic robohat, please. At least I can laugh at that and feel GOOD about it.

    • RoXoR says:

      Hear Hear!

    • Nichael says:

      I, as well as many other fans of the Tiberium series in particular, preferred toning down the sillier aspects of the cut scenes in that universe of games. The RA2/RA3 universe is made for an anything goes, B-movie atmosphere. The Tiberium universe was supposed to be sort of serious.

  6. SirDimos says:

    Hopefully by “innovative new concepts” they don’t mean trying to redefine the genre like C&C4.

    Compare that launch with something that sticks more to the traditional RTS gameplay, yet is well polished and executed (Starcraft 2).

    Sometimes sticking with what works is best.

  7. Ricc says:

    I’m going to wildly guess they’ll call the new game simply “Command & Conquer”.

    I’d guess “The Command & Conquer” or just “C&C”.

  8. Dominic White says:

    I’m just going to chip in with some confusion regarding the Red Alert 3 hate. I really liked it – it was more bombastic and cartoony than previous entries in the series, but given that C&C3 had basically taken up the RA2 mantle, it made sense to differentiate them more.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      It was a good game, both the campaign and the multiplayer. I believe most complaints focused on the abundant micromanagement of units and their abilities, yet that was the one thing that made the game really stand out for me.

    • Nichael says:

      I thought RA3 was immensely underrated. The single player, admittedly, wasn’t that great. However, the multiplayer was loads of fun.

    • Fumarole says:

      I liked it for the simple fact that you could play the campaign with a friend. That the expansion didn’t allow this is probably why I didn’t finish it.

  9. Hunam says:

    Wasn’t C&C4 a good bye to Kane more than anything else?

    • Dominic White says:

      It failed at being that, even. Just look up the ending videos on youtube and try not to sigh in despair.

    • Hunam says:

      I actually have the game… just never played it. Still got RA3 to finish first.

    • Nichael says:

      The absolute worst aspect of C&C 4 was the single player and its cut scenes. They were embarrassing.

  10. Scroll says:

    I enjoyed EA LA’s games up till RA3 quite a bit. Admittedly this was before SC2 returned and now dominates a part of my brain and is unlikely to let go for a decade but still I’d like to see C&C game on a new shiney engine that attempts to stay competitive in the genre.

  11. agentgray says:

    I’m holding out for C&C:Music Factory.

    Getting some good vibes from that one.

  12. Miker says:

    I’m calling it now, folks: the new sequel will be simply titled “Command, Conquer.”

    • Heliocentric says:

      Logically they could get away with ‘Conquer; Command’, but ‘Command; Conquer’ might be a stretch.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Logically, they should call it Command ∧ Conquer.

  13. Jimbo says:

    At this point they’re just flogging the horse bones into dust.

  14. Heliocentric says:

    I desperately want to sit the staff infront of a pc running company of heroes. Get them to play it for an hour and answer their “I didn’t know, i’m so sorry!” with “Now you you can make it right”.

    • Jimbo says:

      Amen. And if they aren’t going to rip off something new like CoH then they just need to make a straight remake of Red Alert, because all of their own ideas about how to innovate the series over the last ~10 years have just sucked.

  15. Navagon says:

    It looks like a sci-fi game but the Kane storyline won’t be continued. Perhaps this means a totally disconnected storyline just using the C&C name for recognition (like Generals)? But to be honest, after C&C4 I don’t think that’s a particularly good kind of recognition anymore.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I’d expect some sort of rebranding, like how the Batman series is reinvented every now and then. Or what they did with Transformers, for example.

  16. AllenJB says:

    …and in my dreams the next announcement reads “The studio is called Westwood Studios and we’re putting the pre-buyout team back together”

  17. SwiftRanger says:

    “I’m guessing that’s going to mean something more persistently online, to be the CoD of RTS, or perhaps even the WoW of RTS. That is a complete guess, but as it’s an avenue more people are exploring and that StarCraft II perhaps didn’t go quite as far with as it could have done (preferring instead to stick to very swish ultra-competitive play) there remains a gap for it..”

    C&C4 already heavily went on the CoD-route by forcing players to unlock units. It just doesn’t work. It also didn’t help they were still using the old Sage-engine view point. C&C3 offered some fun, RA3 got lost in too much micro but all EALA games after Generals pretty much didn’t impact the RTS genre like Relic or GPG could do.

    It’s good to read they want to have completely new tech this time around though. In any case, they have a tarnished franchise to work with. One which is filled with missed chances (Tiberian Sun, Renegade, Sole Survivor, etc.) and crappy stuff.

  18. DarkFenix says:

    C&C3 was mediocre, but provided at least some fun. C&C4 was an abomination which I didn’t even consider worth the bandwidth to pirate (it takes a pretty awful game that I won’t even pirate it). RA3 was also an abomination that I avoided like the plague after playing the beta briefly.

    As far as I can tell, they’ve completely forgotten how to make a good game. RA2, Generals and Zero Hour were the last good ones released. So any further entries into the C&C series are pretty much going to have to come with free hookers just to make me start giving a shit.

  19. leomr says:

    Calling it now: Free game with microtransactions, meant partially to compete with Microsoft’s upcoming Age of Empires Online.

    • Mark says:

      That’s also what I’m thinking. I almost want them to go back to a more single player-focused C&C with base building, harvesting and stuff. Problem is, that’s kind of an evolutionary dead end, and even if they were able to refine the shit out of it, like Blizzard did with SC2– I just don’t believe they have the talent to do that.

      The gold rush is in social multiplayer. Maybe an MMORTS with hundreds of simultaneous, real-time battles going on, fought over a unified global landscape would be quite cool. The best C&C players would rise in the ranks to become generals and then would have more over-arching control over the strategic side and allocation of resources. Think Planetside but for RTS. Could be cool, if they ever worked it all out.

  20. rocketman71 says:

    If they’re going to release the same online-only, unoriginal, bug-ridden POS of the last time, please don’t bother.

  21. ChaosSmurf says:

    Generals 2, do it for me EA.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Generals Zero Hour – Best game EVAH !!!

      PWN THE NOOBZ

  22. Alfius says:

    Ahem, aren’t we forgetting something amongst all this talk of Tiberium and Red Alert disappointment?
    Generals was, imho, by far and away the best CnC to date and I for one would be dead chuffed to see a sequel.

    • DarkFenix says:

      I agree, Generals (with a little help from the modding community) got by far the greatest playtime out of me of the series. It still stands its ground perfectly well to modern competitors in the RTS market in my opinion.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Amen.

      Generals 2 FTW

    • DrazharLn says:

      Heh. It bored me so much I sold it to a friend (or gave it away, I don’t remember). One of the only games I have ever done that with.

  23. pipman3000 says:

    nobody needs shoulderpads that big.

  24. AdamK117 says:

    EA: Hey! That Starcraft 2 made millions! What genre was it again?
    Bob: RTS I think
    EA: We must have an RTS we can milk?
    Bob: C&C, sir
    EA: Yes bob. And so it begins. *begins to burn a blizzcon ticket*

  25. Delusibeta says:

    I don’t follow. http://www.commandandconquer.com seems unchanged for me.

  26. kobre12 says:

    Generals 2 would be dream come true!

  27. RyuRanX says:

    Jon Van Caneghem. Now the series has a tiny chance to live again. Despite Jon’s knowledge in strategy games and all the great games he has made, it’s still an EA game.

    • Waltorious says:

      He is the New World Computing guy, yes? Creator of Might and Magic?

  28. Premium User Badge Andy_Panthro says:

    Number one requirement: Frank Klepacki to do the music.

    Everything else is secondary.

  29. Lord_Mordja says:

    Zero Hour is the best C&C game around. There I said it.

    Come at me bitches.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I agree with you 100%. Best C&C game ever. Most visionary strategy of all times.

      Unbalanced, but still the best RTS multiplayer. Switched to Dawn of War 2, but still missing the ZH’s incredible variety.

    • Commisar says:

      True, I loved both Generals and Zero hour, but you gotta like C&C 3 for continuing the tiberium storyline

    • Ultra Superior says:

      That alone kept me in a single player , but the multiplayer just wasn’t good, sadly.

  30. Premium User Badge Daiv says:

    Colons and subtitles will never die, unfortunately.

    Coming in Q4…

    Command: Conquer.

  31. Davie says:

    Yes! Yes! Maybe this time it won’t be an unforgivable fuckup!

    C&C 3 was once of my favorite RTS games ever, and I hope they’ll revisit some of the things that made it good, rather than changing absolutely everything for boneheaded reasons like they did with C&C 4.

  32. Thule says:

    An RTS like this would need alot of support in order to stay alive. Also they’d be competing with SC2 if they want to make it a competitive RTS.
    I somehow doubt EA’s ability to give the proper support for an competitive online RTS so I’m guessing this is going to fail.
    C&C was brought to the back of the shed and shot in the neck by C&C4 to die and it just needs to stay dead for while before it can be brought back.
    I personally wouldn’t be against a reboot of C&C, but they need to take a break and seriously think about what they want to do rather than starting another game over the corpse of C&C before it’s even been buried.

  33. Gaytard Fondue says:

    Was it a bad choice to stop caring about the series after RA?

  34. noobnob says:

    Why not Command to Conquer?

  35. vodka and cookies says:

    I would really like a C&C style Ground Control, wide open maps with hills and valleys, limited units and no bases, also time to do away with the FMV it’s just too cheesy. Also the Ground Control factions were definitely inspired by the GDI/NOD.

    Oh yeah didn’t EA LA just becomes Danger Close, they had FPS/RTS team at the studio I remember seeing a tour of EA LA and it was a pretty big place not the sort of thing you just close shop on, though I would imagine the RTS teams at LA were reassigned or let go when it turned into Danger Close.

    Anyway nice to see C&C back again.

    • h3d says:

      The thing with Danger Close, Victory Games, and Visceral Games (Deadspace 2) is that they aren’t real “studios” but just what the team calls themselves. EALA still exists in a traditional sense of being a brick and mortar studio (physical location), but it seams as thought current revitalizations brought on by the staff layoff and shakeup is to encourage separate team “identities”. Think of it as a team within a team.

  36. Cradok says:

    Am I the only one who’s favourite was TibSun? Yes? Thought so…

    • Premium User Badge Durkonkell says:

      Negative! Tiberian Sun was also my favourite. Loved that game. Actually if I was to write a Gaming Made Me at some point I’d seriously consider writing it about TibSun.

      I’m not really sure how to think about this annoucement considering the shambles that C&C4 was…

  37. Nimic says:

    I refused to buy C&C4, when it started to become apparent what kind of warped monstrosity it was. I even refused to download it. I simply didn’t want to play it. I think that up until C&C4, all was well with the C&C saga.

    Even though they weren’t as good as Tiberian Sun or Red Alert, I quite liked the later games. RA3 was decent enough when playing Co-op, and I’ve actually finished the C&C3 campaign several times. But C&C4… that wasn’t Command & Conquer.

    Now, if this brings back something at least vaguely resembling the good old days (even the good old days of C&C3), I will be super excited and be all over it when it comes out. If it, in the vein of C&C4, shits all over the Command & Conquer series, then that will make me that much more hostile to EA and their games.

    Don’t fucking mess with Command & Conquer.

  38. cjlr says:

    Oh christ fuck.

    Let dead dogs lie.

    Make something new. At least then there’d be a chance of getting it right.

  39. Tetragrammaton says:

    The Tiberiun(sp?) Sun universe in a Men of War style RTS would be the bestest thing in all the world. (that could come out of this press release)

  40. Premium User Badge TheTourist314 says:

    I gotta ask, did ANYONE like Red Alert 3? RA 1 and 2 were two of my favorite games while growing up, and while I did rather enjoy C&C3 despite its non-Westwood team, Red Alert 3 was just absolutely boring and couldn’t hold my interest at all. It was too stripped of everything and felt like a mockery of the Red Alert series.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      No, you’re correct. EA hasn’t made any RTS worth playing since 2003.

    • Nichael says:

      I enjoyed both C&C 3 and RA3. I had a load of fun in the multiplayer in both of them, and that’s coming from someone who’s played every C&C when they were released.

    • Wilson says:

      I had a laugh with the singleplayer for RA3. Far from the greatest strategy game ever, but it was all right. Generals is still the best in the series for me.

  41. DJ Phantoon says:

    Here’s how to redo it:

    Have it be the first game, but when you win battles for GDI or NOD your side takes land on a big huge world map. As you rank up, your battles mean more to the world map.

    And that’s it. Don’t make people unlock commandos.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      This is an excellent idea. Then you can keep the bases you built and drive on.

  42. MrEvilGuy says:

    Command and Conquer Renegade, except this time make it RTS plus FPS to play as armoured bears with guns

  43. destroy.all.monsters says:

    If they retcon C+C 4 out of continuity and bring back Joe Kucan then I’ll consider it.

    Frankly without the old Westwood team I think it’s fairly pointless. I don’t see Adam Isgreen’s name at Victory Games as yet.

    Generals 2 – fine, great, not a lot to mess up story wise. I loved ZH so not a problem. Tiberium universe – you have to have people with real skills that actually care about the lore and the characters. Seems impossible.

    RA can work, it doesn’t need to be tied to continuity that the Tiberium universe does (though it should be re-tied to that universe).

    • h3d says:

      Which Westwood team? WW Pacific (Ra2, Generals until WW closure) or WW Las Vegas(Tib Sun, Renegade, Incursion, Continuum, Earth and Beyond)?

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Vegas was essentially the original team. There were a few that went to WWP, which was folded into EALA. Basically I’m looking at the folks that had the most input and impact on the original games.