Command & Conquer To Revisit Red Alert, Tiberium

By Nathan Grayson on September 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Why, I remember when this place was just fields, far as the eye could see. [explodes]

EA’s free-to-play reimagining of Command & Conquer just keeps on growing. Next year, it’ll slowly but surely roll out a full single-player campaign set in the Generals universe, replete with triumphant returns (or cackling callbacks) from the Global Liberation Army and revamped Chinese and US factions. But how exactly will these missions release? And what lies beyond, after what essentially constitutes Command & Conquer Generals 2 has given up all of its tiny, suicidally obedient ghosts? Victory Games explained in a new video, and let’s just say that they haven’t forgotten the legendary RTS series’ legacy.

For now, Generals is the focus, but – assuming that campaign is successful – the Red Alert and Tiberium universes are next. Development director Tim Morten explained:

“This game picks up ten years after the last Generals, so it’s still got the same Terrorist Faction – The Global Liberation Army, the European Union is taking over from where the US Faction was in the last Generals and then the Asia Pacific Alliance is a broader version of the China Faction. In the future we’re going to go back to the Tiberium Universe and the Red Alert Universe.”

Perhaps even more interestingly, campaigns will trundle onto our hard drives gradually – as opposed to blitzkrieging the frontlines of our free time all in one go. Morten noted: “Campaigns will be dynamic in that they release constantly over time so there isn’t just one campaign like the last games, it’ll constantly be growing.”

Given that this is a free-to-play game, that of course gives rise to the looming specter of microtransactions. It seems like a no-brainer that EA would charge for campaign missions, and I honestly wouldn’t blame them. Single-player story content isn’t cheap to produce. The big question, then, is how much we’ll have to fork over to experience the subtle, moving prose of ceaseless tank fire and screams of infantrymen as they ragdoll hilariously through the air. I’ve mailed EA for details, but I’m honestly not expecting anything concrete just yet. Oh well. I’ll let you all know if I hear anything back.

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34 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    So Red Alert 4 is just going to be a montage of 90-year-old men and the boobs of teenagers, with the word “base”, “war” and “time travel” overlaid? Or was that just Red Alert 3?

    I mean sure, Red Alert was campy, but people who remember it as a pantomime might have forgotten that your first mission as the Soviets was ethnic cleansing.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Ahh… the good old days. Where taboo’s were Synonymous with gaming, so no one gave a shit.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Red Alert 1 is decidedly grim in its mission briefings, for all the lightning towers and secret giant ant missions. It’s a baffling piece of mental revisionism that Red Alert 2 overwrote people’s memories of its tone.

      (Edit: I mean, here’s said Soviet mission. Cheesy Russki accents and hints of womanizing, sure, but “zany” it ‘ain’t. And hell, look at the Allied ending. Compare with RA2′s Lieutenant-and-Tanya-both-want-to-date-you-you-masculine-stud nonsense.)

      Much like how C&C1 is not a high-speed clickfest of mass-selecting tanks. Most missions have you on tight enough budgets that even fairly aggressive harvesting expansion, tanks are expensive.

    • Bull0 says:

      Yes, yes, yes. Couldn’t agree more. It wasn’t the Soviet Kitsch Sexy Picture Show until Red Alert 2 came along, FFS. Any time anyone describes Red Alert as being zany or camp at heart I lose my shit

  2. tehsorrow says:

    God I love Generals. It’s kind of amazing any of it got passed the classification boards. I feel they couldn’t get away with stuff like the suicide bomber units saying “I LOVE a crowd” these days.

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      Anthile says:

      Not to mention an entire faction based on liberal use of chemical weapons.

      • tehsorrow says:

        Yeah I played a lot of 2 v 2 with my friend who played Dr Thrax and I played Juziz (suicide gen). GLA were an extremely fun faction to play.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      In my eyes it’s the only good “modern” C&C. I enjoyed it so damn much. Really doubt this f2p bastardization will be anything close to the greatness that was Generals. One can hope though, I guess.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Pretty much.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        I was extremely excited about Generals 2 , since Zero Hour is by far the best multiplayer RTS ever (FUCK THE BALANCE)

        Unfortunately, after I have seen the videos from gamescom… this looks like a dumbed down, simplified, rock paper scissored, castrated version of generals. :(

        Forget about stealthing your workers, getting them on bikes – forget about black lotus capturing the airfield with 4 loaded raptors…. forget about jarmen kell stealing US dozers and escaping with them throuth the sneak attack tunnel……… this will be just Heavy slow tanks versus fast light tanks.. . :(

  3. GeminiathXL says:

    I always expect these huge and awesome pitched battles, only to have my behind handed to me by a handfull of professionally micromanaged units.

    Yet…..I keep coming back for more.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Exactly – that is what made generals zero hour so great. Massive armies could be defeated by handful of cleverly microed units.

      I’ll never forget the moment when enemy nuke general poured almost 60 nuke battlemasters out of his base until one shot of my nuke cannon started a chain reaction that obliterated his entire 10x stronger army at an instant.

      Oh god, I have so many stories to tell to my grandchildren. Thank you Zero Hour.

  4. Eddard_Stark says:

    Wish we could erase the jokes that were C&C 3 n’ 4 and the whole Generals sidekick (although a decent game it ain’t C&C) so that Tiberian Sun would get a proper single-player sequel. One can dream…

    • Werthead says:

      I thought C&C3 and its expansion were absolutely fine. C&C4 was horrific, though, as was RED ALERT 3. GENERALS was also very, very good after ZERO HOUR came out.

  5. LordNeidhart says:

    Huh, this is weird. Red Alert is ok to me, the series can keep going with no problems except a slight excessive use of Time Travel. But Tiberium? How will the writers justify THAT? The last game’s ending means that the writers wrote themselves into a corner, and if they try retconning it back but keep the same characters (Kane) it’ll be weird to me.

    • ViktorBerg says:

      A retcon is very likely if they are to keep on expanding the Tiberium universe. I am not sure whether EA admits it or not, but I am sure they are aware nobody was a big fan of the story conclusion in C&C4.

      As for the different universes within the same game – I think, their point is they want to develop a sort of unified framework that they can use as a base for implementing different C&C universes: the original, RA2 and Generals all will probably have completely different and unconnected campaigns as well as multiplayer. I.e. you won’t see tesla tanks and scorpion tanks side by side.

      At least that’s how I understand it. And it wouldn’t make any sense to include even MORE diverse factions into a unified multiplayer experience – the balancing would be stuff of nightmares. Many skirmish-focused RTSes already struggle with 4-5 factions (some pull it off pretty well, though, look at WC3). But balancing EIGHT factions (Allies, Soviets, EU, Asia, GLA, NOD, GDI and possibly Scrin) is almost impossible. Which is where I draw my conclusions that at least as far as multiplayer, those will be unconnected to one another.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Is that that bloke off Hollyoaks? It is that bloke off Hollyoaks!
    (uuh, not that I’ve ever watched Hollyoaks. Okay, okay, I was a student goddamnit. I made mistakes)

    Is anyone enjoying the FTP C&C? I must admit I’ve not played any in the series since Red Alert 2/Yuri’s Revenge. And the very notion of a free to play iteration makes me eye up my First Decade box all the more. Though I seem to recall it being an absolute sharp, stabbing pain in the prostate to get working properly on Windows 7.

    • LionsPhil says:

      C&C and RA1 both run nicely under DOSBox. I wouldn’t really bother with the Win95 versions.

      C&C2 is probably a tougher proposition, but thankfully also not very good.

      • ViktorBerg says:

        Did you just say that Tiberian Sun was bad? Because I find it to be the best game in the Tiberium universe.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Bear in mind that the years have dulled this a little; I haven’t replayed it beyond an occasional skirmish in recent years, but off the top of my head:
          * Hunter-seeker drones are some of the worst RTS design I’ve ever encountered, because they’re a huge random element. In a skirmish, the RNG god will ensure that yours takes out some wounded enemy soldier standing around in some nowhere corner of the map, whereas theirs will slam straight into your construction yard, destroying it instantly.
          * Tiberium vines were a cool idea, but would have worked a hell of a lot better if gates actually stopped them. As it is, if you’re GDI, you bomb them and never look back. If you’re NOD, you try to buy the little lawnmowers to harvest them, who then pathfind to the other side of the field repeatedly and take forever to generate one extra superweapon that mostly makes visceroids that will be as much of a hazard to you as your opponent, despite spawning in the enemy base you presumably targetted. (I think Yuri’s Genetic Manipulator did a much better job of “turn enemy infantry into monsters set against them”.)
          * Laying pavement is a cool idea, but in practice kind of massively tedious. And if you don’t do it before you place buildings, they’ll leave an unpaved gap under them. When that building explodes, it then risks leaving a crater, rendering the area unbuildable and meaning you need to re-pave any little flat gaps before a subterrainian APC full of engineers surfaces there.
          * Laser fences are cool but useless, because they’re easier to take down than regular ones. Firewall ones likewise, unless you have the kind of timing needed to swat missiles with them.
          * The cluster missile itself is a pretty iffy superweapon when it comes to actually hitting what you want it to.
          * Petty, but the Obelisk of Light got fat. :(
          * That NOD artillery nerf outside of singleplayer. :C
          * The FMV is atrocious. I can kind of overlook C&C1′s unknowns being a bit awkward, but by C&C2 they bought in a bunch of big names, who proceeded to ham it up to Shatnerian levels and chew the sets down into pulp. (Even Joseph Kucan has to try to act with a piece of plastic stuck to his face that makes sure he remains utterly ridiculous the whole way through.) And it isn’t yet taking the post-RA2 approach of “but it’s on purrrpossse because ZANY”—they’re trying to pull off serious gravitas.

          I mean, it had plenty of cool things; subterrainian units; destructable terrain paths (bridges/slopes); etc. But those damn drones killed a lot of skirmish joy, and honestly the singleplayer didn’t leave much of a memorable mark beyond “oh god, mission briefings, aaaargh”. (Firestorm’s campaign was a bit better.)

    • Werthead says:

      Both of those blokes are off Hollyoaks and are continuing their on-screen bromance into a post-acting career. Or in other words, they’re aspiring to be the new Ant and Dec.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrScuttles says:

        Good grief, you’re right. I didn’t recognise the other one for the glasses.

        Um. I mean, what, you watch Hollyoaks? Heathen.

  7. Pich says:

    PLEASE STOP IT’S ALREADY DEAD

    • australopithecus says:

      Ah, no it’s not dead actually. Generals Zero Hour still has hundred of people playing it every day, and I hear RA2 still has a very healthy community too. Unfortunately EA’s support for the game was very limited (surprise surprise) and they stopped releasing patches many years ago, although the game still had significant bugs.

      The Zero Hour players are hanging out for this new release, hoping it retains many of the great aspects of Generals while fixing many of the problems, and giving us modern features like automatic match making based on skill level.

      Time will tell, but I’m keeping an open mind and looking forward to this release.

  8. P.Funk says:

    “Campaigns will be dynamic in that they release constantly over time so there isn’t just one campaign like the last games, it’ll constantly be growing.”

    Talk about turning a funding bottle neck that limits production output into a desirable feature.

  9. Bull0 says:

    Ought to have just called it Generals 2. I loved Generals, and most of my friends would probably cite it as their favourite of all the modern offerings.

    “How does Frostbite 3 enable you to make the universe more dynamic”?

    Eurgh.

  10. Lemming says:

    For now, Generals is the focus, but – assuming that campaign is successful – the Red Alert and Tiberium universes are next.

    In other words, buy the game we want you to buy, not the one you want, and maybe we’ll make one you want in the future. Yeah,no thanks.

  11. FullMetalMonkey says:

    I’m in the Closed Alpha and the only thing I can say is :-)

  12. Warduke says:

    “And lastly the networking is head and shoulders above past C&C games”… YES!!!! My friends and I often say we’d still be playing Generals today if the damn network code worked properly. Generals was an awesome game but trying to get consistent games going with more than 2 people was a dice roll. And we spent HOURS rolling those dice.

  13. Trithne says:

    I can’t really take this game at all seriously when they keep showing tanks driving up to arm’s length of each other to shoot at one another. I’m possibly spoilt by playing a lot of Airland Battle these days. but the model used by these style of RTS games is just too absurd for me.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      I think when graphics and animation were more abstract it was easier to see your units (and the map) in RTS games as being abstract representations of what they were supposed to be. I guess because modern graphics and animation leave a lot less for the imagination to do, these things can look odd when coming in from other contexts. Afterall, games like Warcraft and the original C&C grew out of turn based strategy and nobody finds it odd in Civ when two tanks are fighting in adjacent hexes, or that the ogre you just spawned in Warcraft 2 is far too big to fit inside the barracks :)

  14. XhomeB says:

    I’m confused. Will the campaigns be playable offline or simply a bunch of missions you can play alone, but it’s still mandatory to be logged in?
    If it’s the latter, then what’s the point?…

    P.S. EA ruined Tiberian universe with Tiberium Wars, C&C4 basically spat on it further. It was an undisputable and unnecessary disaster.

  15. JademusSreg says:

    I love Tiberium, but EA has done nothing to earn my love-monies. So when I want some delicious, xeno-terraforming green crystal, I just make my own.

  16. Ender7 says:

    It’s EA, you know its going to suck.