The plot, it thickens – like an ultra-syrupy plot milkshake or a rail-thin wisp of a plot that’s been secretly lifting plot weights for plot months. A few weeks ago, EA announced that it had canceled EA Victory’s free-to-play Command & Conquer pseudo-reboot and closed down the studio altogether. This left the series’ future very much in doubt, especially given that Victory had been established largely for the sole purpose of propelling the storied war machine ever onward. But now Blue’s News has dug up a rather interesting tidbit: an EA support statement on refunds (posted not long after the cancellation announcement) specifically mentions that previously activated early beta access “will be honored once production of this title resumes under a new studio.” Good news? Kinda! But it’s also rather sad, when you think about it.
First off, here are the two most sizzling soundbites:
“For those of you who bought The C&C Ultimate Collection, your early access to the beta will be honored once production of this title resumes under a new studio.”
“We would like to thank you for your time and interest in Command & Conquer, and we look forward to sharing the news with you when production resumes on this title in the future.”
Resumes. The repeated use of that particular word sure makes it sound like EA doesn’t intend to entirely scrap Victory’s hard-fought progress on the sorta-cancelled project. Then again, this could just be a case of left hand and right hand having not yet met, instead forever passing like two trains in the night or co-workers whose urinal schedules never sync up.
I’ve mailed EA for clarification about all of this – specifically, whether the support page’s info is accurate, how urgently the publisher is trying to jumpstart Command & Conquer again, and why it didn’t opt to simply saddle Victory with the responsibility of taking its game in a more fan-friendly direction (especially since it was already trying to do that, and it had promised a number of single-player campaigns in various branches of the C&C universe).
We shall see. In the meantime, though, it’s difficult not to feel bad for Victory – at least, given what we know of the situation so far. I imagine EA has full rights to whatever the studio created, so large portions of its vision of Command & Conquer could very well end up commandeered for some new studio’s effort. And perhaps, if Victory is very lucky, it might be able to look forward to that most paltry of participation ribbons: individually named mentions in the credits. Might.
But then, perhaps this move will ultimately result in a better game. I doubt we’ll know for quite some time, but that still might end up being sooner than we thought.