Command and Conquer: Back for Duty?
It seems that the death of Westwood has not yet killed the Command and Conquer franchise. Though Westwood became debunked after releasing several games to try their hand at more than just real time strategy games (most of which were good with the exception of Command and Conquer 4), it seems that Electronic Arts and others are willing to give the franchise a jolt to see if it can again be the amazing and successful franchise that it was.
3 games are currently in development or even already partially released. One game is an homage to Westwood’s only first-person shooter, Command and Conquer Renegade. A decent game with a great storyline, Renegade was nevertheless not very popular due to its setup. Some developers at Totem Arts, who are fans of Renegade, created the game Command and Conquer: Renegade X: Black Dawn as a Mod to the Unreal Tournament 3 game and Unreal Engine 3, a ultra-realistic gaming engine. After being highly successful, these developers made the Mod into a ful-fledged game. Though still under development, the developers released the single player mini-campaign for Renegade X on Saturday. It is available at their website for free download. Though the download was a bit of a pain, the game was AWESOME! The graphics were incredible, the dialog is just as awesome and funny as most of the Command and Conquer games have, and, well, it’s awesome, especially since it’s a free game. As I said before, the game is still being developed, there are a few bugs that could be worked out, and Totem Arts is still developing the multiplayer, which I will be eagerly awaiting.
Another game currently in its beta form is an online browser game known as Command and Conquer Tiberium Alliances. Tiberium Alliances is under development from the website play4free.com, a site owned by EA that offers games such as Battlefield and Need for Speed. These browser based games are all completely free, as the sites name implies, and allows you to pay for these games only if you want to, much like most of the Facebook games we see out there. I signed up for the beta for TA as soon as I heard about it, and got a beta key almost the same day. As much as I want to tell you everything that I’m doing in this game at the moment, since it is currently a Beta, I am not allowed to share anything that’s going on right now in the game. I can tell you that it’s a very different way to look at Command and Conquer, and I am enjoying it so far. The gameplay has small similarities to some Facebook games like Empires and Allies, though only slightly, such as how buildings are constructed, and how you place units before going to battle a base, and how you can form alliances. You can also check out the preview trailer so you can see what it looks like right now. I am going to keep playing this game and see how it develops, and I hope this game succeeds, because its different, difficult, and a tribute to the games and franchise that introduced me to the awesome world of real-time strategy and to the world of video gaming itself.
Now last, but definitely not least, the game that every Command and Conquer fan is waiting for is Command and Conquer Generals 2. The Command and Conquer Generals universe was the 3rd universe created by Westwood. Generals and its “Zero Hour” expansion was a more modern and realistic game compared to the other 2 universes created by Westwood, as it used modern war technology as well as a storyline that fits close to real life in our current war against terrorism. Command and Conquer Generals 2 was announced during this year’s Video Game Awards show by EA. A new studio under the BioWare and EA banner was apparently created for this very purpose, known as BioWare Victory is taking the lead for Generals 2 using the same gaming engine used for Battlefield 3. If the graphics are really as good in-game as they are in the new trailer, I will be very happy. The storyline given for Generals 2 by BioWare Victory is that in a terrible attack, terrorists killed all the worlds political leaders (how horrible huh? No more politicians in the world, what would we do in real life? Sarcasm ending now) and the only leaders left are the generals. Now these generals take up the fight to rid the world of terrorism once and for all. I will admit, I am a little hesitant about this game at the same time I’m so excited for it. EA proved it didn’t do well with the Command and Conquer franchise when Command and Conquer 4 was released and everyone hated it, which is what killed Westwood. At the same time, it is a BioWare studio developing this new game, and I have loved every BioWare game I have played, so I am willing to give EA some slack while I wait for this game to be released and see if it holds to the spirit of Command and Conquer.
It seems Command and Conquer could be coming back from its exile and attempting to see if new games can be added to the franchise and be as good as the original games were. I eagerly await more from Command and Conquer, and wish nothing but luck to the developers, and remind them that this is the very franchise that launched real-time strategy into the gaming community, so I hope they tread carefully when working with this franchise. (Sorry folks, Starcraft was NOT first, even if it is a great game. Starcraft was released in 1998, but the original Command and Conquer was released in 1995, so there.)