C&C Labs News Wire

— Tuesday, February 26, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 2:06:22 PM ET

On the C&C and Red Alert Universes

CNCDEN reported yesterday that, according to the latest edition of UK gaming magazine PC Zone, C&C and Red Alert are now officially separate universes.  Executive Producer of Red Alert 3, Chris Corry, is quoted as saying:
"There's no relationship between the two universes. Westwood - Louis Castle and Brett Sperry - had an intention that they would exist in the same universe, which is why in RA1 Kane appears. But Louis Castle has done interviews which he said was a 'failed experiment'!"
The PC Zone article goes on to read:
Significantly the new game is called Red Alert 3, not C&C Red Alert 3, and the team seems waeary of the speculation.  "We have no plans to bring them together.  C&C is all abgout Kane, and Tiberium being the black gold and corrupting influence - heavy themes and really different in tone to Red Alert.  If you tried to force the two togeher, you'd just have a bit of a mess."
Seems sensible enough to me at this point, though many C&C fans had hoped that the universes would remain connected as originally intended.  The article's statement that Red Alert 3 will lack the Command & Conquer franchise name was erroneous, however, and has been refuted by EA's C&C Community Manager Aaron Kaufman:
What Chris Corry, our Executive Producer is speaking to in the UK PC Zone article is simply that Red Alert 3 will not look to connect the Tiberium and Red Alert universes together in our story or fiction overall. The official reasoning for this is provided in the article text... Certainly we understand the debates and theories regarding this issue, but we would never take away the name “Command & Conquer” from Red Alert 3.

"A Failed Experiment"?
Still, some Command & Conquer fans are undoubtedly disappointed that the two universes are now officially separated in terms of story.  Generals World staff member Blbpaws, for one, contends that Command & Conquer fans shouldn't offhandedly accept Castle's statement that the relationship between the two universes was a "failed experiment."
At some level, Electronic Arts owns the game, and thus it is their right to control the story. At another level, it has always been a common conception among fans that the universes were separate. But at what I think is the most important level, we shouldn’t only look to Louis Castle. As always, the C&C story is a bit more nuanced than at first glance.

Why shouldn’t we just take EA, and their well-paid employee, Louis Castle at whatever they say on C&C? For one, Louis Castle co-founded Westwood, but certainly did not co-found C&C. Look, for example, to the credits on C&C Red Alert. Castle, mentioned in some versions of the credits (though not on the online version maintained by MobyGames), is never credited with “Original Concept” (that’s Brett Sperry and Joe Bostic) or any sort of high ranking role. Such is true for most of the early C&C games when the framework for the series was being laid out. [...]

But I don't think that a minor plot point (which was never going to be resolved) really matters much in the end. I am aiming for a larger issue. It’s apparent to me, and a lot of others, what has happened with C&C. Forgive me for noting it so obviously. The original visionaries of C&C are gone, and many who have replaced them are feeling free to tinker with the story, yet still trying to pass themselves off as caretakers of an original vision.
Blbpaws argues EA's use of Louis Castle's remarks to justify the separation of the two universes, when in fact Brett Sperry and Joe Bostic were the ones responsible for C&C's original vision, highlights yet again that "something is different" now about Command & Conquer.

You may read the rest of Blbpaws' argument here:
» One Vision, One Purpose