C&C Labs News Wire

— Wednesday, February 27, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 7:17:04 AM ET

New RA3 Info

Hagren over at C&C Files has posted more information about Red Alert 3 from a Dutch gaming magazine.  Here are the important points:
  • The IFV is back
  • Confirmed superweapons: Iron curtain, chronosphere, particle cannon
  • New unit: The Allied drone
  • No nuclear technology
  • In-house physics engine
  • 60 minutes of cutscenes
  • Engine optimized for multi-core processors
  • Estimated release date: November 2008
  • Engineers are confirmed
  • Switching between fire modes takes some time
  • There will be a structure similar to the gap generator
  • Game development started in 2005
  • Principal shooting of FMVs starts in April
Campaign info:
  • The Soviet campaign will revolve around them trying to destroy both the Allies and the Empire of the Rising Sun
  • The Allied campaign will revolve around the maniacal US president who desperately wants the Soviets dead
  • The Empire of the Rising Sun campaign will revolve around the strained relation between the Emperor of Japan and his son
You can read the entire posting and see some scans from the magazine over at Command & Conquer Files.
Last edited by Mike on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 10:34:00 PM.

— 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

— Thursday, February 21, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 5:12:13 PM ET

Kane's Wrath News

A roundup of some recent Kane's Wrath coverage you may be interested in:
  • Jim Vessella, producer of C&C 3, posted some new info explaining the Global Conquest mode that will serve as the single player campaign in Kane's Wrath. It's interesting, and is certainly a new direction for the franchise, though one that has been tried by other RTS games before. Read more here.
  • The ZOCOM (a GDI subfaction) have a special unit called the Zone Raider that EA has spotlighted here.
  • IGN has a nice preview of Kane's Wrath online.
  • A note from EA that preordering Kane's Wrath early on will get you a spot in the Red Alert 3 beta testing.

— Tuesday, February 19, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 6:00:40 PM ET

New Poll and Poll Results

After a long wait, I uploaded a new poll today. Similar question to last time, except this time about the just-announced Red Alert 3. Here are the results from the last one:
What's your initial assessment of Kane's Wrath based on what we've seen so far?
It's looking superb
It's looking like it'll be worth getting, but nothin' special
I'm not impressed; they're not really adding that much
To be honest, it looks like EA just can't do anything right
I haven't been following it
Total Votes: 227
Thanks to all 227 of you who voted. Some of you clearly thought Kane's Wrath would be a superb expansion for C&C 3, while the majority were in the middle on the issue. Most worrying for EA, though, has to be the 41% who weren't following the game or very unimpressed with its progress. Maybe Red Alert 3 will please this group? Vote in the new poll and tell us what you think!

— Thursday, February 14, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 7:13:47 AM ET

Command & Conquer Movies Back Online

Along with the big news of the day, EA has also relaunched the CNCMovies.com website, where you can now watch "nearly all the original full motion video sequences from every major Command & Conquer game".  Very happy to see EA got the legal clearance to put this back online - great work, guys.

Watch James Earl Jones as General Solomon: "My judgment is sound Kane, and I'm not afraid of ghosts or you."

— Thursday, February 14, 2008 —

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
Following numerous rumors this week, EA today officially announced Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.
After seven years, Red Alert returns!  After a time travel mission goes awry, a new superpower has been thrust onto the world stage and World War III is raging.  The Empire of the Rising Sun has risen in the East, making WW III a three-way struggle between the Soviets, the Allies, and the Empire with armies fielding wacky and wonderful weapons and technologies such as Tesla coils, heavily armed War Blimps, teleportation, armored bears, intelligent dolphins, floating island fortresses, and transforming tanks.

Experience the next chapter of the Red Alert saga.
The official press release is available on the new Red Alert 3 website.  Watch the official Battlecast Primetime Special Report announcement video here.

EA has also announced that there will be a full multiplayer beta program for the game - though it has not yet been announced when the beta will begin.  From the RA3 website:
The first step towards participating in the Beta program is ordering Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath. Not only will you get to play the latest installment of the Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars Saga, but within every purchase of Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath that contains the Red Alert 3 Beta Key Sticker is a key that guarantees you access to the Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 Beta program if you register before September 15, 2008.
See the Red Alert 3 Beta Test FAQ for more details.

Some screenshots and concept art are available on the new website. Check out them Tesla . . . ships? Oh, and assault bears.
Red Alert 3 Screenshot

Edit: Red Alert 3 now has its very own place in our forums! Post your thoughts there!
Last edited by Mike on Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 4:10:52 PM.

— Tuesday, February 12, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 3:28:42 PM ET

Stop me if you've heard this before....

A long time ago (just over three years, actually), EA announced Red Alert 3, the next installation of the Red Alert world of Command and Conquer. Word on the street is that we'll see them announce it again on the 14th, when two major PC magazines go on sale. That would make three C&C games in development at one time, which must be a record of some sort. How many will make it to the finish line (the first RA3 sure didn't)? How many will be worth playing? Time will tell.
Last edited by Mike on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 1:24:24 AM.

— Saturday, February 9, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 3:30:27 PM ET

New Version of C&C 3 Pro

A new version of C&C 3 Pro has been released. Here are some features of this mod for C&C 3:
- New support powers
- New units
- A 1 click auto installer package with a shorcut on your desktop
- New maps included in the mod ( our new t.a map rulez ^^ )
- Personalised ingame menu featuring franck klepacki songs
- New buildtime system based on old c&c
- Hard counter system (mixing is the key)
- New eco system which kick the spam from the game
- Faction diversity
You can download it here.

— Friday, February 8, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 12:48:28 PM ET

EA's CEO: We blew it

Wired and IGN currently have interesting articles describing a presentation EA CEO John Riccitello gave today at the 2008 DICE Summit.  In it, Riccitello talks about the lessons the company has learned from acquiring developers, like Westwood, in the past:

"At EA we've had our share of failures with the acquisitions of developers. Westwood, Bullfrog, Origin Systems -- these places no longer exist today and are no longer creative forces in the industry. There was a fundamental belief that we could be one happy family. We had a top-down approach to development. We at EA blew it. I would say I blew it."

Interesting to see that EA's mistakes of the past have finally resonated internally. Riccitello now acknowledges -- with no pun intended, I'm sure -- that "the command and conquer model doesn't work. If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake."

How will EA do things differently in the future? The IGN article explains:

EA's answer has become a "city-state" approach to managing its disparate development houses in which each studio retains creative control and responsibility for its own financial success but reports to and taps into the resources of its parent company. Riccitiello cited Maxis as a successful example from EA's past, before it adopted its current model.

"In many ways these companies took over Electronic Arts and used EA as a platform for their success. Instead of enslaving them we empowered them," he said.

With EA's recent acquisition of fan-favorite independent developers BioWare and Pandemic, the company is in a perfect position to deliver on Riccitiello's new promise. Will they follow the Maxis model or become the next Westwood and Bullfrog?

— Friday, February 8, 2008 —

Posted By: AuroraAlphaHL2 at 10:33:35 AM ET

Tacitus Thursdays

Starting this Thursday, and every Thursday up until the launch of Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, EA will be bringing you an exclusive feature for Kane's Wrath which you will only find at the official Command & Conquer website. This feature may be anything from a new trailer to a developer interview to a podcast, or who knows what else, but what is certain is you can count on something fresh and new for Kane's Wrath each week.

You can check out the first update about the new Scrin 'Mechapede' here.

— Sunday, February 3, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 8:38:30 AM ET

Special Episode of Battlecast Primetime

There's a new, shorter, edition of Battlecast Primetime out. It has some info on the C&C 3 League's first season, as well as a preview of some of the Scrin subfactions. You can view it at the official C&C site. It's also available via iTunes podcast. Lastly, you can download it (200 mb) here.