Command and Conquer has been a long running franchise that up until the release of C&C 4 had stood the test of time. In fact, C&C 3 Tiberium Wars (the release prior to C&C 4) was one of the strongest games to ever come out of the series.
The wheels seemed to come off the tracks when C&C 4 broke from the traditional base building and resource gathering model that the game had traditionally been known for, and added population caps, which reminded us more of the Warcraft III tradition instead of the C&C we know and love.
That game was pretty poorly received, resulting in the laying off of most of the Command and Conquer team within EA Los Angeles in 2010. EA Los Angeles was the second publisher to take over the series after Westwood Studios; a role that has now been assumed by Victory games.
State of the Command and Conquer Franchise
Victory Games plans to revive the franchise by developing Command and Conquer: Frostbite 2, which will be a sequel to the 2003 Command and Conquer Generals, and was originally intended to be released in a traditional buy and install PC game model. Instead, the game has been moved to a browser based free-to-play platform, similar to games like League of Legends.
The free-to-play game model does allow developers to address complaints and comments from the community on the fly, which has resulted in the inclusion of a single-player campaign, that wasn’t present in the game originally.
This sort of ongoing ability to update and improve the user’s experience has the potential to be a highly effective development model, especially if they incorporate more downloadable content. A game like C&C could really take advantage of the dynamic relationship that would be created between the publisher and the end-user.
What will the Response Be?
Despite all the potential, there are still some uncertainties about how the C&C faithful will respond to this type of game. On the surface, it looks like a safe bet, and anyone who is a fan of the series will at least check out the Beta version (which should be available to play soon).
But will it still be the C&C game that fans have come to know and love? If the trailer is any indication, it should be that and much more.
Graphically speaking the game does look exquisite and better than any previous C&C game by a long shot. Its imagery is a little more similar to C&C 3 Tiberium Wars as opposed to the original General game, only because Tiberium Wars had a much more updated graphical engine than did Generals.
If the trailer is faithfully depicting the game, it’s hard to identify an area where C&C fans could be the least bit unhappy about the finished product. The graphics look tremendous, the game is free and probably fairly easy to install. The only thing that we don’t know about yet is the gameplay, but that’s usually not an issue with the C&C franchise, or RTS style games in general.
While server speed and performance issues can’t be predicted, this game looks like a great direction for Victory Games to be going in. If Command & Conquer Frostbite 2 can deliver on the promises that it has made and live up to some of the expectation, we could be seeing the start of a successful trend in media-less gaming.
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