Electronic Arts has confirmed it is investigating a possible remaster of Westwood Studios' classic real-time strategy series Command & Conquer, and has reassured fans that any such plans will not include the addition of a microtransaction mechanism to the games.

Released in 1995 as a spiritual successor to Westwood Studios' real-time strategy series based on Frank Herbert's Dune franchise, and owing its setting, the company joked in an interview with Computer Gaming World Magazine in 1993, 'mostly because the programmers are tired of sand', Command & Conquer was a smash hit. Set in the near future, the original game spawned numerous successors and spin-offs including Red Alert, Tiberian Sun, Tiberian Wars, Kane's Wrath, Tiberian Twilight, Yuri's Revenge, and C&C: Generals. The series has been largely absent from the PC market since 2010, bar the release of a free-to-play browser game dubbed Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances in 2012. A plan to reboot the series as a free-to-play franchise was abruptly cancelled in 2013, and since then its only outing has been the announcement of a mobile-only title dubbed Command & Conquer: Rivals - and it's feedback from that announcement that has led EA, which acquired Westwood Studios in 1998, to investigate a remaster of the original games.

'Following the reveal of Rivals, we heard you loud and clear: the Command & Conquer community also wants to see the franchise return to PC,' confirms EA's Jim Vessella on social networking site Reddit. 'And as a fan of C&C for over 20 years, I couldn’t agree more. With that in mind we’ve been exploring some exciting ideas regarding remastering the classic PC games, and already have the ball rolling on our first effort to celebrate the upcoming 25th Year Anniversary.'

For those worried that EA may take the opportunity to add microtransactions, loot boxes, and other revenue-generation anti-features to the much-loved titles, Vessella offers reassurance: 'We will not be adding any microtransactions to a C&C Remaster,' he writes in response to a community question. The company isn't averse to changing things up in other ways, though: 'Would you want to see updated balancing or a more robust UI,' Vessella asks. 'For example, would you want to see the C&C3 style tabs and unit selection sidebar in one of the classic games? Should the balance stay the same as the classic versions, or should we rebalance it to make them more appropriate?'

Vessella indicates that the company has 'got the ball rolling on our first effort', and hints that a launch may come timed to coincide with the franchise's 25th anniversary in September 2020.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04