C&C 4 Interview: Of Games and Garlic

Written by Joe Martin

August 13, 2009 | 10:52

Tags: #cc #command-and-conquer #kane #kucan #tiberium #westwood

Companies: #ea #electronic-arts

A Casual RTS

BT: You’ve mentioned Dawn of War 2 a fair bit today in your presentation earlier, I noticed. Has that been a major reference point for you when developing C&C 4?

Jim: I suppose I do have to call out the RTS games of the last few years – Dawn of War 2, World in Conflict. There have been some really good examples of how to evolve the RTS genre in a slightly different direction to the classic base-on-base model and we’ve certainly learned a lot from those games. Now we’re trying to take some of the things that those games did and try and evolve them further and see what does and doesn’t work for C&C 4. We want it to be the best.

I don’t think it’s a secret that the RTS genre is changing a bit lately. You’re still going to see your classic style games, like StarCraft 2 which will be a very...predictable RTS experience. Just judging from what we’ve seen at BlizzCon and stuff, it’s pretty obvious where the gameplay is there.

At the same time though I think there’ll be a lot of games like C&C 4 and like what Relic is doing, where we’re trying to push the games in a more casual direction. A bit more accessible, less intimidating. You’re going to start to see a lot of different options out there for RTS gamers and we’re trying to cater a bit more to that casual user...to allow the newcomers to the genre to come and have a good time.

C&C 4 Interview: Of Games and Garlic C&C 4 Interview: Accessibility
Click for hi-res

BT: Well, you talk about newcomers but one of the big things for the fans of the series is that this is going to have the conclusion of the Tiberium saga. So, does that mean that this is the last Command and Conquer game or will there be a new saga soon or will you push Red Alert more or...?

Jim: C&C is obviously a great franchise for us and we love it. So this isn’t going to be the end of C&C forever, but in terms of this particular storyline or story arc we are trying to bring it to a close. In the past it’s always been a fade-to-white or something like that, which doesn’t really answer anything for the fans who’ve been committed for the past few years and so we’re really trying to do that.

That said, people love C&C. We love C&C. So we’ll probably still have more in the future, but right now we’re focusing just on this one.

BT: Why make the decision to end it at all though? Without meaning to be rude, one of the things that Electronic Arts has been mainly known for is putting out new games in very established franchises on a yearly basis. It seems kind of weird to take one of the biggest franchises and bring a close to it, even if it is only for one storyline.

Jim: What it is is...on-team we just really want to tell a better story. We really want to tell a story that has an arc and a conclusion. We want to make it a more memorable experience and we’ve had a lot of feedback that points out that we have all this build-up and there’s never really a satisfying conclusion. So, with this one we really wanted to try and have a build-up and pay-off.

C&C 4 Interview: Of Games and Garlic C&C 4 Interview: Accessibility
Click for hi-res

We also wanted to answer some things for fans, y’know? Fans have been crying out for years to try and find out what Kane is really all about and what the Tacitus is and what happened to who and what...

BT: Can you give us any hints?

Jim: Ha! Other than what I’ve already said, not really. Not just yet. That’s what we’re trying to do though.

BT: That’s presumably why you’ve taken the style of cut scenes away from the old fixed, static camera and long monologues?

Jim: Yeah. As people might have seen in the trailer, we’re trying to do some new things with the cinematics. I’m really happy with the way that the script is coming together and I think it’s going to be really cool. It’s just another evolution of what the old cut scenes were meant for.

The monologues are nostalgic and they’re fun for those people for who like them and who were there in 1995, but they’re not the best for telling good stories and trying to get emotion out of those characters. You can’t get interaction and conflict out of those characters very easily – and that’s something we’re really trying to do.
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