Sunday, 11 December 2011


After the poor reception for Command and Conquer 4 and the subsequent shutting-down of the development studios, real-time strategy fans could have been forgiven for thinking that it was game over for one of the PC's most iconic gaming franchises. Surprisingly, the C&C brand has been resurrected by EA in partnership with their most respected studio, BioWare, and a new, PC-only game has been announced. Whether the fact that a certain other, well-known PC RTS series has sold three million copies of its latest title in its first month on sale had any bearing on this decision is unknown.

With C&C4 ending the core GDI/Brotherhood of Nod storyline and with the Red Alert subseries having reached a level of lunacy that would be hard to continue, it's the Generals subseries that has been revived. The original Command and Conquer: Generals was released in early 2003, followed several months later by an expansion, Zero Hour. Whilst initially regarded less fondly than either the original franchise or the Red Alert spin-offs, Generals has subsequently gained a strong fanbase due to its highly moddable engine and engaging gameplay modes (mostly introduced in Zero Hour). The storyline depicts a near-future cold war between the USA and China with Middle-Eastern terrorists trying to ferment trouble between them. Eventually the USA and China heart-warmingly join forces to wipe out the terrorists.

The original game was controversial and was accused of cashing in on the iconography of the War on Terror, with the inclusion of suicide bomber units being particularly criticised (although they'd been present in earlier C&C games without much fuss being made). However, the game also had a satirical edge to it, particularly with regards to media coverage of modern wars. Between-mission cut scenes were news reports on the conflict, sometimes amusingly 'spun' to have little relation to the actual in-game events. It was a reasonably good game, especially in multiplayer, although technically it was disappointing, with the SAGE game engine being creaky and over-demanding in power compared to the quality of the graphics delivered.

The latest game is being made by a new studio which will operate under the BioWare brand, with technical advice and expertise from the 'main' BioWare studio available. The title will use the Frostbite 2 engine, most recently used in Battlefield 3. Unfortunately, being an EA release, it will also almost certainly use the Origins DRM and registration system, which requires a constant internet connection. This system has also been controversial as EA has recently banned a number of people from the Origin network for making forum posts critical of EA, meaning they cannot play the games they have legally purchased.

Generals 2 will be released in 2013, hopefully by which time EA will have revised or dropped their DRM system.


Anonymous said...

I don't normally do this sort of thing, but for some reason couldn't help myself: I think you mean "foment", rather than "ferment".

Adam Whitehead said...

Interesting. I've never seen the spelling 'foment' before. A quick trip to Google seems to conclude that you can use either.

"Usage: Both foment and ferment can be used to talk about stirring up trouble"

Rajeev said...

Are you sure it will require a constant internet connection? I was under the impression that Origin doesn't even have to be running to play EA games. I only have one game on Origin and it doesn't force me to start up Origin.