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By: chickendippers, September 2009

CommandCOM took place at the Gamescom convention in Cologne Germany 20th – 22nd August 2009 and was the largest gathering of Command and Conquer fans to date; over 100 plus a number of developers from EA too. We were fortunate enough to play an early pre-alpha version of the game whilst the public on the show floor were merely shown the same demo as previous magazine previews.

My journey was uneventful, living only a two hour's flight away, I joined Jason Bender and Jeff '2POC' Suhr at London both of whom had been travelling for the best part of the 24 hours already! The rest of Thursday was spent meeting people who I have only chatted with online. I took many more photos than I could include in this article, check out the full lot in my CommandCOM gallery.

History of C&C by Louis Castle
I spotted two people walking around the conference in C&C1 promo tshirts, which left me thinking I recognised them. My question was answered when he stood infront of us and laid some interesting facts on us:

  • Dune 2 was the first RTS Westwood developed, not the second. It had to be renamed at the last second when their publisher's; Virgin Interactive released another game was to be released under the title “Dune” a month before. All they could do was add the number to the game's title.
  • C&C was the first game to feature full-screen video, due to the limitations of single speed CDs the team was forced to write their own compression algorithm. Which is incidentally how Joe Kucan came to work for the company.
  • Joe was called into the office one day to record some placeholder footage for the game testers. They liked his style, and money was tight, so he hired himself!
  • C&C was originally going to be a 'Swords and Sorcery' themed game, but the publishers sent them back to the drawing board.
  • Renegade was shipped before it was ready, hence bug fixes and aircraft had to be added in subsequent patches.
  • The pitch for Renegade 2 described a type of game very similar to Battlefield. Indeed the former producer 'Shawn Decker' now works at Dice making those games!
  • Louis' favourite game is Yuri's Revenge
  • Red Alert was originally designed as a prequel to Tiberian Dawn! However as the game developed it gained a less serious side that lead to the Ant Easter Egg missions, and eventually it became evident the franchises were two different to connect directly.

C&C4 Focal Points Overview by EP Mike Glosecki
Next Executive Producer 'Big Mike', so called for his diminutive stature, gave us a presentation on the key aspects of the new game before we got our hands on it for the first time.

  • The game can be summarised in four Cs; Conclusion, Career, Classes & Crawler
  • Experience is earned throughout the game, by killing units, completing objectives, co-operating with others and more. XP isn't limited to killing units, engineers will earn it for repairing units and capturing structures.
  • Support is the only class that can wield the Ion Cannon and Nuclear Missile.
  • The Crawler can train 4 units while it is moving, they will be released when deployed.
  • The Crawler can be upgraded. We saw an upgrade that equipped a small turret on top, although no where near sufficient to pose a threat to other units. Other tier 1 upgrades were limited to increased rate of fire and small firepower boosts – the usual.
  • The Crawler can crush smaller units (all tier 1 units we played).
  • If the crawler is destroyed your units remain and you can immediately choose to respawn at the side of the map. When we played GDI respawned at the bottom and Nod at the top
  • Units will be destroyed if you switch class mid-game
  • Spawn camping is prevented by the crawler crushing any campers them it is airlifted onto the battlefield. Although I did not see anyone attempt this tactic anyway.
  • Online you and friends can form 'parties' to carry through from game to game. This saves from having to find a game and instruct everyone to join.

Next we moved from the presentation into the press demo that formed the basis for magazine previews we have seen up to this point. So these next few points may have been mentioned already in various languages, but make for interesting reading nonetheless.

  • In-game transmissions are no longer played over the minimap, but project up from the UI. This is to allow them to describe objectives and show their location.
  • New highly detailed damage models have been introduced to the larger units. We saw pieces fall off the Crawler, inner workings exposed and the EVA voice becomes distorted when health is low. We saw the damaged Masterdon limping and lurching slowly back for repairs – very impressive!
  • The Titan MKII now wields a laser weapon instead of a cannon from previous wars.
  • The Flame Tank's lethality has been increased even further as it now sets units on fire for a few seconds, causing continual damage even after it has stopped firing!
  • The mysterious Nod Centurions has a shield that rebounds damage back at your unit. It will require micro management to out-flank and attack from behind.
  • Defensive turrets are very strong and form formidable barriers, unlike recent titles where they have been relatively easy to overcome.

To finish the day there was a QandA session with a mystery guest. But first, the subtitle for C&C4 was revealed, based on entries to the Name The Game contest; Tiberian Twilight of course being the runaway winner. Back to this mystery guest; a number of us had seen Joe Kucan at the C&C4 booth earlier in the day, or knew he was around, so it didn't come as a massive shock when Kane walked into the room. It was cool to ask him a few brief questions. But as he's not involved directly with the development of the game we couldn't pump him for juicy information. We then headed to a boat for a cruise down the Rhine which was very civilised...the partying was to come tomorrow!

Click here to read part 2 of the report >>




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