Articles & Editorials: Hate EA and C&C?

  • Date: 20/12/2011 | Author: Alex06

They Ruined our beloved Westwood and C&C, you say?

This message is direct to all those whining, posting hate comments towards EA, accusing them of ruining C&C (or your childhood) and constantly arguing that they should focus on Generals 2 instead of C&C Tiberium Alliances, I can tell you, for fact, that you do not understand how this industry works at all. Shame on you for making such accusatory messages and threats towards EA.

EA Phenomic, who is developing C&C Tiberium Alliances, is located inside Germany. Whereas EA BioWare Victory has studios in Los Angeles, Austin (Texas) and Shanghai. BioWare Victory used to be EA Victory Games and now is partially composed of what used to be EA Los Angeles, which worked on C&C3, RA3 and C&C4. (The teams that worked on each game were not the exact same people, nor were they in the same positions) The EA Los Angeles studio was composed of teams from three different studios; EA Pacific – which started out as Westwood Pacific, and was in charge of Red Alert 2 and Generals, DreamWorks Interactive and the original Westwood studio. A large part of the team at the original Westwood studio set in Las Vegas formed a studio under the name “Petroglyph Games”, and is not affiliated with Electronic Arts (EA Games). The rest of the team moved to EALA.

BioWare Victory is doing Generals 2 and is, in a way, the spiritual successor of the studio(s) that originally worked on C&C games, and is in charge of the series. There were also a few restructuring events where they replaced good portions of the teams in the EALA studio. As such, one could now say there is very little if anyone left from the very first team that worked on a C&C, which may well be true. That is often the case in the gaming industry. Despite that, it doesn’t usually stop games from being proper sequels to other games. Fortunately, Jon Van Caneghem and Ray Muzyka, who are in charge of the franchise now, have mentioned in interviews that they were fans of the original C&C games and hope to return the C&C franchise to glory.

EA Phenomic does not have the tools or knowledge to help with Generals 2. Additionally, they are a totally different studio. EA is merely a publisher. BioWare Victory and Phenomic are two different studios that are contracted with the same publisher to make games. That’s ALL there is to it. EA Phenomic will never produce or release a C&C5, reboot the Tiberium series or remake a C&C4 or even C&C3. They are not the studio for that – that’s BioWare Victory now, whereas it was EA Los Angeles before. EALA has mostly been re-focused on the Medal Honor franchise, but there are still studios/offices/teams for BioWare Victory in LA. Whether that is in the same studio is not known, but still highly probable.

EA Phenomic is also simply developing Tiberium Alliances as a browser game that doesn’t require Facebook nor Origin for players who have time on their hands to enjoy it. When you are on break at work or you are traveling, you can play this game. It requires you only to log-in and play. Other popular franchises also have such types of games; Dragon Age and Assassin’s Creed also have browser games and the biased negative comments seen about the developers, publishers and the franchises are absent with those games, when compared to C&C, which seems to show that the hatred against EA, C&C and Tiberium Alliances is merely part of some sort of incorrect, pre-conceived notions. Tiberium Alliances also doubles as a way to expand the franchise and have it reach more players and thus, perhaps even bring more options for fans to enjoy the franchise if they want, without having to necessarily play the game to uncover more of the main plots in the respective franchise. It is essentially free candy. Simply hating on EA for giving you free candy instead of a specific box of candies is irrelevant and even arrogant, because the act is meant as a gesture of generosity. There is no obligation for EA to give anyone any kind free candy.

EA cannot “focus” on Generals, as they are a publisher and cannot develop a game nor ship German employees from Germany who’ve only worked on browser games to LA to work on a feature-complete RTS. A new Tiberium game will come eventually.

C&C: Tiberium Alliances is a purely free-to-play browser game. It has no story and is not tied to any Tiberium game, nor the events in their plot lines, despite being based off of C&C3 with some elements of C&C4. It is not a remake of C&C3, C&C4 or a reboot or sequel of any game. There is no plot and Tiberium Alliances is not tied to the continuity or storyline of other C&C games.

The next real Tiberium game will come eventually, and will be made by BioWare Victory. If you have anything to say about it, feel free to join the forums over at www.commandandconquer.com and post your suggestions. That way, if you want a reboot, a remake of C&C4 or even of C&C3 to fix the Tiberium series, you can pay a visit to the forums and post in the Community Developer Area section. That’s where the developers at BioWare Victory go to read suggestions, from the fans, for their games. They have confirmed that they will listen to their fans, and that is the reason behind the existence of the Community Developer Area sub-forum. They are already using some of the suggestions for Generals 2. The fact that the majority of C&C fans asked to see a sequel to the 2003 hit RTS “C&C: Generals”, is why we have a “C&C: Generals 2” to begin with.

In the case of BioWare Victory, it is not the BioWare we all know and love, AKA BioWare Edmonton, nor the developer of The Old Republic, AKA BioWare Austin. BioWare is a brand now, and the “BioWare” you’re referring to is a BioWare studio in Edmonton that makes Dragon Age & Mass Effect. They also made Baldur’s Gate and all those classic BioWare titles we all know and love. The BioWare brand is owned by Dr. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. These guys make sure the games offer the kind of quality BioWare is known for, as a brand, that storyline/campaign is always given some justice and respect in BioWare games, and that it is a quality experience in all areas.

I highly suggest doing some research before making such accusations as “This is not a BioWare game. BioWare is failing thanks to EA now.”, “Bring back Westwood!”, “Why are we getting this crap instead of a real C&C?”, “EA is messing with C&C again and trying to cash in with Tiberium Alliances, the next Tiberium game.” or “EA is destroying C&C.” These Wikipedia links should help you understand what I’ve been trying to communicate you:

I will also add that C&C4 was a free-to-play game known as C&C Arena that EA, as a publisher, forced their RTS team inside their Los Angeles studio to turn into a full product. As a result, the small development team that was created to work on Kane’s Wrath, went immediately into working on C&C4. Due to time and budget constraints, a lack of employee workforce, and EA forcing down the idea of having to sell an RTT competitive game as the next Tiberian game, C&C4 was released. The storyline was assembled from ideas that would go into a potential C&C4 and mostly the cancelled “Tiberium” Squad-based FPS. Though due to time constraints, not much could be arranged to make the game feel and play like a natural extension of Tiberium Wars, nor could the Scrin, the alien faction that was introduced in Tiberium Wars, be included into the game. This is the only time in which EA, as a publisher, may have had a real and actually negative impact on a C&C.

As for those quoting the glorious days of C&C at Westwood; They were not as glorious as you might think. Tiberian Sun, which was over-hyped and suffered from a long development time and constant delays, was saved by EA’s buyout of Westwood Studios, which pushed the team to finish and release the game despite the one-year delay. Otherwise, the game would have been likely cancelled and Westwood disbanded, with only 2 C&C games ever seeing release: C&C 1: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert 1. Westwood had already dug its grave financially, however, and ultimately, when Westwood tried to work on a sequel to Tiberian Sun, a Red Alert 2-based C&C Renegade type of game (which was cancelled because of DICE’s rise and their upcoming Battlefield 1942 game being too similar, and Renegade’s lack of global success) and a Tiberian MMORPG known as Continuum (which was cancelled because of being too risky and demanding of the small staff available), EA decided to pull the plug and focus all these divided teams to finish Generals and the Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth series rather than working on 4 or 5 different products at the same time. Ultimately, due to the financial issues Westwood did not try to fix, EA had to close down the studio and postpone Command & Conquer 3 for yet another few years. There were plans to work on Red Alert 3 back in 2004, but ultimately, the man in charge of the project, Mark Skaggs, who created Generals, left EA Pacific and it was probably decided that C&C3 was long overdue, that yet more staff were required for Battle for Middle Earth 2 and that the amount of staff and development time given for the Red Alert 3 project was not enough to see it to proper completion, which postponed the game’s development. In the end, one could see that EA’s buyout of Westwood may have saved the franchise, much like a fireman may have saved one’s life from the fire, despite some bad times ahead for the survivor. Ultimately, what matters, is that the man survived and lived to see better times, which is parallel with C&C’s history.

Finally, “C&C: Generals 2” is also an AAA title, meaning it is of great quality and budget, on par with games such as Mass Effect, Modern Warfare, StarCraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft and Battlefield. In the past, EA has usually released C&C games every year and a half, and the development time for Tiberium Wars and Red Alert 3 were somewhere around 11 and 9 months respectively (after announcement, which does not count any pre-production). Generals 2 has been under development since Jon Van Caneghem joined EA to direct the C&C franchise back in late 2009, and will release in 2013, meaning this game may take up 3 or 4 years to develop in total, pre-production included. That is the amount of development time Blizzard and BioWare are known for with their games. As such, good quality and can be expected for this upcoming game and any other future C&C titles.

With all of this said, I hope that the amount of negative, hatred-filled posts and comments directed towards EA that I’ve seen across the web shall fall considerably and that those who still do not like what they see simply move on. As for those who have faith in BioWare Victory and EA Games, I believe they shall not disappoint, as they certainly seem to have learned from EALA’s mistakes with C&C4, as has EA.

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