FEATURES: Developer History

This is a brief look at the history of companies who have developed games for the Command & Conquer franchise. The years in brackets show the periods when they held the rights to the franchise.

Westwood Studios & Westwood/EA Pacific (1995 – 2003)

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Westwood Studios was a computer and video game developer, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was founded by Brett Sperry and Louis Castle in 1985 as Westwood Associates. Their early years were spent on contract jobs which included porting other companies’ games for different platforms, the first being Temple of Apshai Trilogy for the Macintosh in 1985. In 1986, they struck a deal with Strategy Simulations, Inc. (SSI), who published their early original games like Roadwar 2000 (1986) and Mars Saga (1988). They became more noticed by the public with later games like the Dungeons & Dragons-themed titles DragonStrike (1990), Eye of the Beholder (1991), and Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon (1991), as well as BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks’ Inception (1988) and BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge (1990).

Westwood caught the eyes of several publishers, including Sierra On-Line and Virgin Games, which offered a purchase. Although Sierra allegedly offered a higher deal, Westwood chose Virgin Games due to their publishing infrastructure that was already in place. The transaction took place in 1992, and Westwood Associates was renamed to Westwood Studios. In the same year, they released Dune II: Building of a Dynasty, regarded as the first proper real-time strategy game, becoming incredibly influential in the years to come. Dune II inspired many other studios to create their own real-time strategy games, most notable being Blizzard Entertainment, who created WarCraft: Orcs and Humans out of the desire to see what they could do better and implement multiplayer to the genre.

Around this time, Westwood continued creating games which they were already warmed up for – adventures like The Legend of Kyrandia series (1992 – 1994) and Young Merlin (1993), as well as role-playing games like Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos (1993).

In 1995, they created their own real-time strategy IP around the idea and mechanics of Dune II, and called it Command & Conquer. Vastly surpassing their sales expectations, the game became a worldwide hit with millions of copies sold, and helped in further popularizing the RTS genre. In the same year, Virgin Games was renamed to Virgin Interactive Entertainment (VIE). The game received an expansion pack, The Covert Operations, in 1996.

In 1996, Westwood also released a spin-off of Command & Conquer, called Red Alert, originally envisioned as a prequel, but ultimately led to the creation of a separate universe. At this point, the Command & Conquer brand was well-known in the gaming industry. It received two expansion packs, Counterstrike and The Aftermath, in 1997. In the same year, Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor was released, but was abandoned and forgotten shortly thereafter. 1997 also featured the releases of Blade Runner and Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny.

By 1998, VIE was facing financial difficulties and was forced to sell off some of its assets, Westwood included. On 17 August 1998, Electronic Arts bought Westwood Studios and VIE’s US assets for $122.5 million. Among those assets was a studio in Irvine, California, which EA rebranded as Westwood Pacific.

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After the acquisition, Westwood released C&C: Red Alert – Retaliation for the PlayStation and Dune 2000 (outsourced to Intelligent Games), which still used Virgin’s branding in earlier prints, as well as Golden Nugget 64 and Sports Car GT. In 1999, they released Lands of Lore III, Recoil (helped by Zipper Interactive, who would make MechWarrior 3 in the same engine), and the much-delayed Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. Tiberian Sun would receive the Firestorm expansion in March 2000.

Meanwhile, Westwood Pacific released Nox in February 2000, by which time they had already started production on Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the first game in the series not to be developed by the Las Vegas studio, and released it in October of the same year, with the Yuri’s Revenge expansion coming in October 2001.

Westwood’s Las Vegas studio was stretched across several projects at the same time, only some of which were released: Emperor: Battle for Dune (2001; also outsourced to Intelligent Games), Command & Conquer: Renegade (2002), Pirates: Legend of the Black Kat (2002), and Earth & Beyond (2002). The latter performed poorly, and was one of the reasons Electronic Arts closed the studio in early 2003. This led to the cancellation of several Command & Conquer games like Incursion and Continuum. A sequel to Renegade had already been cancelled after entering early production, due to possible clashing with the sales of DICE’s Battlefield 1942.

Westwood’s Pacific studio was rebranded as Electronic Arts Pacific by 2002, and released Command & Conquer: Generals in February 2003. Electronic Arts shuffled Westwood’s assets, and merged its remains along with EA Pacific into the RTS team at EA Los Angeles in 2003, and invited Westwood’s Las Vegas staff to join the studio. Some accepted, some went to found Petroglyph Games in April 2003, and some went to different studios.

Westwood received an entry to the Guinness Book of Records for selling more than 10 million copies of Command & Conquer worldwide. In 2015, Louis Castle and Brett Sperry received the Industry Icons award at the Game Awards in the name of Westwood Studios.

Games developed by Westwood Associates/Studios

  • Temple of Apshai Trilogy (1985)
  • Blackjack Academy (1987)
  • Questron II (1988)
  • Donald’s Alphabet Chase (1988)
  • BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception (1988)
  • Mars Saga (1988)
  • Hillsfar (1989)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989)
  • Circuit’s Edge (1990)
  • BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge (1990)
  • Goofy’s Railway Express (1990)
  • DragonStrike (1990)
  • Mickey’s Runaway Zoo (1991)
  • Eye of the Beholder (1991)
  • Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon (1991)
  • Order of the Griffon (1992)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun (1992)
  • The Legend of Kyrandia (1992)
  • DragonStrike (1992)
  • Dune II: Building of a Dynasty (1992)
  • The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate (1993)
  • Young Merlin (1993)
  • Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos (1993)
  • Dune: The Battle for Arrakis (1994)
  • The Legend of Kyrandia: Malcolm’s Revenge (1994)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Command & Conquer (1995)
  • Command & Conquer: Covert Operations (1996)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
  • Games People Play: Hearts, Spades & Euchre (1997)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Counterstrike (1997)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: The Aftermath (1997)
  • Command & Conquer: Special Gold Edition (1997)
  • Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny (1997)
  • Blade Runner (1997)
  • Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor (1997)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Retaliation (1998)
  • Dune 2000 (1998) (with Intelligent Games)
  • Sports Car GT (1999) (for Image Space)
  • Golden Nugget 64 (1998)
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999)
  • Lands of Lore III (1999)
  • Recoil (1999) (with Zipper Interactive)
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm (2000)
  • Emperor: Battle for Dune (2001) (with Intelligent Games)
  • Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat (2002)
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade (2002)
  • Earth & Beyond (2002)

Cancelled games by Westwood Studios

  • Command & Conquer: Renegade 2 (cancelled in 2002)
  • Command & Conquer: Continuum (cancelled in 2003)
  • Command & Conquer 3: Incursion (cancelled in 2003)

Games developed by Westwood/EA Pacific

  • Nox (2000)
  • Nox Quest (2000)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: Yuri’s Revenge (2001)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals (2003)

Electronic Arts Los Angeles (2003 – 2010)

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The studio was founded in 1995 as DreamWorks Interactive, as a subsidiary of DreamWorks SKG. Thier earliest titles included Someone’s In The Kitchen!, The Neverhood, T’ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger, BoomBots, and several licensed games from IPs owned by DreamWorks (Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland, several Jurassic Park games, and Small Soldiers). In 1998, DreamWorks Interactive signed a partnership with Electronic Arts, for whom they have developed the first Medal of Honor game for the Sony PlayStation in 1999. In February 2000, Electronic Arts bought DreamWorks Interactive entirely, having the studio further develop Medal of Honor titles and Clive Barker’s Undying (2001).

By 2002, DreamWorks Interactive was renamed to Electronic Arts Los Angeles (abbreviated as EALA), and the first game released under that brand was Medal of Honor: Frontlines. In 2003, the studio was expanded with an RTS division formed by EA Pacific and remains of Westwood Studios. While they operated under the same name and were located in the same building, the two teams were mostly separate internally. The RTS division’s first title was Command & Conquer: Generals – Zero Hour in late 2003. Meanwhile, the rest of the company continued working on the Medal of Honor series.

In 2004, the SAGE engine that powered C&C Generals was put to use in the RTS game Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth. The sequel, The Battle for Middle-earth II, was released for both Windows and Xbox 360 in February 2006, and received the Rise of the Witch-king expansion (outsourced to BreakAway Games) in November of the same year. These titles helped expand and polish the engine.

At E3 2006, EA Los Angeles announced the return to the Command & Conquer franchise with Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, which was released in March 2007 and was ported to the Macintosh and Xbox 360. Its expansion pack, Kane’s Wrath was outsourced to BreakAway Games and was released in March 2008, while the most of EALA’s RTS team was working on Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, released in late 2008. Its expansion, Uprising, was released in early 2009.

Meanwhile, the rest of the company released Medal of Honor: Vanguard, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Smarty Pants, Boom Blox, two Brain Quest titles, and Lord of the Rings: Conquest. An FPS in the Command & Conquer series, called simply TIBERIUM, was announced in 2008 but was cancelled in the same year, the official reasoning being the game not meeting EA’s quality standards.

By late 2008, production on a multiplayer-only Command & Conquer spin-off for the Asian market, titled Command & Conquer: Arena was underway, but higher-ups at EA ordered that the game received full AAA status, got a singleplayer campaign, was sold at full price and finished in less than a year. The decision was controversial within EALA, and some developers left the studio as a consequence. The end result was Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, which was panned by critics and fans, and led to the dissolution of EALA.

EALA’s FPS department was rebranded in late 2010 as Danger Close, while the RTS team was rebranded as Victory Games, but would not announce themselves until early 2011. Danger Close was put to work on the Medal of Honor rebooted series, but after the two games performed poorly, the studio was folded again and branded as a division of DICE, known as DICE LA.

Games developed as DreamWorks Interactive

  • Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland (1996)
  • The Neverhood (1996)
  • Someone’s in the Kitchen! (1996)
  • Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant (1997)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Chaos Island (1997)
  • Dilbert’s Desktop Games (1997)
  • Small Soldiers (1998)
  • Small Soldiers: Squad Commander (1998)
  • Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Trespasser (1998)
  • T’ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger (1999)
  • Warpath: Jurassic Park (1999)
  • Medal of Honor (1999)
  • BoomBots (1999)
  • Medal of Honor: Underground (2000)
  • Clive Barker’s Undying (2001)

Games developed as Electronic Arts Los Angeles

  • Medal of Honor: Frontline (2002)
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault – Spearhead (2002)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour (2003)
  • Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (2003)
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004)
  • Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (2004)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth (2004)
  • Medal of Honor: European Assault (2005)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II (2006)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king (2006) (with BreakAway Games)
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (2007)
  • Medal of Honor: Vanguard (2007)
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne (2007)
  • Smarty Pants (2007) (production for Planet Moon Studios)
  • Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath (2008) (with BreakAway Games)
  • Boom Blox (2008)
  • Brain Quest: Grades 3 & 4 (2008) (production for Planet Moon Studios)
  • Brain Quest: Grades 5 & 6 (2008) (production for Planet Moon Studios)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (2008)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Ultimate Edition (2009)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising (2009)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Commander’s Challenge (2009)
  • Boom Blox Bash Party (2009)
  • The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (2009) (additional development for Pandemic)
  • The Godfather II (2009) (additional development for EA Redwood Shores)
  • The Saboteur (2009) (additional development for Pandemic)
  • Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (2010)

Cancelled games by Electronic Arts Los Angeles

  • TIBERIUM (cancelled in 2008)
  • Command & Conquer: Arena (cancelled in 2009; transformed into Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight)
  • Project Camacho (cancelled in 2009)

Games developed as Danger Close

  • Medal of Honor (2010)
  • Bulletstorm (2011) (additional development for Visceral Games and Epic Games)
  • Battlefield 3 (2011) (additional development for DICE)
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012)
  • Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (2013) (additional development for EA Montreal and Visceral Games Montreal)

Games developed as DICE LA

  • Battlefield: Hardline (2014) (additional development for DICE)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) (additional development for DICE)
  • Battlefield 1 (2016) (additional development for DICE)

BreakAway Games (2008)

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BreakAway Games is a serious game developer based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, established in 1998. Their executive staff is composed of several veterans from companies such as MicroProse, Origin Systems, Atari and Acclaim Entertainment. Primary development of The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king and Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath was outsourced to BreakAway Games.

Commercial games developed

  • Sid Meier’s Antietam (1998) (for Firaxis Games)
  • Sid Meier’s South Mountain! (1998) (for Firaxis Games)
  • Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile (2000) (for Impressions Games)
  • Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle (2001)
  • Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom (2002) (for Impressions Games)
  • Tropico: Paradise Island (2002) (for PopTop Software)
  • Austerlitz: Napoleon’s Greatest Victory (2002)
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization III: Conquests (2003) (for Firaxis Games)
  • A Force More Powerful: The Game of Nonviolent Strategy (2006)
  • Arabian Lords (2006)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king (2006) (for EA Los Angeles)
  • Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath (2008) (for EA Los Angeles)
  • Mythic Palace (2008)
  • Relic Hunters
  • Cooligans

Victory Games (2010 – 2013)

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Victory Games is a video game developer founded in late 2010, and was the result of the split of EA Los Angeles’ assets. While Danger Close was the successor of its FPS team, Victory Games succeeded the RTS team. It was under the leadership of general manager Jon Van Caneghem, of New World Computing and Trion Worlds fame. The studio announced itself in February 2011 and teased that they were working on a Command & Conquer game.

In December 2011, they announced Command & Conquer: Generals 2, and were into the BioWare label shortly thereafter, being renamed to BioWare Victory. The BioWare label was then dropped in November 2012 and the studio name reverted to Victory Games. Meanwhile, in August 2012, their project was reinvisioned as a live service for free-to-play games in the C&C universe and was simply named Command & Conquer, with Generals 2 content being the first game set to be released within the live service. After troubled development and internal corporate issues, in late October 2013, the Command & Conquer project was cancelled, and Victory Games was closed by EA. According to our sources, the Command & Conquer IP was not transferred to any EA studio afterwards.

Games developed

  • Command & Conquer (cancelled; in production from 2010 to 2013)

Electronic Arts Phenomic (2011 – 2013)

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EA Phenomic was a real-time strategy video game developer, headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, and founded as Phenomic Game Development in 1997. They were acquired by Electronic Arts on August 23, 2006. By July 2013, EA announced the closure of the Phenomic studio.

Games developed

  • SpellForce: The Order of Dawn (2004)
  • SpellForce: The Breath of Winter
  • SpellForce: Shadow of the Phoenix
  • SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (2007)
  • SpellForce 2: Dragon Storm (2007)
  • BattleForge (2009)
  • Lord of Ultima (2010)
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (2012)
  • SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny (2012)

Cancelled games

  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Alliances (cancelled in 2013)

EAsy Studios (2013 – 2015)

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Founded in 2008 and located in Stockholm, Sweden, EAsy was a studio focused on free online games, and was originally a division of DICE. Founded by several game and web industry veterans, Easy have around 70 staff, who built and operate the game services Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free. As of the middle of 2013 Easy Studios took over development of Tiberium Alliances. They were relieved by Envision Entertainment in 2015, after which EAsy Studios is no longer mentioned and their website redirects that of DICE, hinting either at a closure or a re-merge with DICE.

Games developed

  • Battlefield Heroes
  • Battlefield Play4Free
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (2013 – 2015)

Envision Entertainment (2015 – present)

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Envision Entertainment is a new development studio in Ingelheim, Germany, led by veteran leadership with proven expertise in online free-to-play games. Envision Entertainment may be seen as the rebirth of Phenomic Game Development (later EA Phenomic), since the 25-strong workforce consists mainly of ex-Phenomic employees. In April 2015, Envision Entertainment took over as the developer of Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances.

Games developed

  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (2015 – present)
  • Path of War (2016) (with Nexon)
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