2008 – A Year in Review

Sir. Walter Scott in 1871 once wrote: ‘Time waits for no man’. The truth is that time doesn’t wait for internet sites either and as 2008 draws to a close we can reflect on the excitement of yet another year as one of the forerunners in the Command & Conquer community.

We started off CNCNZ.com’s eleventh year with a bang and a barrage of mod releases. Mod releases of new versions of Vietnam: Glory Obscured, C&C; All Stars and Shockwave led the charge. Near the end of January CNCNZ.com’s first major forum upgrade in over five years finally took place! Thanks to the gracious donations of our sponsors we were able to purchase a license for Invision Power Board. IPB was a huge step up from our old forums and brought about a heap of new features and options for everyone.

Zee Hypnotist soldiered on with the much loved Tiberium Legos series kicking off Season 3 with the beginning of the second Tiberium war much to the delight on the many fans across the world. February saw the conception of CNCNZ.com Rewind. A laid back visual portal into the C&C; community that’s completely unplanned, unscripted, unrehearsed but still very funny. We also continued our popular LiveWire series giving you that visual insight into what’s going on!

February also saw probably one of the biggest announcements of the year…. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. After all these years we finally heard word of a new C&C; in the making! The excitement was contagious and may have tainted the enthusiasm for the release of Kane’s Wrath near the end of March (which then went gold in June).

In April Command & Conquer entered the Guinness World Records! Joe Kucan won: LONGEST RUNNING ACTOR IN A VIDEOGAME SERIES while C&C; 3 picked up: FIRST INTEGRATED COMMENTARY SYSTEM IN A VIDEO GAME.

In June, Sonic was invited to the EA Red Alert 3 Community Summit in Los Angeles! This was pretty massive because it was the first time Sonic was actually able to make it to an EALA Community Summit. And on the 11th of June Chris Seager (That’s Sonic… you know – *Sonic*) boarded a plane to Los Angeles. 11 hours and 50 minutes later he emerged on US soil for the first time to begin the CNCNZ.com invasion of Los Angeles.

Sonic turned out to be a busy man, in between lazing around in a five-star Hotel watching crappy programs on the tele and *not* going swimming in the gorgeous looking pool. He spent some time catching up with other Webmasters from the C&C; Community…in person! Plans were laid, fun was had and all sorts of other dark deeds that are heavily cloaked in a suspicious NDA were carried out.

Aside from being one of the first Community *civilians* to play RA3 multiplayer Sonic had a great time in Los Angeles at EA meeting developers, managers and all sorts of other members of Apoc’s shady entourage!

Later on in June we got the official announcement that Apoc had recruited an apprentice, funnily enough he named him 2POC (I probably would have gone for BPOC but maybe that was a little too gansta for us very conservative nerds gamers). As well as the addition of our good friend and all round community-good-guy, Mastermind, as a technical designer and community mod co-coordinator to the EALA team.

On the 28th of June the Non Disclosure Agreement was finally lifted and all the information about the RA3 Summit was released in a tidal wave. Sonic’s own report was very in-depth and gave us quite a good insight as to what goes on in such a summit. He also uploaded a whole stack of photos which you can see in the CNCNZ.com Gallery.

June also saw the conception of the RA3 Unit Profiles on the Official C&C; Website. These turned out to be a very reliable source of news and updates for RA3 all the way up till the release of the game.

In July the pace slowed a little but only a little. The RA3 information kept trickling out and we lapped it up like thirsty dogs! Unfortunately there wasn’t always enough to go round so sometimes a few tongues got a wee bit entwined – a rather messy business actually. We saw more of the RA3 Unit Profiles, and a few actual meatier bits of information from some of the guys who spent their whole community summit scribbling detailed notes of unit structures etc. We also were greeted by patch 1.01 for Kane’s Wrath. It didn’t do much but hey! It meant the team was still at work on it. The official box-art for RA3 was also revealed which added to the excitement even more! I mean, a spunky Russian woman in very short shorts armed with a sniper rifle fronting a backdrop of attack bears and Tesla Troopers has got to get even the most indifferent of people at least a tad interested.

As we drew closer to the end of July the bombshell was dropped, well the opposite of a bombshell because it was great news! The RA3 BETA would be in the privileged hands of those who had registered their BETA keys they found in their Kane’s Wrath game copies…. before the end of the month! As you can guess, from a game that we previously knew a bit but didn’t know all that much about – a BETA announcement was pretty huge, and many people started getting those nervous twitches you get when you’re on the verge of un-containable excitement.

August, and the tension toward the release of RA3 was becoming stronger, so much so you could smell it in the air of forums around the community. Some even said it was so thick you could taste it. But when asked what it tasted like – few had an answer, and those that did were probably lying. Part of this tension was instigated by the release of the All Star Cast for RA3 which featured a rather funky trailer that gave us a very sweet taste of what we could expect with the live action sequences. We also found out the names of all the key actors and my oh my! I for one was rather shocked by the amount of pretty famous names that were listed. Someone also started circulating rumors about a Generals 2 game which fuelled all sorts of speculation in the forums. August finished up with a bang and a pop with the release of the official RA3 teaser trailer…. after that anyone that previously had a dry mouth was licking their lips like there was no tomorrow. There was now no going back, this was going to be awesome! Oh and if that wasn’t enough, EA released for FREE DOWNLOAD, the original C&C;: Red Alert game. This was pretty crazy, a fully no-strings-attached free download of the original Red Alert. Cheers EA!

Trotting on into September we were greeted by an interesting surprise from the EALA team. Maybe they thought it was an early Christmas or something but they had another free gift for everyone: C&C; Classic Ringtones. Featuring seven of your all time favorite Command and Conquer quotes, this was a nifty little addition to the Mobile of any die hard C&C; fan. That includes you! We also wanted to find out who our readers thought was the best Tanya of the three Red Alert’s. So, we conducted our own highly unscientific poll on the CNCNZ.com Front Page and discovered that after 505 people had had their say we concluded that the Tanya from Red Alert 2 – Kari Wuhrer was most certainly the best, with 75% of the vote! This was great because it proved that even at CNCNZ.com we can be very scientific in our approaches to serious topics. We’re thinking about covering abortion next…. in C&C; of course! I mean, we are CNCNZ.com, aren’t we?

September flew along pretty quickly but one of the highlights for CNCNZ.com was the Fan Only Roundtable. This was a bit different to the other eleven Roundtable we had previously conducted because of the fact that it was made up solely of *the fans*. No Webmaster’s or prominent community leaders allowed, this was our chance to go heart to heart with some of the C&C; Die Hard fans themselves to find out what the heart of the Community really wants. We also got an updated Kane’s Wrath Worldbuilder that fixed some important issues and got an official release date for Red Alert 3!

In October, CNCNZ.com (thanks to EA) organized a contest offering three copies of the Command and Conquer 3: Deluxe Edition. A pretty snazzy prize pack by most people’s opinion – which we gave away to three very satisfied members of our forums. The bad news of October was the cancellation of Tiberium. The short of the very vague story (publicly) is that it failed to meet EA’s strict values and standards for a game and thus was axed. So that sucked but the horizon was still bright and we embraced the release of RA3 with open arms later on that month. Whereby you could download the latest patch for RA3 that was already available when you installed the game for the first time! How on-to-it is that?! There were a few rather embarrassing problems for EA where they encouraged customers to *guess* the characters that were missed off their serial numbers but all in all things went pretty smoothly and the reviews were great. There were however, like with most games a few people who simply decided not to buy the game for whatever reason. However, EA commissioned David Hasselhoff himself to show everyone, just how cool it really is to have RA3 at www.conquerthislife.com and everyone’s prior doubts were smashed in one deft motion by the ‘hoff himself!

CNCNZ.com also turned 11 in October, a fine day for Sonic who is starting to feel rather clucky at times over the no longer small child he’s reared from the cradle. Here’s to many more! Sonic also took over the reigns of the CNCNZ.com LiveWire project due to Zee Hypnotist’s absence while he joins the military. Sonic’s quirky and laid back manner of presenting the LiveWire was fresh and after the technical difficulties were sorted out, I think we all got used to seeing Sonic in the hot seat.

Over the next few weeks from the end of October through November things were a bit quieter while everyone was busy playing RA3 but we continued covering the game’s patches and various reviews that came out. But alas! Never one to be intimidated by serenity and quiet; Frank Klepacki donned his famous Red Conscript uniform to perform Hell March 3…. Live! It was rather impressive and pretty exciting to watch – even via a YouTube video. Saracen posted one mammoth of a review for RA3, Koen released TibEd 1 as Freeware on the 23rd of November and a public Demo of RA3 came out on the 25th. Then, as per the norm the monthly CNCNZ.com Roundtable came out, and this one was a cracker! Discussed topics were; Red Alert 3 Expansions, RA3 Reviews, The Drawbacks of C&C; and Improvements that can be made, Frank Klepacki’s Contribution to the Red Alert 3 soundtrack, CommandandConquer.com, and RA3 on the PS3.

December saw the release (finally) of the RA3 Worldbuilder…. and all was good. A joyous way to kick off the festive season to be sure. Finally the latest addition to the CNCNZ.com label was the Online Store. Through it you can order Hoodies, T-Shirts, Clocks and Mugs all with the smashing CNCNZ.com logo and catch phrase – “Time To Play The Game”. The idea was that you could order them just in time for Christmas! Probably more for yourself than as a gift but it was a great idea nonetheless.

So as we enter the New Year we can reflect, and reflection is good. It’s been a good year with a few ups and downs. However, they’ve mostly been ups and it’s been fantastic for everyone involved with CNCNZ.com. On behalf of the entire team here I wish you a very Happy New Year and watch out for CNCNZ.com in 2009!

  • Date: Wednesday, 31 December 2008 | Author: Duke