FEATURES: Command & Conquer 10th Anniversary – Interviews – Chris Rubyor

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Section A – Community
1) Firstly, what is your reaction to the strong community support for an event such as the C&C 10th Anniversary?

It’s Awesome! I’m glad to see the C&C community alive and stronger than ever.

2) Kind of related to question 1. Do you still follow the C&C community at Petroglyph, checking out what the sites are up to?

Everyday! CNCNZ.com, Planet CNC, CNCDEN, RADEN.

3) What was your favourite aspect of working with the C&C community? Was it working with the fan site webmasters directly, arranging chat sessions, that sort of thing.

Interacting with the fans. I really enjoyed hosting online dev tournaments, chats, posting on message board, conducting interviews with fansite webmasters, and most importantly responding back to e-mails from just about everyone who had a question about our game.

I love the C&C community, and at Petroglyph, we plan on adhering to the standards set forth at Westwood with Empire at War and all future titles Petroglyph creates. 😉

4) Do you think the C&C community as you remember it ever had high and low points, if so what/when were they?

The C&C community was always on the up swing, it wasn’t until RA2 and the addition of a full-time CM did we see the community spike to new heights. When Westwood was consolidated into EALA, we saw a turn for the worse. I moved into design and sadly EA took over community management. Luckily, the strength of the community has shined and has managed to maintain itself over the past three years. It’s good to see all the hard work pre-EA paid off.

Section B – C&C Games
1) For those who worked on the original C&C, how does it feel to know you had a hand in creating what most people would describe as the game that defined Real Time Strategy?

It’s amazing! Though I was not in design, I contributed feedback and suggestion that made it into the final product.

2) Do you favour the original C&C storyline or the Red Alert universe?

I enjoy both. Each has its own unique flavour of fun units, fun characters, and in-depth story-lines.

3) Following on from question 2, do you hope that EA will continue either of the 2 storylines?

I’m on the fence. Whatever they do, I just hope they do it well.

4) From a personal point of view what C&C game do you think was the best one produced?

I loved them all, but if I had to pick one it would be RA2, I really enjoyed the units, story and fast paced multiplayer.

5) If you could travel back in time what would you go back and change in any of the C&C games?

Create a community management team that would have started the day Westwood added Internet support to the C&C line.

6) In comparison to other previous C&C titles, Red Alert 2 took on a high speed arcade strategy within its single player campaigns rather than a 1:1 ratio Real Time Element, and there was no option to change the speed of the game… why was this?

Because the devil made them do it. Honestly, it’s the design approach they took and I support them 100%.

7) To this day people still play Renegade online thanks to user created mods, maps etc…. Back in the Renegade development days, except for C&C Mode why were all of the other cool multiplayer game modes cut?

(No answer given)

8) Although the franchise is now in other hands, are you able to disclose any further details on scrapped Westwood projects related to C&C such as the potential titles – Renegade 2, C&C 3: Tiberian Twilight and Continuum?

Read Adam’s interview, it’s very interesting.

9) C&C Generals was a major change from the traditional C&C formula, who came with the concept?

EAP

10) Why was there a lack of a flowing storyline in C&C Generals like previous C&C games?

(No answer given)

Section C – The Westwood Years
1) Who was the most important person or people at Westwood?

I would have to say Brett Sperry. He had a creative vision and drive that was unsurpassed. It was Brett who would push each team to do better and create fun and exciting games.

2) Describe the feeling you first felt and the thoughts going through your mind when you found out that Westwood was going to be “consolidated”?

“Please god, do not move our company to L.A.”

3) Is there anything you miss about Westwood Studios?

Working with the community

4) Do you still keep in contact with many of the former Westwood team? If so who?

Of course! I do work with a majority of them now. =)

5) One movie that Westwood released to the C&C community was where ‘Havoc paid a visit’ upon hearing Renegade was going to slip. This was perhaps one of the best and most entertaining movies outside a C&C game we had ever seen. During the Westwood days were any other similar movies or side projects created?

Yes, lots of cool stuff. I believe they are still buried somewhere on EA’s network.

6) On the Subject of movies, the early C&C community were always wishing for a C&C Hollywood blockbuster to be created. What were Westwood’s thoughts on this, and would it of been a legitimate option if the budget and time was there to create one?

Would have been cool, but making games was always the priority

7) Part of the development process involves the developers playing the games themselves to test and iron out bugs in the game. During the internal multiplayer testing, who, out of all the Westwood staff, was the best Command & Conqueror?

Delphi! That guy rocked everyone! Last I heard he logged over 6,000 games of RA2/Yuri’s. Talk about dedicated.

Section D – Petroglyph
1) It has been evident in the past that Westwood was indeed a great company to work for, balancing humour and fun with the seriousness of having to work to meet deadlines. Has this changed in any way now that Petroglyph has formed, or is there still the age old atmosphere that you had at Westwood?

Petroglyph is its own thing. Though we are made up of many Westwoodians, you can really see a new culture forming. On occasion though, classic Westwood pranks are still played and barbeques had.

2) Petroglyph has already shown itself as a major player in the RTS market with Empire at War, and other games companies have expressed this. What could we expect from Petroglyph in the next 3-10 years in terms of both a business approach, and in terms of games development?

Strategy Games! With maybe a few bits of goodness here and there. =)

3) Relating back to the C&C Games question of scrapped projects. Is there the potential in the future, for Petroglyph to revive any of the scrapped projects, even if they were to be under a different name?

Probably not, besides there are many more new game ideas to be tried and characters created. =) You’ll see…

4) How do you feel about competing against possible C&C products, considering you helped build the franchise?

all for it… Competition helps generate new ideas. Bring it on!

5) How do the early days of the Empire at War/Petroglyph community compare to the days of the C&C/Westwood community?

They are very similar. With time, attention and support the community will blossom into something great. I expect good things from our communities, it just takes time.

6) Real Time Strategy as we know it has always followed what is known in the gaming industry as the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” system. Do you ever see RTS games breaking away from this mould or is it a vital element of game play that is essential to any RTS?

We’ll see… lots of stuff to be tried and tested. I do have one gripe, can we please stop diluting the UI with buttons and other useless crap.

7) Where do you see the RTS genre in another 10 years time? What direction do you see it heading, and what innovations could you see re-invent RTS as we know it?

Good question, I’ll let ya know when we get there. =)

8) Give us a quick a summary of your daily routine at Petroglyph.

Make multiplayer maps, oversee multiplayer features, test multiplayer, incorporate balance feedback, fix bugs, go home and relax. =P

Section E – Closing Comments
If you would like, Do you have any final thoughts about 10 years of Command & Conquer and is their anything you would like to pass along to the community that have followed you all these years?

Take care guys, and expect to hear some interesting news soon. =)

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