FEATURES: Command & Conquer 10th Anniversary – Interviews – Rade Stojsavljevic

cnc10_header

Note: Rade does not work at Petroglyph. Currently he is working as an executive producer at Activision on a couple of games set in the Marvel fiction as well as helping out with another franchise.

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

Wow! Especially so given that there hasn’t been a new C&C game in years, Westwood shut down, etc. I think it’s a tribute to how special C&C was that it’s still remembered and loved by so many people, myself included.

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?

Yes, I have a lot of really good friends at Petroglyph and I’m still in regular contact with several members of the C&C community.

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.

Working with webmasters directly was always fun. I was always amazed at how much information they were able to collect about things that weren’t publicly announced. Adam and I swore that our offices were bugged.

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

I think the high point was in 2001 when people were playing TS, Firestorm, RA2, and looking forward to Renegade.

The low point was when Westwood closed in 2003. However I didn’t really see that as a low because it brought a bunch of people together. We received a ton of e-mail and support from the community when the announcement was made.

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?

(No answer given)

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

While I thoroughly enjoyed both I’d have to say I prefer the original C&C story. It’s all about the Brotherhood of Nod.

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

No. The core of what made those stories so amazing, the people, aren’t there anymore and I’d rather remember the series as it was than as something different.

If they continue making C&C games I hope it’s a different storyline. There are a lot of really smart and talented people at EA and I’m sure they will make a fantastic game but to me it just won’t be the same C&C I know and love.

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

That’s a tough call. From a purely personal standpoint my favorite was Firestorm. We took the gloves off and got to do a lot of fun stuff that we wanted to put in TS but didn’t have the time. From the first day we worked on it everything just “clicked”.

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

I would have gotten rid of bridges in TS. We wasted a ridiculous amount of time getting that feature in when we should have been working on other portions of the game.

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?

That was the design direction that was decided on for that game. The Red Alert series was always faster paced and more over the top than the Tiberian series.

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?

The team simply ran out of time.

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?

Let’s see…what can I say without breaking any NDAs I’m still bound to. Well, I can tell you that all three of them would have been really fun.

Seeing a Tesla coil from a first person perspective would have blown people away…literally.

C&C3 had some revolutionary ideas that I think would have breathed new life into the stagnant RTS genre.

Continuum had ideas that are just now starting to be seen in MMO games. For fans of the fiction I think they would have been delighted to be able to plan in a living and changing C&C world, especially since they could affect the story directly.

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

The guys at EA Pacific (Irvine).

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

I think the guys who built that game felt that they needed to focus their efforts on the gameplay.

When I helped out on the Zero Hour expansion we tried to bring some story elements into the game and even added C&C style FMV.

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

The team. The reason Westwood games were so great was because of the people involved. Everyone was extremely talented and loved what they were working on and it showed through in the quality of the games released.

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”?

This is going to sound odd but I was relieved. We were in a kind of “limbo” for a while and I was just relieved that a decision was finally made.

I understand why EA made the decision and when you look at it from a business perspective it does make sense. Still, I think we could have fixed the problems that caused EA to consolidate the studio and would have proceeded to make even more amazing games.

3) Is there anything you miss about Westwood Studios?

Yeah, several things: the amazing people I was privileged to work with every day, the Bobbie at Capriotti’s, late night multiplayer games, Guitar Freaks, my house that I moved into 5-months before Westwood closed.

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

Yes. I’m in regular contact with Adam Isgreen, David Yee, Joe Selinske, and others. I just spoke with Erik Yeo the other day and am trying to setup a lunch this week. I bumped into Chris Demers a couple of weeks ago. Ferby Miguel, an artist who I worked with on Blade Runner, Tiberian Sun, and Firestorm called me today. And this interview was e-mailed through Chris Rubyor.

It’s a small industry and a lot of us keep in contact via e-mail or when we’re at GDC or E3.

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?

Yeah, there were a ton of internal videos that were done and were shown during company meetings. Most had nothing to do with the games and were about the people in the office. I recall one where Brett had a voodoo doll of me and held it over a candle. I still have the thing in my office.

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?

IMO this wasn’t a good idea. We’re in the business of making games and it is way too easy to get caught up in the “glamour” of working on a movie and lose focus.

I don’t think it would have been a legitimate option. We were too protective of the brand and it would have been REALLY difficult to find a director and studio that we could work with.

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?

The guys in QA. Don’t believe Delphi’s (Chris Rubyor) lies about his multiplayer prowess. After all, I beat him in a RA2 test and I’m just a producer. : Chris, don’t edit this out!
(Webmasters Note: This is how Rade answered this question, no editing has been done, I guess Delphi noticed Rade’s warning)

Section D – Petroglyph
1) 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, I’m not working at Petroglyph and am no longer building a RTS but I have some thoughts about this that I’d like to share.

I think a rock, paper, scissors type of balance is absolutely critical for a successful RTS, or any multiplayer combat game for that matter. I think you’ll find that the successful RTS games adhere to this core tenet and build upon it with varying layers of gameplay that reinforce the core.

2) 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?

There’s going to be on consoles. In order to invest the kind of money required to bring innovation to the RTS genre they’re have to make that transition.

Yes, they won’t be the same as what you’ve known on the PC, mainly due to the control differences, but the core gameplay mechanics can and will work on consoles. Someone just needs to be brave enough to try it.

3) Give us a quick a summary of your daily routine post EA/Westwood.

I’m an executive producer at Activision and am working on a couple of games set in the Marvel fiction as well as helping out with another franchise.

I’ll be starting a brand new project next year and I’m planning to build on some of the core game design philosophies we used at Westwood. Before you ask, no, I’m not building a RTS game…well, not yet anyway.

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?

Working on C&C and at Westwood was a fantastic experience and I feel privileged to have been along for the ride. It’s absolutely amazing to have worked on a game that people are still talking about and playing after all this time.

To everyone in the community I’d like to say thank you for your support and encouragement over the years. You were one of the main reasons we did what we did and seeing your reactions over the years to what we build was truly a pleasure.

eXTReMe Tracker