Roundtable Discussion #5 – February 2008


Here we go with the fifth edition of our Roundtable Discussion, here on Listed below are the people participating on the panel for this month.

Question 1) The special update edition of BattleCast Primetime gave us more info about the Scrin sub factions in Kane’s Wrath. So lets discuss the new Scrin super weapon called “Overlords Wrath”, What do you think about it?

Sonic: The name is somewhat corny but its all about the end result right. It should be good to watch super heated flaming chunks of Tiberium and rock rain down in your opponent. David Silverman sure what excited about it in that special update edition of BattleCast Primetime though.

Saracen: While Orbital bomardment is nothing new in RTS games, you have to admire EA’s idea to have a Tiberium Meteor of all things. If anything it’s probably the most original thing in Kane’s Wrath. There could be a worrying balance issue with this superweapon though if the meteor spawns Tiberium. In a team game , or a match with Multi-tech, those buildings that may have survived the initial impact only need a catalyst missile to deal that extra damage. So in that respect we could have the community shouting IMBA! This weapon also brings the total Scrin Superweapon count up to 3 (black hole, Mothership, Overlords), and to me, it seems that these guys are getting a hell of a lot of special treatment. To me it just seems like the developers are trying a little too hard to create faction diversity.

Zee Hypnotist: Personally, I think it’s a rather interesting weapon, yet, for standard gameplay, it might be a little too powerful. It can really cause a lot of destruction, and it’s available in multiplayer just like any other powerup. Other than the possible need to balance it a little bit, I think it’s rather neat, but it might cause a problem in realism if it’s able to be used in a blue zone during multiplayer or even single player.

Lion: Well, if anything the Tiberium meteor looks very effective, a nice shock factor, and quite cool from what I saw in the Battlecast video, and it fits in with something you would expect the Scrin to have in their arsenal of weapons.

Fenring: Since I don’t usually watch the BattleCast Primetime, I haven’t seen it so I can’t actually say for sure. If it’s anything like the Rift superweapon, it should be epic win.

Chickendippers: I don’t think there’s much to say about it really, it’s another support power. The animation looks impressive, I’d certainly like the satisfaction of raining that down on my enemy, but I’m sure, as with everything, that it will be finely balanced and won’t be particularly overpowered – which I guess is everyone’s main concern.

Banshee: I’m not fan of overpowered special powers and it definitely looks over powered. I know GDI will also get one and Nod has some already and I’m not fan of them. They may be expensive, but once used, the victim has no way to stop them and most of them destroy buildings very easily. Considering that destroying the enemy buildings are the main objective of the game, I do not enjoy this kind of special power. It is over powered in my opinion, even if the other factions can launch a similar thing. It takes the ‘conquer’ factor away of the game.

Chronojam: I think it’s pretty logical to include as a superweapon; ever since Tiberian Sun, fans have been trying to create the meteor storm superweapon, especially given that there was an icon for it. It generally was given to Nod, but is obviously more fitting for the Scrin, and is a good extension of fan expectations (you notice a lot of that in C&C3 already, what with the base expansion vehicles).

Hagren: It fits both the canon and the Scrin, and it’s devastating to boot–>Win. Whether or not the sharp angle is a headache I leave up to all those multiplayer fans who care about such details 😉 Personally I like it very much, although it’s a teeny bit less impressive than Nod’s Tiberium vein detonation.

Question 2) Also during the special update edition of BattleCast Primetime we were told about some huge news coming our way in a few weeks time, apparently EALA have been sitting on this for months now. What could it be?

Sonic: The hype machine kicks into high gear once again. Let the speculation fly. We probably all gets this wrong and some will probably crap all over whatever the announcement is. The C&C fan in me wants to Red Alert 3 announced but its to soon for that.

Saracen: A little bird told me a possible “definite” which was also uttered elsewhere by someone else. But I’m going to treat it purely as a rumour. According to these 2 sources, purchasing Kane’s Wrath or the dual pack will automatically qualify you into the Tiberium Beta. Now even though Kane’s Wrath doesn’t interest me that much, I might just get it for these “so-called” Beta slots, because these days I’m more FPS than RTS.

Zee Hypnotist: This time, I’m really stumped. This is what they did when they were releasing Battlecast Primetime itself, but now, they’re announcing it on Primetime. There’s already been a new game announced, so it can’t be that… really hard to tell.

Lion: I’m assuming it has something to do with C&C TV. Some are speculating that Red Alert 3 will be announced, but it’s highly unlikely EA would announce a new game via Battlecast Primetime. Maybe news on Tiberium…I dunno.

Fenring: Personally, I’m hoping it to be Red Alert 3 or a continuation of the Red Alert saga in general. Tiberium is nice but they’re overdoing it and I’m a bigger fan of the RA timeline so I’d like to see it instead. Realistically though, it’s another expansion for C&C3 or something else entirely, that no one will expect like an MMO or a theatrical film.

Chickendippers: Who knows? Assuming Apoc has fully transferred Tiberium over to ZoneRunner and hasn’t got anything left up his sleeve for that game, then I’m really not sure. EA really have thrown everything at us, I’m not sure what more they could possibly do…except ditch Gamespy, but that seems unlikely mid-way through a game’s life cycle.

Banshee: don’t like to guess this kind of thing. It’s not good to over hype things you don’t know about. I think they will introduce a new community manager for Tiberium or announce a special deal related to Kane’s Wrath. I’ve seen some people suggesting that it could be an announcement related to the Open Map Competition 4 maps, but since I’ve sent them to EALA (3 maps), I haven’t got any kind of reply from them. So, I truly doubt it is related to that.

Chronojam: I know a few things it could be… Maybe it’s Apoc packing up a case of drinks for me, I still have to email him about that. More realistically it could be some kind of invitational beta to Tiberium for Kanes Wrath preorders, but that could be just wishful thinking. A surprise map pack would be fun too, but wouldn’t deserve the hype…

Hagren: Well, apparently it’s concerning purchasers of Kane’s Wrath or the Limited Pack, and being a “huge” secret at the same time, I guess it’s either a new CnC game/TW expansion trailer, unreleased info on Kane’s Wrath, or a “Charlie and the Chocolate factory”-esque lottery where there are tickets placed in the boxes and xy players have the chance to venture to EALA, have a candlelight-dinner with Joe or whatever you fancy. I exclude bonus content since what would be so secret about it?

Question 3) Switching gears to Tiberium, various community forums have been heating up over the yet unconfirmed multiplayer details for this game. Early indication is that neither Nod or Scrin will be playable in multiplayer. Could this be a major blow to this game if this turns out to be real?

Sonic: Honestly speaking, I don’t care if Nod or Scrin aren’t playable in multiplayer for this game, I’m not really into the who online gaming scene. I was for Renegade because that’s where it shined. You do understand that is an EA game right, and every game is expandable with the obligatory add-on pack released six to nine months later. So something has be saved for it.

Saracen: We all know now that the community has high expectations for any game. C&C 3 proved that when 100’s of people got p***** about Tiberium not looking right, being radio-active or not being blue. So to not have Nod or Scrin in MP would be 100 times worse than any canon inconsistency. It would also not make any real sense unless EA are gonna cash cow the franchise. I think that if all 3 factions are playable in the game, then the community are going to be gunning like crazy for the same MP experience from C&C Renegade. C&C mode was just awesome, and to be honest, it shouldn’t be left out. C&C Mode is why mods like Reborn and a Path Beyond still exist today. Without C&C Mode, Renegade would have been a distant memory by now. And to be honest unless we have this game mode in Tiberium, it’ll be on people’s shelves gathering dust, or in a shop’s pre-owned section a lot sooner after release than we think. But let’s be honest here, it’s still very early days and still a lot of information to uncover. But with the smallest bit of C&C fan I have left in me. I have to say that Tiberium needs the classic C&C Mode!

Zee Hypnotist: I would indeed be REALLY disappointed if this was true. Plus, it wouldn’t make sense. GDI fighting GDI?

Lion: I enjoyed playing multiplayer Renegade (C&C Mode) because it was team based, giving one a sense of comradery and belonging. TIBERIUM is a different kind of animal however. We’re not looking at a remake or sequel of C&C Renegade here, although I’m sure many of the Renegade fans would have loved that, including myself. There’s not a whole lot of detail on multiplayer as yet. We do know it’s ‘squad based’, and with GDI being your only faction you can play with. TIBERIUM is a first-person shooter but incorporates real-time strategy elements to the game. Butter n Jam mix…hmmm. That in itself may prove to be a winning combination with players. If the game has the look and feel of Command & Conquer, good smooth frame rates, and good net code, then having only one faction to use won’t in itself be a major blow to the game. I’m keeping an open mind and wait till more details are released. I need to see more.

Fenring: Of course it would be. Even Renegade gave you Nod in multiplayer. Even if EA, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t include Nod and Scrin as playable somewhere, modders sure as hell would.

Chickendippers: Other FPS’ manage without any particular sides, and I’m sure the Nod and Scrin models will quickly be modded into playable teams. But it does seem like they will be restricting possible game modes, and the fun of playing as your favourite side in multiplayer, especially as you don’t get that honour in the singleplayer.

Banshee: Lack of playable Scrin and Nod in multiplayer would be a major blow to the game, I have no doubt. Unlike RTS games, FPS games depends much more on multiplayer games, since you won’t have anything to do with the game once you win the campaign. So, at the moment, I prefer to believe that the Game Trailers folks misunderstood Plummer and that Scrin and Nod will be on multiplayer someway how. Also, even if it happens to be true, there is a possibility of modders enabling Scrin and Nod on multiplayer. EALA will offer software to allow people to create custom servers, which could host this kind of game.

Chronojam: C&C has always presented both sides of the story; it was a major snafu when Renegade didn’t deliver Nod’s view in single play. It would be a far greater mistake to leave the other sides out of a multiplay aspect!

Hagren: Unquestionably. You can’t simply release a game with only one side for multiplay these days, due to various reasons. First, depth of gameplay is lost in the process. Second, diversity and lasting appeal would be non-existent. And lastly, let’s not forget that the CnC universe has a lot of unique sides which are fun to play, and given their canonical background and different gaming style each have their respective fan base. So GDI-only MP would be a no-go, even I as SP understand this, thus i hope Gamereplays’ report is right. I still applaud EA for the gaming mode itself, though. We don’t need the umpteenth vehicle shooter thank you very much, and filling the role of a specialized commander is what CnC ultimately truly is about.

Question 4) Renegade mods. Who’s under more pressure to deliver the goods, CNC Reborn with their hype for the infantry only beta or Red Alert – A Path Beyond with their recent recognition and award from ModDB?

Sonic: A Path Beyond has released a few playable version of their hard work to the public already, they have delivered the goods and improved with each release, but I don’t think the bar has been set. On the Reborn side, they must be feeling the pressure to some degree having not released anything to the public in years. With that said I’m very keen to see how Reborn plays.

Saracen: I’d say Reborn, hands down. A Path Beyond already has the quality, the great gameplay and plenty of the balance already. And the game can only get stronger. The mod has proved it can deliver the goods. Reborn however has been hiding for years without any real major show of consistent progress. And I think many people look at it like being the Duke Nukem Forever of the C&C modding community. Reborn has a hell of a lot to prove if it’s to be taken seriously, and I think an infantry only Beta is a wrong move. The most unexciting part of A Path Beyond is the infantry maps, and Reborn has its reputation to ride on. If this Infantry Beta is lacking in too many areas, I don’t think there will be much more hope for it.

Zee Hypnotist: I think Reborn is under more pressure now. They’ve been working on it for a long time, and A Path Beyond is gaining more interest. I’m honestly seeing people starting to lose faith in Reborn.

Lion: That’s a tough question…hmmm, Red Alert: A Path Beyond has already proved themselves with their recent award, so the ball is in CNC Reborn’s court to prove themselves.

Fenring: I’m not big on Renegade, or its modding community so I can’t say that I really care. If I had to answer though – A Path Beyond, most definitely. If not to simply feed my Red Alert FPS fun.

Chickendippers: I’m looking forward to Reborn the most. APB has had excellent fully playable releases out for a while, but it’s been years since the Reborn team released anything in that respect and I’m gagging to get in control of a Mammoth MKII!

Banshee: think it is Reborn. A Path Beyond released their stuff which was well received around the community. The mod DB award was deserved. The mod is quality, although their marketing team did help a lot to get all these people voting for them. Such a wonderful job that Apocalypse Rising was one of the most voted unreleased indie games. Regarding Reborn, last time they released something, they weren’t successfull at all and took it down in a later time. But I prefer to see things released when they are done. Rushing things doesn’t help much and the Reborn guys already experienced that in the past and I’m sure they’ve learned the lesson.

Chronojam: CnC Reborn’s won awards for its hype and teasers of the years since their release, whereas APB has consistently delivered playable goods with supportive server administration. I feel APB’s set the bar high, and Reborn’s now got to strive hard to reach it on more than just a graphical/presentation front. Their community could be getting a doubtful, a little tired of waiting.

Hagren: I think both mods will find their fan bases, since they play in different universes. I as Single player don’t want to pass judgement on a topic i don’t know much about, thus I wish both the biggest fan bases and recognition they can get, respectively the fans as much as fun as the devs hopefully had while creating these. Mod teams truly deserve our respect, they keep the games living and the community together. And perhaps some time this zealousness lands them a job 😉

Question 5) For the first time ever in the Roundtable we go “off topic”. With Kane’s Wrath not due until late March what other RTS games are you playing to get your RTS fix?

Sonic: I’ve spent some time (not a lot of time) with Petroglyph’s Universe at War and thats about it. RTS games fail to inspire me to keep playing like they once did in the days of C&C and Red Alert.

Saracen: Does anyone really need to ask me? When it comes to C&C, I’m still very much (as Apoc put it) stuck in the past. So I stay with the past and follow the likes of Frank Klepacki, Delphi and Ishmael (plus many ex-C&C developers) at Petroglyph, who have recently released Universe at War. This game is all I need for my RTS fix now, and to be honest, unless any RTS can offer originality to me like this game has, then I don’t wanna know. Most RTS games in 2007 promised so much, but delivered so little. Universe at War was the only game that told us what there was, and stuck to it without making itself out to be the best thing since sliced bread. But there are plenty of other Game genre’s to be looking at other than RTS games. So I’ll be playing through other game genre’s to keep me occupied until the next Universe at War game comes out!

Zee Hypnotist: I’m thinking of getting Red Faction 3. Oh, wait, RTS. Uhh… that’s a good question. I can’t honestly think of a time when I’ve played another RTS for more than 5 to 10 minutes. It’s usually just C&C old-school for me.

Lion: I’m currently playing The Settlers: Rise of an Empire, and occassionally play some of the older C&C games like the original Red Alert and Tiberian Sun. I much prefer the older RTS games, despite the lack of modern day graphics. Those games have heart.

Fenring: I never stray away from Command and Conquer but I go back a few games to Yuri’s Revenge… but to mod it instead of just play it. And if I’m feeling particularly jaunty, I’ll play some Zero Hour and StarCraft.

Chickendippers: I don’t play RTS games besides C&C, I played the Starcraft demo once, many moons ago….but that’s about it. I’m currently playing the new Sega Rally, and have got Call Of Duty 4 lined up to be gracing my system soon. I’ve never been much a fan of Crytek’s games, so I may free up a few gigs of space by uninstalling Crysis soon.

Banshee: I wish I could play Universe at War, but it’s not being sold in Brazil and I don’t have money to bring it from foreign places. So, I’m staying with C&C3, Red Alert 2 and Age of Empires III (Asyan Dynasties) for a while.

Chronojam: I’ve been playing Dawn of the TIberium Age a lot, it’s a fantastic TS mod that everybody should try at least once; it’s a different flavor than Return of the Dawn, and its taste is more authentic. My roommates saw me playing and wondered how I got C&C 95 to run at such a high resolution. I hope some intrepid modders help out by making more maps and contributing fixes.

Hagren: If i’d play RTS’s, which i currently don’t (Not even CnC3, at the moment it’s Republic Commando that gets my attention), it’d be TW, AoK, RA2, TD, Earth 2150 or perhaps the BfME2 demo, all of them for skirmish. And if I wouldn’t be penniless right now, UaW would be the game of choice, although the demo was a huge letdown for me. I just have to know if the reviews are true, and make up my own mind.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by each individual in the Roundtable Discussion are their own, and do not reflect the official view of, unless otherwise stated.