Command and Conquer: EA’s Clumsy Dance

So I just read this, and I can’t help but feel increasingly dismayed at the state of the Command & Conquer franchise.

Let us go through this little article, shall we?

I will admit right off the bat that I don’t know who Frank Gibeau is, or what being president of EA Labels actually means, and frankly I don’t care enough to google it. Clearly he’s some bigjob that EA has handed the oars of the SS C&C to and has been told to bloody row, while leaks are springing up everywhere and they try to plug them with platitudes. If you are very quiet, you can hear the furious backpedaling.

“Our intention with Command & Conquer is to create a triple-A experience,” he says, and elaborates that he just means it will have pretty graphics. Whoopee, I can feel the excitement tingling all the way down to my toes. Wait, that might be exasperation.

Next follows a paragraph of him using many words to say basically nothing, and caps it all with “You build in response to your audience.” Well, isn’t that great? They’re listening! We should be so happy! He hasn’t said a single word about what the single-player will be like, or how they’re implementing it. For all we know, they could just be putting skirmish mode in there, and while welcome, that doesn’t really raise my care-level.

Then they talk about how important it is to “get the biggest market”. I do wish you’d rather focus on making a good game, instead of working out the formula for how to please everyone, when we know that just ends in pleasing no one.

The game will be set in the Generals universe, as we had expected, but here’s the kicker. “Gibeau said the plan is to eventually mix in units from both the Red Alert and Tiberium series.” This made me die a little inside. Clearly the C&C series is truly perished beyond hope, and they’re just ravaging the corpse now: Stringing together bits that were once popular and using their necromancy on them in the hopes that people will be lured for long enough to spend some money. I wish I could find a citation for what the Wikipedia article said about how EA considers Tiberium, Red Alert and Generals to be strictly separate, because that has clearly gone out the window.

“You’re going to be able to have some stuff fans have been asking for, for years,” he goes on to say, even though I can’t seriously imagine that many people seriously wanted to see different franchises face off against eachother. Maybe I’m wrong, but I dearly hope not. Also, can you imagine the balance issues here, considering Red Alert is basically magic, and Tiberium is science fiction?

There’s some praise for how good the free-to-play model is (I thought EA decided to call it Play4Free?) for everyone, especially the customers, though he does acknowledge that free-to-play “can be a two-edged sword, [but] he thinks Electronic Arts can help dispel the misconception some people have about free-to-play titles with this release.” Yeah, good luck with that one. You have a tremendous task ahead of you, especially considering what you’ve been given. It is a lot to live up to, and honestly I don’t think you’re up to it.

“Electronic Arts is even open to bringing the game to consoles at some point in the future.” Yes, because RTS games work so well on consoles. I hope they’re not planning on cross-platform compatibility.

I don’t really want to be this negative (or maybe I do), but there is just about nothing here that makes me want to play their game. Considering how god-awful C&C4 was as well, they’re really not inspiring confidence. I will keep an eye on it, because I’m certain some people will jump right in and give it a go, and then report their findings. Though EA should probably just let the series die with whatever dignity it has left instead of trying to ruin that too.

Am I being overly negative? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. To me this just feels like desperate struggle of a dying man. Rumours flourish about EA being up for sale to the point where it’s hard to think there’s no validity at all to them. Am I hoping for it to be true, even though they could very well be bought up by someone equally bad or worse? Kinda.

~Wulf 

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Posted on September 9, 2012, in Games, Rant, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is what happens when companies run out of ideas. They basically try to extract the most amount of money out of the safest IP cash cow they have which might milk left in it and they might get a bucket or two before it dies. It gets even more desperate when they’re running out of cash or on a stock plunge.

    The curious thing is that EA are not out of IP that is aching for a sequel. Mirror’s Edge and System Shock II for example. But they’d have to work at making those a success and churning out the same old stuff like Battlefield, Need for Speed, FIFA which would have to suck 10x more than they do to have a chance of losing money given all the development costs have been paid back. Small innovative companies seem to take more risks compared to large corporations..which seems odd give they have more resources and abilities to try out off the wall things with small budgets. Look at Valve building all those prototypes that turned into Portal II multiplayer in the end. And Left 4 Dead.

    • Yeah. Though it might be a while before EA is fully out of the game, they still seem to be in their death throes, casting out for whatever might help them go on.

      Considering how many bad decisions they’ve made, and how little understanding of the business of this medium they have demonstrated, I don’t really feel like they deserve to go on. The biggest shame is that I’m sure they’ll take some talented developers with them on the way, no matter who might end up buying them up.

  1. Pingback: Of Tiberium And Time: Epilogue: The Future « Wulf Space

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