Saturday, 9 January 2010

BTP2: End of the Tiberian Age?

Well it seems that the times they are a-changing. With Command and Conquer games appearing on phones and mp3 players and the the 2010 release of Tiberian Twilight set to end the Tiberian saga is this the end of C&C or simply the next evolution? We send Drew into harms way as the final battle between G.D.I and NOD escalates to bring you up to the minute reports of events as they unfold. Sure, Drew is a coward and may not survive but that's beside the point!

The Command and Conquer franchise is old-real old. When you think that the series began in 1995 and has continued to grow and expand for the 15 years since and managed to (usually) gain critical and financial acclaim, you'd be hard pressed not to acknowledge it's gaming pedigree. However, now it seems that the long war may soon be over for this gaming colossus as EA have declared that the next installment of the Tiberian saga will see the end of the epic struggle between the noble G.D.I and the insidious Brotherhood.

Of course such a long gaming lineage has spawned not only a powerful narrative and ingrained lore (neither of which I will go into too much detail about here), but also a large fan community who will defend the franchise itself as much as their choice of allegiance within the game. With this in mind EA have a real challenge on their hands with this final installment; both in terms of writing and game-play. The fans will demand not only satisfactory closure to the series but also a fitting swan song that meets the expectations of years of hype.

Perhaps at first glance this should appear to be a done deal, after all, all of the main elements are there; the strong back story and the fact that the game mechanic has remained largely unchanged since way back in '95. Yet concerns have arisen with the latest incarnations of the series over moves to new pastures, such as mobile phone games and console ports coupled with news that Tiberian Twilight will see key changes to how the game will be played. Without wanting to go into too much of a technical run down of the game (these are already being hotly debated on fan forums already), chief amongst these changes are the lack of both base building and "classic" resource gathering and the inclusion of R.P.G elements, you know, leveling up, secondary abilities and dragons.

OK, so no dragons but enough of a change that forums are alight with concerns that C&C4 will go a step too far from it's predecessors, both for longtime and younger fans alike, causing them to feel somehow alienated from the franchise. Admittedly as one of the "older" fans I was at first unimpressed by the change in direction and I'm still a little skeptical but the fact that this will be a slightly different style of game does not mean it will be a bad game. Part of me is glad to see EA still committing to pushing boundaries and experimentation, Westwood dared poke around with their creation taking the action to a first person level with a high degree of success proving that the C&C "feel" is able to transcend genera's as much as game tweaks.

I think the problem with this new direction is that there was no need to change anything! The old adage of "If it's not broke, don't take away base building" rings true here. We're talking about a swan song here, the final rendition of a game that has entertained for years because of it's ability to combine economy building and strategy while making it simply to run and yet somehow still prove challenging as you try to desperately hold out against yet another mammoth tank.
Personally, I would have been happy with simple closure at this point in the games history, without having to learn to play a different style of game. It seems to me to be a little odd that EA would choose now to make changes in the series if it is about to end...unless of course, it's not the end? This is only speculation obviously, but in this world of sequels who knows?

In the end Tiberian Twilight could be a solid, but different, addition to the Command and Conquer universe. However it seems that like Kane himself, that even in death Command and Conquer throws up more questions then answers.




Front Line News! Drew denies war crimes carried out in Bialystok during the first Tiberian War.

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