How Would You Remake Command & Conquer?

EA's attempt to revive the Command & Conquer franchise as a deck-based RTS, akin to Halo Wars 2, hasn't been well received thus far. People are still waiting to play the game, of course, but it does beg the question: what would a proper re-imagining of the series look like?

RTS games have had a rough run over the last few years. There's been few successes on the classic gameplay - We Are Billions and Tooth and Tail two of the few standouts - and the rise of MOBAs has help popularise a much simpler approach to the genre.

There's still a huge fanbase for the Command & Conquer series. Sure, it was never the best strategy game - C&C's appeal was the Cold War-esque conflict between the West and communism, the wonderfully cheesy FMV sequences, and the completely implausible sci-fi shtick around it all: Tesla towers, tanks that could teleport back in time, all sorts of silly shit, really.

But people's appetites for gameplay has changed significantly.

So how would you bring the C&C franchise back?

Image: ModDB

I've always had a huge affinity for C&C Renegade, the RTS-FPS hybrid that gave me a little more of the onground action that I wanted from Activision's Battlezone remake in 1998. Nobody else really seemed to like C&C Renegade at the time though: the game was never popular, and the FPS-RTS hybrid formula never really caught on outside of the excellent, but hard as nails, Natural Selection series.

But I still feel like some limited RTS elements, even if it was restricted to a tactical layer of strategy, could work. A turn-based C&C wouldn't be a bad move either, adding an XCOM style of flavour into the series. And it's hard not to imagine the ultimate: what would a straight, wholly-FMV based adventure in the C&C universe be like? (A Creative Assembly-inspired Total War take on Red Alert would really be something too.)

Either way, let's hand the reins over to you. You're bringing the C&C series back. Any platform. Any genre of choice. Any developer.

What do you do?


Comments

    For me I think sticking with fairly vanilla RTS would be preferable. As much as I love the recent Xcoms, I don’t see the actual combat of C&C as being the drawcard (similarly with Total War, although less familiar with that). C&C was really (for me) a base-building game.

    Also, I know they were virtually identical but C&C and Red Alert covered very different time periods and plotlines (albeit interrelated). Perhaps one idea for a reboot would be to incorporate the cheesy (but cool) time travelling by playing simultaneously (or alternately) in both time periods, with outcomes in one affecting the other. But stick to the RTS formula IMO.

      "All the changes in time have caused too many timelines and they're starting to pull back into a single timeline." could be a fun launching point for the plot.

      I'd like a fairly vanilla RTS too. But I'd like them to not be a series of basically unconnected maps. I'd like to see a version where there are consequences to *how* you win the map. If your troops are decimated and you scrape home then the next map you start with a huge disadvantage, or you get a completely different mission to rebuild your numbers. On the other hand if you absolutely dominate you start with overwhelming forces, or you move to a different area.

      Same with time and resources. Establish a game "timeline" that's running in the background and has events happening regardless of what map you're on. So if you take too long on a map you don't get to recruit the super spy because they're been captured and killed. Conversely if you are really quick to win the map you get not just the spy but some extra support troops.

      TL:DR: Make HOW you win each map matter.

        I like this idea. A kind of C&C and Total War game hybrid with both wider strategy and battle tactics could have amazing depth.

          Yeah, if they get it right I'd love it. Not sure how they could implement it and what trade offs might have to be made, but I want to see them try.

          @guestwhowould: I don't really remember that in DoW. I must admit I never finished it though. So maybe I just didn't play long enough to realise.

            I think it was actually the dark crusade expansion sorry. The 6 factions battle to control the world.

    alternate history Steampunk Civil war C&C and a far future space C&C (even tho starcraft cornered that one back then)

    Maybe something in the vein of Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander.

      SupCom lives on through Forged Alliance Forever (FAF) if you weren't aware. Got a pretty strong community behind it.

    I would have a game where you are some sort of captain/general etc and you start a campaign and you then hire other generals to help out. So they'll send requests in to you at certain points to ask what needs to be done i.e "I feel we should pump up the numbers on heavy artillery for a flanking strike, permission to build 14 units" and you can approve decline or take over command of that action and choose a better outcome manually. So effectively making a multi-led army against another. So the CC flavour, but the wars are 10x as big with 10x the resources and troops, but able to be controlled from afar. To me this seems like the "next gen" AI style of management games

    I'm actually kinda surprised they don't have a C&C Battle Royale game in the works.

    Go back to the basic and keep the gameplay simple.

    C&C Renegade meets Battlefield (and maybe End War?).
    Several players are assigned to Commander roles, using the RTS view, creating units and giving commands. The remaining players can take control of any created unit in the FPS view. Commander orders would be visible as waypoints and targets etc, and their reputation would change based on following these orders.

    Not sure how that would play out...

    Reform Westwood Studios.
    Give them free reign.
    Great game released.

      Westwood have kind of reformed.

      The team behind Grey Goo and 8 bit armies is a lot of the original Westwood people.

      Heart eyes for days.

      Last edited 06/07/18 12:06 pm

    I got a better answer. Classic C&C gameplay, except one player is in charge of producing building and units and other players control the other units (when available). Commander can order the units to go to and stay at places, but the players can choose to ignore that.

    I don't know how you'd juggle fog of war and what not but even as a basic concept I'd play the hell out of it.

      Pretty sure that's been talked about in a game at least once or twice. But I don't know whether the games every eventuated and if they did whether they were any good. I can't remember the names but I remember reading an article about it and thinking it'd never work because all the FPS people would ignore what the commander was saying and just go round shooting shit.

        They did it in Natural Selection 2 - 1 player gets the strategy-like overview and builds defenses, supplies, etc., while the rest play the FPS and try to destroy the enemy base. It was good fun, except for that fact that you essentially just lost anytime someone who wasn't good managed to get into the 'commander' position.

        I could totally see it working for a Renegades-style game - the Commander gets a resource income based on how much of the map you control (maybe through capturing Tiberium refineries?), and can use those resources to build vehicles, defense buildings, upgraded weaponry, etc. The commander would also control where those resources were deployed, so if the commander is deploying all of your fancy weapons and vehicles on the front lines, most players would probably head there and do essentially what the commander wanted.

          It wasn't Natural Selection, I remember that game (kinda sci-fi HL mod). There was one that basically looked like Battlefield (ie: semi-realistic military) but had a commander who oversaw everything and made tactical decisions. I can't remember the name of the game or whether it even got made. It may have just been preview stuff that I read and in the end the game changed direction or got cancelled.

          Like you say with NS, it'd be possible to cripple a team by having a bad commander. And I know selfish FPS players "on the ground" could wreck it for the commander. So I'm not sure that it would be fun. At least not in a pug sense. I could imagine it being an interesting guild/clan game where you know all your teammates though.

            Nuclear Dawn?

              That could be the one. Looks a bit like it, and from the articles it never really got off the ground (lots of features cut). So it fits what I remember - early preview, big ambitions, looks interesting, then vanished without a trace.

                If it was Nuclear Dawn we played it a bit at some LANs a couple years back. it was alright. It definitely came down to how good the commander on each side was though.

            Was it Battlefield 2 or Global Operations? They both had that kind of Commander-overview mode that 1 player could use to look at the map and drop supplies etc.

            I think the one you're thinking of is Empires.

      I'm all for an optional co-op mode where both players run the same army.

    All we really wanted was a C & C: Generals sequel/remake - same gameplay and factional balance, with either regular C&C, RA, or Generals (3 faction) lore.

    10hr-ish single player mode that functioned as a primer and tutorial, a well as unveiling units to teach their advantages/disadvantages prior to multiplayer.

    Same balanced and fast-paced multiplayer gameplay as Generals, which is still relevant today in lieu of another similar RTS.

    Superweapons, Generals Points/simple XP system, a simple resource system should remain.

    Keep Generals visual style (3D, but clear and visible unit cartoonish design); add CoH or Dawn of War-style unit visual dynamics which keep enthusiasts rewarded and wow spectators.

    Badly-acted cutscenes with surprise cameos must return! So many possibilities here... Think Ben Kingsley as a devious GLA general; Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese splinter general, Jesse Ventura as a US bluster-and-bombard commander.

    Keep either Klepacki (C&C) or Brown (Generals) on soundtrack as both are different but sublime in their own ways.

    Charge $80 for a proper, full release- everything out-of-the-box. None of this microtransactional malarky or lootbox ludicrousness. Crack out a couple of expansions on the first and second year mark and charge $30 each.

    EA, you rat bastards, you'll still make money but more importantly, you'll regain face and revitalise a franchise in its final generation of relevancy, as well as a genre of gaming absolutely crying out for a new A+ title.

    Obviously, history would repeatedly dictate that such a project is impossible as key minds and mechanics architects have been fired/moved/absorbed under EA's rapacious corporate upheavals the decades passed.

    Even under a new studio, it is unlikely the C&C IP will ever be released from EA for external development. This may be remotely possible, as EA has done their very best to tarnish and devalue the C&C brand, it could be snapped up at a bargain price. This is doubtful at best as they'll want to hang on to the IP, if only to prevent competition.

    Take the original C&C, create new units, new levels and give the visuals a total overhaul... Don't do too much to the music.

    Scanlines, live-action FMV, a rockin' soundtrack, tonnes of units, tiberium, and the inclusion of the system barks from the original. Same mechanics as C&C1.

      Actually y'know what, I'll just go back and play 1.

        "Yeah? OK."

        I can still hear that dopey voice in my mind.

    Something I've thought about quite a bit over the years... ok here we go.

    A new C&C must be an evolution, but it must also honour the past. So where do we start? We can't pine for the beginning and hold onto it too much, but we cannot discard it either.

    We must start prior to the first game. We saw Kaine at the end of Red-Alert, so let's start just prior to the end of the first Red-Alert. "Command and Conquer Zero". We see a plot where the US is struck by Soviet missiles set in the 1970's, once glorious thanks to its combat during Red Alert, the US is caught off guard thanks to becoming bloated and fat thanks to its stance as 'the biggest superpower in the world' by a former Henchman of Stalin, "The Skorpion".

    He launches his covert missiles which strike all over the US, decimating the Capital, NORAD and numerous other places. This sets off a new war against the Soviets, who unleash their new forces against the US, having been biding their time. Newly designed tech, that has a familiar feel to the player, the US relies on tech such as Abrams tanks, ground troops and Apache helicopters, while the "Soviets" side is called "The Skorpions" and utilise slightly weaker, but more futuristic weaponry, such as attack bikes, flame trucks (trucks with flamethrowers mounted on top), suicide bombers (callback to Generals), 'femme fatales' woman agent model who acts like the Spy from Red Alert (also a tribute to Natasha Romanov) and their top tier base defense unit would be "The Skorpion Tail", a turret capable of shooting a laser blast, destroying any vehicle with 1 shot, however has a low recharge time.

    The US however, relies on traditional armaments with their top tier weapon, 'The Mastadon' being an upgraded, dual turreted M1 Abram. A precursor to the Mammoth, the Mastadon wouldn't be as strong, but would still pack a hell of a punch. Nothing in this game would be overly 'techy' but would be previewing where the future lay.

    Towards the end of the game, "The Skorpion", the leader of the Russian side, would be de-masked, turning out, surprise to noone, to be Kaine. He drops the falsehood of being allied with Russia and announces that no longer will he be beholden to Russian idealogues and 'now is the time for the Brotherhood of Nod to claim what they are owed', as his 'brotherhood' turn their guns on russian troops and civilians, taking ownership of their weaponry. (Think HYDRA taking over SHIELD).

    Towards the end of the game, which would span 7 - 8 years, up until 1986, Tiberium would show up in meteor strikes. Both sides would battle in the last few missions for the right to claim the crashed meteors, til it was revealed Tiberium was spreading like a weed across the earth. The Americans announce a new faction needs to be established to combat NOD's threat, to control the Tiberium spread and to help pave a way for mankind into the future, so GDI is created for the countries of the world to contribute towards. It would be revealed in the final mission that plans were underway to harvest and control tiberium, with images shown of troops with Tiberium based weaponry such as chemical guns and tiberium powered tanks leading into the next game "Tiberium Dawn", which would be a remake of Command and Conquer 1.

    For the game itself:

    Made in an engine such as the Epic Engine.
    Classic resource harvesting gameplay, no checkpoint taking, just resource gathering, base building, then smash the other player.
    No unit cap.
    Random map events such as storms which can inhibit unit movement.
    Definitely online multiplayer, as well as team leaderboards.
    Steam Workshop integration to allow modding of the game, the more modding the better :)

    I've thought about this way too much....

    Just make it a proper RTS game, as it's always been!

    Is "skip it, and remaster Dune 2" an option?

      They called it Dune 2000.

        And even that came out 20 years ago... god, I'm getting old.

          I'm not getting old, I just hate people on my lawn more and more...

            Lucky you, I'm a mix of both... so no more hula-hooping for me.

    Original dawn of war tactical map + company of heroes RTS gameplay.

    Also liked how ordinance was deployed in world in conflict. Keep land/sea and air battles on RTS map but the big boys (ICBMs, dreadnoughts, flying aircraft carriers) tie it to the strategic map.

    Maybe throw in priority missions like xcom 2 to guide the narrative. Trying to win the war while simultaneously stopping the enemies from building a wonder weapon.

    Turning one of the first successful RTS franchises into a derivative turn-based mobile game just seems intellectually bankrupt to me. Whilst I like the idea of looking outside the box or modernising the franchise or whatever, I don't understand why there's this insistence on changing fundamental game mechanics just to follow current market trends. I mean, a turn based RTS spinoff? ... really?

      I understand why they're doing it - it's a money making machine if you get people hooked. Honestly, I think that's why companies love "deck building" games. Give away the game (or sell it cheap) then sell addon decks and sit back raking in the cash. Great from a business perspective, not so good for us :(

      From a gameplay perspective deck building wasn't terrible for physical games. It allowed elements of randomness, flexibility and as a result replayability. Plus of course it allowed for easy expansion (and money making). But when you're talking about electronic games I really don't see the appeal of trying to integrate deck building. It's like the devs are specifically making worse gameplay just to appeal to people who played physical deck building games.

    Just last Friday my friend and i where talking about how RTS needs to evolve.

    I feel C&C2 and RA2 where the best games in the series. While the 3's kinda wrecked it by adding a bunch of powers and worse RA3's where free. Kinda ruins all sorts of base building and tactics when you just have a bunch of powers that cause mass destruction.

    The first thing I want is better group AI, I don't want my scouts outrunning my tanks. Maybe some basic formations like heavies in the front long range in the back. Ruse does this all automatically which is nice. And let's automatically prioritise targets, I send some tanks into a base I don't want them shooting at the Harvester which is closest I want them to prioritise the things that shoot first. Anti Vehicle units should focus on combat vehicles and base defences, Anti Infantry should focus on infantry, Anti Air on Air Units, Structure damage on Structures. In C&C 3 the Obelisk of Light will focus Vehicles before infantry and not just choose the closest one.

    Some adjustable way pointing system so my Left flank will hold position until my Right flank is in position for my Pincer maneuver. C&C2/RA2 had something very close to this. Also you aren't forced to use it.

    Look at the remakes of Battlezone 1 & 2 (98 Redux and the Combat Commander) Let's just build first person mode directly into the engine so if you want you can jump into the role of a Tank or Commando and take control you can, but you can also zoom out and issue orders.

    So now how do we reboot the series? We ignore C&C4 for starters. Let's go back to the beginning let's make all 3 C&C games in one pack and call it C&C Eras. We take the best bits of the modern C&C like the ability to leave a space between buildings and put that into C&C 1. We can reuse the old FMV sequences for the retro feel we can rebuild and tweak the missions to be better but essentially with a few small improvements remake C&C 1 in a new engine. Next we move onto C&C 2 with the same improvements and tweaks and finally finish off with C&C3 with the ability to toggle off all the offensive abilities The problem is the expansion packs, are they included or are they DLC? With EA the whole thing would probably be parted out as DLC. As if EA would bother investing in a C&C game people want.

    I could probably go on forever, but I doubt anybody will even read all of this.

      I read it, my friend. I read it. :)

      (Actually, I didn't mind C&C4 so much. It was pretty close to classic, and the 'endgame' twist was a little weird but not entirely unwelcome. By that point it was starting to drag a little, though.)

      Honestly, you'd think EA would see Blizzard just straight up remaking Starcraft and realise they have 6 games in total they could do the same with. Release it all, including DLC, at $120 to $150 and people would eat it up, provided they showed us enough gameplay beforehand to know what we were getting.

    Unless you are talking reboot (and proper funds thrown at it), all I want is modern resolution and matchmaking support, textures, sprites and ui art upscaled, and remastered cutscenes (not remade so they aren't as blurry on an 4k screen).

    I wouldnt make a shitty pay to win mobile game thats for sure.

    Please remake Generals Zero Hour! That is my only wish.

    I'd buy graphical remasters of C&C 1, Red Alert 2 and C&C Generals...

    Don't touch the gameplay, just make that shit super pretty on current generation consoles and PCs.

    Get the guys at relic (company of heroes) to make it, I loved red alert and red alert 2 but they went down hill after that. But I love Company of Heroes!

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