As strong as my distaste is for C&C Rivals, the mobile spin-off might have done the best thing possible. In a small announcement, EA revealed that they’ve been investigating ways to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Command & Conquer, including remasters.
The announcement, curiously, wasn’t made on an EA-owned site. It was a post on OpenRA and the C&C subreddit, the community-developed open source project to modernise EA’s classic RTS titles, ranging from the Dune games to Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 1 and 2.
Jim Vessella, a producer at EA who worked on Red Alert 3 and C&C 3, wrote that EA has been considering “some exciting ideas” on how to remaster the franchise. “[We] already have the ball rolling on our first effort to celebrate the upcoming 25th Year Anniversary,” Vessella wrote.
Importantly, Vessella added in a forum post that EA has no desire to interfere with the OpenRA community. “Our hope is we can team up together to share insights, best practices, and further grow the C&C community through this initiative,” he wrote.
So, the question remains: what game is EA remastering first, and what should they concentrate on?
The 25th anniversary of C&C won’t land until September 26, 2020 — if you want to be precise with the international release, anyway. There’s a not-insignificant amount of work that would be required between now and then.
The FMV would need to be remastered, as well as the soundtracks. All of the sprites used for the buildings and units would need a rework, and the maps would have to be sharpened up as well. The original games don’t support widescreen out of the box, and while the OpenRA community has done a good job in retrofitting a lot of that support, it makes sense why EA might want to take some best practices from the community.
And most importantly of all:
Red Alert 2 will probably be the most popular game to remaster out of the bunch, although EA also have another reality to face: many of the old C&C games were relatively unbalanced from a multiplayer standpoint. RA2 was easily the most popular, however, although Tiberian Sun and the original Generals are also strong candidates.
But I can also imagine a bundle-type scenario where Red Alert and C&C get bundled into their respective universes, so you get multiple RTS games for your purchase instead of just the one.
Either way: C&C proper is coming back. It probably won’t revive the RTS genre one bit, but it’ll be nice to see those cheesy FMVs in a slightly crisper resolution once more.