Can Command and Conquer and Red Alert Remastered Bring New Life to a Classic Genre?
I can still remember my mouth hanging open in disbelief as I watched the announcement of Command and Conquer Rivals in 2018. To say that I was in the majority wouldn’t be an understatement, with the community slamming the decision by EA to take the popular and much anticipated series to mobile, especially after the woeful launch of the microtransaction-filled, Dungeon Keeper Mobile in 2014.
As an avid fan of the series, I remember the disappointment when Westwood Studios was officially closed down by Electronic Arts. The Command and Conquer franchise held a special place in my heart, and despite attempts by others to replicate similar effects in RTS titles, there has never been anything, in my opinion, quite as satisfying and entertaining as Red Alert.
This failure combined with the negative response garnered by Command and Conquer 4 (which still sits at Overwhelmingly Negative on Steam with 2,060 reviews) led many to believe that we were never going to see another entry into the popular franchise; however, with the recent popularity of remastered games showing that there is money in nostalgia and solidly established gameplay, EA have announced their aims to release a Command and Conquer and Red Alert Remastered collection with veteran studio, Petroglyph, leading us to ask the question: could this be enough to breathe life back into the stagnant RTS genre?
Initially released in 1995, Command and Conquer was often hailed as one of the fathers of the RTS genre, alongside Warcraft and Dune, having created many of the typical mechanics we now see in many of the titles that have followed. The release on consoles as well as PC helped to bring the genre to many gamers who were otherwise unaware of the series, and then, by splitting the franchise into the more serious Tiberium saga, and also the more tongue-in-cheek Red Alert series, Westwood Studios were able to cast a wide net, catching serious gamers with solid mechanics and story line, as well as fans of the camp and the eccentric with Red Alert’s hammy acting and over-the-top unit types (lines from the series are still often heard as text tones and messenger alert sounds).
My first experience of the series was with Red Alert on the PlayStation, after which I was hooked. I only recently revisited the old classics, and after much troubleshooting, have been playing my own personal favorite entry to the series, Red Alert 2: Yuri’s Revenge. In honesty, the game took a lot of work to get running on Windows 10, but it was during these searches for patches and fixes that I discovered a thriving and positive community, such as the members of C&C online and C&C Net, eager to mod and support the old titles.
The feelings felt by myself, as well as much of the gaming community, are mixed. A return to form would be a fantastic thing to witness, but at the same time, in the age of microtransactions, season passes, and loot boxes, are we about to see something different from the classic we all know and love?
The gaming community seems eager to return to these classics and now, with the success of Remasters such as Spyro and the fantastic Resident Evil 2 Remaster (Which still sits at an impressive 91 on Metacritic) breathing new life into their respective genres, are we about to see a resurgence of RTS games off of the back of Command and Conquer Remastered?
Personally speaking, as a long-time fan of the series, I can’t wait to get back into the fray and hope that it’s enough to get the message across that the RTS community is alive and well and can’t wait to see some new additions.