May 10, 2007 - C&C is an incredibly well-known series, no doubt about it, but the reality is that there are plenty of 360 owners out there who don't play PC games or RTS games. Now that C&C 3 has made its way onto console, we figured we'd chat to some of the guys involved with the game's development to find out what newcomers to the series can expect. Here's what the Senior Producer on the Xbox 360 version, Mike Glosecki, and the Executive Producer on C&C3, Mike Verdu, had to say.
IGN: Let's say I'm a console-only player and haven't had much - if any - experience with the RTS genre. What's C&C 3 all about?
Mike Glosecki: It's all about large armies of futuristic tanks, infantry and aircraft on the battlefield of the future. There are two sides; you have GDI, which is the Global Defence Initiative, which is kind of like what the UN would evolve to in the future, and you have the Brotherhood of Nod which is like a terrorist organisation and corporation, and they're fighting over this resource called Tiberium, which is the ultimate energy source, but it's also a disaster for the world because everything that Tiberium touches turns into more Tiberium. So you've got this really interesting war going on between GDI - trying to control the spread of Tiberium, and Nod - who see it as a salvation and actually think we should allow it to spread further to solve all our communities' problems.
So this is the traditional story behind Command & Conquer, and thrown into the mix for Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars is the Scrin, which is an alien race which has come down to Earth to invade, and which has its own motives which are revealed throughout the game.
The gist is you're fighting these large battles, building armies and bases, mining resources, and you're doing that against the computer in the single player campaign, or you're doing it online against friends. And it's a lot of fun - this game has been around a long time, and it's been very successful on PC, and we're just getting to the point where we're really doing them right on console.
IGN: Speaking of which, you guys brought Battle for Middle-Earth II (BFME II) to 360 last year. What lessons did you learn from that project that helped with C&C 3?
Mike Glosecki: Well, we wanted to do things that people say you can't. A lot of people said you'd never be able to do RTS properly on console, and I think we were able to prove last year that, yes, you can do it. So that was a big lesson for us, that you can make a set of controls that work with this style of product. We also learned a lot from our consumers - reading what was on the forums and looking at reader response cards, and doing focus tests, y'know, bringing guys into the room one at a time for a couple of hours to play the game, and we took a lot from that. Some of the key things we got out of that is we need to make the controls more responsive than BFME II, we need to make it easier to do advanced functions like creating groups, and we also needed to add in more multiplayer modes.
IGN: Can you give us a quick rundown of some of those multiplayer modes?
Mike Glosecki: In terms of BFME II, we brought over two of the modes that were really popular. Those two modes are King of the Hill, where you have one central point in the middle of the map, and whoever controls that point for the longest in the match is the winner. It's awesome, you've got four armies and you're all just battling it out in the middle of the map. Then we've got Capture and Hold, which is more like Battlefield, where you've got five points on the map and you're splitting your army into little groups to try and hold these points. At the same time your opponent, or opponents, are trying to do the same.
So those were modes we had in BFME II and they were really popular, so we brought those back, but we've also created two new modes for C&C 3 on top of that, which are called Siege and Capture the Flag. Capture the Flag is obviously something you'd be familiar with, where you go out to capture the flag and bring it home, but in our version only the infantry in your army can capture the flag, so you've got to kind of slowly shadow them back. And then we have Siege. Siege is the turtling mode… where we put an energy barrier between the armies, and the energy barrier lasts for the time limit that the players set, so during that time you're harvesting Tiberium, building out your base, you're building a bunch of different units, and at the end of the time limit the barrier comes down and you can go at it.
IGN: What else is new for Xbox 360 multiplayer?
Mike Glosecki: Well, we also have Vision Camera support.
IGN: So players can do their own hammy acting.
Mike Glosecki: (laughs) Yeah, as you play you can have own sci-fi video conference, right?
IGN: You should have filters…
Mike Glosecki: We do, we have scan lines on the vision cam. So you go into the lobby and you can see who you're playing against and you can get to talking about, 'well, let's play this way', and go through the options, then when you go into the game, in the upper corners of the screen you can see the Vision Cameras and look at your opponent when you're playing. I mean, you're not spending the whole game looking at the guy…
IGN: But when you absolutely nail their base, that's when you check out their expression right?
Mike Glosecki: Yeah, you look up and his face is all the way down in his lap.