Here is a short Q&A with Mark Skaggs (general manager of EA Pacific) as he talks about Command & Conquer Generals, the next installment in Westwood's C&C series which is in 3D and is set 20 years in the future and finds the US and China fighting against a rogue state. While Command & Conquer Generals is slated for release in december 2002 (hopefully), Skaggs said the game still has a lot of work before it is complete, but the show made it quite evident that this game is definitely worth the wait.
1. What is the basic storyline for Generals?
We've reinvented the Command & Conquer franchise with Generals, with a brand new
storyline, units and tactics that have all been inspired by the technologies and
ideologies of today's tumultuous world.
Generals spans between present day and 20 years into the future, and offers up a
metaphor for todays version of global warfare. Three very different sides are
fighting for supremacy, the superpowers of the United States and China, along with an
underground political terror organization, the Global Liberation Army. Each employs very
different tactics in their war efforts. For example, the United States places a great deal
of importance on human life, and thus has a small, but very capable, ground force among
its weaponry. The Chinese, on the other hand, has a massive, swarming army that use their
numbers to their advantage. China also has an affinity for fire and uses it in much of its
weaponry. Finally, the Global Liberation Army relies on sneaky tactics and being hard to
find...thus hard to kill.
2. What are some of the new gameplay elements we havent seen before in the
I think the one of the most important, and certainly the most obvious, is the
transition to a 3D engine, which gives the player even more of an immersive experience and
also tense control over the battlefield. Aside from the beautiful graphics, the engine
allows us to add some really unique and innovative gameplay elements. One of the big new
features were adding to the C&C series is your choice of a powerful General.
Depending on the General you choose, youll use completely different tactics and
strategies to defeat your enemy. Weve added a large number of other game play
elements like upgrades, air-to-air combat, different resource collection methods and a new
way to build your base. The engine also allows us to add some really spectacular special
effects that will impact gameplay, including burning barricades, spectacular super weapon
effects, and fully destroyable buildings and landscapes.
3. How will the single player campaign play out?
We've designed a 27-mission single player campaign that will unfold in a seamless,
linear story, told in part by each of the three sides. The actual levels haven't been set
yet, so I hesitate to go into specifics, but expect to see some things youve never
seen in an RTS before.
4. Have you made any design changes to the basic RTS formula?
For C&C Generals, I think weve gone a step further in making improvements to
the basic RTS formula. We're having to find a balance though, because we want people to be
able to jump right into the game, but also at the same time, we realize that players
always want to be entertained in new and more innovative ways. One of the big changes
weve made is to move the interface from the side of the screen to the bottom. We did
this to open up the number of special abilities we could assign to each unit. Weve
also added a unique resource gathering mechanism to each side, and changed the way players
build bases. Add these elements to a whole new set of units and the ability to pick which
General you take into battle, and you can see the scope of change were introducing
with this game.
5. Will the game feature "hero" characters that continue through the
We actually have a combination of features that are a bit different from the standard
"hero" characters of other RTS games. We still have "hero" units in
the game similar to Tanya/Yuri/Boris in Red Alert 2 and Yuris revenge, but we also
have the "General" that you select before each mission. The General will be a
battlefield unit, but more importantly, he will provide you with specialized units,
upgrades, economic bonuses and unique abilities. With respect to either of these units
continuing through the campaign, weve got a lot of ideas in that area.
6. What are some of the units and structures we'll see in the game?
In designing the units, vehicles and structures in Generals, we've drawn inspiration
from what we see on a real-world battlefield now...and what we may see over the next 20
years. Were still finalizing the unit list, but there are a couple of stand out
units that we can talk about right now. One of the cool units for the US is a top-secret
Aurora Strike Fighter that moves at supersonic speeds to deliver bombs to enemy bases, as
well as drones that perform various functions on the battlefield. The Chinese have tank
called the "Dragon tank" that spreads waves of flame across the battlefield,
along with Hackers who cause havoc on an enemys infrastructure. Finally, the GLA is
more of a deadly rag-tag army that uses sneakiness as their strength. The GLA has the
ability to recruit an Angry Mob of protestors while using their tunnel networks to pop-up
just about anywhere on the map. After we nail down the final list of units and structures
for each side, well be able to give more details on each.
7. Where will the game take place?
We're still finalizing out all the locations, but players will fight on a variety of
battlefields across Asia and Europe. Battles will be fought on a variety of terrain, from
urban landscapes to mountainous deserts.
8. What are two or three features in the game are you most excited about?
Of the features weve already announced, I like the Generals and the way the three
sides are shaping up to be very different play experiences. experiences. However, there are some features and solo play experiences that I can’t talk about right now :)
I strongly recommend you to check this E3
Generals trailer at Multiplayer.it
(it's not the ingame video seen at Gamespot)
that gives you a general idea of what the the cutscenes will be like in C&C:Generals.
C&C Generals Features:
- Modern Military Warfare - Unleash your fury using modern and near-future military
weaponry on the bleeding-edge of technology. Wage real-time war in more ways than ever
before, with thrilling air-to-air duels, urban combat, and an enhanced veterancy model.
- Command Your General - Select from nine powerful Generals, each with special
strengths and a unique vehicle unit. Direct the NATO Tank General to smother the
opposition with raw power or let loose the Chinese Secret Police General to spot and
capture hidden enemies.
- Three Ways to Dominate - Command one of three unique armies inspired by
real-world ideologies: the high-tech US force, the swarming Chinese war machine, or the
resourceful Global Liberation Army.
- State-of-the-art 3D SAGE Engine - Experience Command & Conquer in
unprecedented detail as you battle it out in full 3D on urban cityscapes, rugged deserts
and frozen wastelands. Real-time strategy never looked so sharp!
- All-new Units and Tactics - Assemble your war machine with top-secret Aurora
Strike Fighters, massive Dragon Tanks, Angry Mobs, skilled Hackers and over 60 other
distinct units. Bring death from above with your sides exclusive super weapon - the
US Air Fuel Bomb, the Chinese Nuclear Missile, or the GLA Scud Storm.
- Multiplayer Mayhem - Wreak havoc online by going head-to-head in all-out global
domination with a multitude of other players.