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Command and Conquer returns with a remastered edition

Command and Conquer is back once more with a remastered edition available on Steam and Origin.

By Petrarch Mon 15 Jun, 2020 3:31 PM
Systems come and go, tastes change, genres rise and fall. But throughout the history of gaming, there are titles that become what we could call “Titans of Time” - those that become synonymous with their genres, remembered fondly and held in high regard both at release and many years later, their influence felt throughout the decades. Doom, GTA, Zelda and many more hold such a status. But for Real Time Strategy, there arrived a name that would dominate – Command & Conquer.

Let us first take a step back in time to the beginning of the story. Developed by Westwood Studios, Command & Conquer wasn’t the first of the then fledging RTS genre, nor was it the first effort by the studio, having previously released the well-received Dune II in December 1992, which laid the foundations for what would be seen in many games after it. Having seen the success of this release, the studio decided against continuing with Dune and instead focused on creating an original IP to tell their own story. Influenced by the political climate of the 1990’s, it was released in September 1995 and a hallmark of the series was the use of FMV scenes to drive the plot forward instead of just using only renders by the game engine. It marked the beginning of the Tiberian Series plotline and subsequently picked up the subtitle of Tiberian Dawn. It became the series that defined and popularised the genre.

Brent Sperry, a Westwood co-founder and executive producer was a huge influence on getting the series created alongside being one of those who developed the original concept of C&C. Other notable alumni include Frank Klepacki who composed the soundtrack and of course, Joseph Kucan, who was experimenting with FMV and not only found himself directing the cutscenes, but was also cast as the mysterious Kane. For fact fans, Kucan holds the Guinness World Record for “longest recurring actor in any video game franchise”.

It featured 2 factions. The first of these was the Global Defense Initiative, a multinational military force backed by the United Nations, and the Brotherhood of Nod, a shadowy quasi-terrorist/quasi-religious organisation lead by a man known only as Kane. Whereas the Nod army was presented as being stealthy but fragile, GDI was powerful but slow. The differences between the 2 controllable sides is one that still exists throughout RTS games today. The backdrop against this was focused on a newly discovered extra-terrestrial element called Tiberium. Seemingly beneficial as a rich mining resource, it was subsequently discovered to be harmful to human life and spread unchecked at an alarming rate. GDI was tasked in attempting to bring this under control, whereas Nod dreamed of using it to usher in a new era of humanity. Thus began the First Tiberium War.

Now it’s 2020 - 25 years, 3 sequels, 3 expansions and 1 sidequel in the Tiberian saga later and the name is still fondly remembered. Despite the age, it still stands a titan having cemented a place in history. So much so in fact that we now find ourselves with a remastered collection from franchise owners EA, courtesy of Petroglyph Games (which was founded by and contains many of the original Westwood developers) and Lemon Sky Studios. Containing Command & Conquer alongside the expansion pack The Covert Operations, it also comes bundled with C&C: Red Alert and the 2 packs released for it, Counterstrike and The Aftermath. And it’s a joy to play with.

The original engine, despite looking somewhat archaic today due to the limitations of PC’s back in the day, with limited and simple visuals, it has been given a new lick of paint, making the various units more distinct and easy to tell apart, alongside having a boost to 4K resolution. This expands to the FMV sequences which have been pulled into the modern age as best they can, however the rendered videos that play at the beginning and end of each mission fare quite badly in this department and don’t hold up anywhere near as well. If you fancy a trip down memory lane, the ability to switch back and forth between old and new is available too. The game has also seen some mechanical improvements to the UI and how production works, but it still comes with features that are seen today as relics of a bygone era, such as the inability for unit to attack while moving to a location. And I’d be remiss to not mention the sound. This too has been overhauled and sounds much sharper and cleaner, with the added bonus that Klepacki delivered a fully remastered version of the original soundtrack into the bargain.

For those of you interested in a bit more of the history, these new versions contain a bonus gallery that comprises several hours worth of B-Roll behind the scenes footage, unused scenes and the like, taken from the archives of Westwood.

Despite whatever quirks you may find in the game, whatever little annoyances you may feel from the mechanics, Command & Conquer stood tall and proud in 1995. Today, in the new clothes, it does the same again and feels like something that can stand on its own 2 feet against modern counterparts without having to tug at your nostalgia heartstrings to elicit a response. It’s a blast from the past – and a very pretty one at that.

You may have noticed that I mentioned Red Alert… but that’s a story for another day. Will it be one people want to hear? Time will tell. Sooner or later… time will tell.

Welcome back Commander.

Command & Conquer Remastered is available now on Steam and Origin.

For those of you curious, the launch trailer is available below.

What do you think of this article? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

Special thanks to Petrarch for submitting this article to the Federation News Service.

EDITED BY Infinity -
Mon 15 Jun, 2020 3:31 PM
Thank you to Petrarch for sending this article to us, fantastic work.
Mon 15 Jun, 2020 4:13 PM
Glad to be of service. I was only 15 years old when C&C first got released, I've many fond memories of plugging away at it for hours at a time.
Mon 15 Jun, 2020 4:16 PM
This must have been one of the first grown up computer games I ever played (By grown up I mean not Disney's Lion King).

I can remember my Dad and older brother playing it and 7/8 year old me wanting to give it a go. I don't think I ever got past the first few missions as I always wanted to play as Nod but couldn't win those levels where you had no base, a limited number of units and actually HAD to get through using strategy instead of just going for a war of attrition. It still cemented my love of RTS games and I think our family have owned every C&C game made since.

Would be nice to have a go now and see if I struggled just because of the limitations of my childhood thinking, or because I suck at the game...

Great article, Petrarch.
Mon 15 Jun, 2020 4:38 PM
Shocked Oooh man, I spent countless hours playing C&C Tiberium Sun! Would love to get back in for some more with this updated version. Thanks Petrarch!
Mon 15 Jun, 2020 4:54 PM
So many memories for me, so happy they're remastering the originals, the newer ones were meh for me.
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 9:41 AM
While I'm all for playing the good old classics again and showing it to a new generation of gamer, all this "remastering", "reimagining", "rebooting" and "sequel-ising" shows one thing very clear:

We've run out of original ideas.

Not only in the games industry but also movies, music ect.
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 12:21 PM
We've run out of original ideas.
That, or the companies putting in the funding aren't willing to risk going for new IP but would rather go for a safe bet on almost guaranteed levels of return.

In this case I'm happy that they went for a remaster.
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 4:58 PM
Thanks a lot for this article, Petrarch!

*listens to the Hell March*

I am still thinking... should I get it? Should I not? In the end I think that I'm going to do it.

I remember the originals... it was 1995, I was 15 years old and all the game-magazines wrote astonishing articles about a new game called "Command & Conquer". I showed the artiles to my dad and 20 minutes later we drove to the game store where I usually got me games from and bought it. Wow, what a great game! I've never been able to beat it, though. Shame on me...! So this would be the perfect opportunity to change that, wouldn't it?

One year later there was "Red Alert". Oh. My. Gosh! This was even better! Wasn't it cool to play the Soviets and colour the world in a deep red? Or, as an Allied commander, the secret missions with Tanya who was able to blow up buildings in no time - if she wasn't discovered by a dog.

Memories... okay, I think I have to take our my wallet and...

"Welcome back, Commander!"

Okay, bring 'em on! Cool
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 5:02 PM
This was one of my favorite series for many years. Love seeing it again.
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 6:17 PM
I forgot to include this link - if you go to Frank Klepacki's personal website, he has a soundtrack listing of all the stuff he's worked with - the entire original C&C soundtrack is there to listen to, as is every other game he worked on.

Frank Klepacki - Soundtracks

My personal favourites are Act On Instinct, Full Stop and Target, which is more commonly known as Mechanical Man.
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 6:41 PM
Great article. I really enjoy reading it Wink
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 7:05 PM
C&C was the very first Game I had for my PS1 at Christmas I was 10! and I remember playing it and the motion of the camera scrolling caused some vomiting but I still played it! haha I will be getting the remaster probably after pokemon's DLC Smile
Tue 16 Jun, 2020 9:59 PM
I still have the original disks... In any case I bought the remastered version and it is really well done, event though it is now an EA game, this was a true Westwood Studios masterpiece. The remastered graphics makes it really good to play again and there is map editing and multiplayer support. It surely brought new life to the games... I can only imagine that they'll do Tiberium Sun and Firestorm next which would be epic because that was my favorite. It had an awesome storyline and great cutscenes. Too bad C&C Renegade is considered a flop for its first FPS, but I actually played that a lot online and the game was "moddable" too.

Anyway, I recommend the remastered version of C&C/RA, it was really well done. Time to relive my youth and see Kane's rise to power!
Wed 17 Jun, 2020 12:09 AM
As I said waaaaaaay back then:
From: Thu 12 Mar, 2020 12:19 PM

"…what they really need to do is remaster Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge, Tiberian Sun and Firestorm, and Generals and Zero Hour. Those were my absolute favorites. I just wish I could run them on my Windows 10 machine."
But for $20 USD? I might have to give this a look after all. You know, once the addiction to my free copy of CIV6 wears off.