Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was already replete with ludicrous units, pantomime drama and poster-girl commanders, but new expansion Uprising intends to take it all a step further. We exchanged a few volleys of interview fire with assistant producer Matt Ott to get an idea of what to expect from the PC-only expandalone.
Eurogamer: What can you tell us about the four new mini campaigns?
Matt Ott: The Uprising campaigns pick up where the Allies left off in Red Alert 3. The war is over, but the defeated Empire of the Rising Sun and Soviets are under Allied occupation, something they're none too happy about. While the Allies fight to contain a Japanese uprising, a small Soviet recon team uncovers a top secret research facility in Romania. Before you know it, the three world powers are at it again.
The first three mini-campaigns are done in the style of Red Alert 3 - one per faction. But we've thrown in a dozen new units and some really cool mission designs, so they definitely present a new Red Alert 3 experience. We've also added a few new locales like rural Japan and an eerie night-time Transylvania-style map in Romania.
We decided to take a very different approach with our fourth campaign, the story of Yuriko Omega. Yuriko is the Empire's commando unit, and this campaign takes you to the underground lab where she developed her psionic powers. Here, the player controls just Yuriko against an entire army, but she has a host of powers and upgrades that can be developed along the way. We brought the camera in close and locked it to Yuriko, and adjusted our controls so the missions play more like a dungeon crawler than an RTS. You can level up your character and gain new abilities and powers, so it's a cool hybrid that we think the fans will really appreciate.
Eurogamer: What sort of experience is the Commander's Challenge mode? How does it work?
Matt Ott: Late in the Red Alert 3 campaign, we introduced Future Tech, the company contracted by the Allies to develop new defence weapons and technology. In the Commander's Challenge, the player is contracted by Future Tech to engage the three world powers and steal their technology. You'll start with just the most basic, essential units at your disposal. Every challenge you complete unlocks new technology and one or more new challenges. Before long the world map is covered with unbeaten challenges, each one unlocking a new unit or super weapon.
The player can also choose which faction to bring to a particular challenge. Knowing what units are in your arsenal for each faction, and knowing what units you can soon unlock, makes plotting a course through the 50 challenges a core part of the experience. There is no difficulty setting for this mode, so it's important to know which challenges you can handle, and which ones you should put off until you have the right technology unlocked.
The challenges themselves are very quirky and unlike campaign or skirmish mode. We'll throw all sorts of hurdles your way, including perpetual satellite debris, a clone army of Yurikos, and giant Kodiak bears just to name a few. For the die-hard competitive players, we've also listed par times for each mission. These times were set by the best players we have on our team, and it'll take a true RTS veteran to beat them. In all, there are about 30 hours of gameplay in this mode!
Eurogamer: Why make a PC-only expansion? And why digital distribution?
Matt Ott: We chose to make a PC-only, digital distribution expansion because it was the fastest way to get Uprising into the hands of our community which has been asking for more stories and campaigns. We're passing those savings on, too