Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Ex-Westwood Studios devs quietly announced a spiritual successor to Command & Conquer: Renegade


You'd be forgiven for missing it, but ex-Westwood Studios developers quietly announced a spiritual successor to Command & Conquer: Renegade this month.

Petroglyph Games is the Los Angeles-based studio founded by the last group of ex-Westwood employees who left when EA shut what remained of the Command & Conquer developer down in 2003.

Petroglyph has released a number of real-time strategy games over the years, including Star Wars: Empire at War, Rise of Immortals, Grey Goo and, most recently, Conan Unconquered.

Right now, Petroglyph is working on a high-profile remaster of the original Command & Conquer games for EA. But alongside that it's working on another game that also riffs on nostalgia for Command & Conquer.

On 13th November, Petroglyph released a teaser trailer and Steam page for a game called Earthbreakers. It's a first-person shooter / RTS hybrid that revolves around a war over a purple-coloured resource called Vilothyte. There are tanks, soldiers and a vehicle dedicated to gathering Vilothyte called a harvester.

Then there's the construction element (we see a building unfold in classic RTS style, but from a first-person on-the-ground perspective). Run over to a terminal and you can access the store, which lets you buy infantry, vehicles, structures and upgrades.

According to Earthbreaker's Steam page, the game has two factions, each of which contains 12 FPS infantry classes, 11 structures, nine of which teams must coordinate to build, six driveable vehicles, targetable satellite superweapons and multiple maps that support up to 32 players per team.

Watch on YouTube

Remind you of anything? Earthbreakers sounds a lot like the multiplayer mode for Command & Conquer: Renegade, an FPS / RTS hybrid spin-off of the main Command & Conquer series developed by Westwood and released in 2002. Renegade's multiplayer mode divided players into two teams: GDI and Nod, with each team starting with their own base. Players could buy vehicles and character classes, with the goal of destroying the enemy base. It looked like this:

Watch on YouTube

Command & Conquer fans were quick to pick up on the similarities between Earthbreakers and Renegade. Even the Command & Conquer: Renegade Facebook page acknowledged the similarity.

All we have for now is a vague 2020 release date for Earthbreakers, and based on the teaser video there's still a lot of work to be done (I'm not sure the cel-shaded art style does the game any favours, and the first-person shooting looks ropey).

One to watch?