Microsoft has unveiled its latest round of backward-compatibility offerings on Xbox One, and there's a whole lot of real-time strategy courtesy of Command & Conquer.
After EA canned the Command & Conquer reboot and GameSpy shut its doors, the future looked bleak for the long-running real-time strategy series.
UPDATE: EA has released UK specific information for Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection.
EA has let slip that its Los Angeles studio is working on Command & Conquer 4.
A UK PR for the company Twittered: "New release: EA Los Angeles Announces The Development of Command & Conquer 4," before linking to a press release that hadn't been posted yet.
The mess has since been tidied out of sight, but Joystiq helpfully took a picture to preserve the blooper.
"Standalone expansion pack" isn't a very exciting phrase, but we're going to have to work with the tools we're given, and it's the most apt description for what Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath actually is. On the PC, this was a straightforward expansion pack for a popular real-time strategy game, sold cheaply and requiring the original game to be installed. On consoles, it arrives as a game in its own right - not full-price, thankfully, but a standalone game regardless.
This retreat from the expansion pack concept raises a few issues. For a start, there's the possibility of players who never picked up last year's C&C3 giving this a shot, only to face a truncated and disjointed campaign mode that makes absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn't played the original. We're not saying C&C's story makes sense in general, mind you, but at least the high-camp melodrama normally follows something like a conventional story arc. Kane's Wrath's campaign only lets you play one side, gives you a limited number of missions and spreads them around a 20-year time period spanning a pair of wars from previous games. The stuff of expansion packs, then, not of full games.
The second issue is simply one of value. This is a bit more expensive than its PC counterpart, not to mention a few months later, and as such it really needs to justify itself pretty well before anyone reaches for their wallet. If you're a fan of Command & Conquer, Kane's Wrath manages that - just about. Unfortunately, along the way it manages to crowbar in enough disappointment to ensure that even devoted fans will want to think hard before parting with their cash.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl has headbutted its way to the top of the UK all formats chart this week, thumping previous leader LEGO Indiana Jones down to three.
Real-time strategy developers always harp on about how their console controls are going to be the best. This time. Last time was a step in the right direction, you see. Etc. EA Los Angeles has some form here, and the claims it's making about Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath - out on 360 this past Friday - are all-too-familiar. Still, that doesn't mean they're not true either, so - ahead of our review next week - we spoke to executive producer Jim Vessella to get some more information how it works, the future of RTS on consoles (including Wii and PS3) and what's going on with Red Alert 3.
Electronic Arts has told us Command & Conquer 3 expansion Kane's Wrath will be out for Xbox 360 on 27th June in Europe.
By now, the wives of the assorted Command and Conquer head honchos have got to be getting a little suspicious. "So, who have you hired for that new job in the office?" they'll ask. "Oh, no-one special. Just the best candidate," says the commander. "Her references were impeccable." An eyebow twitches. He glances out the window. "Oooh, isn't the Tiberium lovely at this time of year." "Is she attractive?" "Well... if you like that kind of thing. Could do with a few square meals, of course." "She better not be another sex symbol, Mr Commander!" "Is that the time? I need to get to bed." "I'm going to Tank Rush all over your Tesla Coils, mister."
So, following on from C&C3's Tricia "Number 6 from Battlestar Galactica" Helfer and Jennifer "Lovely, lovely Cameron from House" Morrison, we have Natasha "The Only Reason Anyone Has Ever Watched Species" Henstridge pouting and ordering her way through the patented brand of Command & Conquer FMV cut-scenes. There's going to be stern words in the Kane household. Never mind dodging GDI; Kane's going to be dodging Mrs Kane's frying pan.
Anyway, there's much that's familiar with this expansion pack for last year's well-received Command & Conquer 3. What's interesting is that not all of it is - familiar, that is. The series has the rich-man's problem of being stuck in a straitjacket of expectations - people at once want something that hits the exact formula that popularised the RTS all those years ago, while still being fresh. While those without a popular history - like, say, last year's brilliant World in Conflict - can be experimental, C&C carries the weight of a lot of fanboys who even take Kane's preposterous overacting a lot more seriously than perhaps they should. (Hey - I love it for its high-camp charm. But, as far as fiction goes, C&C is as silly as any just about game series that begins with Einstein travelling through time to try and assassinate Hitler.)
Actor Joe Kucan who plays Kane in the Command & Conquer series has said games are not culturally influential yet.
Alias actor Carl Lumbly believes games are far more beneficial to children than many give them credit for.
Electronic Arts is planning to show off titles such as Spore, Dead Space and Boom Blox at this year's Sci-Fi London festival.
Electronic Arts has said that Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath will be out on 28th March, and each copy will come with an individual beta key for Red Alert 3.
It coincides with the publisher officially unveiling RA3, claiming it only "dipped its feet in the water" with Command & Conquer 3.
"Red Alert 3 is chocked full of innovations, but the big one is the co-op campaign," said executive producer Chris Corry in the latest BattleCast.
Producer David Silverman has said "the mother of all secrets" will be revealed for Command & Conquer 3 at the end of the month.
His promise was made on the BattleCast: PrimeTime Special Edition episode, where he got terribly excited by you lot battling each other on the Internet. Quite interesting to watch, actually.
"For several months, EA LA has been keeping the mother of all secrets, and in only a few weeks a major announcement will come," said Silverman excitedly.
EA has signed up more Hollywood talent to appear in Command & Conquer 3 expansion Kane's Wrath.
Electronic Arts has popped out the first details for Command & Conquer 3 expansion pack Kane's Wrath.
It will be available in spring 2008, and is based around the Brotherhood of Nod commander and the faction's rise to power - told through a series of video excerpts featuring original Kane actor Joe Kucan.
The biggest additions to gameplay will be a new global Risk-like strategy map, where you'll be able build up and customise your faction's army before jumping into individual battles and leading them to victory.
Epic units stomp ever closer.