"I remember the day I picked up the newspaper after the War on Terror got underway, and saw the Global Defence Initiative labelled in the news," says Louis Castle, co-founder of Westwood Studios, the developer that created Command & Conquer. He laughs, leaning back on his chair in the EA LA meeting room where a handful of series vets have converged to look back over the landmark RTS series. "That was in 2003. So, it only took the real world eight years to get there."
Seven years since the release of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, the series that started it all is finally going to get the sequel that the fans have been waiting for. Tiberium Wars represents a return to the roots laid down in 1995 by the very first Command & Conquer. It marks a return to the Tiberian Series that predates both Red Alert and Generals, and is more fondly remembered than both. And that, really, is the main challenge that EA's Los Angeles studio has had to overcome (or conquer, if you like). How do you update such a seminal game, bringing it forward ten years into the future, without upsetting the delicate formula that made it so successful a decade ago?
When EA planned to show off Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars at the Le Meridien hotel in Piccadilly, Polonium 210 was just a rare and highly radioactive metalloid, chemically similar to tellurium and bismuth (thanks Wikipedia!). But by the time the game's executive producer, Mike Verdu arrived on a wearying whistlestop tour to demonstrate the game, Polonium 210 had become synonymous with stealth, secrecy, and, of course, lethal poison, thanks to the tragic assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, just a few doors down the road.