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The Command & Conquer franchise is comprised of a variety of computer games released by the game developer Westwood Studios (1985 - 2003), which was purchased by Electronic Arts in 1998. In 2003, EA closed Westwood Studios, transferring staff to EA Pacific, eventually absorbing it into EA Los Angeles, where the remaining Command & Conquer titles were developed; some of the original Westwood developer team remained at EA Los Angeles, but most left to form Petroglyph Games. Command & Conquer games were originally all in one series, however, EA has expanded the Command & Conquer franchise into three series. These series' of games are officially the best selling real time strategy games, selling in excess of 35 million units.

The first installment of the series was released worldwide on August 31, 1995 and was simply named Command & Conquer. It was based on Westwood Studios' earlier strategy game Dune 2. The series was originally marketed to an Anglophone audience, though many of the games have been translated into other languages including German, French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. The series is primarily developed for personal computers running Microsoft Windows, although some titles have been ported to various video game consoles and the Apple Macintosh. Some later games of the series starting with Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars have also been developed in parallel for Xbox 360. Another spin-off game, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, was developed for Microsoft Windows and macOS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

In 1999, American game marketer and developer Electronic Arts purchased Westwood Studios. Westwood was eventually closed down in 2003 and absorbed into EA Los Angeles which has become the current development center for the ongoing Command and Conquer series.

Common gameplay elements

The Command & Conquer games belong to the real-time strategy genre, with the exception of the first person shooter Command & Conquer: Renegade. A staple of the series is the parallel campaigns of various different factions to one central storyline. Games in the series also offered multi-player game options, via LAN and modem connection. All games in the series have also offered online play.

All Command & Conquer real-time strategy games except Command & Conquer: Generals and its expansions have featured the "side bar" for navigation and control as opposed to many other similar games where the control bar is located on the bottom of the screen.

Command & Conquer gameplay typically requires the player to construct a base and acquire resources, in order to fund the ongoing production of various types of forces with which to assault and conquer the opponent's base. All available structures of the faction chosen by the player are constructed on-site at so-called "construction yard" - which typically begin as large-sized vehicles capable of deploying themselves into the aforementioned construction yards. When a construction yard has finished building a new structure, the player can select a spot near to a preexisting structure in order to place it, where the prefabricated building will then rapidly unfold in a distinctive manner.

In all games in the series except Command & Conquer: Generals and its expansion, Zero Hour, funds are acquired by specialized "harvester" units which bring their cargo (Tiberium for the Tiberian series of games or Ore or the more valuable gems for the Red Alert series) to a "refinery" structure. This in turn will convert the raw material into usable resources, expressed as credits. The raw materials themselves require storage space in the form of refineries and, in the case of excess, "storage silo" structures.

All factions have structures and units with similar functions at their disposal. However, they are adjusted to fit each faction's theme and have somewhat varying properties. Units can be classified into infantry, vehicles, and aircraft, each with their own subdivisions (note: in the Red Alert series there is also naval craft available). Unit effectiveness against opponents follows the rock-paper-scissors principle found in most real-time strategy games.

Virtually every type of structure in the series acts as a tech tree node, and additional units, structures and faction-specific abilities will become available as new structures are built and placed. Access to advanced units and abilities may be temporarily blocked if the required structures are destroyed or if they are not being provided with adequate power by the supporting "power plant" structures.

Multi-player

Each Command & Conquer game has included the ability to play multiplayer games against other humans. Each box of Command & Conquer contains two CD copies of the game, immediately making multiplayer gaming possible with a single purchase of the game. Westwood Studios advertised this on the packaging with the slogan "A second copy, so you and your friend can destroy each other." This resulted in Command & Conquer becoming the first RTS game title to feature competitive online play,[1]< and this is considered the most pertinent outside factor in the success of Command & Conquer.[2] All games in the series up to Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 also featured two CDs that could be used for this reason. However, later games did not.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was noted for being the first RTS game to enable the campaigns to be played cooperatively online; others had only supported single player campaigns. However, it was only possible to connect to other computers through EA's servers and not with LAN play.

Games produced by Westwood use the proprietary Westwood Online system to facilitate multiplayer games over the internet; Renegade also supported Gamespy. Games under EA's development continued to use Gamespy, but dropped support for Westwood Online in favor of using EA's own servers.

Evolution of the trademark

Cnc logoevo2

Command & Conquer logos (1995-2007)

Over the years, some Command & Conquer Games had more specific logos. The initial Command & Conquer DOS Logo was gray.

A golden version of the same logo was used on C&C '95, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and their expansions.

The Command & Conquer: Renegade logo uses the same gold logo, but embeds it in a background with metal texture.

The Command & Conquer long logo was developed for Command & Conquer: Generals with a completely different design; the words being placed horizontally, rather than the vertical alignment of the previous versions. The same logo was also used for its expansion pack, Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour.

The Command & Conquer 3 logo seems combine aspects of all previous logos. The font is in the Command & Conquer: Generals long-logo style, while the words are placed vertically like in the classic variant. Also, the "&" is replaced by a "+".

Game Compilation Packs

Command & Conquer: Worldwide Warfare

CC WorldWideWarfare box

In 1998, Westwood Studios released Command & Conquer: Worldwide Warfare, which contained both Command & Conquer and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, plus their expansion packs: Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations, Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Counterstrike, and Command & Conquer: Red Alert - The Aftermath.

Command & Conquer: Theater of War

CC theather of war box

On October 24, 2001 EA Games released Command & Conquer: Theater of War. This compilation pack contains Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.

The Command & Conquer Collection

CC colection box

On October 31, 2003 EA Games released The Command & Conquer Collection. This compilation contains Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and its expansion, Yuri's Revenge, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and it's expansion, Firestorm, and Command & Conquer: Renegade.

The Command & Conquer Saga

CNC saga

On October 30, 2007 EA released another compilation of Command & Conquer games titled The Command & Conquer Saga which includes all the games in Command & Conquer: The First Decade, plus Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.

Command & Conquer The First Decade

CC first Decade box
TFD-Poster-Side1

TFD poster Ion cannon

Command & Conquer: The First Decade was announced on November 4, 2005 and was released on February 7, 2006. The First Decade is a compilation of all Command & Conquer games on PC from Command & Conquer to Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour (Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor and Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Retaliation were excluded). The game had 2 DVDs, a 70-page manual that only includes unit descriptions for each of the included games, and an A3 poster with high-quality C&C renders on both sides of the Ion cannon and Predator tank from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. The old games have been updated to run on Windows XP but has several Bugs. The bugs were usually on some of the old Command & Conquer games.

TFD-Poster-Side2

TFD poster Predator tank

  • Internet and LAN play for the older games, including Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, as well as their expansion packs, were not provided.
  • In Command & Conquer, the game crashed if some units went to the top left corner of the screen. (This can be worked around by turning off advanced text services; this is a bug present in Windows XP and later)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert was not updated to the latest 3.03 version. EA has explained that 3.03 was only a beta patch, and for this reason it wasn't included in Command & Conquer: The First Decade, although it would possibly be implemented through future patches to the compilation.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the between-mission videos (which give a detailed explanation of what the player is expected to do) were not shown when playing the Soviet campaign (this has been fixed in a patch).
  • The soundtracks for the older games' expansion packs, Command & Conquer: Red Alert The Aftermath, Command & Conquer: Red Alert Counterstrike and Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations, were incomplete; this was fixed in a later patch.
  • The install path registry entries for Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Command & Conquer: Renegade had errors (this has been fixed in a patch).
  • The map editor for Command & Conquer: Red Alert failed to detect The First Decade disc as being a valid Red Alert disc, hence it couldn't be used. (This can be worked around if the user creates a shortcut on the desktop directed with the command line with a space after " and input -cdcovert)

Since The First Decade's release, EA has released two patches, namely 1.01 and 1.02. Because The First Decade did not come with an auto-update program, the patches must be manually downloaded and applied. The first DVD provided game content. While the second contains Five fan tributes and an interview with Louis Castle.

Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection

Origin-Box-Command-Conquer-The-Ultimate-Collection

On October 5, 2012 EA Games released Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection via Origin. This compilation contains Command & Conquer and its expansion The Covert Operations, Command & Conquer: Red Alert and its expansions Counterstrike & The Aftermath, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and its expansion Firestorm, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and its expansion pack Yuri's Revenge, Command & Conquer: Renegade, Command & Conquer: Generals and its expansion Zero Hour, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and its expansion Kane's Wrath, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and its expansion Uprising, and Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight

Development

Studio

The Command & Conquer franchise has been produced by three different studios to date:

Westwood Studios (1992–2002)
EA Pacific (a.k.a. Westwood Pacific) (2000–2003)
EA Los Angeles (2003—2010)
Victory Games (2011)
EA Phenomic

Music

Much of the music for the series was composed and produced by Westwood Studios' former sound director and video game music composer Frank Klepacki for the early games, with composition duties being taken on by several others following the liquidation of Westwood Studios in 2003. Klepacki returned to the series in 2008 however to assist with the soundtrack for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

The music has been received positively by critics, although praise was higher with earlier entries.

The original score for Command & Conquer: Red Alert was composed by Frank Klepacki and was voted the best video game soundtrack of 1996 by PC Gamer and Gameslice magazines.[3] Among his most famous songs from the series is the theme of Red Alert, titled "Hell March", which accents the style of the game with adrenalized riffs of electric guitar, the sounds of marching feet, and synthesizers to a dramatic chant. Originally intended to be the theme for the Brotherhood of Nod faction in the Covert Operations expansion to the original 1995 Command & Conquer game,[4] the track eventually ended up enlisting itself as a staple in the Red Alert series instead, and a second version of "Hell March" was specifically created for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.

After C&C came out we wasted no time kicking out Covert Ops. I wrote some more ambient style themes they asked me for, and then I began tinkering with this heavy metal song that I was trying to gear towards Nod for the next big C&C game. Brett Sperry came in my office and said "You got anything I can hear for the new C&C?" I played it for him. He said "What's the name of this one?" I said "Hell March." He said "That's the signature song for our next game."[5]
~ Frank Klepacki, Senior Composer

Reception and legacy

Aggregate review scores
As of August 8, 2009.
Game Game Rankings Metacritic
Command & Conquer 84%[6] 94%[7]
Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations 72%[8]
Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor 62%[8]
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun 80%[9]
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun - Firestorm 73%[10]
Command & Conquer: Renegade 75%[11] 75%[12]
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 85%[13] 85%[14]
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath 77%[15] 77%[16]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 91%[17] 90%[18]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Counterstrike 63%[19]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert - The Aftermath 70%[20]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 86%[21] 84%[22]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 - Yuri's Revenge 85%[23] 86%[24]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 81%[25] 82%[26]
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising 65%[27] 64%[28]
Command & Conquer: Generals 85%[29] 84%[30]
Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour 84%[31] 83%[32]

The Command & Conquer series has been a commercial success with over 30 million Command & Conquer games sold as of 2009.[33] Games in the series have nearly consistently scored highly on video game review aggregator websites Game Rankings and Metacritic, which collect data from numerous review websites. As noted in the table to the right, the highest rated game is Command & Conquer with a score of 94% from Metacritic. The highest rated game averaged over both sites is Command & Conquer: Red Alert with an average of just over 90%. As a series, Command & Conquer games have averaged approximately 80% when including expansion packs and approximately 84% without.

Command & Conquer's long history resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "Biggest Selling RTS Series", "Most Number of Platforms for an RTS", and "Longest Running Actor in Video Game Role" for Joe Kucan, who has played the part of Kane, the villainous mastermind of the series, for 15 years.

References

  1. Paul Mallinson (2002-05-31). Games that changed the world: Command & Conquer. CVG magazine. Retrieved on 2006-12-22
  2. Will Porter. Command & Conquer - Origins. Computerandvideogames staff. Retrieved on 2008-05-29
  3. Frank Klepacki. COMMENTARY: Behind the Red Alert Soundtrack. frankklepacki.com. Retrieved on 27 July 2006
  4. Frank Klepacki. COMMENTARY: Behind the C&C Soundtrack. frankklepacki.com. Retrieved on 27 July 2006
  5. Klepacki, Frank (July 27, 2009). Frank Klepacki: Behind the music of the first command & conquer. FaceBook.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  6. Command & Conquer. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  7. Command & Conquer. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  8. 8.0 8.1 Command & Conquer: The covert operations. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  9. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  10. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun Firestorm. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  11. Command & Conquer: Renegade. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  12. Command & Conquer: Renegade. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  13. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  14. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  15. Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  16. Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  17. Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  18. Command & Conquer. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  19. Command & Conquer: Red Alert Counterstrike. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  20. Command & Conquer: Red Alert The Aftermath. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  21. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  22. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  23. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 Yuri's Revenge. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  24. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 Yuri's Revenge. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  25. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  26. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  27. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Uprising. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  28. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Uprising. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  29. Command & Conquer: Generals. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  30. Command & Conquer: Generals. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  31. Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  32. Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-08
  33. Electronic Arts (2009-07-09). "EA Los Angeles Announces the Development of Command & Conquer 4". Press release. http://news.ea.com/portal/site/ea/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090709005352&newsLang=en. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
Notes

External Links


Official Websites

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