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Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

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Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance is a standalone real-time strategy computer game expansion to Supreme Commander, and was released in November 2007, developed by Gas Powered Games and published by THQ, and the second title in the franchise. Because it is a standalone expansion, it is possible to play without owning Supreme Commander, although without a valid CD Key for Supreme Commander online play is limited to the new faction, the Seraphim.[2] Forged Alliance adds new gameplay features to the game, several new units for the three preexisting factions, and is further optimized for increased performance,[3] in response to issues with the original.

Gameplay

Gameplay in Forged Alliance is largely the same as in the original Supreme Commander. The player uses a giant bipedal mech called an Armored Command Unit (or ACU) to build an army with which they can conquer their opponents. Forged Alliance expands on the original gameplay mechanics, adding new units, modifying old ones, and introducing other improvements to the user interface.[4] The most notable addition to this expansion is the addition of a new faction, the Seraphim. In addition, the three original factions — the United Earth Federation, Cybran Nation, and Aeon Illuminate — also receive a number of new units. Other new content includes new maps. Several improvements to the controls and behind the scenes mechanics have been made as well. The interface has been revamped, as well as improved pathfinding and aircraft flight dynamics.[4]

The original Supreme Commander allowed the player to employ all four traditional battlespaces — air, information, land and sea. Forged Alliance adds the ability to construct orbital weaponry which the player can control. These satellites are impossible to harm directly, forcing opponents to find and destroy the control centers maintaining them.

Setting

The setting of Supreme Commander is a future in which humanity is able to travel through the galaxy quickly using a quantum tunnel, a portal opened in the fabric of space leading to a designated location potentially light-years away.[5] Tunneling let humankind establish many colonies, which were governed by a centralized Earth Empire. As the number of human worlds grew, however, its control eventually weakened, and the Empire collapsed. The Empire's remnants formed the United Earth Federation; an opposition group formed the Cybran Nation; and a group of religious fanatics formed the Aeon Illuminate. The three factions came into conflict, starting the Infinite War. One thousand years later, the events of Supreme Commander take place, ending the war.

Supreme Commander ending

All three endings for the Supreme Commander campaigns feature teaser endings after the credits as a reference to the (then unannounced) upcoming expansion. The Cybran ending shows QAI calling in unidentified enemies, and then to Dr. Brackman's horror, saying "They are coming". The Aeon ending simply depicts Princess Rhianne, the leader of the faction, opening her eyes in shock and exclaiming "No!". The UEF ending shows many unidentified radar signatures appearing near the location of Black Sun on Earth.

Plot

The game takes place shortly after the first game, which ended with the firing of the Black Sun, a powerful weapon capable of firing a beam through the Quantum Gates to destroy enemy planets. The Seraphim, a race long thought to have gone extinct, have exploited the firing of Black Sun to create a rift from the Quantum Realm they inhabit to our universe, on Earth. Once through the rift, they wreak a path of destruction through the civilized galaxy, leaving Earth and most of the core worlds of the UEF in ruins. With most of the UEF's key political and military leaders lost, including General Samantha Clarke, General Halsey and Brigadier General Fletcher leads the last of the UEF Military. QAI, the once-loyal Cybran supercomputer built by Dr. Brackman, has been compromised and is waging war on behalf of the Seraphim. It cripples the Cybran Nation's military, forcing Dr. Brackman and Dostya to retreat to the further reaches of space. The Aeon Illuminate are divided over the arrival of the murderous Seraphim from whom they once learned what seemed the peaceful Way; many take sides with the Seraphim as the Order of the Illuminate, and brand Princess Rhaine a traitor and heretic. Crusader Rhiza leads a handful of forces loyal to the Princess in a guerrilla-style campaign. Shortly afterward, the UEF and Cybran factions ally and form the Coalition against the Seraphim, with the Aeon Loyalists joining afterward despite Dr. Brackman's reservations.

Before battle commences in the first mission, the player must choose a faction to swear loyalty to. This can either be the UEF, Cybran Nation or Aeon Illuminate loyal to Princess Rhiane. The overall plot and outcome of the campaign remains the same, although certain commanders respond differently or reveals different information to the player during several places in the campaign.

The game begins with the protagonist defending the Coalition base on Griffin IV, the last major UEF base and last line of defense against the seemingly inexorable onslaught of the Seraphim. Illuminate forces are attacking the base and the player is being gated in to hold the line. After choosing his/her side and helping Fletcher hold back the attacking Seraphim and Illuminate, it is discovered that Princess Rhianne of the Aeon Illuminate, thought to have been killed by the Order, is alive, hiding in her palace. She is rescued by Coalition forces, and is able to organize many disenfranchised Aeon who are troubled by the actions of the Seraphim and the Order. It is also discovered that there is a traitor within the Coalition, who is leaking information to the Seraphim and the Order of the Illuminate. Both the UEF and Aeon focuses on reorganizing their forces while the Cybrans focus on uncovering the identity of the traitor. Cybran forces loyal to QAI are also encountered during several key battles.

During the fourth mission, the traitor is eventually revealed to be Hex5, formerly loyal to Dr. Brackman and Dostya, now serving QAI. Ambushing and destroying Dostya, the player is only given a narrow window from which to defend himself/herself against all odds before being recalled. Immediately afterward, the Coalition discovers that the rift from the Quantum Realm is unstable, and that the massive onslaught that has devastated their worlds and from which they are only beginning to push back is merely the first wave. The Seraphim are building a Quantum Arch on Earth to stabilize the rift; once its construction is completed, no one will be able to survive the armada of Seraphim that will flow through it. Thus, the Coalition plans to launch an all-out assault on Earth.

Dr. Brackman personally vows to destroy QAI, and therefore accompanies the Player after Hex-5 is destroyed in an experimental Megalith assault bot to destroy them both. Afterwards, they use a Seraphim portal to gate directly to Earth, where the final assault is being prepared. Aeon loyalists lead by Rhiza and UEF forces lead by Fletcher are quickly organising. However, as the player progresses to destroying the Arch, Fletcher suddenly succumbs to the UEF's former xenophobia, quickly regarding all Cybran and Aeon as enemies. Despite General Hall's attempt to defuse the situation, Fletcher rebels against Rhiza and the player, regardless of whether he or she is UEF, while announcing his plans to reactivate Black Sun. He is eventually stopped before the player proceeds to the Arch and successfully destroys it. Immediately afterward, Princess Rhianne enters the rift to the Quantum Realm and seals it from within, destroying the Seraphim’s only way of accessing our universe and saving humanity. By doing so, she sacrifices her life, but brings an end to the Seraphim War.

At the end of the campaign, QAI seems to reboot itself and begins the process of executing a primary directive. This directive, as well as QAI's condition and loyalty is unknown.

Development

On June 28, 2007, the first 5 screenshots were released on Gamespot's Q&A with lead designer Bradley Rebh.[6] On July 7, 2007, its first trailer was released, along with 8 screenshots from the trailer.[7] On July 11, 2007, Gamespot had another preview, revealing that there are 110 new units, including a new experimental unit for each existing faction.[3] On July 12, 2007, Gamershell released an HD version of the trailer;[8] an additional 5 screenshots were released on Gamespot,[9] IGN released 12 old & new screenshots.[10] On July 14, 2007, Gamespy's preview tells of the backstory & campaign.[11] On July 16, 2007, info on some of the 'old' factions' new units, including space warfare/orbital weaponry, were posted on GPGnet.[12] On August 18, 2007, Gamespot had a 'profile preview' in which characters & a timeline were revealed.[13]

Reception

The reception to Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance has been generally positive, on the same level as that for the original game. On November 7, 2007, Gamespot's review gave it a score of 8.5 out of 10.0.[14]

References

External links

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