Articles & Editorials: The State of the Command & Conquer Franchise & Where to From Here

  • Date: 20/08/2015 | Author: Sonic

Since the cancellation of the most recent Command & Conquer game back in October 2013, the franchise has been in limbo. Command & Conquer fans have been left wondering if their favourite franchise has a future and will it ever be reborn. In the almost two years since the cancellation, we’ve heard nothing from EA. With that in mind I wanted to write this article to cover some of things that have popped up in the past year or so that people have suggested. Many of these topics are the questions, issues and statements made by you, the every day Command & Conquer fans. These appear on our own forums here at CNCNZ.com quite frequently, especially when we post some news about the status the franchise. Come on you know what stuff I’m taking about. Well you will if you keep reading.

When I see these “statements” pop up on our forums in news topics I refrain from addressing them due to a long self imposed policy. I don’t comment in news topics on our forums. When I share my opinion, I seem to always get attacked about it and it leads to arguments, I guess it’s due to the position I hold on the site. But thankfully I have another avenue to share thoughts of my own (and not those of CNCNZ.com as a whole). That’s what this article is about.

What is Happening with the Command & Conquer Franchise?

First things first, let’s just get up to speed on where we stand officially, from EA’s perspective, on the Command & Conquer franchise. Officially and publicly speaking, EA have told us that they are currently investigating the next steps for the franchise. They have also stated that production will resume under a new studio. That is all they have said to this date. And this was all statements made in October and November 2013. I guess it’s a really long investigation.

Packing up the Victory Games studio at EALA in November 2013

Packing up the Victory Games studio at EALA in November 2013

The Westwood archives cabinet

The Westwood archives cabinet

Now the next part. Over the years, I’ve always gotten news in my inbox that isn’t meant for sharing or I’ve simply deemed it non-newsworthy. This is just what I’ve heard from various sources, rumours and speculation in the past couple of years. It is believed that everything for the Command & Conquer franchise is currently under the watch of DICE Los Angeles, who work on the Battlefield franchise for EA. When everything was packed up after the closure of Victory Games at EA Los Angeles, it was apparently all shipped over to DICE LA. And that’s where it sits, probably in storage, to this day. Now this doesn’t mean the people there are the ones who will develop a Command & Conquer game any time soon. This is just saying where the franchise currently calls home. Like it used to be at Westwood Studios in Las Vegas, then at EALA in Los Angeles.

Looking Through a 3 Year Window

Now I’ve kept this one sitting around for while. One unconfirmed story that crossed my path in November 2013 was after the events surrounding the failure of Command & Conquer 2013 and the closure of Victory Games, a very high corporate source within EA stated that Command & Conquer would be “shelved” for about 3 years while its future is determined. And if and when it does come back there will be no community management person, like past community managers, Eric Krause (EA_CIRE) or Aaron Kaufman (APOC) before him, this is due to the wasted development money spent on the cancelled Command & Conquer 2013 project. So if this is true we are probably not going to see or hear anything until late 2016 or possibly 2017.

EA Should Sell the Command & Conquer IP

dev_eaThis subject comes up way to many times, and honestly speaking, it has become very annoying. It has popped up so much in recent years that it makes me roll my eyes and sometimes laugh. But mostly shake my head in disbelief. Many fans have suggested that EA should sell the Command & Conquer intellectual property (IP) to another developer, studio or publisher. In a perfect world, another developer could probably take over Command & Conquer and do great things with it, there is no denying that. And yes it would be exciting if it where to actually happen. But realistically it’s just never going happen. Unless EA fall victim to a financial crisis like the one that saw the downfall of THQ in January 2013. That resulted in many of THQ’s studios and franchises being snapped up by other publishers. Hey perhaps some of you are praying that happens. Now that could be considered cold and heartless if you actually think that and want it to happen.

Just stop and think to yourself for a minute. Has there ever been an example of a large publisher just giving up a popular franchise before? If there is, I don’t recall anything like that ever happening.

So here’s why the Command & Conquer intellectual property will remain in EA’s control. If there is any profit to be made from Command & Conquer in the future it will be EA’s profit. If you were in charge of a potentially profitable idea and you sold it off cheaply to one of your competitors, only to so see them benefit and profit from it, would you take that risk? Of course you wouldn’t. You have to do what’s best for business, and what is best for business is to sit on your assets. EA have every right to do this if they think will be more beneficial to them in the future.

Give Command & Conquer to Petroglyph

This is a similar one to when people say EA should sell the Command & Conquer IP. Rather than selling it they should just hand it over to Petroglyph Games. Their logic behind this is that since Petroglyph was founded by a core group from what was once Westwood Studios, they should just get it back. Because they are the original owners of Command & Conquer. Sounds utterly ridiculous doesn’t it. People also just assume that Petroglyph is Westwood under a new name. In reality, they are not, never have been and never will be Westwood. Yes, there are some key former Westwood names at Petroglyph but they are their own company who are forging their own path. And I mean no disrespect towards Petroglyph but in my opinion everything they have produced (in the RTS genre) hasn’t been that exciting or revolutionary. Only Empire at War was successful but that’s because it had the Star War name on it.

petro_logo

So just like selling the Command & Conquer IP, could you really see EA just gifting it to another company? I’ve come to the conclusion that people who constantly make this crazy statement are either delusional, or still living the past and thinking Westwood is coming back. It has been 12 years, let it go already. On the other hand, you have to admire the dedication of the anti EA hate brigade still chipping away for so long I guess.

Playing the Waiting Game

Now to finish things off here. For those fans who think there still a future for the franchise. The only thing we can all do is wait and see what EA have planned. It feels like the years 2003 to 2007 all over again, when we had a long period between new games. The only difference this time is that Command & Conquer doesn’t officially have a development team (that we know of) ready and waiting to step in. As we approach the 20th anniversary of Command & Conquer it would be nice to know, right now, that it has solid future and here’s hoping EA announce something sooner rather than later. But I feel there is some truth to the 3 year window I discussed earlier.

For now I suggest what is left of the Command & Conquer community get behind some of the fan made projects like Renegade X, C&C Online, CnCNet and OpenRA. These dedicated people are still keeping things alive and they have all used their own time and possibly money to ensure the Command & Conquer franchise lives on. They deserve your support. After all, there is more to the Command & Conquer franchise than just new games.

The future remains unknown and there is a long road ahead, the ball is in EA’s court and it’s up to them to make the next move.

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