In a blog post on the official Command & Conquer website, it was announced that EA’s latest upcoming Free to Play title will be heading into beta early next year. Beyond this it was made known that it will also be the “longest running beta phase in franchise history”, this is most likely because the C&C franchise has produced RTS titles in the past that were vastly different.
In fact one of the main differences between this upcoming C&C title and previous entries into the franchise (Besides the switch to F2P, and the obvious lack of defined franchise abbreviation i.e. Tiberium, Red Alert and Generals), is the game’s focus. No one will argue that C&C titles in the past had -for the most part- strong multiplayer roots, however a large amount of time was invested into the single player campaign as well; something the latest entry into the franchise until recently was not even going to include.
Still, EA is quite aware of their community’s grumblings, and notably takes the time within the blog post to reassure the public that change doesn’t always result in an inferior sequel.
Global community manager EA_CIRE had this to say in regards to players outspoken disappointment:
“Making game relevant decisions isn’t that easy. Choosing one solution for a potential problem often affects so many other portions of the game – It’s just a big mess sometimes. The team here and I know that previous Command & Conquer titles had issues – some less, some more. C&C4 (yes, I just named it!) was especially far below the expectations and standards a lot of us had for C&C games. So we know how you guys feel – and I am talking a lot with our design team to discuss the game mechanics, features and meta-game of our new Command & Conquer in development.”
He goes on to say:
“Yes, the direction is new and many probably would say that this is not a “true” C&C, just as many did when the original Generals came out. For me, Command & Conquer isn’t just about Tiberium, Kane and the crazy Yuri. It’s been more about fun to play, engaging, and high quality RTS experiences. And that’s what we’re aiming to deliver, just in a different way.”
It is good to see a developer aiming to produce a F2P sequel attempting to rival its B2P predecessors, instead of simply adapting the formula for the F2P market. Still, with EA ultimately behind the helm, I can not in good conscious rule out the possibility of a timeless franchise marred by purchasable unit unlocks and underhanded Pay-2-Win practices. When it comes to a genre completely hinging on a delicate unit balance act, there simply is no place for any sort of real money unlocks that affect anything other than cosmetics.
Are any of you veteran C&C players looking forward to the franchise going F2P? Let us know.