Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Interview

Epic, five page marathon chat with EA producer on appeasing the hardcore, obligatory logins, dumping Gamespy, the joy of Halo Wars and where the RTS will go next.

By Adam Doree, February 18, 2010

Bringing it internally allows us to control it all the way and especially when we’re trying to tailor our performance that’s just one less factor we have to deal with. The main thing is that our backend and all of our networking is all internal to us right now, and it’s kind of a delicate dance – being able to control how the servers are managing the games makes it that much easier for us.

Elevation doesn't seem to play much of a role in combat.

Elevation doesn't seem to play much of a role in combat.

VGD: What’s the rationale behind obliging players to login to the server in order to load up the game?

Joshi: What that allows us to do is to have a persistent profile, so you play at your computer, you go to your friend’s house, you load up the game, you sign into your profile, and all your data’s right there. We’re storing everything on the server so that nothing’s stuck on any one terminal. This is especially good for gaming cafes. If you just want to go and play – you want to invest 20 or 30 minutes playing, then sign out, and go on your way, maybe hop into a friend’s place or internet cafe, you can just sign straight back into your profile. Everything that you’ve done – your single player, multiplayer, against the AI, that’s all stored online.

VGD: Do you think the advantages of mandatory logins will outweigh the disadvantages?

Joshi: We’re hoping so, because people don’t always react well to that, they want to do LAN play or play offline. And I understand that, but the benefit of having all your stuff up on the server – we’re hoping that appeals to people more than the perceived drawbacks.

VGD: Were you involved with the team which brought Command and Conquer 3 to Xbox 360?

Joshi: Yes, it was me and another subset of the team.

VGD: What did you learn from the experience of putting an RTS on a console?

Joshi: It’s a pretty broad question, but we started with Battle for MiddleEarth 2, and that was more of a direct “how do you get a PC RTS onto a console” question, how do you get all that functionality in there. We basically just tried to emulate as much as possible how the PC version worked, but in doing that it turned out pretty well and the reception was good, and we got a lot of people turned onto RTS that would never have played it otherwise, because a lot of people are solely console players.

But when we came to C&C3 we kind of wanted to get away from the linear build order where you had to use the D-pad to scroll through things, so we started developing the radial but it wasn’t quite there for shipping, so we stayed with that. We were able to refine some of the controls, little things like clicking the stick to jump back to your MCV… Little shortcuts on the D-pad, grouping and stuff. So we started learning how to utilise all the different controls on the controller, which is actually pretty robust, there’s a lot of unique things you can do with it.

A GDI base takes a pummelling.

A GDI base takes a pummelling.

And then finally when we went to Kane’s Wrath it finally gave you the radial interface, and that was really where RTS had to go on a console. Because we were actually able to – towards the tail end of C&C3 we had the radial outlined but we weren’t ready to implement, and you can actually build and control your forces faster on the PC, because you got quick through muscle memory. So that was some of the stuff that we learned how to refine.

RTS is all about micro-management, about being able to click all over the place and jump anywhere on the map – we were trying to figure out how to make that easier, porting over to the console, that’s what we kind of learned. And along the way learn areas that you could refine. And not take away user control, but limit it – maybe there are some areas where it’s not really even that important anymore, and see what people would miss and what not.

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8 Responses to “Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Interview”

  1. Kim Kaze says:

    …it’s an Obelisk of Light, not a tower of Nod :)
    My fellow players and i used to call them Nobelisks of Light, or just nobs for short.

    • Do you know, I was absolutely confident somebody would pick me up on that when I edited the screencaps for this puppy… :D Didn’t get into C&C till Red Alert, so I’m not really hip to NOD tech.

  2. Joe says:

    Im sorry to say this, but instead of making the game more complex, more interesting, more fun, using tactics in multiplayer and giving the average player a challenge, and playing a sandbox style gaming with freedom of choice.

    Your decision in making this type of gameply killed the C&C Franchise. Its like EA merged Dawn Of War into C&C.
    No building? No large armies? No Epic battles ? No Big maps, No Tiberium Harvesting. the average rating of this release is 1 in 35 reviews.

    Im sorry but this game is “A Game for Dummies”, and i regret spending money on this game.
    Even the Model Textures aren’t detailed.

  3. Jack says:

    Command and Conquer 4 is so limited, it sucks. Im not going to buy it.
    Red alert 3 also sucks.
    what are you guys thinking!

  4. Julian says:

    Why do we have to go online to play our games. I didnt like CC4 … Not even Red alert 3 and other games too.

    Why????? :(

  5. Terry Smith says:

    USED to be a fan of C & C. Last Game I liked was Kane’s Wrath. Red Alert 3 was OK. I am a big skirmisher. I like building bases and armies. Research into weapons and equipment important part of game. Being able to play on my laptop away from home real important, which means no internet connection. There is no good reason anyone can offer that having a net connection should be required. I installed this, went to start, found I had to create an account online, and took it off again. Never will I buy from EA again!

  6. Paul Eski says:

    I always was a fan of C&C. I standard bought EVERY sequal.
    After Generals I started to doubt, and NOW I am sure…after buying Tiberian Twilight….I am so frustrated about the darkness of the game, the bad gameplay , the utmost less graphics, the loss of the original gameplay, that I wil NOT buy ANY sequal again UNTIL its rated as very good again.

    My God EA how could you let a golden egg, slip through your fingers!

    Sad but reality!!

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