Interview

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Interview (PC)

EA's Los Angeles C&C3 Community Event


DAY 1


EA LA Entrance

The summit attendees waiting for a green light to rush into EA's offices

I arrived in Los Angeles in the early afternoon. The airport was crowded, but I managed to make my way to a taxi and headed off to the hotel. We stayed at the fabulous Ritz Carleton, and shortly after arriving I met up with some of my fellow members of the gaming community.

I met community leaders such as John from CnC Files, Carlos from Project Perfect Mod, Hexetic from Planet CnC, and Mat from Big Time Tournaments. All in all, there was a rather large group there, with around 25 community members. It didn’t take long for me to catch on that almost EVERYONE there was from a Command & Conquer specific site, so I figured I was going to get wasted when we started multiplayer.

After spending some time with introductions and talking about video games, the folks from EA showed up and we were off to dinner. Dinner was a great time, filled with gaming discussion and tasty food.

The mysterious disappearance of Aaron “APOC” Kaufman was the talk of the night, along with questions about the new guy, Predator. Unfortunately, EA didn’t shed a lot of light on the whole situation.

As the night came to a close, we were given some hints as to what would be happening the next day. We we’re going to be able to play C&C 3 (both single player and multiplayer), and take a shot at interviewing some of the development team. Sounded like a lot of fun, so I headed to bed filled with excitement for the next day!!!


DAY 2


A batarang. One of the props from Dragon's presentation.

Dragon showing of a gun from C&C3 grunts

We got up early for a quick breakfast in the EA cafeteria – EAts. Leninade was the drink of choice for many of the attending gamers, and provided plenty of good laughs. As we finished eating, each of us was given a t-shirt associated with our faction of choice. Naturally, I love the bad guys, so I went with NOD. Kane rules!

Next we were off to the theater for our first presentation of the day, and a look at some Command & Conquer 3 details. For starters, we were introduced to Mike Verdu, who gave us a quick intro and answered a few questions. We were then shown an awesome trailer for the game, which got me really hyped. He told us a bit about the game’s story, characters, and the basic history of the new Alien faction. This was just a taste of what we’d be learning about over the next two days.

We were also shown a play through of one of the GDI missions. It was a fairly short mission, but it gave us all an idea of what we could expect. We were told that the missions in the campaign would range in length, but the majority would be on the shorter side.

Two gamers finally got a chance to play the game, as two community members were selected from the audience to play 1 vs. 1 on the big screen. I felt a bit bad for the two gamers that were playing, because they were under a lot of pressure from the audience. I’m really glad I wasn’t selected! Still, it was really great to be able to get a look at the multiplayer, and a lot of fun taunting the gamers as they played.

After the chance to watch some gameplay, we were given the chance to see some of the game’s FMVs. Combining talents such as Billy Dee Williams and Josh Holloway along with the game’s beautiful graphics, and the movies in C&C 3 are a pleasure to watch. The developers decided to go with live action rather than CGI in order to stick to the C&C tradition, but also to increase emotional appeal.

As the FMV session ended, we went on a brief tour of EA and had some time to meet some of the “behind the scenes” employees that do a lot of the work on the game. We were shown charts that display some of the unit ratings for the game and had some time to meet a few new people.

Considering C&C 3 has clips with real actors and not just CGI movies, there were a lot of props used in the game. Dragon from Renegade Effects group, the makers of the game’s props, paid our group a visit that I won’t soon forget! We were able to get our hands on a lot of C&C 3 props, including guns and armor. Dragon has done a lot of work in the movie prop business, so he had items from other films to show off as well.

The presentation by Dragon was amazing, but what everyone at the event was really looking forward to was a chance to play the game. As Dragon’s presentation came to an end, we got our first taste of hands on C&C 3 time. We started off with 1 vs. 1 play, with me facing Jeff from CnC Vision. I’m ashamed to say that I was slaughtered in our first game. Jeff built his forces up much faster than I did and adapted to the additions quite quickly. We started up a second game, but the game crashed on us. Our final battle was much more hard fought, but I managed to win it with a massive army of NOD Avatars.

I’ll be posting a separate article to give impressions of the game, but I want to mention that I was immediately impressed by the gameplay. The interface was friendly and easy to understand, and the graphics looked great. Playing C&C 3 brought back memories of playing the old Command & Conquer, so old school fans won’t be disappointed. Of course, there were some flaws with the balancing, so it’s really too early to make too many opinions on this one. It does seem to be coming along nicely, though.

After our play time we were given an opportunity to give feedback to EA about the game. Not surprisingly, everyone seemed impressed by the game. I think there were a lot of skeptical gamers there, but after only a few moments of playing C&C 3, many of our fears were relieved. There was some negative feedback and suggestions given, but overall we had a lot of positive things to say. The feedback session brought our day at EA to a close. We wrapped up the day with a game of laser tag, and headed to sleep very tired from a hard fought battle.


DAY 3


This is EA's LA break room

Dragon enjoying a good gun

The next day started off with another breakfast at EAts and more Lenninade. Mmmm!

One cool new feature to C&C 3 is the option to broadcast all of your matches and watch matches held by other players. You can even have a broadcaster announcing the whole match! We were given a very interesting presentation about “RTS as a Sport” that gave us some details on this new feature, which sounds really promising. The client that allows you to watch matches is absolutely free, so anyone can watch! And the broadcasters can even draw on the screen, much like in a sports game.

Next up we got a second shot with the gameplay, but this time against the AI. I played two matches, with the first being against the GDI on a medium difficulty and a defensive personality. I wasn’t impressed with these settings because the defensive personality didn’t seem at all defensive. I scored an easy win on this first one, but still had fun. My second game was against GDI on a medium difficulty and an optimal personality. This was a much more balanced game, and although I still managed a fairly easy victory, the opponent played with some intelligence. The difficulty level effects how tough the opponent will be and the personality should influence their playing style. I didn’t get a chance to move on to a higher level of difficulty, so I can’t comment on anything above medium. I heard several of the gamers there were totally massacred by the Brutal difficulty setting, but that’s to be expected.

With C&C 3 scheduled to hit both the PC and the Xbox 360, I was really curious to see how the 360 version would turn out. While the event was mostly focused on the PC version, we did spend a little bit of time watching a demo of the Xbox 360 version, which looked impressive. The console experience really brings gamers close to the gameplay, and considering C&C 3 will use a similar control scheme as the successful BFMEII, it looks like 360 owners will have another exciting RTS headed their way.

We’d all been having a blast playing C&C 3, but I think everyone there was eagerly awaiting our chance to play as the new Alien faction. Fortunately for us, this new faction was up next! We were able to play 1 vs. 1 as the new faction, which was a blast. I was unfortunately slaughtered in each of the game’s we played by a much more skilled player, but I still enjoyed exploring the units and structures of the new race. I found the Alien faction a bit of a mixed bag. While I was incredibly excited about the idea of a third faction, I ended up a bit disappointed because they still played fairly similar to the NOD and GDI. The Aliens also had some really cool designs and artwork, but at the same time much of the design seemed to be borrowed from other sources, such as Starcraft from Blizzard or the films Independence Day and War of the Worlds. Regardless, playing as the Aliens was fascinating, and I’m sure with a little more work they’ll be a perfect addition to the game.






Our gaming time was ended when it came time to give feedback. Again, nearly all of the feedback was positive, so rest assured this game has great things in store for all of us gamers. The majority of the complaints were similar to my issues with the Alien faction. It was really interesting to hear about everyone’s gameplay experience, since each one seemed so different.






We ended the night with some presentations by a few of our community attendees. They showed off mods, videos, and more! It was entertaining and funny… a great way to end a great event!

The presentations ended just in time for me to grab my things and jump on a taxi to the airport. My flight back was overnight, so I managed to get some sleep on the way home. As I dozed off, images of C&C 3 filled my head. I’d like to give thanks to EA for inviting Strategy Informer to the event! Be sure to look for our more in depth impressions on the actual gameplay.
 

http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/cc3eventreport/screenshots.html#latest



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