Giant Bomb News97 Comments
The Details On Command & Conquer 4
by Jeff Gerstmann on
We get an up-close look at what could be Kane's final ride into the sunset.
When it was first announced that a team at EALA was developing Command & Conquer 4 for release on PC in 2010, it felt like too much, too soon. Since the 2007 release of Command & Conquer 3, that studio has produced two full RTS games, each with its own expansion pack. I suppose I had just gotten a little RTS'd out. That's why EALA's recent visit to our office with a playable version of Command & Conquer 4 turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. The structure of the game looks like a pretty serious departure from what series fans are used to, which could shake things up in a way that appeals to new players while still offering enough of what makes C&C tick to keep the existing players on-board.
The big thing that first struck me about watching C&C4 in action is that it looks like a quicker, more nimble game than its predecessors. This game isn't about building a big base, entrenching, and sending out waves of units to secure your expansion across the map. Heck, in C&C4, you don't even really build a base. Instead, you're working with the crawler, a mobile construction unit that can build all of your other units while rolling around the battlefield. The catch is that it can only store four units while moving. So you'll have to deploy the crawler to let your units out onto the map. This means you aren't building war factories and barracks to build your combat units. Your crawler handles all of that for you. On top of that, if the crawler gets destroyed, it'll respawn, letting you continue the battle.
So without building structures and teching-up in the traditional fashion, unit selection is now handled by a class type, selected when you spawn your crawler. The offense class gets the heaviest units. The defense class gets infantry units, but can also build defensive turrets, useful for guarding locations. The support class controls the skies with its aircraft and can also buff other units with special abilities. But you won't have immediate access to the game's most powerful units. You'll have to earn them.
Command & Conquer 4's experience system is persistent across every mode in the game, from the campaign to offline skirmish matches to online play. An on-screen experience bar lets you know how close you are to the next level, and gaining levels confers benefits in the form of additional units, support powers, and other abilities. There will be multiple ways to gain experience, including the elimination of enemy units, completing objectives, and so on. It sounds like the developers are still determining whether players will have one experience level overall or one level per class.
The multiplayer gameplay in C&C4 will allow for two teams of five to face off in objective-based matches. One such mode will place a number of control points around the map, giving defensive players something to guard while offensive players head out to conquer additional control points. This sounds like it'll really take advantage of the class-based systems in place. Additionally, you'll be able to change classes between spawns, but changing classes will destroy any units you may have on the battlefield to prevent players from simultaneously controlling units from different classes.
The mysterious thing about Command & Conquer 4 seems to be the number of playable factions, but maybe I'm just reading into this. EA is only committing to two factions--GDI and Nod, naturally--but executive producer Mike Glosecki, who came by to show us the game, said that they're only confirming the two main factions "at this time." Take that how you will, I'm probably making a big deal out of nothing... right? Either way, it left me wondering about whatever happened to the Scrin, the alien race that debuted in C&C3. As Command & Conquer 4 is being billed as the conclusion of the series' main story, we'll probably be able to see all of those loose ends tied up when the game is released in 2010.