Command & Conquer is a long-running series of real-time strategy games created by Joseph Bostic and Brett W. Sperry and originally developed by the now-defunct Westwood Studios. Renowned for its genre-defining gameplay, FMV mission briefings and quirky settings, Command & Conquer is one of the most popular and critically-aclaimed strategy game series of all time.
Between 1995 and 2003, development was handled by series creators Westwood Studios. After the release of Command & Conquer: Renegade, a first-person shooter spin-off set during the events of the first game, Westwood Studios was closed by EA, and development moved to EA Los Angeles who went on to create Command & Conquer: Generals, Red Alert 3 and close out the original series with Command & Conquer 3 and Command & Conquer 4. Following Command & Conquer 4's lukewarm reception, EA once again shifted development to newly created studio Victory Games who are currently working on a free-to-play sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals. Originally known as Command & Conquer: Generals 2, the game is now known simply as Command & Conquer, although it is still set in the Generals universe.
8 games and 9 expansion packs have been released under the Command & Conquer name with one upcoming entry, Command & Conquer, in active development and due for release in 2013.
The Tiberian series documents the struggle between the Global Defense Initiative (GDI), a multi-national anti-terror organization which operates under the auspices of the UN, and The Brotherhood of Nod, an ancient and mysterious terrorist group led by the enigmatic Kane. Having been hinted at in previous installments, an alien faction, the Scrin, were added as a third playable faction in Command and Conquer 3.
Command & Conquer
The original game, referred to as Tiberian Dawn in the game's README, Command & Conquer was developed by Westwood Studios in 1995, and kicked off the legacy that would be known as the C&C franchise. The opening cinematic showed the fictional Grain Trade Centre in Vienna being bombed by the Brotherhood of Nod and their leader Kane. This game started the tradition of full motion videos that the series has now been known for. The reason for conflict between the UN funded GDI and the growing mysterious faction of Nod is a toxic and extraterrestrial substance known as Tiberium, which landed on Earth from a asteriod. This substance extracts surrounding nutrients and forms toxic crystals able to be harvest as minerals. However, Tiberium is quickly destroying Earth's natural habitats and ecosystems and spreading rapidly turning the Earth into a barren wastleland. The main focus for the GDI is to research a way to reverse the harmful Tiberium and stopping the influence of the Brotherhood of Nod. Nod on the other hand are embracing Tiberium as a God-given gift, researching Tiberium-based technologies. Their leader, Kane, proclaims his idea of turning the world into a Tiberium-based ecosystem. The GDI is created by the UN to counter Kane's ambition to start a new world order under this control. The GDI campaign ended with the destruction of the Temple of Nod and the supposed death of Kane. The GDI ending is considered canon, continued in the sequel. The Nod campaign ended with Nod gaining control of the GDI Ion Cannon and choosing a high-priority target to shoot.
One expansion pack and one spin-off followed the original C&C in Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations (1996) and Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor (1997), respectively. Covert Operations added 15 new (and very challenging) stand-alone singleplayer missions that could be played in any order and 10 new multiplayer maps. Covert Operations also set a precedent for easter eggs in the Command & Conquer series, whereby players could access a short secret campaign, complete with FMV intro movie staring Kane, with NOD fighting dinosaurs.
Sole Survivor was a multiplayer-only spinoff, which attempted to turn the original Command & Conquer into a Quake-style multiplayer action game. Players choose and controlled only a single unit from the original Command & Conquer, collected unit-enhancing powerups scattered randomly around the map, and competed against other players in deathmatch, capture the flag, or football game modes. Sole Survivor was not popular, leading to it being very quickly abandoned and forgotten by C&C fans and developers alike.
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is the sequel to the original game following the second war between the GDI and Nod thirty years after the end of the original game. Westwood Studios developed the game but was bought by EA during its development. However, it did not have any effect on the development of the game. The plot picks off after the GDI ending of the first game, with the world continuing to suffer the effects of Tiberium resulting in the degeneration of the globe and UN, and the Brotherhood of Nod splittering into small pockets hiding around the globe after the death of Kane. In the GDI campaign, their forces work with the Forgotten (humans exposed to Tiberium and mutated) to combat the resurrection of Nod. They must deal with a Scrin Starship stranded on Earth and the return of Kane. The GDI campaign is considered canon and continued in the following expansion and sequel. In the Nod campaign the player must reunite the scattered Nod forces and work with Kane to bring about the destruction of Philadelphia, the GDI orbiting station and the resulting new world order.
The Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm follows the events of the GDI campaign of Tiberian Sun. Unlike in the other campaigns of the Command & Conquer franchise, the two opposing campaigns are intertwined. By playing only one side, the player would not understand the story, missing key events unfolding in the other faction's campaign. Also unique to the franchise is the end mission, which is identical in both campagins. The plot sees the remaining Nod forces attempting to revive their forces by developing a highly advanced AI known as CABAL. However, the AI betrays Nod and forces GDI and Nod into a truce and alliance against this common foe.
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
The latest installment, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, takes place in the year of 2047, during the Third Tiberium War when the Brotherhood of Nod launches a worldwide offense against the Global Defense Initiative who have been lulled into a sense of security after 17 years of peace. This time, the odds are in favor with the second time re-emergent Brotherhood of Nod with the GDI reeling from the sudden offense. Although the conflict between the two factions had subsided substantially up to this point, the world continued to suffered under the effects of Tiberium, which had reached critical levels of infestation around the globe. The Brotherhood of Nod re-emerged by launching a nuclear missle into the GDI orbiting command centre, the GDSS Philadelphia, completely wiping out the GDI hierarchy with it. GDI retaliate by swiftly attacking Nod's forces around the globe, specifically in Egypt and Sarajevo. Temple Prime, the centre of the Brotherhood of Nod, comes under complete siege by GDI forces who are then ordered to use the Ion Cannon on it by the newly appointed director Redmond Boyle. By using the Ion Cannon on Temple Prime, GDI cause a liquid Tiberium bomb created by Kane underneath Temple Prime to explode, which has catastrophic results around the globe. This huge explosion of Tiberium attracts the attention of an alien faction: The Scrin. It seems that Kane had known about these visitors and had deliberately baited GDI to cause the explosion to bring about the invasion. As the Scrin swarm the entire Earth, GDI and Nod find themselves in a situation far more complex and dangerous than they had expected.
An expansion pack, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, was released on March 24, 2008 for the PC. Kane's Wrath featured only a Nod campaign, a first for the franchise. The campaign is split up into 3 Acts, spanning 13 missions occurring from the time of Tiberian Sun: Firestorm to the Command and Conquer 3 main game and beyond. The entire campaign is played from the perspective of the AI LEGION, a system created by Kane.
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
The last game in the Tiberium (Kane) arc, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight completes the saga that started the entire franchise. The game takes place in 2062, 15 years after the initial invasion of the Scrin. The game was released March 16th, 2010. After the previous war, Tiberium has evolved further and is threatening all life on the planet. In hopes of creating a "Tiberium Network Control", a program designed to control the spread of Tiberium, Kane the leader of the Brotherhood of Nod contacts the GDI and meets with them. However, extremists of both sides disagreed with this new coalition sparking the Fourth Tiberium War. The game follows Kane's quest for "ascension" using Threshold 19 intact after the previous war.
The game is notable for deviating from the traditional RTS style. Instead of resource-gathering, Tiberium Twilight puts the player in control of a walker, an all-purpose unit.
Red Alert Series
Taking place in multiple universes where time travel is the norm, the Allies and Soviet Union fight for world supremacy in several installments and are later joined by the Empire of the Rising Sun due to another altercation in the time continuum.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert
The first installment in the series, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, is the prequel to the original Command & Conquer taking place in a parallel universe cause by Albert Einstein. Starting in 1946, Albert Einstein activates his experimental Chronosphere sending himself decades before the start of World War II, meeting Adolf Hitler and eliminating him by shaking his hand. This cause the threat of Nazi Germany to cease but be replaced by the Red Menace: the Soviet Union. Without Germany in the way, Stalin leads the growing Soviet Union, invading Asia and Eastern Europe causing this new World War II. The free nations of the world join together to form the Alliance, starting a grim war against the Soviet Union. Over the course of the game, the Soviet Union and Allied forces fight over the European landmass in this alternate World War II. The Allied ending is considered canon but the Soviet ending is the one Westwood has linked to the Tiberium series, as Kane is visible in many of the Soviet cut-scenes. However, EA has put the kibosh on this and considers the two universes unique and not related to each other at all.
Red Alert was followed up with two expansion packs: Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Counterstrike and Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Aftermath. Counterstrike followed the blueprint of Westwood's previous expansion pack, Command & Conquer: Covert Operations, by including 15 more stand-alone singleplayer missions, playable in any order, as well as more multiplayer maps and a secret campaign fighting against an invasion of giant ants. Aftermath, then added even more stand-alone singleplayer missions and hundreds of more multiplayer maps, most developed by the game's community, in addition to a handful of new units for both the Allies and Soviets.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
The follow-up to the original Red Alert, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 picks up after the conclusion of the Allied campaign in the first game. Just like the first, Red Alert 2 contains two playable factions: the Allies and Soviets. With Stalin and the rest of the Soviet hierarchy dead, the Allies set up a puppet in the Kremlin: Alexander Romanov. However, the Premier rebuilds the Soviet army and invades the Eastern coast of the US, catching the Allies off guard. With the Red Army swarming the US, the Allies must push back the Soviets in America and in Western Europe.
An expansion, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge, was released on October 10, 2001. The story picks up after the Allied campaign ending, and re-introduces Yuri as an all-new third playable faction.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was released on October 28, 2008. This game not only features the traditional Soviet and Allies factions, but also a new one, the Empire of the Rising Sun, based on futuristic Japan. The Soviet Union, realizing it was losing the war, decides to go back in time using a time machine, and kill off Albert Einstein. Without his existence, the parallel universe results in the Allies' decline with the Soviets still going strong. However, this also spawns the new Empire of the Rising Sun, intent on world conquest.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising
A stand-alone expansion for Red Alert 3, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising takes place after the canon Allies victory, and features new units, four mini campaigns (one for each of the three factions and a fourth focused on the Rising Sun's hero unit, Yuriko Omega), as well as an extensive Commander's Challenge mode.
Unrelated to the fictional universes of the rest of the C&C franchise, the Generals series focuses on a global conflict in the near future in which the US, China, and fictional terrorist organization GLA (Global Liberation Army) duke it out for global supremacy. Lying somewhere between the self-seriousness of the Tiberian games and the total ridiculousness of the Red Alert series, Generals carved out its own humorous niche. It was the first C&C game to feature an experience system, whereby the player collects points over the course of a match that can be spent on special powers and upgrades. Generals is also the first 3D Command and Conquer game.
Command & Conquer: Generals
Command & Conquer: Generals was released in 2003 and depicts a near future war featuring allied China and USA against the terrorist organization Global Liberation Army (GLA).
Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour
Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour is the expansion for the original Command & Conquer: Generals, also released in 2003, and includes new campaign missions, multiplayer maps, specialized subfactions for each of the existing 3 factions, and a General's Challenge mode, in which the player faces each of the new subfactions as personified by an FMV actor who would taunt and react to the player while the player battled them.
Command & Conquer
Command & Conquer is a free-to-play sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals. It was originally announced as Command & Conquer: Generals 2 at the 2011 Spike TV Video Game Awards. In 2012, EA announced that the game had been renamed Command & Conquer, although it will still be set in the Generals universe.
Command & Conquer will be free-to-play, run on the Frostbite 2 engine, have three playable factions and is expected to launch sometime in 2013.