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Overview

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 tepid reception in 2010, EA once again shifted development to newly created studio, Victory Games, which began working on a free-to-play sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals. Originally known as Command & Conquer: Generals 2, the game was retitled to simply Command & Conquer, yet still set in the Generals universe. After feedback from players invited to play the alpha, the game was cancelled in 2013 and a statement was released saying, "Your feedback from the alpha trial is clear: We are not making the game you want to play." Victory Games was shuttered the same day. No other Command & Conquer games are known to have entered development since, and the franchise can be considered to have now gone dormant.

A total of 8 games and 9 expansion packs have been released under the Command & Conquer franchise name.

Tiberian Series

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 enigmatic and amorphous revolutionary group led by a charismatic man with no known past named Kane. Having been only obliquely hinted at in previous installments, the alien Scrin were introduced and added as a third playable faction in Command and Conquer 3.

Command & Conquer

The original Command & Conquer
The original Command & Conquer

The original game, whose full title from its README file is "Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn," was released by Westwood Studios in 1995 for MS-DOS.

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 crux of the conflict between GDI and Nod is the discovery of a toxic, yet powerful extraterrestrial subtance called Tiberium, which landed on Earth via an asteroid impact.

This alien substance extracts surrounding nutrients and forms toxic crystals rich in valuable metals. However, Tiberium is quickly destroying Earth's natural habitats and ecosystems and spreading rapidly, turning the Earth into a barren wastleland.

The primary goals of GDI are to research a way to reverse the harmful environmental effects of Tiberium and stop the global militant insurgency of the Brotherhood of Nod. Nod, on the other hand, see Tiberium as a supreme gift from God that will allow the oppressive and unfair global order to be overthrown and replaced with a new brotherhood of humanity that will be more equitable to all. Nod is aggressively researching Tiberium-based technologies, especially weapons, to fuel their war against GDI. Their leader, Kane, proclaims his vision of turning the world into a Tiberium-based ecosystem.

The GDI campaign ends with the destruction of the Temple of Nod and the apparent death of Kane. The GDI ending is considered canon, and is continued from in the sequel. The Nod campaign ends with Nod gaining control of GDI's ultimate weapon, the Ion Cannon, and choosing a high-priority target to obliterate, symbolizing their achieved dominance over GDI.

One expansion pack and one spin-off title 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 and 10 new multiplayer maps. Covert Operations also set a precedent for easter eggs in the Command & Conquer series. Players could access a short secret campaign, complete with FMV intro movie featuring Kane asking the player to investigate "strange reports" that he's received, which turn out to be rampaging dinosaurs.

Sole Survivor was a multiplayer-only spinoff, which attempted to turn the original Command & Conquer into a Quake-inspired multiplayer action game. Players choose and control only a single unit from the original Command & Conquer, collect unit-enhancing powerups scattered randomly around the map, and try to defeat all 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

It's Tiberian Sun, not Tiberium Sun
It's Tiberian Sun, not Tiberium 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 splintering 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.

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm is the only expansion pack for Tiberian Sun. It takes the events of the GDI campaign of Tiberian Sun as its canon story, and follows where it left off. Unlike in the other campaigns of the Command & Conquer franchise, the storylines of two opposing factions are not mutually exclusive. Although a player may play the campaigns in either order, their events mesh together to tell one cohesive story. Also unique in the franchise is that the final mission is identical in both campaigns. The plot sees defeated Nod remnants attempting to revive their forces by developing a highly advanced AI known as CABAL. However, the AI betrays Nod and forces GDI and Nod, forcing the two bitter enemies into into their first-ever alliance against a common foe.

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

The beginning of Kane's box art dominance
The beginning of Kane's box art dominance

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, takes place in the year of 2047, during the Third Tiberium War, which is ignited when the Brotherhood of Nod launches a worldwide offensive against the Global Defense Initiative who have been lulled into complacency after 17 years of peace since the last war. GDI's attention had turned to the rapid encroachment of poisonous Tiberium on population centers across the planet. Nod exploits the societal divisions produced by Tiberium's spread to mount a devastating surprise attack that sends GDI reeling. Nod launches a nuclear missle into the GDI orbiting command centre, the GDSS Philadelphia, cleanly decapitating the GDI hierarchy with one blow. GDI struggle to retaliate by swiftly attacking Nod's forces anywhere they can find them across the globe, especially 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 trigger a liquid Tiberium bomb created by Kane underneath Temple Prime to explode, which has catastrophic results around the globe. This huge explosion of Tiberium catches the attention of an alien faction, the Scrin, who are deeply familiar with Tiberium. Kane knew of the Scrin and intended to draw them to Earth using a global Tiberium bomb, which could only be detonated with the extreme energy output of GDI's Ion Cannon, which he successfully baited GDI into using exactly as he wanted. 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 single faction campaign following Nod, a first for the franchise. The campaign is split up into 3 Acts, spanning a total of 13 missions from the time of Tiberian Sun: Firestorm through 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 Tiberian saga
The last game in the Tiberian saga

The last game in the Tiberium 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 on March 16th, 2010. After the previous war, Tiberium has evolved further and is threatening all remaining life on the planet. In hopes of creating a "Tiberium Network Control," a program designed to control the spread of Tiberium, Kane directs a meeting between the Brotherhood of Nod and GDI to pursue mutual interests. However, extremists on both sides disagree with this new coalition, provoking the Fourth Tiberium War. The game follows Kane's quest for "ascension" using Threshold 19, still intact after the previous war.

The game is notable for radically deviating from the traditional RTS-style gameplay of all previous C&C games. Instead of the traditional resource gathering or base building of all prior C&C games, Tiberian Twilight puts the player in control of a walker, an all-purpose unit, and gives the player effectively unlimited resources with which to churn out units. Strict population caps limit the size of armies and almost all units must be unlocked through a game-wide progression system that is shared between campaign, skirmish, and multiplayer.

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 alternate realities of World War II and subsequent conflicts. Later installments in the series see the a fictionalize version of Imperial Japan in the form of the Empire of the Rising Sun jump into the fray due to repeated meddling in the time continuum.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Red Alert!
Red Alert!

The first installment in the series, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, was originally positioned as a pseudo prequel to the original Command & Conquer, but later allowed to stand apart as its own distinct universe. Starting in 1946, Albert Einstein uses his experimental Chronosphere (machine that manipulates spacetime) to send himself back decades before the start of World War II. He meets an unassuming Adolf Hitler and vaporizes him by creating a time paradox by shaking his hand.

This successfully preemptively eliminates the threat of Nazi Germany, but in its place rises the great Red Menace: the Soviet Union. Without Germany in the way, Stalin leads the growing Soviet Union, invading Asia and Eastern Europe, causing an alternate World War II. The free nations of the world join together to form the Allies, and try to push back Soviet encroachment.

The Allied ending is considered canon. The Soviet campaign and ending hinted that Kane, from the Tiberian universe, was surreptitiously manipulating the Soviets in the war to suit his own ends. This was the only evidence suggesting a shared universe between the Red Alert series and the Command & Conquer series. However, EA has since put the kibosh on this and officially declared the two universes unique and not related to each other at all. No other evidence of crossover between the two universes has appeared in any subsequent games.

Red Alert was followed up with two expansion packs: Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Counterstrike and Command & Conquer: Red Alert: The 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 short secret campaign fighting against an invasion of giant ants. Aftermath then added even more stand-alone singleplayer missions, ahandful of new units for both Allies and Soviets, and hundreds of more multiplayer maps, most developed by the game's community.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
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 secretly rebuilds the Soviet army and launches an enormous surprise invasion of 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 promotes Yuri, who was a Soviet hero unit in Red Alert 2, to head of his own all-new third playable faction. This was the first C&C game to feature more than 2 playable factions.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
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 hybrid of futuristic and Imperialistic Japan. The Soviet Union, realizing it was losing the war, decides to go back in time using a time machine to kill off Albert Einstein who was key to the Allies' technological supremacy. The newly resulting parallel universe has the Allies in decline with the Soviets still going strong. The Soviets at first believe their plan was a total success, when suddenly the Empire of the Rising Sun emerges on the global stage to embark on a campaign for world domination, beginning an new three-way war.

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 and difficult Commander's Challenge mode.

Generals

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 sci-fi self-seriousness of the Tiberian games and the totally ridiculous alternate history of the Red Alert series, Generals carved out its own humorous niche as a kind of exaggerated parody of the current real world. It was the first C&C game to feature an experience system, whereby the players collect points over the course of a match that can be spent on special powers and upgrades that persist for that match only. Generals is also the first full 3D Command and Conquer game, as previous ones used either sprites or voxels.

Command & Conquer: Generals

C&C Generals
C&C 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 was a free-to-play sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals being made by Victory Games. 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. It was planned to be free-to-play, run on the Frostbite 2 engine, have three playable factions, and focus on multiplayer with no singleplayer campaigns. Originally scheduled to launch in 2013, the game was cancelled on Oct 29, 2013, after receiving overwhelmingly negative feedback from players of the closed alpha. The statement that announced the cancellation said, "Your feedback from the alpha trial is clear: We are not making the game you want to play." The development studio, Victory Games, was shut down the same day.

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