BioWare story invades Command & Conquer

Q&A: Label head Ray Muzyka, executive producer Jon Van Caneghem discuss staying true to C&C with Generals 2.

At the Spike TV Video Game Awards tonight, BioWare followed through with its weeks-long tease of a new project in development, announcing Command & Conquer: Generals 2. In development at the rebranded BioWare Victory, the PC-exclusive strategy title posits a world in which all of civilization's leaders and diplomats have been assassinated by terrorists, leaving only military heads to rule.

Expect Generals 2 to stay true to Command & Conquer's roots.

To find out what BioWare Victory has in store, GameSpot spoke with EA BioWare label head Dr. Ray Muzyka and Generals 2 executive producer Jon Van Caneghem.

GameSpot: Unlike other games in the series, the original Generals had little story to speak of. BioWare is known for its attention to story. Will story be a significant part of Generals 2, and if so, will it be as over-the-top as other C&C games?

Ray Muzyka: One of the things we're most excited about in adding strategy to our portfolio is finding a way to incorporate BioWare's vision of genuine emotional engagement and quality, including the attention to story and narrative, in a way that is fresh, new, and additive to the genre. I think story has always played an important role in the C&C franchise, more overtly in the Tiberium and Red Alert universes with the FMV cutscenes than in Generals, which takes place in a more modern, serious setting. We are definitely keeping to that tone in Generals 2, delivering over-the-top action, but also incorporating a more intense, gritty story. The key is that we’re thinking about story as an additive element, rather than something that replaces what fans loved in the original Generals game.

GS: Fans are still smarting over Command & Conquer 4 and its perceived missteps. What would you say to anyone concerned that Generals 2 might stray too far from what made its predecessor so good?

Jon Van Caneghem: Generals 2 is a return to the roots of core C&C gameplay, balancing fast-paced action with strategic decision-making. The best C&C games are known for being accessible but also challenging to master, and we are embracing that at the heart of the game design. Most importantly, we've heard the fans and we're bringing back the elements of C&C they love--bases, resources, and giant armies.

GS: This is the first strategy game using the Frostbite engine. What does the technology allow you to do that you might not have been able to do with another engine?

JVC: Frostbite 2 is an amazing, cutting-edge piece of technology which allows us to produce a level of detail in the units and environments and destruction on a scale that really hasn't been done in the genre before. We can make incredibly visceral experiences thanks to the robust physics and particle systems in Frostbite 2. Additionally, the engine allows us to create high-detail cinematics that are all in-game, which will keep the level of immersion we want to achieve with Generals.

GS: Fans expect over-the-top explosions and attitude in a C&C game. How will you build on the explosiveness and craziness of past installments?

JVC: I think fans of C&C and Generals will be happy to know that we are fully embracing the tone, attitude, and style of the first Generals in Generals 2. At the same time, there's plenty of room to spice up the action and intensity and to personalize the storytelling through better character development.

GS: How much concern was there about making this game exclusively for the PC? Are we finally satisfied that these types of strategy games don't work well (or maybe just don't sell well) on consoles?

JVC: There have been a lot of great strides made over the past few years in terms of creating an audience for strategy games on the consoles. But for this project, our goal is to really bring C&C back to its roots. We want to really reestablish the franchise as one of the key players in the strategy genre, and the best way for us to do that is on PC.

That said, there are certainly interesting new developments in interface across a number of platforms, and we're always interested in exploring new ways to surprise and delight our fans.

GS: BioWare has been branching out from its traditional RPG niche to MMORPGs, Facebook games, and now the strategy genre with Generals. Is there a trade-off you have to make in losing some of the specific brand identity in order to expand your offerings like this?

RM: We have always viewed the BioWare brand as one that isn't tied to a specific genre, but rather to our core vision, which is to deliver powerful, immersive experiences that engage our players emotionally. This can be achieved in many genres, whether they be RPGs, MMOs, social games, strategy, play-for-free "light" MMOs or RPGs, and more. How we do that definitely will vary from genre to genre, game to game, and from team to team, but that's a key part of the value we strive to deliver to our fans in every game from BioWare, regardless of genre.

GS: The studio was originally announced as Victory Games back in February. Why rebrand it as a BioWare studio at this point?

RM: When BioWare became its own label within EA, one of the biggest opportunities we had was to carefully consider ways to expand our portfolio. We (and I) have always been huge fans of the strategy genre--I met with Jon and his team and found we shared a lot of the same core values and commitment to quality. I am thrilled to have Jon and his team on board in the BioWare label.

JVC: For our team, joining BioWare has been a tremendous opportunity for us to join a studio we've long admired. I've always respected the studio's commitment to quality and dedication to their fans. We are all excited to be part of the BioWare family.

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291 comments
greyzhaze
greyzhaze

(...continued from last entry)So I am appealing to the developers to be focused. Leave the tween games to Nintendo and give the PC market a real bash with a great no-holds barred RTS in the C&C Generals universe with substantial maturity in development. This will give the tweens a chance to mature a little through it maybe? I dont know, thats up to you lot. I just want a good RTS for crying out loud. SupCom FA is still great, but we need a new RTS to play and LAN with.

greyzhaze
greyzhaze

Regarding the PC irrelevance sub topic here. I have a confession. I own a console(PS3) and a PC(Stop throwing bricked consoles at me grim0187). Let me add my 2 cents and say that both are great. While the PC is relevant, the most flexible and my favourite of the two. The PS3/console exclusive titles such as GT5, God of War, Brutal Legend and many more in my collection are great titles which I enjoy personally and why I own a console(Personal preferences here lads). Console "Wars" or "bashing" will never end, because every year there are a million more 12 year olds. I was one too back when magazines were filled with fan art of Sonic and Mario beating the S%&* out each other. I was a Sega fan through and through and lent a hand in the war against the plumber(doesnt mean I didnt enjoy the games, was just fun poking a stick at the fans of the Red&Green side). Before I sound to old, what I basically have to say is that the gaming arena is split in to children and adults(6 foot kids, because thats what we are at heart), and these sites and the magazines cater for both, where both ends of the age group mix. The only time you see both ends of the age group intertacting like this in the real world is in... for example a park... where the children are listening(I hope) to the parents/adults. (continued to next entry....)

enjoystick
enjoystick

"staying true to C&C with Generals 2" anyone notice something wrong with this? :D

paswin555
paswin555

NOT ENOUGH TO COMPETE BLIZZARD'S STARCRAFT 2 SERIES. IT'S JUST LIKE AS AN AMERICAN PLAN TO ATTACK IRAN.

danyjr
danyjr

I loved C&C Generals. Frankly GLA was the most exciting faction I've ever played in an RTS, along with SCII's Protoss.

Assimilat0r
Assimilat0r

Fools arguing about RTS of next decade , prolly after Dune 2 and Red Alert 95, RTS of century.

grim0187
grim0187

@med12 Read my comments. I know very much what Im talking about. I already stated my thoughts as to why its irrelevant and becoming even more so every console generation.

jollybest1
jollybest1

@grim0187 first i wanted to insult you but I did read the next post......PC gaming is for the ones that afforded more and like it , take it as a hoby that isn't that expensive as many think ...A 10 year old boy would prefer a psp or a console to a PC because it doesn't need much tweaking and I don't know but they learn to use a controler faster than the mouse (don't know why don't care), others prefer consoles to the pc because they prefer their pc to be clean and use it for work and play on a console even if they have money. But nevertheless if your hobby is gaming or collecting games PC is far better than any console on the market, and PC isn't dieing and it is more relevant than you think , well why would Square (not including Eidos) or Capcom started to release console games on PC ever asked yourself that question? Or why would EA release BFBC2 on PC to if BFBC was only on console, every RE game was released on the pc , even the next MGS will be released on the PC ;) they confirmed that and the next RE game .....Games like MK are better suited for consoles but I did like MK3..........The best multiplayer experience is on a PC ........well a console has its merits a PC has its own

klitfelt
klitfelt

@Alexanderone Then go play Suprem commander and p... off.

ahpuck
ahpuck

@AuronAXE I completely agree with you, but I still like Bioware games, well, most of them anyways. Yeah, they no longer make hardcore RPGs, but they are still entertaining.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

@Volgin Mass Effect's decisions hardly impacted the story. ME2 hardly brought in any of the decisions you made in the first game and it went more of an action route. You know what was good in Mass Effect? Noveria's garage pass. You had 5 different ways to get it. Did what way you used impact the story? No, but it made up for the lack of that feature. I play Deus Ex, I play Skyrim, I even play JRPG's, yes. An RPG should have a bigger emphasis on RPG then anything. Is that not the point of it? It's not an action game with random conversation, its a role-playing game. In Deus Ex your options completely change who lives, how the game ends, etc. Dragon Age was good, especially Orzammar in general. Then the second one went hurr durr action and love xD Bioware makes fake RPG's. And then they call ME3 an RPG and when we ask for what they mean by RPG they provide us with "better leveling system, item tracking, etc". Those were RPG elements ten years ago, not today, where we can not only do that but have MEANINGFUL CHOICES thanks to technology. Look, I just don't like the new Bioware. I played Baldurs Gate, I played KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect 2, I've played all their games, and I'm done. I'm a RPG guy and Bioware doesn't do a good enough job fulfilling that now because they want to apply to the CoD fans.

nitroRCman
nitroRCman

I wish this was also coming out for PS3 :( I stopped PC gaming years ago, but releases like this make me want to play them again

thebeasle
thebeasle

Seriously "Bioware" behind a CnC RTS ??? I liked Generals1 but I'm not getting my hopes up for this. Looks like EA is destroying the Bioware name faster than they destroyed Maxis and Westwood.

med12
med12

@grim0187 care to enlighten us with why the PC isn't irrelevant as you claim or you are just one of those little kids or ignorant people that don't know what they're talking about?

tonyhawksP8
tonyhawksP8

Why is there Orcas in Generals? I thought this was meant to be a modern day type conflict between PLA, GLA, America and Europe with some futuristic lasers and railguns. Anyways so happy they finally announced after much time of rumours and speculations. Just please Bioware don't wreck the only decent CnC series left.

grim0187
grim0187

@dxBIGBOSSxb Once again, the same person can refresh the page and thumbs me down multiple times. It means nothing. Lets look at your post. Blah blah blah, insult here, "troll" word there, blah blah blah "i dont care about your opinion" blah blah blah, more insults, blah blah blah, cant reason with you. And on and on and on. But you listed....1 game. 1. You did however list 4 Xbox exclusive series. But thats not what you said nor what I asked. You said you can name a dozen. Im waiting to see that dozen. :)

grim0187
grim0187

@Kastigador While Im not saying your wrong in saying that PC gaming doesnt make money. Im sure it does. WoW is testament to that. BUT compared to consoles? No. Consoles FAR outsell PC's and PC games, which is why console gaming gets more R&D time put into it. Just because they develope games on a PC doesnt mean they prefer to game on the PC. Its not a gaming rig their developing games on. Its software specifically designed for building games. They USE console dev kits though. Consoles are growing very fast and the gap between what a console can do and what a PC can do is shrinking. As more research is put into it, more will come out of it while PC will just be relegated to basement dwelling outcasts with a hard on for RTS and MMORPGS.

csward
csward

YAY!! Bring back the Red Alert goodness with modern pathing, balance, and AI. Instant hit.

bkohary
bkohary

I preferred CnC Generals (along with Zero hour which really opened up the variety) over anything else. I didn't miss the story in previous CnC games. I might have put Red Alert 2 first with it's land/sea/air variety, but I was put off by the Yuri faction.

opinions2
opinions2

After C&C 4 I thought the whole franchise was dead. Glad to see it is only the Tiberium universe that got put down. Maybe they'll have more luck with Red Alert 4 if they go for that route later on...

docampo
docampo

I would be so glad to see THQ make a Modern day Company of Heroes... C&C was destroyed by EA..

T-_-K
T-_-K

"we’ve heard the fans and we’re bringing back the elements of C&C they love--bases, resources, and giant armies" Apparently they got hearing problems, if you really listen to your fans listen to this: we DON'T want those crappy movies like in previous CnCs and we DON'T want the crappy sci-fi units, also Generals didn't need a story to be epic!

killa32130
killa32130

@greyzhaze This isn't being made by EA LA so i think your safe :p

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@grim0187 Pretty much every time I see one of your comments on this site, it is thumbs downed to the point someone has to click on your post to read it. You're just a troll. Also, I never said the exclusives were well known by any means, and they don't have to be. P.C's take up a good share of the market, and like it or not, that is how most good franchises have started out in the past. I don't have to list crap to you because by my knowledge of your activity your purely a console fanboy, troll. "TROLL" being the word there. Honestly I don't give a s*** about your opinion (Because I hear people like you bash the P.C all the time on Youtube), but if you really want to look up SOME of the exclusives I would suggest checking out Attila16 on Youtube. He posts TONS of P.C exclusives gameplay, although most of them are RTS', with a good amount of shooters. I'm sure you wont care enough to do so, but whatever, there's no point reasoning with you. "Successful troll was successful" is all I have to say. Enjoy your dated Xbox, and 4 noteworthy exclusives: Halo, Fable, Gears, and Forza.

rosen22
rosen22

i love how people dislike a well formed argument but don't post back. Let other people do your thinking for you. GG

Kastigador
Kastigador

@grim0187 PC gaming is absolutely still very relevant. A number of solid franchises are still PC first, but RPG, RTS, and Strategy in particular are a perfect fit for being native PC releases. Even by the numbers PC gaming brings in some serious money... The Sims is far and away the most profitable franchise in gaming history and it's almost exclusively PC. Throw subscription based gameplay in the mix, and now you're really talking some serious cash. Sure, you're average 12 year old will have a hard time convincing his parents to drop $800 on a gaming rig and so he ends up settling for a $200 360 instead that gets the job done just fine... but that doesn't mean PC gaming is irrelevant. Quite the contrary. Frankly, PC gaming will never become irrelevant for the simple reason that developers actually develop console games(PS3, 360) on a PC and, by default, those guys are the platform's biggest fans. It's also generally more profitable(no licensing fees) and has much more flexibility in terms of graphics, controls, and distribution platform. Consoles are definitely popular for good reason(affordable, user friendly, standardized), but the PC isn't going anywhere. I'm sure you resent PC gamer elitists as much as the next guy, but really, saying PC gaming does not have "relevancy" is a bit ridiculous.

fearless_alive
fearless_alive

Generals was on of the best spin-offs of C&C. I know many will disagree but you can't change the fact that even though it didn't really have a story to tell just gave you objectives to do it was still a hell of fun to do it. Second of all the multiplayer mode was really addictive. I couldn't stop until i mastered at least one of the Generals. Eventually i learned to play with all of them sort of but still it was really fun to play. Still playing it from time to time. Plus they are using the Frostbite 2 engine which is awesome. Just hope it turns out.. well a loooot better than NFS: The Run... And BioWare is on the project. If they keep up the quality for what they are known for and not the bling bling style of the last C&C game it will be awesome. JUST KEEP THE FORMULA from the original.

grim0187
grim0187

@dxBIGBOSSxb A dozen is 12. List 12 PC exclusives that ARNT Diablo or WoW that are awsome games THAT PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF. Released in the last 5 years. BTW I could give a crap less about thumbs up or down. The majority of morons think PC still has relevancy.

Oggy1985
Oggy1985

After C&C3 and C&C4 epic fail fiasco i don't believe EA can pull this one right. Especially when it's going to screw real RTS titles with adaptations to console market needs.

M-S-M-S
M-S-M-S

2013??? That's a long way to go. So, this is EA's game... no chance to see this on Steam... I won't ever buy a game in Origin out of principle. I'll buy it on D2D, Gamersgate, GOG, but not on Origin, so EA will loose a share of the profit. Why? Because they lied about the reason the don't sell games on Steam. They lied about how invasive is Origin. The made us PC gamers have a terrible experience with BF3 - not that the game was bad, but the fact it it was lanuch throug a browser + the need to restart to change servers was a joke.

sisty
sisty

what country will take place of iraq ?

gamerns
gamerns

Release date? Roughly?

wcwj26
wcwj26

Here's an idea. Why don't they bundle a usb keyboard with ever copy of the Xbox and PS3 versions. Then we can all bloody play it!!! Simple

wcwj26
wcwj26

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FatmanAB
FatmanAB

2013 ........ THIS PROVES THAT 2012 CRAP IS A LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE

FatmanAB
FatmanAB

They FINALLY Realizes that people PLAY Generals more than Any other C&C Games (incl.Red Alert)

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

That was a good question and I don't think Ray Muzyka really addressed it sufficiently or perhaps was comfortable addressing it which is a pity. For me BioWare as a brand is loosing focus. Sure way back they made Shattered Steel and MDK 2 but since Baldur's Gate 2 BioWare has meant RPGs. RPGs occasionally of differing shapes and sizes (Sonic: Chronicles for example) but RPGs none the less. Even The Old Republic is a very major change of direction. As BioWare expands to be a more cover all label it will become something a bit too broad to really be a fan of in the way they have previously had a dedicated following. I'm not saying that overall this is a bad move but though Ray refuses to acknowledge it there is a trade off in the direction they are going.

DBROWN9
DBROWN9

This is going to be amazing. Generals was one of my favourite C&C games. The last 2 C&C games were awful after Westwood lost the development franchise. But on the Frostbite engine this is going to be fantastic!

klitfelt
klitfelt

I get bad vibes when they say: "Players are going to command giant armies. Please dont turn it into some sort of Supreme Commander.

itchyflop
itchyflop

wow !! looks awesome!! everyone's using the frostbite engine !!!

greyzhaze
greyzhaze

This worries me... Generals and Generals Zero Hour are my favourite CnC titles that haven't been destroyed, and there is a trend that brings on the concern.

42316
42316

I've been waiting for a strategy game built of a staunch engine forever!! Frostbite 2 will be 2 tears old by the time CnCG2 comes out butit should stiff look fantastic!! too keen I

farukcorreia
farukcorreia

Real Time Strategy/Tactics games have dropped dead since the release of Red Alert 3. I miss World in Conflict, the best ever RTS/T.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@Tripwolf You just didn't compare Starcraft with C&C saga... which has been here for a while already...