Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Multiplayer Hands-On

We played Tiberian Twilight's multiplayer campaign with a five-versus-five match and chatted to the game's producer.

Command & Conquer fans will finally learn the truth behind the Brotherhood of Nod and its mysterious leader, Kane, when the epic conclusion to the Tiberium saga wraps up in Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. In addition to glorious new visuals and gameplay that focuses more on combat than resource gathering, the game has introduced three different classes with a focus on offense, defence, or teammate support. We were delighted to finally get the chance to play Tiberian Twilight's multiplayer mode at an EA preview event and spoke to the team responsible for bringing this saga to its final conclusion.

In addition to single-player and cooperative modes, Tiberian Twilight features a promising multiplayer mode. We played the five-on-five Domination mode and found it to be highly addictive, competitive, and rewarding--nothing less than what we'd expect from the EA LA team. The goal in Domination is to reach a preset number of points before the other team by capturing and controlling five structures called Tiberium Control Network nodes. After seeing Domination up close, it seems like it will be one of the standout modes in the game. Producer Raj Joshi revealed the idea behind Domination to us: "We now have this mobile crawler, which is your mobile base. You can kill your opponent's crawler, getting a big boon of points, but it doesn't end the game. It's objective based, so you're capturing these control points across the map. We're really trying to push people to use different classes and work together. So if you're playing with friends or just other people you find online, or even artificial intelligence, we're trying to make you play with the three different classes, get a balance of your strategy that way, and then go after the control points rather than just decimating your enemy's base."

Tiberian Twilight's three classes each have their own unique units, structures, powers, and upgrades. "Do I want to be the offensive class? Do I want big tanks, heavy walkers…be on the frontlines, bring my crawler up to the frontlines and support everyone?" asked Joshi. "Do I want to be defensive and hang back a little bit, build some defensive structures, [which give] the people who like to build up their bases a chance to build some structures for themselves? Or do I want to be support? Heavily aircraft-based, supporting your other players on the field and have buff and debuff systems that support classes can actually use?" While there are some common units shared among the classes, we discovered each one plays differently from the next and almost feels like its own separate faction.

We jumped into a match to run the GDI offensive class through its paces, and, true to Joshi's word, it was brimming with heavy firepower that could stand toe-to-toe with the best of NOD's forces. There's a healthy mixture of light, medium, and heavy vehicles, and each is successful against other specific sizes. Units with a machine gun, such as the medium-sized Wolf tank, are perfect for mowing down infantry, while heavier vehicles, such as the Titan MK II, are ideal against bigger units. If you fancy obliterating enemies from above or using light aircraft to rush to a teammate's aid on the other side of the map, then you're going to love this class. Longtime fans will be pleased to see the Orca make its return. This small aircraft is perfect for taking out weaker units with its light rockets, and it is one of the fastest vehicles we've seen to date. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Hammerhead: slow, heavily armoured, and bristling with rocket launchers. One particularly interesting support vehicle worth mentioning is the ground-based Conductor tank. Rather than featuring conventional weapons, the Conductor has the ability to detonate an electromagnetic pulse to immobilise nearby enemies. It can also be upgraded with an electrolysis weapon that creates a static field to cause damage. It's this combination of units that should make Tiberian Twilight easy to learn, hard to master, and mind-blowingly enjoyable along the way.

Switching among classes during a match is easy, and while you're penalised with a cooldown period, you can keep your existing units while building units from a new class. Joshi explained how this works: "With your crawlers…you may have deployed as an offensive class. But say you're in a situation and you think that your defensive class would actually be stronger in that situation. [You can] kill off your crawler, redeploy as one of the other classes, and then come back in and play as that one. You keep your original units and your command points, and some of your upgrades that were counting toward your original crawler now can count toward your new class crawler."

Domination mode felt fresh and enjoyable, and trying to secure as many control points as possible meant that we were frequently bombarded by NOD units trying to do likewise. While formulating a strategy and communicating to teammates is desirable, it's easy to see who controls which points with the colour-coded map. We generally found ourselves rushing in to capture free nodes, helping out friendly forces under attack, and moving forward to new areas once we had enough firepower. With the unit cap shared among five players, it won't take you long to reach your own personal command limit and then roll out with a decent-sized army. If players quit early or sit idle for too long, the game will redistribute units and the cap to those left on the team.

If you don't want to focus on controlling nodes, you can assist your team by defending friendly structures or collecting Tiberium crystals. Tiberian Twilight has done away with harvesting Tiberium for cash, but collecting crystals scattered across the map and returning them to your base will earn your team valuable upgrade points. These can be spent on upgrading technology or increasing the range or accuracy of specific units, for instance. "Instead of having a static place where one harvester is going after Tiberium crystals, now you have units going after Tiberium crystals trying to take them back to their deploy zone, which just adds a new strategy in how you're actually collecting and trying to protect your Tiberium," Joshi explained. "That collection of those crystals then gives you these upgrade points that can be leveraged for teching up your army or buying new upgrades. When one teammate collects those Tiberium crystals, then all the team gets those points that they can leverage independently."

The support class lets you take to the sky and rain hell from above.

Finally, we're sure many C&C fans will want to know what's happening to the Scrin alien faction, so we asked Joshi about it. "Obviously, there are three factions in Command & Conquer. Right now we're going out with GDI and NOD. The Scrin are sneaky. No idea when they might actually end up showing up, but right now, it's strictly GDI and NOD," he said. With that cryptic response, we'll have to wait and see what the Scrin have in store for us in Tiberian Twilight.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight has recently been given a release date of March 16 in the States and March 19 in Europe. Until then, be sure to check out our Command & Conquer Franchise Retrospective feature and stay tuned for more information in the coming months.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

38 comments
klitfelt
klitfelt

This is so stupid. Im really chocked and upset!!! How on earth can they come up with the idea of changing the gameplay? I mean... I played every cnc game since the first one and that is because of the easy to learn and addictive strategy gameplay which they profited on the last 15 years. And thrilled millions of fans. I have looked forward to this game since Kanes Wrath(cnc3 is imo the best ever in the series) and when I see what they have done with cnc4 I really share a tear and thinking this cant be true. They ruined it....

Gammet25
Gammet25

I wonder if you'll need like better graphics to play this game in the future finely.

Photoshark
Photoshark

I don't mind fleshing out new ideas and how dynamic the singleplay and multiplay will be for the joy of C&C players. But please, don't forget giving attention to the buildable structures and how they explode and collapse!! I mean, really... there's something really exciting about blowing up a very imposing structure as much as blowing up that single unit that struggles to pepper down the players' own. Command and Conquer has always that perfect feel of building something [unit/structure/otherwise] that sooner or later gets blown up. Hope EA capitalize on this another facet of the franchise. Tiberium Wars got the feel right. ^_^

davek1979
davek1979

"final conclusion" --- BS. BS. BS. And by that I really do mean BS!!! If a game is successful, it can't have a "conclusion","final instance" or whatever you might wanna call it... It's all ONLY about MONEY, so if this stuff is successful, we will see another game in 2 years, DON'T WORRY!!! EA's quarterly profits DECIDE, NOTHING ELSE.

zanelli
zanelli moderator

I think everything they've changed is making the final game less and less command and conquer. I'd like to see one of my favourite game serises of all time go out with a boom, and not a trend set whimper.

Big_Bang159
Big_Bang159

thank god it is not Windows Live!!!!!

Scippi125
Scippi125

finally a game developer that actually cares about pc gamers

basilsami
basilsami

as well as l like command and conqur

basilsami
basilsami

supreme commander is worst stratgic game that i have played in my life

C-Megalodon
C-Megalodon

@Guy12: That is why....Supreme Commmander 2, is coming out soon ;).

Guy12
Guy12

I concur, though this game does seem like a definite buy, depending on how they go about what they say they are doing, and its from EA (Fingers crossed as always). It seems RTS is taking on a new role, anything where you're not looking over your unit's shoulder is automatically dubbed one. I absolutely hate it when they lower the unit count. Just screams loss of strategy. We need more games like Supreme Commander, sheer unit count creates strategy on its own.

malstyne
malstyne

What's with all these RTS games coming out without the S?!!! No resource gathering?! There goes half the damn strategy right there? No Base building? There goes another 1/4th. Oh it's "tactical", does tactical really mean left with 2 decisions to make? My favorite genre is getting ruined! This new trend is really scarey. If all RTS games start following this model, I'll have very few games left to play. It looks like it is now an officail trend. Who told all these studios they needed to dumb thier games down to the 50IQ level? Its the strategy genre for crying out loud!!!!! the word itself implies some intelligence! Your customers should be creative enough to figure out thier build order, manage an economy, and position units. Those are the decisions that create the strategy! Decions to be made is good, complexity is good. We're not all console kids on ridilin!

C-Megalodon
C-Megalodon

@toothofymir:- To each his own buddy. @Hark-dog, Mephistroth:- As Hark has said, its still early in the beta, things can change (for the better I do hope). Generally speaking, I am crossing my fingers and really hoping that C&C 4 is not a Dawn of war II clone. I mean, from the description provided by EA you can't tell me if you're a fan of the RTS genre you don't find similarities with the 2 games at first glance? Doing away with base building, having less units, gaining experience, having heroes...I can't try the beta, which I do -of course- as I want to prove myself wrong. Because if it is blatant -or an even worse- clone of Dawn of War II I'm not getting the game. EA can say bye bye to this customer.

Mephistroth
Mephistroth

I played every cnc game to date. I agree with many that the best of them died with westwood.. but! I still play for the story. but these units look so terrible. like a 5 year old is modeling them.. shame on you for even releasing such shenanigans but! im also annoyed they did away with the old fashion tiberian harvest method. If you wanna make the game-play faster and more mobile, be unique about it. such as what starcraft is doing.. walker chars for terrain. pylon warping. tunnels.

Hark-Dog
Hark-Dog

after installing the beta i run the game with an open mind despite all the complaing i have been reading about the game after all i have been playing the command and conquer series 1995 and have not missed a single insalments and have enjoyed every one (Genrals was so-so). So after playing for a few hours and trying really hard to like the new instalment i could not think of a single thing i enjoyed about what i have seen so far. The whole feel of the game seems overly simplified the design of the units dont seem to fit aswell almost as if they were designed by fans and not a professional team and the resource managment is non existent and what is left of it is not implimented very well. im not saying that the lack of base building and lack of resource managment is a bad thing in todays rts as i do enjoy dawn of war 2 and world in conflict. But it just seems so half arsed the game its self is command and conquer in name only. It is still early days in the beta and i have my fingers crossed that this is not the direction the finished product is headed down. thanks in advance for reading my wall not covered all i wanted to say as no one would read it all

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

In an interview they said that a good compromise to have it on console too was to get rid of the base building. Other companies aren't so honest, but nevertheless, we now have no base building, no supply lines and no real depth of strategy in any RTS from any of the main publishers. Just look at Dawn of War I versus DoW 2. And yet, as these options are dropped, so sales drop! Command and Conquer has little console history, so whatever they do for console won't make much difference, yet on the PC, this will mean much lower sales. Low enough that I don't think this C&C will match previous C&C sales. It is therefore the actions of the publisher that is bringing this series to an end. I see the end of C&C as yet another sign we are nearer to the end of mainstream PC gaming. As it stands, you want a step-time strategy game, you go indie, if you want a detailed realtime strategy game, you go indie. So were well on the way of whole genres moving to indie publishers or retro gaming. Interesting that both of these markets have grown enormously over the last 3 years!!

toothofymir
toothofymir

If doesn't have base building, it's not a true a true RTS. By true RTS, I mean the same formula that every other Command and Conquer game (save Renegade) has stayed true to for the last 12 years.

PiNwOrM
PiNwOrM

@toothofymir It doesn't have basebuilding, unless you count building a few towers as one class Base Building.

blackleather223
blackleather223

It sounds like there going for more looks then actual game play. That is how it is a C&C game. I'm assuming that there will be skirmish capeablilitys and a campaine?

toothofymir
toothofymir

Sounds like world in conflict, albeit with base building.

traykey1
traykey1

@ Roger_Smith @a140lbstud Well said lads..

Valor84
Valor84

The redhead in the background is really cute...kept distracting me from the interview...the guy was kinda boring anyhow >_> RIP, Westwood, we'll always remember you with many great and fantastic memories...we all know the series died when you were dissolved =\

BaLLz_ON_FiRE
BaLLz_ON_FiRE

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

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

C&C stopped being C&C when Westwood dissolved. Good night sweet prince.

wavelength121
wavelength121

Old news, but I look forward to this game. C&C 3 was great.

impost3r
impost3r

After having played the beta of this game I think it could possibly turn out to be the worst C&C ever made... and that's pushing it... what they have now isn't even a C&C game, and the fact that the game design is so unbelievably atrocious serves to reaffirm my suspicious of how EA does business. It's really sad how they have such talentless people in charge of their game design decisions. There are so many other people who could have designed a better game than this, but undoubtedly they weren't given a chance because they were not buddy buddies with the boss. Clearly the guy in charge of this project has absolutely no idea what he's doing. I'm guessing he's a very social guy who is friends with everybody at the company and has been working there for several years, and that's the main why he's the boss of this project. Oh well, EA's going down the tubes so I shouldn't be so bitter about it. They are getting what they deserve for having their priorities so screwed up. They may have lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but at least they got to work with socially ordinary people and that's what's most important amirite?

a140lbstud
a140lbstud

So basically they have removed destroying the enemy base, harvesting, base building... Please tell me how this is a CnC game?

oclane
oclane

Finaly their binging C&C home to the pc hopefully this game will stay exclusive its good to see the pc hasn't been completely abandoned but taking the harvesting could be a huge flaw it was really half the battle but time will tell

thingta42
thingta42

I might get thisg ame if the online has improved.. I coul never go online with any of the other EALA games because it always sied that my Usrkey or Name is already in use..

_Colossus_
_Colossus_

I see they are still using the god aweful "toy-model theme" from Red Alert 3. :-/

adamulivi
adamulivi

"mind-blowingly enjoyable" :-)

escaflowne36
escaflowne36

How can they take away harvesting crystals? That's what made C&C C&C.

Nottsy
Nottsy

sounds interesting, cant wait to get my hands on it and see all the new features and units,

deb35536
deb35536

OoK... ... so where is the "new" Economic mode that promised on twitter?? by the way i wanted some game to play before next 4-8 years until SC2 "complete release"(3 boxs)