Q&A: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 producer Chris Corry

Console vs. PC, Empire of the Rising Sun, naval warfare Xbox Live Anywhere functionality, and more with Red Alert 3 executive producer Chris Corry.

It's been a while since the Red Alert side of EA's Command & Conquer series made an appearance, and many of the game's fans were probably despairing that the game would never rear its over-the-top RTS head ever again. Those fears were allayed last month when EALA announced that Red Alert 3 was most definitely in the pipeline. We spoke to the game's executive producer, Chris Corry, about all things Red Alert 3, and while he didn't spill too much information, he did have some interesting things to say about Xbox 360 and PC cross-functionality, moving traditional PC games to consoles, and their plans for naval combat in the new game.

GameSpot AU: Command & Conquer 3: Red Alert 3 will appear on the PC, Xbox 360, and the PS3. The series is best known for its PC roots--why focus so strongly on consoles now?

Chris Corry: The development of Red Alert 3 is being led on the PC, as all of our RTS projects are out of EALA. The RTS genre, and Command & Conquer in particular, was born on the PC, and that's where you'll find the full expression of the genre's potential. The team is focused on making a great PC RTS as its foremost goal.

That said, we've had some real success on the console with The Battle for Middle-earth II and Command & Conquer 3, and we're continually improving that experience (check out the new radial controls in the Xbox 360 version of Kane's Wrath this summer). We passionately believe that the core compulsions of RTS can work in console games, and we're convinced that as an industry we're evolving toward something wholly unique, something that is likely to eventually look and feel like something quite different from the PC experience. Of course this will take some time and we won't fully get there with Red Alert 3. But it is coming someday.

GS AU: Will the three versions be different from one another in any way? Are you planning any exclusive features for the three versions?

CC: We aren't getting into too many specifics about the console version of Red Alert 3 right now, other than to say we are continuing to work on improving the RTS interface. Stay tuned for more information soon.

GS AU: You seem to have some more time-travel shenanigans in the game. Thematically, how does this game fit into the Red Alert universe?

CC: Red Alert 3 is no different from all of our Red Alert games; time travel and the unintended consequences that always seem to arise from it is the central theme throughout the entire series. As a developer, this licence to create alternate histories and universes gives us an incredible amount of freedom. We love letting our imaginations run wild and it helps us bring distinct, fun worlds to life.

GS AU: What can you tell us about the strengths and weaknesses for each faction? Will there be significant differences from previous games?

CC: The Allies and Soviets are back and while they have each gone through some changes and have a lot of great new units and superpowers, they're still similar to Red Alert 2--and that's completely deliberate. We want them to feel familiar but we also know players are going to want a lot of new toys to play with.

Where we have a little more freedom for new, drastic changes is with The Empire of the Rising Sun. Japan was a terrific choice for us because of the country's deep wealth of cultural and historical touchstones which we can build off of. They are going to be a technologically advanced faction that will pose a lot of problems for the Soviets and Allies. A lot of the new mechanics in Red Alert 3 (like transforming units) will be found on the third side.

GS AU: How important is the single-player campaign to the Red Alert 3 mix? Will this game primarily be a multiplayer experience?

CC: Like all C & C games, the story-driven campaign for Red Alert 3 is going to be a key part of the experience, featuring over an hour of HD, live-action cutscenes. Each faction will have its own campaign with 8 to 10 missions each. And best of all you'll be able to play through the story-driven campaign with a friend.

All of our missions are being designed around the idea that you’ll have a cocommander at your side, giving us a tremendous opportunity to introduce some great new elements to your typical RTS campaign. And since you won't always have to have a friend available online, each faction will have three artificial intelligence generals that you can employ in lieu of a human partner. These generals have different play styles and personality, keeping the experience fresh and interesting even when playing alone. We're not talking a lot about multiplayer right now as we're still locking down exactly what our final feature set will be. Expect to hear more soon.

GS AU: You've named some pretty wacky units so far. What other highlights can we expect to see in the final game?

CC: Our goal with Red Alert 3 is to delight players new to the Red Alert 3 universe, while providing a familiar, comfortable update for those fans who have stuck with us through the years. Five minutes into firing up the game, there will be no doubt that this is a Red Alert game through and through. Our units are going to be as fun and creative as possible as that's always been one of the key parts of the series. And that's a critically important goal for the game--to stay true to the game's fun, lighthearted tone, while bringing new features to the genre like story-driven campaign co-op, a third faction (for the first time in Red Alert history), and an increased emphasis on naval warfare.

GS AU: Tell us about naval action in the game. How has it changed from previous RAs?

CC: We've never gotten navy exactly right in a game before--I don't know that any RTS really has. In the past, most RTS games have kept naval game play at arm's length and treated it as a minor, purely peripheral experience. This time around we're bringing naval game play into the heart of the game design, making it a first-class partner with the land and air game. The player that can master the seas will master the world of Red Alert 3.

GS AU: Why is humour so important to the series?

CC: When you look at the Command & Conquer universe, we clearly have three separate fictions with Red Alert, Tiberium, and Generals. Red Alert has always had that Bruckheimer-esque, popcorn-movie feel--it's something the fans really clasped onto, something that we love doing and something that is innate to Red Alert.

As designers, it gives us a lot of creativity. This is a world where a single phone call can lead to the loss of your free will, where war zeppelins rule the sky and armoured Tesla Troopers annihilate their foes with blasts of electricity. Its fun, it's lighthearted and yes, on occasion it's even a little goofy. With the time travel mechanic we definitely take continuity less seriously and we're willing to take chances with ideas that, even when they're offered up seriously, skew a bit ridiculous if you think about them too long--the armoured bear in the Soviet faction, for example.

GS AU: Have you considered using Live Anywhere functionality (PC versus 360)?

CC: We're doing some exciting new things in the area of console controls that are really improving RTS gameplay with a controller. However, you still can't match the efficiency a PC player will have, and it would very likely be an unfair fight. While the PC and console games will have the same content, the same missions and so forth, the user interface differences make them feel like two very distinct experiences. We believe that any attempt to cross-pollinate them would end up diluting them both.

GS AU: You've announced that those who buy the limited edition of Tiberium Wars or its Kane's Wrath expansion pack will get access to the beta later this year. When is that planned? What will the beta encompass?

CC: The beta is coming out this summer and while I can't share any specifics yet, you can be sure there will be a lot for everyone to get their hands on. We really value our community's feedback and are looking forward to giving them a glimpse of the game.

GS AU: And finally, one cheeky question. Is former GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin working on this?

CC: He is indeed and doing a terrific job as one of the game's producers. It's hardly surprising, but he's a natural. Of course Greg is just one of many dozens of heroes that we have on this team, extraordinarily creative and gifted gamemakers who have vast reservoirs of passion and enthusiasm for Command & Conquer and RTS.

GS AU: Chris Corry, thanks for your time.

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

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70 comments
greyzhaze
greyzhaze

If Red Alert 3 can take the good points from CoH, SupCom, WiC and of course RA2 then we have a CLEAR winner in the RTS department. Great fan of RA and RA2, hope this is better than CnC 3. Combining the prize moments from WiC and RA would make some interesting and exciting RTSing. Looking forward to getting my mits on this one :-D

gameman888
gameman888

I look forward to working with the AI companion. Previous RTS I've played with a AI companion/third side have created more liability than assistance. Skirmish AI teammates in CoH are ok, but they do their own things. If RA 3 can provide a true AI team player, even if restricted to specific duties like defense or resource gathering, it will be a leap forward in itself.

charonill
charonill

The naval warfare is starting to sound a lot like total annihilation and supreme commander with the buildings on water. But I'm still looking forward to it, just hope EA don't screw it up like C&C 3.

Switch_776
Switch_776

nutty_poo: you could say the same thing about time travel lol dude: its RED ALERT - anything is possible

Switch_776
Switch_776

bet theres a samurai unit for the 'house of the rising sun' faction lol

chickenfeed9
chickenfeed9

Lookg forward to the mammoth tanks... And Frank Klepacki...

valcrist09
valcrist09

i hope there is more units, I feal these new C&Cs are lacking in the unit side of things. C&C3 had its moments but it seemed soo watered down in content.

sdauz
sdauz

yeah finally RA3 makes a great comeback, TESLA TANKS!!!

Azuki
Azuki

Oh boy the amount of hours, days and months I spent playing ra1 and ra2. Hope this one is just as addictive. ^.^

lordallanon
lordallanon

Bring out an RTS on the PS2 come on we've been waiting for ages.

Stryker521
Stryker521

Yea, come to think of it NUTTY_POO, couldn't the Allies just stick lightning rods on their ships to dissipate the tesla charges into the sea that way? lmao

NUTTY_POO
NUTTY_POO

tesla boats i saw in a screenshot? water conducts electricity. and would it not dissipate the charge in theory making them not too effective on the high seas? tesla weaponry is still good for infantry though. just a thought. peace and carrots.

copjunk
copjunk

Yeh remember Hell March one and two by Frank Klepacki, that was the days, having a few russian mamoth tanks while listening to intense electro/war music and crushing your enemies was just brillaint! ~scol PS BRING BACK RED ALERT 1!!!!

life4hire
life4hire

What about the music score? One of the most memorable things for me and Red Alert were those Russian boots marching to the light techno music. This was great!

MindlessTeef
MindlessTeef

Go Greg! EA really messed up C&C3, I hope they don't do it with RA as well... everytime someone mentions a PC game is to be for XBox360/PS3 as well, I think "Oh well, so much for that!". Universe at War, "from the creators of C&C" they said! I'm so sorry I bought it... it's a horrible console port piece of... you get the idea. Even Bioshock (as good as it was) is just a empty shell compared to System Shock... I'm playing through System Shock 2 again... There's just so much more that can be done with a PC game! Complexity! Every strategy game comming the dev's claim "less micro-management!", what about those of us that actually like it!?

Merl57
Merl57

I don't know I get sick of RTS games now because of the huge build up time if you wanna have a real game. Or if you want to win the rush always is the way to go. No strategy there.

dead_god86
dead_god86

I'm really Looking forward to this game, will the LAN networking Use TCP/IP, rather than force you to use IPX? anyway, by the sounds of things, they are sticking with some of the classic mechanics of an RA game, i loved the naval combat, most ppl don't expect it, and at times it could be hard to figure out, but i loved surprising friends with it now and then. oh, and did i see a power plant in the water in one of those screenies? and did it have some sort of jets on the base of it below the water? does this mean we can build many building in the water, and perhaps, moved part of our base around?

Andy639_basic
Andy639_basic

Red Alert has always been the best command and conquer universe. I'm excited. With Starcraft 2 coming out as well it will be like 1999 all over again :D

PacoL250
PacoL250

GregK's working on this? Well, well, well... :D I wonder what his exact role is...

Zartan026
Zartan026

Give me back my sidebar, my IFV engi rush and maybe i'll care. Until then, i'll only see it as CnC3 with new skins... Oh, and since the guy it was made mainly for the PC, does that mean that the game controls will actually feel like it's been made for the PC this time around?... (indeed, i wasnt a fan of CnC3 at all)

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

Whoo! Greg Kasavin's gonna make this game rock.

KupuAnd1
KupuAnd1

-- Yuck_Too -- Yest Dune 2 was a really great game too. But nothing compare with Age of Empire 2 hehehe sorry mate, just to remember those Celts batallions rush in the enemy land with the aid of the mighty trebuchets making ashes the enemy walls and towers with William Wallace at their side....just priceless. But Dune 2 also have it moments.

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

--KupuAnd1 -- "For my the best RTS game in the history is Age of Empire 2 plus the expansion. I just remember the power of the walls in that game. It was fantastic." ~~~~~~~ In history...I think I have to go with Dune 2 for the Sega Genesis. I'd almost be willing to bet it stands up today...in fact I shoould go fire it up tonight and see if memory serves.

charizard1605
charizard1605 moderator

Age of Mythology... No one can match the sheer power and quality of that game...

KupuAnd1
KupuAnd1

For my the best RTS game in the history is Age of Empire 2 plus the expansion. I just remember the power of the walls in that game. It was fantastic.

lBravolASTALKER
lBravolASTALKER

I can't get enough of this series, I remember in 05 when I didn't even know the C&C world existed, then I saw a few previews for Tiberium Wars and I've never set my eyes away from the universe since. Looking forward to RA3 majorly, hopefully EA won't f*ck this up like many of their other games :/

zanelli
zanelli moderator

Hmm... I was hoping that they'd base this game more off the original Red Alert and not off 2. In my opinion Red Alert was far better than 2 and had some of the best navel warfar in RTS history. I loved sailing around the back of the enemy base with a couple of cruisers and watching them turn it to dust. Well I still can't wait for this game.

aryoshi
aryoshi

Never could and never will be enough C&C games, each addition to the series just gets better and better and has for over 10 years. I, myself, am excited to get the 360 to get the two C&C 3 games, this one will be amazing, I remember Red Alert on the PS was the second I ever played! Now this will be a brand new experience in the RTS genre and give a new horizon of gameplay to everyone who cares to keep with the series. Great work so far, EA.

pmcubed
pmcubed

I hope this rox! I loved the RA line - it was what got me into gaming!

puablo
puablo

I bet Greg Kasavin is responsible for the intelligent dolphin units.

raze-boi
raze-boi

The Legendary RA3 has returned! I want to see Yuri in this game!

tyzwain
tyzwain

Awesome! Cant wait for the RA3 beta :)

SapenNamen
SapenNamen

Stryker521: I actually played Command & Conquer 3 on the 360. It's not the same experience as a PC but they're well on the way to being fun and playable on their own. I reckon Chris Corry was right in this interview, eventually they will be games worthy in their own right.

Sidbob
Sidbob

Never had a 3rd faction? So what was Uri all about in RA2?

Stryker521
Stryker521

THE_PREZIDENT: "Japan having the lead on tech. over the allies? That is bad news. Allies always had the upper hand in tech. I hope they fix this." I hope you've never owned a Sony, Nintendo, Panasonic, Nikon etc. etc. before :P And who plays RTS-es on console anyway? As much as developers have tried to make controls as easy as possible, most of the time they just end up dumbing down the game lol And that's not my own opinion, that's just what my console-focused mates tell me every time they see a multiplatform RTS on my gaming PC.

benboz
benboz

Red Alert 3 looks cool

wackys
wackys

What's wrong with the SAGE engine?Also the game seems fun and stuff.I hope I'm gonna get in the beta.

NX75
NX75

The beta comes this summer, so it would likely release in the fall? That's sooner than I expected.

Khoo1992
Khoo1992

Hope they do this game correctly...

KILLURELLYFAST
KILLURELLYFAST

thank you Rattlesnake_8 and I agree fully. the bear unit was probably an office joke

IKKF
IKKF

They really do need to have Greg Kasavin doing a voice for a Russian. He already speaks fluent Russian.

P1zzaman
P1zzaman

Darn I was hoping China would be the Red Menace...

hackologue
hackologue

This game has been done to DEATH

arkadiyk
arkadiyk

Any one played rise and fall: nations at war? , i personally thought that the naval warfair was the best in this game for a game that came out 2 years ago if you know any thing about this game check out the trialer. The only difference is cold war vs ancinet wars. I loved the naval war emphasis part i will buy this game!

THE_PREZIDENT
THE_PREZIDENT

Japan having the lead on tech. over the allies? That is bad news. Allies always had the upper hand in tech. I hope they fix this.

blackleather223
blackleather223

More then likely I'll get this but I still will wait until there is more screen shots and trailers like that. Boy I wish it was 3d so that you could pull back. I hope the will change that cause I hate being so close to the ground there and not able to pull back like in sc. Now something like that would be great.