Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance Exclusive Q&A - First Details

Get the very first details on the stand-alone expansion to the epic real-time strategy game Supreme Commander.

When Supreme Commander shipped earlier this year, it helped bring an epic scale to the classic real-time strategy formula of building a base, then building an army, and then crushing a rival under your thumb. That's because Supreme Commander actually made the size of the battlefield important again. You can fight it out on battlefields that are thousands of square kilometers in size, and that gives you enough room to think like a general. As such, you can build scouts to patrol the map, transport armies to a remote location to prepare a surprise attack, conduct feints, and more.

Say hello to Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

The game, set in the distant future, lets you command one of three human factions. There's the United Earth Federation, which represents empire and order; the Cybran Nation, a cybernetic faction fighting for its freedom; and the Aeon Illuminate, an alien-inspired human faction that seeks galactic harmony through force. You can lead any faction to victory in Supreme Commander, but at the end of the game an alien race bursts upon the scene. That alien race is the subject of THQ and developer Gas Powered Games' stand-alone expansion, titled Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. To get the very first details on Forged Alliance, we turned to lead designer Bradley Rebh. It is due to ship this winter.

GameSpot: Why did Gas Powered decide to make a new product to expand on Supreme Commander? Were there certain areas of the gameplay, design, or multiplayer that warranted some more exploration?

Bradley Rebh: The vision for Supreme Commander was always much too large to fit into a single game. Pretty much every aspect of the experience has been reviewed for changes, improvements, and new features. We're extremely proud of the original Supreme Commander, but the team has really challenged itself to take Forged Alliance to the next level.

GS: Give us a brief overview of the new content we can expect from the game.

BR: The quick overview of the game includes new units, a new playable faction, more maps, a new single-player campaign, a major user-interface revamp, artificial intelligence revisions, and much more. It's difficult to quantify the number of improvements we're including that don't fit into one of those categories. I think that's why we haven't labeled it an expansion pack and are making the product a stand-alone game. It's really big!

GS: Tell us about the single-player additions that will be made. Can we expect to see new campaigns that continue the story of the original Supreme Commander?

This time around, humanity must battle the Seraphim, a powerful alien race.

BR: The story picks up where Supreme Commander left off. Within hours of Black Sun's firing, and with the help of QAI, aliens rip a hole into our galaxy and begin their invasion. The aliens quickly eradicate the core UEF worlds and push humanity to the edges of colonized space. Meanwhile, a secretive cult within the Aeon Illuminate has been waiting patiently for the return of their prophets, the Seraphim. Among the chaos of the invasion, the Order of the Illuminate unseats the princess (who goes missing) and allies with the Seraphim invaders.

Former enemies, the UEF, the Cybran Nation, and those Aeon still loyal to the princess, must work together or face eradication. However, this new coalition doesn't mean past hatreds are forgotten.

There is one, six-operation campaign that can be experienced from the point of view of a UEF, Cybran, or Aeon loyalist commander. Depending on which faction you play as, you'll get different objectives at certain points in the operations. And some of the characters will react to you differently depending on your allegiance.

Supreme Improvements

GS: Tell us about the new Seraphim faction.

BR: Seraphim commanders are bloodthirsty warrior-monks who have sacrificed their place in the afterlife to fight for their people. The advanced alien technology of the Seraphim is powerful, and because of this, it can get by with fewer numbers when fighting other forces. Players will see some similarities to the Aeon, but Seraphim units are less specialized in purpose. The art team has done a great job with these units. The unit shader we're using for the Seraphim units is breathtaking.

The Cybran, like the other existing factions, get new units.

GS: What other gameplay features are planned for the new game?

BR: Wow. Where to start? The new UI we have planned is really incredible. We've got a really slick interface and factional skins to get you in the spirit of your favorite side. A new base template system just got implemented, and it lets you record the position of structures and then issue a single construction order to build copies of the template. There's so much packed into this product. There just isn't room to describe it all. It's really exciting!

GS: Supreme Commander remains a very technically impressive game that really makes use of high-end PC hardware, such as the real-time view of the entire battlefield and dual-monitor support. Could you tell us how the new game will stack up in terms of technical features? Will it push the technical envelope further, and if so, how?

BR: We're constantly exploring ways to push the engine technology even further. We have new fog of war and unit range rendering technology, more advanced unit shaders (that make the units look gorgeous!), a new refraction effect, a new sky dome system, expanded technology to allow more texture detail on our maps, improved aircraft flight dynamics, and many AI and unit-pathing improvements. Many of these improvements actually increase performance rather than raise our system requirements.

GS: What can you tell us about multiplayer? What specific observations did the team make about multiplayer in the original game that will be addressed and added to in the new game?

The new template system will make base construction a lot easier.

BR: Multiplayer has always been a strong focus in Supreme Commander's development. Though the single-player experience tends to reach more players, the multiplayer aspect provides longevity. For this reason, we've paid a lot of attention to the community's feedback on the forums and in GPGnet.

The new units were designed to provide more choices while also emphasizing the quirks and tendencies of each faction. The new maps really push the boundaries of the engine while also providing a fair and competitive play environment. Tuning and balancing direction has been put under the microscope, as well. In fact, tuning and balancing is starting to calm down, and the internal play-testing has started to heat up.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the new game?

BR: The project is transitioning from active development to the final stages of production. The team has really stepped it up a notch, and it seems like something new and cool goes in every second. We're really happy with where we're at. It's really exciting and I can't wait until our beta kicks off to start seeing people's reactions. Tip of the spear...oh yes!

GS: Thank you, Bradley.

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99 comments
perenoel2
perenoel2

Incredible, I'm just waiting for the next one, The Experimental.

martin95
martin95

My com got use to playing the first one after a couple of days l just loved the graphics this game is really working its way to the top of rts quite fast. l think that they should put atleast five more experimental units and alot more upgrades to both units and buildings.That would be very interesting to see how this game does in multiplayer.

canis_rah
canis_rah

They have to make regular air units more powerful. At the moment an air force is next to useless.

darksber
darksber

loved the first one, I've completed it 3 times since i got it and now a follow up they make it sound so good ... i just CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

whiteharrier
whiteharrier

can't wait til it releases in europe loved the first one.

sridanu
sridanu

I never liked the tier 1 units. They should remove them! or at least modify them

Brother_of_bit
Brother_of_bit

any1 know if thers gonna be a beta or anything? demo?

RichardCamera
RichardCamera

Dell XPS can handle these games, no problem. Especially the 720 H2C, Tried it myself.

speedy2295
speedy2295

Tip of the spear lol it'll be interesting to see how the seraphim play as a fan of the original i can't wait to get this.

JJCool31
JJCool31

Definitely cant wait till this comes out.

LegionofClouds
LegionofClouds

lol tip of the spear anyways Seraphim > Lower races

diablos_gun666
diablos_gun666

all i want is more experimental units and changes to the resource gathering

8NP4iN
8NP4iN

wow... the orginal is amazing... this is awesome ill buy it AGAIN

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

This game looks amazing, I played the first one and I am definitely going to get the second

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

My PC couldn't handle the first one...I guess it won't be able to handle this one either...*sigh*

tekmet
tekmet

Do you think that this time we`ll start seeing serious differences prior to T4?

Lot_Neo
Lot_Neo

It is good as the original...any new units...

mongoose201024
mongoose201024

now i know why brackman is alays saying "oh yes"

Deathwing13
Deathwing13

Already a sequel? God, I hope my computer can take it. XD

asaphemx
asaphemx

THIS IS NICE! One more true strategy game! :D

gigabrowser12
gigabrowser12

AWesoME Mabye my computer can run it now! maybe not. Anyways I am saving up for a new computer.

LURKEN999
LURKEN999

"Tip of the spear...oh yes!" Haha! Inside joke! =D

DarkLord
DarkLord

It sounds like its shaping up to be pretty sweet! Now, is there any DX10 support??

DFTricks
DFTricks

I didnt like the game at first cuz creating a camp was long and anoying, but if they found a better way to make it i'l give it another try :)

Xlyger74
Xlyger74

Maybe i'll pick it up if my computer doesn't start shooting out sparks this time around.

OneOfMyTurns
OneOfMyTurns

What exactly is the difference between a "stand-alone expansion" and a sequel? I really can't see the difference here.

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

i like how in this article, basically no information was actually given regarding details. He just kept giving basic, overly general answers to what gamespot asked. The only thing he really did say was about the aliens, but come on!!!! arent aliens a bit overdone in RTS, and every single other genre of games onw? When I first heard that the aeon illuminate were humans using alien technology, that was actually nice for a change. whatever, though ill still buy it lol.

Rickiej
Rickiej

Dammit why it has to be a "stand alone" now people who already have the original, pay for it again. Why not just make an expansion :S ? This is going to cost me another 60 Euros. But its really cool to hear they are already working on a expansion! cant wait :)

joueurx
joueurx

personally u should fix the ai so they actually fight with units and not send experimental units the whole time also is it me or are cybrans just experimental hors always building 5 soulrippers its just somthing i have noticed also u should make some capture the flag modes that would be fun but this stuff looks cool

Reece_Boosh
Reece_Boosh

Exciting stuff... Supreme Commander could do with a few more units in my opinion... the factions can feel a bit samey.

life4hire
life4hire

They better hurry! There are only like 80 people online playing and they say "Multiplayer is our focus". If you have played like me where you experience a drop, someone leaving, decync, or a super slow motion game 8 out of 10 games (NO IM NOT KIDDING) then they better rush this expansion out the door. In a few months there wont be anyone left to buy it. If you have played supcom since it came out you will know its a great game but with MASSIVE bugs. Most of the bugs prevent you from even finishing a 2v2 online. Example, ask how many people where told by GPG tech support that they had to uninstall and reinstall the game just for the latest patch to work. The reason the expansion is a completely separate game is because the original code is so bad its amazing and too expensive to fix so they just riped the code apart and compiled a new game. This game has potential but think about it.. its 4 months after its release and its still broken.

JuGgAlO_4_LyFe
JuGgAlO_4_LyFe

Moron. If it's a Q&A there is gonna be spoilers cause they are getting info on the game. What did you think the Q&A was gonna be about, what they ate while they were developing the game? This site IS spoilers packed into a bundle. Don't ever post again and save everyone their time.

poopdogg89
poopdogg89

THANKS FOR THE SPOILER ALERT GAMESPOT

Spybreak
Spybreak

I really like the continual in-depth story and everything but yea I still can't play the first one with my current dell lol. Will pick it up maybe in like a combo buy someday.

webbie07
webbie07

Man can't wait for this, been playing this game for a while and love it everytime...good work guyz cant wait for this new one.

LordLeckie
LordLeckie

just great thier pushing the tech boudaries even further thus making me pretty much 100% sure i will never ever get to play it.

Alexadecimal
Alexadecimal

Supreme Commander blew my socks off and this expansion seems to be adding to the already considerable wow factor. I never expected them to put a 4th faction in so i cant wait to see what they turn out like. And j0na8aca I agree with you, I feel that starcraft lacked depth and strategy, hence back then I played TA :D

djtim_3000
djtim_3000

i'm a bit disappointed with the campaign system. imagine supcom with a dynamic campaign map like the last dawn of war expansion. You have the whole galaxy map to choose from and you can pick a side and invade other planets, moving your armies around space etc... that would be real high level strategy. That said, this pseudo expansion sounds like it's going to rock, i'm looking forward to the new maps (and new cybran units!!).

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

RE: j0na8aca You know nothing about Blizzard's games. You're so shallow, it's unbelievable. I have yet to see an exact match played, ever.

StarfoxmCloud
StarfoxmCloud

supcom was an innovative game... expansion should be awesome, but hope the Seraphim aren't going the way of generic aliens like the Scrin in C&C 3

xxLordDavidxx
xxLordDavidxx

Well, I didn't expect an expansion myself... Anyways, this is good. I loved Supreme Commander and I'll be sure to buy this.

bigmick07
bigmick07

not a huge fan of RTS games, but anything futuristic or alien interests me so who knows.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

I wonder if they are going to charge full price for this? It would really suck to have bought the original just this year and have to shell out another 50 this year for a few new enhancements :(

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

Yea. The first game was great fun, but my computer lagged and stuttered like a crippled fool when there was more than a certain number of units on my screen, hence killing the immersion. I'm keeping this game on standby until I can get a new computer... one that has a speedy Core 2 Duo processor, anyway.