Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars Designer Diary #1 - The Story Behind the GDI Faction

The next game in the hallowed real-time strategy series is in development, and executive producer Mike Verdu takes us behind the scenes to explore the background of the GDI faction.

159 Comments

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Real-time strategy games were founded on the basic gameplay of quickly building up a base of operations by harvesting resources, then building an army to crush your opponents before they could do the same to you. The Command & Conquer series, one of the most popular and loved real-time strategy series in history, has traditionally told the story of a conflict of near-future technology with tons of personality. And now, the next game in the series is in development at EA Games' Los Angeles studio--and while it will definitely feature the impressive graphics and fast-paced gameplay you might expect from a C&C game, it will also explore an area of real-time strategy game that the developer feels has been left largely unexplored: story elements. As we heard at this year's E3, the development team is hard at work not just on gameplay and graphics, but also on a compelling story that will be told throughout the game. Executive producer Mike Verdu explains.

Orcas and Mammoth tanks make their triumphant return in Command & Conquer 3--a game that will emphasize story as much as it will action.
Orcas and Mammoth tanks make their triumphant return in Command & Conquer 3--a game that will emphasize story as much as it will action.

The Global Defense Initiative (GDI)


By Mike Verdu
Executive Producer, EALA

The Third Tiberium War in the Command & Conquer (C&C) series is upon us, and over the next few months, we'll be taking the wraps off of the three factions, the world, and the story in Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. The fiction and universe development have been key for this game given our emphasis on delivering a great single-player campaign and an epic story that is worthy of C&C. I'm excited that we can start sharing the details of what we've been working on all this time.

With this feature we begin to explore the three factions of Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. We start with the Global Defense Initiative (GDI).

GDI started as a secret military alliance of G8 nations--a treaty organization formed to contain tiberium, reverse its spread, and fight the sinister Brotherhood of Nod, a terrorist organization that believed the otherworldly substance to be beneficial to mankind. Over time, power and sovereignty have been gradually ceded to GDI and the national identities of the participating countries have faded. In 2047, that process has reached its final stages: While technically there are still individual member nations, the reality is that GDI has become a unified political and military superstate. GDI is what might result if the G8 countries, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and the member states of NATO became a single nation-state.

GDI controls the only areas of the Earth that have not been significantly compromised by tiberium infestation. The crystalline alien substance is slowly consuming the rest of the planet, causing an environmental cataclysm that has made 30 percent of the Earth uninhabitable and another 50 percent of the Earth's surface exceedingly unfriendly to civilization. GDI's home territories are known as "blue zones" since they are mostly clear of tiberium and have been relatively untouched by war (in contrast to the ecologically ravaged and war-torn "yellow zones" and the tiberium-infested hellscapes designated as "red zones").

While the GDI is a faction that strives for world peace, it doesn't hesitate to bring out the big guns to counter the threat of Nod.
While the GDI is a faction that strives for world peace, it doesn't hesitate to bring out the big guns to counter the threat of Nod.

In 2047, GDI keeps the blue zones peaceful while making periodic forays into the yellow zones to contain the spread of tiberium, repair the environment, and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants there. For all its good intentions, GDI still struggles with the complexity of its own bureaucracy, as well as conflicting viewpoints on tiberium. Some within GDI see the benefits of more aggressive exploitation of tiberium, but most view it as an environmental plague and source of ultimate destruction.

GDI's focus on tiberium eradication in 2047 is a luxury. In the past, GDI has been locked in an epic struggle with a terrifying enemy--a secret society-turned-global superpower that has united most of the Third World against GDI. Led by a charismatic sociopath called Kane, the Brotherhood of Nod preaches that tiberium is the catalyst for the next stage of human evolution. Nod fanatics are doing everything they can to accelerate tiberium infestation on all continents.

GDI and Nod have been fighting each other for nearly half a century. The conflict has escalated into a full world war twice--the First Tiberium War (TWI) erupted in the second decade of the twenty-first century, and that terrible war was followed by another worldwide firestorm a few years later.

The Brotherhood of Nod has been very quiet for the last several years, and its leader hasn't been seen in a long time. This is highly atypical for Nod.

Just as GDI is split over the uses of tiberium, there are two points of view on Nod's current state: Some GDI intelligence analysts believe Nod is suffering from internal factional strife and is in the process of internal collapse. Others believe Nod is planning it biggest operation yet. If that is true, the preparations are happening very quietly.

The GDI will be a flexible faction that can call in bombing runs as easily as it can mount ground assaults.
The GDI will be a flexible faction that can call in bombing runs as easily as it can mount ground assaults.

If Nod is indeed up to something, it will be facing a formidable adversary. GDI leaders have a state-of-the-art military machine at its command like nothing ever seen before. GDI is truly a military superpower.

GDI forces are organized to allow decentralized operations in multiple theaters of war. GDI rapid-deployment forces are able to move quickly, establish forward-operating bases in all types of terrain, and project power using advanced all-weather weapon systems and highly trained troops.

GDI's land forces include versatile armored vehicles like the Predator main battle tank, the Mammoth heavy tank, the Guardian APC, and the fearsome Juggernaut mobile artillery unit. Its infantry is made up of fast-moving, lightly armored combat soldiers and the slower but heavily armored Zone Troopers. Specialized units include the Special Forces commando and the elite sniper teams.

Aircraft deployed at GDI forward operating bases include the rocket-equipped VTOL Orca, the Firehawk fast attack jet, and the V-35 Ox VTOL transport.

Support units for GDI operations provide unprecedented flexibility to its field commanders. The MCV serves as the mobile hub for a forward-operating base. A versatile vehicle called the "Rig" can deploy into a repair base and aircraft landing pad, providing forward logistics to aircraft and armored units.

GDI believes that it is the last, best hope for the future of humanity and deploys military force in the name of freedom, progress, and containment of the worst environmental disaster the world has ever seen. Its enemies don't see them quite in the same light...but that's a topic for another feature.

That's it for our GDI feature. Next time, we'll go in-depth on the Brotherhood of Nod and the return of Kane.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 159 comments about this story