McDowell, Flair Uprising on Red Alert 3 March 12

Q&A: <i>Heroes</i> star joins wrestling legend in PC expansion to alternate-history RTS; producer Amer Ajami talks landing talent for add-on, which also stars <i>DOA</i>'s Holly Valance.


Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising

The year had barely started when gamers learned that Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 would be getting its first expansion, subtitled Uprising. Exclusive to the PC "for now," according to EA Los Angeles senior producer Amer Ajami, the add-on will be available for download on the PC on March 12 for $19.99.

Mr. McDowell will take your questions now.
Mr. McDowell will take your questions now.

As has been the case since Kane executed Seth in the original 1995 C&C, Uprising will feature full-motion video cutscenes with real-world actors. Following in the footsteps of Red Alert 3 cast members J.K. Simmons, Tim Curry, and George Takei will be Malcolm McDowell. Best known in the film world for his portrayal of a psychotic teenage thug in A Clockwork Orange (1971), the British-born thespian is familiar to younger audiences for his roles in Star Trek Generations (1994) and the television series Heroes. Gamers will recognize his face from the live-action cutscenes in the Wing Commander games and his voice as that of President John Henry Eden in current best-seller Fallout 3.

In Uprising, McDowell will play as Rupert Thornley, the president of the European Union and current leader of Western Allies fighting the Soviets and Japanese. McDowell was the developers' first choice for the role of the erudite British leader, given his famed diction and gravitas. "There's only a few people that have the kind of pull he has," Ajami told GameSpot.

Holly Valance.
Holly Valance.

The producer went on to explain EALA's casting process for the C&C games' FMV sequences, which are done in coordination with EA's marketing department. "We have a four-sided square we try and fit people in when we cast them," said Ajami. "One, they have to have what we call 'nerd cred,' because that plays into our audience a lot. Then, they have to be a big-name actor as well. Third, they have to be recognizable, so if you look at them you might not know exactly who they are, but you know they've seen them somewhere before. And the fourth one doesn't apply to Malcolm, but having hot chicks [in the game] never hurts."

One of the attractive actresses recruited for Uprising is Holly Valance, the Australian-Serbian actress who recently appeared in the disastrously received film adaptation of Dead or Alive. She is joined by C&C newcomer Jodi Lyn O'Keefe from the television show Prison Break, and series veterans Gemma Atkinson and Ivana Milicevic reprise their roles as Lt. Eva McKenna (Allies) and Dasha Fedorovich (Soviet). Julia Ling will also return as Izumi, sister of the Japanese Empire's psionic commando Yuriko Omega--who will also appear in one FMV sequence portrayed by an as-yet-unannounced actress.


Definitely not fitting into the "hot chick" category is Ric Flair, the former pro wrestler and outsize television personality. He will portray Commander Hill, a military strongman players must battle in Uprising's all-new Commander's Challenge mode. "We needed somebody to yell at you and call you names--he definitely fit the bill," Ajami said of the famously boisterous ex-mat-man.

Uprising will feature some 25 minutes of full-screen FMV cutscenes, drawn from more than 30 pages of script. Directed by EA's full-time cinematic director Richard Taylor, the scenes were shot over eight days last year on soundstages in Hollywood and nearby Culver City, California.

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