So, some of you know that I spent about 18 months working in the house that Kane built, Westwood Studios. Because of this, the news that there's a C&C3 coming fills me with a cautious excitement. I'd always been a big fan of the Command & Conquer games, so when I was offered the opportunity to go work for them in 2001, I lept at the chance. And I had a good 18-months working out in Las Vegas, even when the new project I was working on was cancelled. In the end, the closure of that project was just the final nail in the coffin to assure me that I needed to move back to the Bay area. I enjoyed the area and the people far too much to stay away.
Since then, I've been waiting for another C&C game in the Tiberium franchise, and I'm glad to see one is coming. What details they've announced sound great (and some of the ideas suggested at here, at least plotwise, had been kicking around at Westwood for years) and I'm pleased to hear that Kane will return. I can only hope, however, that they've gotten Joe Kucan back to be Kane, because anyone else would simply be faking it. Back when I worked at Westwood, Joe, myself, the online director Ted, our two audio geniuses Paul and Dwight, and our unstoppable German Thilo, would play poker at lunch. It was, honestly, the most enjoyable lunch time I'd ever had, and I think fondly about those days and those guys regularly. It was a great period of time. Now, of all of those guys, Joe is the only one I really don't know what he's up to these days. Ted's gone to work at Petroglyph with many of the other ex-Westwood guys doing Star Wars: Empire At War, Paul and Dwight landed at Insomnaic Games and have been doing Ratchet & Clank games, Thilo is working over at EALA these days... but Joe's sort of dropped out of the limelight.
I did some poking and found Joe had done a few semi-cryptic shoutouts on the internet, as he was known to do. (You think he's weird in print, you should've heard some of the things that came out of his mouth in the office -- he had me in stitches a great many times.) And the hard part is that Joe was laid off from Westwood Studios during a dramatic cutback that basically signalled the beginning of the end for Westwood. The good times were gone, and all that was left was the hard truth -- Westwood was living on borrowed time.
There are a lot of reasons you could say the studio failed, but I wouldn't even begin to want to speculate on it. If some of the things I saw printed on the internet are true, Joe may harbor a lot of resentment to EA (the people who bought out Westwood) and I don't blame him. He put in a lot of hard work and got the short end of the stick. EA drove a lot of people to the brink of madness, not just once but several times. Some of the people who've gone back to EA say it's changed, but as the expression goes, once bitten...
All that said, I hope they do get Joe to come back and reprise his role as Kane. It wouldn't be Kane without Joe. And Joe, if you're reading this, ask for a truckload of money. You've earned it. From one of your former colleagues and still one of your fans (and hopefully still at least a little bit your friend) , I hope this finds you well.