Fans of classic real-time strategy games (RTS) are in for a real treat, and it’s coming from an unusual source: Electronic Arts. After hinting at a new Command & Conquer project several weeks ago, the company has now revealed that a team of developers from the original 90s games have come together to create a remastered 4K version of the first two games in the series. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to get a single package with both Command & Conquer and the followup Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Best of all, EA promises no microtransactions. Yes, you’re right to be shocked.
Released in 1995, Command & Conquer was one of the first games we’d recognize as an RTS today. It predates even StarCraft, which didn’t launch until 1998. It had the classic top-down camera view, multi-tiered unit production, resource gather, and well-balanced combat. The gameplay was heavily influenced by the recent Gulf War as the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) fought against the sinister Brotherhood of Nod. The story mode included full-motion video cutscenes, which were almost unheard of at the time, as well as an online multiplayer mode.
Just a year later, Westwood Studios released Command & Conquer: Red Alert. This game has similar mechanics and graphics, but the setting and units were all new. It was a prequel to the first game, taking place in an alternate history version of World War II. In this title, you could fight as the Allies or Soviets for control over mainland Europe. Again, the story mode included video cutscenes. The online and skirmish components of this game were even better than the last game, too. I personally spent a good chunk of my teenage years playing Red Alert.
EA is working with small development studio Petroglyph games to make the remasters happen. Petroglyph was founded by former developers and designers from Westwood who worked on the C&C games. The release will include both main games along with all the expansions. The Petroglyph team has even brought back original composer Frank Klepacki, who created iconic tracks like Hell March.
Electronic Arts bought Westwood Studios in 1998, and Command & Conquer was never the same. In recent years, EA has used the Command & Conquer IP to create MMOs and mobile games that didn’t feel like the rest of the series. The original source material from the 90s is good — it just doesn’t look very pretty by today’s standards. A remastered version could be exactly what Command & Conquer fans have wanted for the last 20 years, as long as they keep the goofy cutscenes. Unfortunately, EA has clarified that work on the games has not started yet. It might be a while.