C&C: Red Alert 3, early info on the RTS of your dreams

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Shine up that tank barrel and brush the dust off your Tesla coils, the Red Alert series is back after a 7-year hiatus and it’s ready to rock your world. The folks over at IGN landed an interview with executive producer Chris Corry to get the skinny on what is sure to be the most anticipated RTS release of the upcoming holiday season.

When asked how the the Red Alert series has set itself apart from the standard C&C universe, Corry explains, “We think of there being two universes that reside under the Command & Conquer brand. When we think about Command & Conquer, we think about sort of a style of play. So it’s fast, fun, fluid RTS gameplay. But then underneath that we have the Tiberium universe, which C&C 3 lived in and that’s the dark, gritty, brooding sci-fi world of Kane and Nod and GDI. It touches on some pretty serious themes; environmentalism, religion versus science, and other themes. And it really chronicles the journey of Kane.”

He continues, “And then very distinct and separate from that we have the Red Alert universe. We really think of Red Alert being not so much about World War II or the Cold War, but it really is about time travel and the unintended consequences that can occur from meddling in areas that no man has a right to. The way that manifests itself in the game is this series of alternate histories. In Red Alert 2–and we’re carrying it through to Red Alert 3–it’s also kind of a fundamental shift in tone where we’re trying to not take ourselves nearly as seriously as the Tiberium universe does. There’s a little bit of tongue-in-cheek there, and it really is about that humorous, bright saturated experience, as opposed to that dark, gritty, sci-fi experience.”

In the 7 years that Red Alert has been silently evolving, many things have changed. Following the events of Red Alert 2, a third candidate for world supremacy has emerged in the form of The Empire Of The Rising Sun. This faction utilizes highly advanced tech, and may or may not include ninjas and mecha… we’re hoping it does.

In addition to these changes, Red Alert purists will also find plenty of familiarity to wrap their hands around. You guessed it, live action cinematics are making their triumphant return, “We really do think the live-action cinematics are a staple of the Red Alert series.” Corry says, “We’re going pretty full bore with the cinematics this time. We’re going to have more than an hour of cinematics; it’s almost a minimovie that we’re shooting for this. We’re not quite ready to talk about the cast. We’ve got almost the entire cast locked down, but until we actually do the cinematics shoot, which we’re currently scheduled to do in mid April, we won’t be talking about that. Until I’ve got the movie stars in their seats and doing their stuff, it doesn’t feel real.”

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Hardcore RTS fans won’t be the only ones who will find plenty to love in the new Red Alert installment. The team at EA are working to make sure RTS newbies aren’t scared away by the depth of such a game, “When you look at the products that we do here at EALA in the RTS group, they’re first and foremost PC RTS games. We know who butters our bread and we have to make sure that we are scratching the itch of our core constituency, which really is a pretty hardcore bunch of guys who are really into an experience that is–from a user-interface standpoint–quite intricate. There are these fundamental gameplay themes that you have in a PC RTS that you really don’t want to buck, because that’s what makes RTS on the PC such a compelling and interesting proposition. First and foremost, we want to make sure that we’re being true to the spirit of the previous games and that we’re building a great PC RTS. And that really is job one.”

Corry continues, “Now with that said, I certainly agree with Mike’s comments in the press release that Red Alert is uniquely, or perhaps better, poised to attract a wider audience because it’s a little less threatening. It is about having fun and not taking things so seriously, and the gameplay experience can reflect that. It’s not about all about going online and playing a competitive match and getting the smack down from a 12-year old kid that’s going to swear at you a lot. The tone and tenor of the Red Alert franchise helps us there.”

Still, at the end of the day, it’s all about making a Red Alert game, and that fact is not lost on Corry, “Our emphasis is about making the gameplay experience a bit more cerebral. We’re not making Civilization here–it is still going to be that fast RTS action–but to be really successful you are going to have to focus a lot on force composition; getting a different mix of units to take on a variety of different targets. And especially for the more advanced players, some of this micromanagement where all of our units have a primary and a secondary power–and being able to toggle back and forth between these powers–is going to be a pretty important dynamic.”

Now, if that plethora of info hasn’t sold you yet, if your black heart doesn’t flutter at the prospect of a new Red Alert title, and if you have become so jaded that you believe there is nothing Red Alert 3 can do for you… I only have one thing to say. Tesla Boats.

[See also: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 gallery]

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