RTS genre due for “fundamental innovation,” says EA’s Riccitiello

EA’s CEO John Riccitiello has said that he wants to revamp the Command & Conquer series by way of a “fundamental innovation.”

“We’ve gotten to the point where you can see the particles around individual grenade explosions inside rooms where windows fall apart,” Riccitiello told Kotaku. “That was never what made RTS good. That was just sort of eye candy on top of a very traditional game mechanic. From when Red Alert and StarCraft sort of defined the genre, it hasn’t moved.”

While acknowledging that he’s no game designer, Riccitiello went on to refer to EA’s recently acquired Facebook games developer, Playfish, and said that he believes the RTS genre can be open to new innovation on a “metagame level.”

“I’m a believer that the RTS sector is more open to fundamental innovation at a metagame level than almost any genre,” Riccitiello went on to add. “I actually think that some of what Playfish does, in terms of iterating games on a weekly basis, Some of what Facebook does, in terms of letting you collectively experience things, have not been stitched together by the game industry in terms of lessons learned there. You start applying that thinking to a C&C franchise you get something pretty special.”

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight has already started the innovation process by adding new elements such as a class system, the ability to respawn and will be a “persistent experience”, which allows everything players do in skirmish, campaign and multiplayer battles to contribute to leveling up.

Command & Conquer 4 is set to be released in North America on March 16, 2010 and a few days later on March 19 in Europe.