|Dev: BioWare Victory|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Ryan Rigney
2010's controversial Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight did away with classic C&C gameplay elements like base-building and traditional resource-gathering, bewildering critics and angering fans. The game was a critical and commercial flop, and the vast majority of the development team (EA Los Angeles) was laid off shortly after release.
The C&C series needs to bounce back.
EA is hoping to pull that off with Command & Conquer: Generals 2, a new game from a new studio that promises to take the C&C series back to its roots. In other words, expect most of the "innovations" brought by Tiberian Twilight to be tossed out the window in favor of the old school RTS features that existed in the first C&C: Generals.
The story arc of the original C&C: Generals game (and its expansion pack, C&C: Generals - Zero Hour) presented a near-future scenario in which the United States and China team up to take on a massive terrorist organization known as the Global Liberation Army (GLA). After the GLA dealt massive damage across the globe, China finally seized its opportunity and crushed the organization in Europe.
The setup for Generals 2 is decidedly implausible, but nonetheless interesting. Ten years after the events of the first game, all the world's leaders decide that it would be a splendid idea to gather in one place and sign a big treaty to end global war. At the event, a group of terrorists seizes the opportunity to drop a big, hilarious bomb that kills essentially everyone with any notable political power in the world. So who's left? Generals. A lot of military generals who didn't attend the treaties. You see where this is headed, right?
There are once again three playable armies in this edition of C&C, but on the whole they're not the ones players will recognize from the first game. So far only two have been announced––the good ole' GLA and a new faction called the European Union.
The team developing C&C: Generals 2 is called BioWare Victory, but fans of BioWare franchises like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: KoTOR shouldn't get too excited just because this game's dev team carries the BioWare name––BioWare Victory is in no way affiliated with the BioWare you already know and love, and much of its core team is made up of former EA Los Angeles employees. It was originally formed as Victory Games, so the whole BioWare element seems like more of a marketing thing than anything else.
According to the guys at BioWare Victory, story is going to be a big focus in their treatment of Generals 2. EA BioWare label head Dr. Ray Muzyka told Gamespot that BioWare Victory will take a shot at "delivering over-the-top action, but also incorporating a more intense, gritty story." Presumably, this means that the game will not include the psychically-controlled giant squids and armored attack bears introduced to the world by the C&C: Red Alert series.
Generals 2 executive producer Jon Van Caneghem has expanded on this idea, saying "there's plenty of room to spice up the action and intensity and to personalize the storytelling through better character development."
On a surprising note, the game actually runs on EA's Frostbite 2 engine, which was recently introduced to us via Battlefield 3. According to BioWare Victory, this will allow them to make the game a lot more visually appealing, with "fully destructible battlefields" and cleaner, higher-quality cutscenes.
C&C: Generals 2 is planned "only for PC" as of now, but if the game follows the same trend set by its predecessor, it is possible that a Mac port could follow later.
Date: January 12, 2012