Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Preview
We chat with EA about the bald one's return, new control schemes, and what Natasha "Species" Henstridge brings to the game.
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The Command & Conquer series has long been a favourite among real-time strategy fans. After a few games that flirted with alternate settings and different time periods, the series returned to the Tiberium universe in 2007 in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.
The game was a hit, selling well not only on PC but on Xbox 360 too. Now EA is headed back to the game's conflicted world, in a new game starring some well-known characters.
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath is, essentially, an expansion of the previous game, but there are several changes. Among these are new sub-factions, a RISK-esque mode where players vie for global supremacy, and a new control scheme that the developers hope will help players stay on top of everything going down on the battlefield.
Leading the cast is Kane, the bald-headed baddie who leads the Brotherhood Of Nod. The game traces his actions over a 20-year period, as he leads an uprising. Joining Kane actor Joe Kucan is Species star Natasha Henstridge and Carl Lumbly, who is probably best known from his portrayal of Marcus Dixon in TV show Alias.
To find out more about Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, we spoke with EA executive producer Jim Vessella, a veteran of the company's recent spate of PC/console RTS games. Vessella told us about the new modes in the game and those all-important full-motion video cut-scenes.
Kikizo: Is this a story that was always going to be told or is it something that you've come up with for the sequel?
Jim Vessella: The story of Kane's Wrath is a combination of new fiction, and a continuation of the arc that was established in Command & Conquer 3. The prequel segment of Kane's Wrath is entirely new, and was created as a direct result of the fans wanting to hear this story. However, the future segment of Kane's Wrath, which takes place several years after C&C3, finalizes some of the storylines established in the core game. We're excited to provide both new and continuing story arcs in the expansion by introducing a three chapter storyline that expands upon the traditional expansion pack formula.
Kikizo: Will those of us who have not followed the game through its fits and turns feel lost? How much effort is made to catch up newcomers?
Vessella: When creating the storyline for Kane's Wrath, we wanted to make sure all gamers could jump right into the new fiction. Our opening cinematics focus on providing a backdrop and catching people up on the state of the Tiberium world. That being said, we do think players who have experienced the Command & Conquer 3 campaign will get much more out of Kane's Wrath, as there are quite a few references (and even missions) that relate to the core game. However, we're confident that both newcomers and veterans alike will be able to enjoy the storylines in Kane's Wrath.
Kikizo: Roughly how long combined are all the cut scenes? Where and for how long did you shoot and what was the process like?
Vessella: Kane's Wrath features over 30 minutes of high definition footage. We shoot the scenes in several sound stages around our Los Angeles studio, and it's really a treat to see the production team in action. We go through the same process as any video production, including story treatments, script development, casting, costuming, and more. It's an awesome experience to see firsthand the merger between gaming and Hollywood.
Kikizo: Species fans will be pleased to see Natasha Henstridge involved in science-fiction again. How did you come about casting her? Was she always considered for the role or was there an audition process? Anyone you wanted who got away?
Vessella: We thought of Natasha quite early in the casting process, as we knew she'd be a perfect fit for the role. Her familiarity with science-fiction was a great bonus, as she understood the type of mood we were going for. Furthermore, many of our fans are also science fiction fans, and casting Natasha was a great way to service this segment of our audience. We hope all the fans enjoy her performance in Kane's Wrath!
Kikizo: Could you explain more about the new sub-factions that are being added for the expansion?
Vessella: The sub-factions are intended to add diversity and depth to each of our core factions - GDI, the Brotherhood of Nod, and Scrin. Each sub-faction comes with its own modified or exclusive units, and also unique upgrades and special support powers. These adjustments and enhancements are meant to cater towards a specific style of play. Such play styles could include more aggressive tactics like rushing and steamrolling, or more finesse play styles like hit and run. The sub-factions also have deep fictional backgrounds, which we're able to utilize during our campaign. This combination of unique gameplay and fictional elements creates both a deep and diverse experience for our fans. Additionally, each of these sub-factions will be available right out of the box for online play.