With the announcement of one high-profile strategy title coming to home consoles, comes the revelation of another. Sierra first announced they'll be bringing World in Conflict over to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and EA is quick to follow with an announcement of an all new Command and Conquer: Red Alert game. This here would be the third title, and for a franchise that's 12 years old that's impressive. Typically, we'd be up to the fifth or even sixth iteration, but Westwood Studios (now EA Los Angeles), has always given us grueling wait periods in between. For example, the first Red Alert arrived back in 1996, the sequel in 2001, and the third in 2008 – a five, and seven year gap.
Coincidentally, Red Alert 3 and World in Conflict feature a few similarities – they both deal with a "what if" situation, and both revolve around the Soviet Union. The similarities end there, as Red Alert 3 forks off into a completely different path. A Soviet leader attempts to travel back in time in order to restore the glory of his country. Instead, the mission goes terribly wrong, and a new timeline is created. In this alternate reality, technology has entered an all new level of sophistication, and the world's dominant superpower is one you'd never expect.
The "what if" situation asks what if every unusual research project and technological experiment over the past 70 years had garnered results? Results ranging from the Philadelphia Experiment, to time travel, teleportation, invisibility, Tesla technology, and 100 other projects. What if all of these results had made these advancements mainstream? What if the Soviet Union never collapsed? And what if the Japanese Empire became the supreme, most technologically advanced military superpower on Earth?
Red Alert 3 explores all of this, and the outcome is a game with depth, as well as antics. How do armored bears, intelligent dolphins, floating island fortresses, teleportation, and shape-shifting tanks sound? It doesn't really sound like your typical real time strategy game, does it? Seems more in line with what Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid) would conjure up in his head. Well, that's what Command and Conquer has always been about, and the third iteration will continue that tradition.
"It's been too long." said Chris Corry, executive producer at EALA. "Fans have been waiting for a new Red Alert game for seven years, and we're working hard to ensure its well worth the wait. The team is staying true to the series' roots while adding new elements like a co-operatively played story-driven campaign, an astounding new faction that will shake-up the Red Alert universe as we know it, and units that will help make Red Alert 3 everything our fans have been waiting for. And by bringing naval combat into the heart of the game design, we're transporting that fast, fun and fluid CandC gameplay to the high-seas in ways that you've never seen before."
Co-operative gameplay is definitely a plus, especially when it involves the core campaign mode. And I'm certain that EA will not let us down when it comes down to multiplayer features. Based on the first screenshots EA's released, Red Alert 3 looks beautiful, with fantastic texture detail and a very clean picture. We've yet to see any enormous explosions unravel, but some of the special effects displayed in the images look very nice, as well. Ultimately, I have no doubt that EA-LA is putting together a superb looking package. Let's just hope that the console versions don't suffer from any downgrades, or visual problems.
EA has yet to release a concrete list of features, so stay posted for that. In the meantime, expect Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 to arrive later this Fall.