A Letter to EA and the Former Westwood Studios
March 25th, 2017
209 Redwood Shores Pkwy
Redwood City, CA 94065
To Whom It May Concern –
Command and Conquer games were my first video game addictions; the first video games I could not, for the life of me, put down. I’d spend hours setting patrols in Red Alert and long nights controlling minds in its sequel. You can understand, then, my utter disbelief when you disbanded Westwood Studios in 2003. C&C has never been the same since. Surely you, of all people, knows that. But there’s hope for you and I. Real-time strategy games are surging in popularity and the climate is just right for a comeback. With the resurgence of the casual RTS, a slew of new ways to play video games, and the current state of C&C within your studios, Command and Conquer is poised now more than ever for a glorious return to the top.
The Resurgence of the (Casual) RTS
The RTS landscape has shifted substantially since Command and Conquer relinquished its crown. Traditional RTS games like Warcraft and Starcraft have continued to improve while franchises like Total War and Company of Heroes inch further into the limelight. RTS derivatives like MOBAs have seen their popularity skyrocket and have spawned some of the world’s most influential video games. Meanwhile, more casual RTS types have caught the eye of the general public. Mobile games like Clash of Clans consistently top both the iOS and Android download charts and console games like Halo Wars continue to push the boundaries of what an RTS can be. Collectively, these realities make RTS games the most accessible and relevant they’ve ever been, and recent technological advances will only exponentiate that fact.
New Ways to Play
Advanced touchscreens and virtual reality are begging to be utilized in the RTS landscape. Touchscreens have already made their viability as an RTS control scheme known, but there is still room to improve in that space. Capacitive sensing, pressure sensing and haptic feedback are available on numerous devices and could provide for a number of robust control schemes. Issuing commands with your fingers, pinching to zoom, using pressure-sensitive touch to control attack power, the control options are virtually endless. Virtual reality has taken great strides in the realm of RTS-like isometric gameplay as well and would only need to be adapted to the requirements of a particular RTS to be viable. Dragging and dropping buildings, drawing unit patrols, and precision map navigation are all possible within the confines of VR, and what’s more is your in-house ability to work within not only this space, but in the touchscreen space as well.
The Current State of C&C
DICE Los Angeles was the most recent of your studios to publish a Command and Conquer title and their experience with Frostbite (not to mention the former Westwood was absorbed into this branch) would undoubtedly make them the most capable to double down on a traditional reboot. EA Mobile and Criterion, on the other hand, would be the perfect pair of studios to tackle any innovative controls schemes for C&C given their recent work on the Red Alert mobile port and the Star Wars X-Wing VR Mission, respectively. Pairing DICE LA and Criterion, however, would be the most optimal approach to a reboot as Criterion will have significant experience using Frostbite 3 once Star Wars Battlefront 2 releases in the Fall. In the meantime, EA Mobile can continue to focus on porting existing C&C properties to touchscreen devices like phones, tablets, and touchscreen consoles (Switch ports, please).
At this point, it doesn’t make sense to ignore Command and Conquer any longer. Fans want it, the general public wants it, but most of all, damn it, I WANT IT. You have the tools and you have the experience, all you need now is to buckle down and start working. Whether or not this will ever reach you remains to be seen (although I have zero plans of actually sending this over), but in the event that it does, know that I am patiently waiting…waiting for Command and Conquer to rise once again.
Header Image Source: LevelSave