While at Westwood Studios, Las Vegas, I got to sit down and chat with Renegade’s executive producer, Dan Cermak.
Command and Conquer Renegade is Westwood’s first try at a first person shooter, so I began talking to Dan about where the concept for this game came from and how they felt it would compete with other upcoming shooters out there.
"The idea came right after the original C&C", explained Dan "They knew they had something special in C&C and that it could be applied to other then strategy games. They liked the idea of the commando in the first C&C game and started on concepts [for a first person C&C game]"
Now, I have played all the Command and Conquer games, so I am familiar to the setting, units, and vehicles, but I was wondering what was the target audience for this game, and if they though they could grab non C&C fans’ attention.
Dan told me that while the game is Command and Conquer they want to appeal to both RTS and FPS fans. The hard part in doing this kind of FPS game is that there is a great deal of C&C fans who have never played a shooter before. To make sure that this game will not be too overwhelming to the RTS fan, Westwood has the game setup so in the first mission, if you have never played an FPS you ease your way in and learn how to move around, use vehicles and weapons, and complete objectives.
But, Westwood is hoping to also make sure that any shooter fan will have a great single and multi player gaming experience. "Some of these levels take 2hrs+ to complete if you complete all the objectives." Dan also told me that we would be playing the intro/starter "mission zero" and that some of the other levels were 6 times bigger then that. Later on I got to play mission zero and let me tell you if that mission was pretty big itself, so I can’t imagine what some of the later levels look like. Dan said that there are "30+ hrs of single play, approx 19 weapons, as well as vehicles (which are available in single as well as multiplay)"
Another important thing that in the FPS community is mods, and Westwood has also taken care of that. Dan told me that there will be a level editor that will most likely ship after the game is released, Gmax support which is out now, as well as the possibility of a separate skinning tool.
When I asked Dan to compare Renegade to current FPS games, he told me it was "more Half-Life style then Quake". This game has an immersive "Big War" storyline which makes you feel like you are actually in the middle of this war rather then just one person.
Now on to what is probably Renegade’s biggest selling point: Command and Conquer mode. "There is nothing like [our] multiplay… we’ve really got something special there." , says Dan, and he’s right. Originally Renegade was going to have multiple online modes including deathmatch, capture the flag, C&C mode, and more, but Westwood made the choice of dumping the others and focusing completely on C&C mode. Dan told me that he knew that of course he knows there are already great deathmatch and CTF games out there, and why should Westwood just throw them in for the sake of doing it. Instead they are putting their entire online focus on C&C mode, which is basically Command & Conquer up close and personal. There are two sides/bases (NOD and GDI) and you must defend your base while trying to take the others out with various weapons and vehicles. This has a real war feel to it with all the vehicles in it. You can drive buggies, tanks, and many more vehicles as you try to take down each other’s base. You must collect Tiberium for money, then you can use that to purchase vehicles and new weapons/characters and the only way to defeat the other side is to blow up all of their buildings or place a nuke, or ion cannon beacon inside their command tower. Right now this is the closest thing to a real first person shooter war and is a lot of fun. Dan said that Westwood would not officially support voice communication or more then 32 players, but he also said that Roger Wilco would work fine and you could have more then 32 players in an online game, but they officially only support 32. Westwood is really working hard to make sure game play is balanced and smooth. There has been a running C&C mode beta in which Westwood has been tracking everything, from kills to how long you stay still all in hopes to provide you with one of the most unique and fun multiplay experiences.
A few miscellaneous things I asked Dan about were the possibility of a pre release demo. Dan said that although they wanted to they were not sure because it could misrepresent the game. They would most likely use the "mission zero" I was talking about, but while it would be good for RTS players, it might turn off the FPS crowd, which Westwood does not want to do.
I also asked about the current system specifications and they are as follows:
Pentium II 400mhz
16mb Video Card
Overall, from the conversation I had with Dan it seems like Westwood is really working hard to please with Renegade. Much time has been spent in perfecting its multiplayer and making the single player part of the game as exciting and fun for FPS fans as new RTS fans.
Westwood Infiltration would like to thank Mr. Cermak for his time. Its looking like Renegade is going to create some Havoc.