Command & Conquer Adopts Free-to-Play Model

Wed, Aug 15, 2012

Free-to-Play, PC

We’ve heard it all before: Electronic Arts is the great evil empire and BioWare ruined all your favorite things. Yes, we know. But you may be happy to hear that EA and BioWare are bringing Command & Conquer back for a reboot, and it will be free to play. And that’s something we can all get behind, don’t you think?

The new real-time strategy title, which ditches the fumbling nomenclature of earlier games and is simply called Command & Conquer, has been announced as the first “universe” of a new free-to-play franchise. Electronic Arts VP and GM Jon Van Canegham said:

“We are thrilled about this opportunity to transform Command & Conquer into a premier online experience. For nearly two decades, this franchise has existed as something you buy; now we are creating a destination where our fans will be able to access the entire Command & Conquer universe.”

Command & Conquer is largely credited with popularizing the real-time strategy genre. For the uninitiated, gameplay consists of the construction of buildings with which to form an army of a variety of units. Players do battle with tanks, aircraft, infantry and other more creative units while gathering enough resources to fund the war effort. Each game features single player as well as multiplayer modes.

The new game, which rises from an initial BioWare project to make a sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals, will receive the star graphical treatment thanks to Frostbite 2, the engine which powers Battlefield 3 and other upcoming titles. The game will be available exclusively to PC players through EA’s digital distribution service Origin, which the company recently announced will be expanded to a number of platforms including Android, Facebook and Smart TVs.

There aren’t too many details on the story of the game, which will apparently span both the “Tiberium” and the “Red Alert” universes. C&C fans are typically used to campy, popcorn-eating stories with relatively well-known actors speaking the cheesy dialogue. (Remember Michael Biehn in Tiberian Sun?) Will such a story make its way into a F2P game?

Command & Conquer won’t be available until 2013, but fans with Origin accounts can sign up for a chance to get into the closed beta.

Did you sign up? There, doesn’t that feel better? Is it possible that EA and BioWare aren’t such bullies after all?

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