Command & Conquer: Renegade
Last month we revealed details of Westwood's C&C 3D action spin-off C&C: Commando, and we have to admit we were a little off the mark - not least about the name.
C&C: Renegade - as it is now known - was shown in the UK for the first time at ECTS, behind closed doors by none other than Westwood co-founder Louis Castle. So eager was to talk to the man that no less than ten of us were there, just in case the others failed to tum up. Apart from the game itself, which looks pretty awesome, we were stunned that after two years in development, release is set for early next year.
"C&C: Renegade is a new line of products we are working on within the Command & Conquer universe," Louis told us. "Inspired by the Commando missions in the original game, we thought it would be great to have a bunch of those missions and do it in third-person." Rather than an all-out action game, Renegade is as much about tactics as anything else. As the demonstration kicked off, we saw our GDI hero, Jack Shepherd, abseil from the back of a chopper and fell two guards soon after touching down. Using a sniper rifle, he was able to target different parts of the body, demonstrated perfectly by Louis clipping a guard's leg, prompting a previously hidden soldier to come to the wounded man's aid. Another easy target.
Although all the missions are set against the NOD forces, each is set up by 3D engine cut-scenes, and what an engine it is. Every vehicle and building from the first C&C game (which Renegade is set just after) is in the game, each of which can be entered and - in the case of vehicles - driven.
Most impressive of all is the lengths to which Westwood have gone to make the game as familiar as possible to C&C fans. Seeing the buildings -construction yards, barracks and the Hand Of NOD especially - at such a scale is a wondrous thing to behold. These aren't just pretty backdrops, either. Going into these structures shows Westwood haven't just been sitting around, waiting for Tiberian Sun to fill the coffers. The AI, too, will allow friendly units to follow their own objectives.
"We had to build our own engine because all the levels are predominantly outdoors," explained Louis. "Even where you have indoor missions, like taking out a power plant, it generally has an effect on the outdoor area - where GDI forces might be attacking the base. It was important for the engine to be able to handle the size of the outdoor areas we needed."
All this made us wonder if we'd ever see a Command & Conquer game in 3D. "Yeah, we'll eventually do that," said Louis, "but not until we can get hundreds of units running around the screen all at once, and running well even on low-end hardware."
So with Renegade out early next year, a Tiberian Sun mission pack on the way and a 3D C&C on the cards, the future looks very bright indeed for C&C fans.
The Command & Conquer series of games has reached legendary status among strategy fans. No surprise, then, to find Westwood switching perspectives to an up-close* and-personal third-person view to attract new fans.
You are a lone GDI commando and your task is to infiltrate a NOD stronghold and bring the whole thing crashing down. Dodging the searing heat of a Flame Tank or avoiding the crushing tread of a Tick Tank is something we've learned to accept when watching the action from afar. However, when you're right in there, running for cover, avoiding detection and flying, driving and getting seriously stuck in, it's a different story altogether.
C&C Renegade should ultimately be a kind of sci-fi version of Hidden & Dangerous. Watch out for it, whether you're a fan of the series or otherwise.
Surprise of the show was the low profile of Command & Conquer Renegade. Stuck in the corner of EA's stand, we were given a quick demonstration of Westwood's long-awaited first-person shooter based around the hugely successful Command & Conquer RTS games.
As Nick 'Havoc' Parker (an elite GDI commando), it's up to you to inflict as much damage on the evil terrorist organisation the Brotherhood of Nod as is humanly possible. We were pleased to see that you'll be able to drive many of the vehicles that featured in the real-time strategy games, such as rocket bikes and hover tanks, although, unfortunately, we won't be able to fly the Orca. Even so, we had a quick go, and what stood out most was the physics model, which made the vehicles react in incredibly realistic ways.
During the demo we were treated to a large selection of indoor and outdoor locations, as well as being shown a few of the multiplayer features, which will include co-operative play in the single-player game.
We've been waiting for Renegade for ages, and its visuals are starting to pale in comparison to the likes of Wolfenstein and Unreal 2. But with the C&C brand name and from what we saw during the brief but promising demo, it's still on course to be a winner.
Download Command & Conquer: Renegade
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2019-01-17 Command & Conquer: Renegade game added.