Over the weekend, developer Petroglyph Games gave us a look at what the FMV cutscenes in Command & Conquer Remastered will look like, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at just how much work went into making them. The mini-documentary is a lot of fun, especially for old-time PC gamers like me—I'd love to know what other Westwood treasures were found in that collection of stuff.
Today Petroglyph dropped another big piece of news: The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, which will include overhauls of both the original game and the alt-history prequel Red Alert, will be out on June 5 on Steam and Origin.
The enhanced take on the 25-year-old game will boast new graphics and textures with support for 4K resolution and a soundtrack remastered by original composer Frank Klepacki. Basic gameplay remains unchanged, but will come wrapped in a new UI, with updated controls and a built-in map editor, all of it created "hand-in-hand with the C&C community."
One example of the community's involvement can be seen in the sidebar interface, lead producer Jim Vessella explained. When work on the project began, developers were concerned that changing the sidebar too much could "break the nostalgia factor," but fans pushed them to make changes.
"The community was eager to see us overhaul the Sidebar UI, and incorporate elements from Red Alert 2 and C&C 3, including tabs, extra slots, and hotkeys to help prevent the need for excessive scrolling," Vessella said. "This community insight gave us the validation to make that decision with confidence, which we then further refined with the community council [a small group of community members who have been more directly involved in the process] throughout the course of development."
Vessella acknowledged that community feedback could occasionally lead to butting heads, but the studio was generally able to reach some degree of consensus on design decisions. "A great example of this was on the terrain development. Some background: Because we're utilizing the old source code, the terrain is still generated in the same 1995 style, meaning hundreds of little 2D terrain puzzle pieces stitched together to create a map. Finding the correct balance between the level of detail, the gameplay readability, and honoring the legacy look proved incredibly difficult," he said.
"So when we presented our first remastered attempt to the community council in early 2019, half of them loved it, and half of them weren’t feeling it. Even though some members were excited, we didn't want to let down half of our C&C fanbase, so we took feedback from the council and went back to the drawing board. After several months of iteration, we finally achieved a terrain style the vast majority of the council embraced, and this indicated we had a direction to move forward with."
In some other cases, such as unit queueing—a standard RTS feature now, but one that didn't exist in the days of C&C—Petroglyph left it in the hands of individual players by making a optional toggle.
The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection will include the original game and Red Alert (they won't be available separately), the Covert Ops, Counterstrike, and Aftermath expansions, and other bonus content. It's not clear whether mods will be supported at launch: Vessella said that it's one of the most requested features, but "we do not have anything to announce about mods today," which least leaves the door open for something down the road. In lieu of that, the new map editor will enable players to create both singleplayer and multiplayer maps that can be shared across Steam and Origin.
Correction: The post originally stated that Command & Conquer Remastered will not support mods at launch. Petroglyph has not actually committed to mod support either way, saying only that it did not have anything to announce at the time.