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Command & Conquer beta coming early 2013, will be "longest running in franchise history"

EA's new Command & Conquer - and BioWare Victory's first - will shift into a beta gear in the first half of next year, according to a blog post on the official website. Not only that, but it will be the "longest running beta phase in franchise history", presumably because it's so different from the other games. Originally billed as a sequel to Generals, the now subtitle-less Command & Conquer will be a free-to-play entity, first without, and then with , a single-player mode.

The blog post takes the time to address the disappointment some might be feeling with the changes. "Yes, the direction is new and many probably would say that this is not a 'true' C&C," stated global community manager EA_CIRE, "just as many did when the original Generals came out. For me, Command & Conquer isn't just about Tiberium, Kane and the crazy Yuri. It's been more about fun to play, engaging, and high quality RTS experiences. And that's what we're aiming to deliver, just in a different way."

If you reckon they failed to deliver that with Command & Conquer 4, then the entity known as EA_CIRE agrees. "The team here and I know that previous Command & Conquer titles had issues – some less, some more. C&C4 (yes, I just named it!) was especially far below the expectations and standards a lot of us had for C&C games. So we know how you guys feel – and I am talking a lot with our design team to discuss the game mechanics, features and meta-game of our new Command & Conquer in development."

As for solid info/footage of the game, we'll have to wait another few months. "We don't just want to tell you about the game, we want to show you," the post teases, so it looks like any commanding and/or conquering will have to wait until next year at the earliest.