Command and Conquer Generals 2 Free to Play

The announcements coming out of this week’s Gamescom trade show in Cologne, Germany are coming so quickly they almost seem to rival this year’s E3.

 Today, EA announced that its upcoming real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer Generals 2, will be free-to-play. The game will be a part of EA’s new online platform it is simply calling Command & Conquer.

The platform and the game will launch sometime next year for the PC. C & C Generals 2 is the first of what EA said will be many free Command & Conquer games. Players interested can register for beta access to the game on the Command & Conquer website.

 “We are thrilled about this opportunity to transform Command & Conquer into a premier online experience,” said Jon Van Caneghem, general manager at EA. “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 and Conquer universe, starting with Generals and continuing with Red Alert, Tiberium, and beyond. With Frostbite 2, we are able to keep an emphasis on the AAA quality our consumers expect while staying true to the RTS gameplay they know and love – all available online for free.”

 It’s clear that EA is hoping to bring as many people into the game as possible, probably in the hopes that C&C Generals 2 will make inroads into the eSports world. Right now, Starcraft 2, a real-time strategy game from Blizzard, is one of the most popular eSports around. It’s not yet clear how EA hopes to monetize C&C Generals 2, but it has probably learned from its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO that free-to-play game models are the future of multiplayer gaming. For a competitive multiplayer game such as C&C, EA might look to Valve as an example of how to implement a successful free-to-play strategy.

That company converted the competitive first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 to a free-to-play model just over one year ago. Since then, it has been able to foster a community around the game by releasing frequent content updates. Valve is able to sell Team Fortress 2 players various low-cost in-game items, such as hats.

Command & Conquer will be available as a free, client-based, game for the PC in 2013. For more information on and to register for a chance to be selected for exclusive closed beta access, please visit

Command and Conquer General 2 Preview

The Return of Command and Conquer

With the release of Command and Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight, fans of the famous real time strategy games feared for the end of the beloved franchise and then right out of nowhere here comes Command and Conquer General 2. The previous game, released in March of 2010, received negative reviews all across the board. It featured a very strict DRM system that required the game to constantly be connected to the internet for it to function, even on the single player campaigns. The worst aspect as commented by the gaming community was how the game derived from the tried and tested formula of the series. The game eschewed with the system of base building and featured a very limited population cap. Because of the failure of the game, Electronic Arts (EA) had laid off most of the employees who worked in the development team for Command and Conquer 4. At that point it was feared that the game marked the very end of the franchise. EA promised that the franchise would continue under a new developer. They first created their new Command and Conquer development team revealed as Victory Games but they were later merged with the new development team and labeled under the Bioware label, therefore becoming Bioware Victory. From this team rises the hopes of the RTS fans and it was on December of 2011 that they unveiled their project, Command and Conquer General 2, to the public along with the first trailer.

This is not to be confused with the actual Bioware Corp. department that is responsible for the RPG games such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights. The main Bioware department has its own set of divisions. They are not directly involved under the new Command and Conquer General 2 development. So what does the game actually have, what will be gone, what will return, and when is it coming out?

The Details
So far there is no definite release date for Command and Conquer General 2. The development team has stated they are shooting for a 2013 release date but so far no other details have been released about a tentative date or a beta testing period so far. There are some tidbits coming from EA and the trailer that sheds some light on the details of the game.

Story-wise, Command and Conquer General 2 will take place approximately ten years after the first game. The world leaders have decided to launch a new global agreement that would end all global wars yet they are assassinated by a terrorist group while at the summit. All of the major countries of the world are now left without their political and diplomatic leaders. Only the generals are left to contend with the war of terrorism and global conflict.

Electronic Arts and Bioware Victory had stated that the game will have a much more realistic story and the narrative setting will be gritty, dark and less flamboyant than the other Command and Conquer games such as the Kane series and the Red Alert series. While it is impossible to completely eradicate the silliness of the series, the developers have the intention to make it as plausible and realistic as they can. That said the game will feature three playable factions. They will be the GLA, the European Union, and the unrevealed third that many believe to be China or the terrorist team responsible for the attack on the world summit.

Command and Conquer General 2 will be the first in the series to use the Frostbite 2 engine. This is the same engine utilized by Need for Speed Run and Battlefield 3. The new graphics engine will allow them to feature highly detailed particle effects like dust and smoke effects. The developers had stated that they are intending to use the Frostbite 2 engine to its full potential that will allow the game to have destructible environments and real-time weather effects. The trailer was noted to use actual in-game graphics although it is unsure if the camera panning and zooming is actually going to be as in-depth in the game as it was shown in the video.

So far no real details have been released on the units that will be in the game. From screenshots taken from the released trailer some of the units have been speculated and discussed by people in the gaming community. The EU faction will have a VTOL aircraft that may have the same general function as the Comanche that was in the first Generals game. Then there is the tank that appears to be a modified or improved Crusader while others speculate it to be the next evolution of the Paladin. As for the GLA units it is apparent that Quad Cannons will make a return and so will the GLA Technical vehicles. Screenshots and studies based on the trailer also show what may be the first game's Scorpion and this may serve as the main battle tank for the GLA faction. So far no unit of the unknown third faction has been shown.

Command and Conquer General 2 will see the return of base building and the developers have stated that it remove the population cap that marred the experience of Tiberian Twilight. This will allow gamers to return to the former formula of creating very large armies that could march and wreck havoc across the entire game map. As is common with video games nowadays it will also feature DLC or downloadable content that will expand the units, feature additional missions, new maps and others.

The Verdict
There is yet a lot of time for Command and Conquer General 2 to be released yet this early it does look like the game has a lot going for it. It threw away all of the bad aspects of the previous game that almost crushed the entire franchise and goes back to the game's true identity while still being able to add in fresh ideas and bold concepts. The game is still a year away from release but already Command and Conquer General 2 looks like a game worth the wait.