Take one look at this MMORTS and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s Command & Conquer reborn.
The units are bulky, combat is fast paced and there’s still the ever-present reliance on traditional rock, paper, shotgun gameplay. Of course when you find out it’s from Petroglyph Games, a studio which emerged from the ashes of Westwood, those coincidences begin to make sense, but when we sat down with the game’s senior producer, Chris Lena, he was keen to point out that End of Nations is very much a different beast on the strategy landscape.
GamerZines: A lot of what Petroglyph are trying to do seems to be so inspired by Command & Conquer, with regards to community support, unit design and art style, and obviously due to the past links to Westwood that isn’t surprising. Are you trying to give old C&C fans a new home?
Chris Lena, senior producer: A lot of this is accidental really, I mean we have a lot of people that worked on C&C in the past, so it just comes out naturally. I don’t think there’s a concerted effort to carry on an exact tradition, I just think it naturally comes out.
GZ: With End of Nations it seems as though a lot of features mentioned throughout development haven’t made their way in, like the Commander Bases for example. Have any other gameplay additions been given the chop?
CL: What has happened over the last year and half is that we reminded ourselves that we’re making an RTS game, and we’ve focused on that. So there are some things that just had to go, although some of them we’d love to add again later, we don’t want to be distracted necessarily by that. We want to make the best core game we can and then look at what people like and add features in. Like you mentioned, the headquarters were really cool, but they weren’t adding anything to the core gameplay the way we had it designed, so we decided to chop them – let’s focus. If we figure out how to do that later in a way that really adds to the game itself, not just something pretty or something to look at on the side, then we’ll add it back in.
GZ: It was a bit of an odd feature, especially as there wasn’t any base-building in the game.
CL: We have the tactical structures you place, but not base-building in a traditional sense.
GZ: The announcement of a free-to-play revenue model was something a lot of fans expected, but it took a lot of time to be confirmed. Was that revenue plan always the idea from day one or has it evolved?
CL: The whole thing of course has been evolving, but when it came to talking about free-to-play, we wanted to let people know what the game was first. We always said we want to make a high quality AAA RTS. We wanted to be able to get out there, talk to people about the game without that [free-to-play] getting in the way because it can be controversial. So we wanted to say, “Here’s what the game is and by the way this is the business model.” We’re happy to talk about it, but lets not have it cloud what’s really important which is the gameplay.
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