So the recent Command & Conquer mobile game reveal didn’t set the world on fire. Well, it did set fire in the hearts of many; the bad kind that warrants vitriol and hate towards EA. I mean, its gameplay trailer is the most disliked video on YouTube during E3 2018 week.
EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund naturally took a pedestal in the form of a Gamesindustry.biz interview and defended mobile games in general, obviously as a reply to the C&C Rivals backlash:
“We believe this is a modern, contemporary interpretation of the Command & Conquer brand, but I think [mobile’s] scale–not only across age but across gender–made this the natural platform for it. We’re going to come to a point where we need to respect mobile games as much as console games.
I know that’s difficult to see when you come to E3, but our mobile business is growing quite significantly, and we look at those teams with the same value and the same integrity as we look at our console teams. And we believe this is the best interpretation we can do of the brand right now.”
Here’s how he feel about game design on mobile.
“Game designs on mobile are starting to mimic more and more what we deem to be console-based,” he said. “The work Epic has done with Fortnite… I didn’t think that would work, to be honest. I was super skeptical, yet I see my daughters playing it on their mobile phones while I play on my PS4 or Xbox or PC. I think they’ve shown the world that’s possible. You can replicate a high-definition game onto a mobile phone and that works. The fact you can play against each other is also cool.
“The other trend we’ll see is games on these devices used to be relatively shallow and simplistic, where it felt like they were free so everything was there so you could start paying money. I think we’re seeing more sophisticated, deeper game designs. We’re seeing more sophisticated and deeper fidelity. And I think we’re going to see games that mimic what we see on the console side far more on these platforms long-term, because they’re powerful enough now.”
Here’s what Soderlund said of mobile gaming when it came to its broad demographic.
“It also spans across age unlike anything else. It grows in so many vectors, which makes it very attractive to us.”
That’s all well and good, but here’s a thought: if you “respect mobile games as much as console games”, why use the Command & Conquer brand and not a new IP?
EA is not dumb; they know full well that the C&C brand is a hardcore PC strategy franchise. And surely with a new IP they can garner a sizeable amount of players just with their mobile gaming design prowess and let their company name and hard work in the mobile game in question draw the crowd.
And if you think a Clash Royale clone with some added tweaks count as “the best interpretation we can do of the brand right now”, then god help you. Remaking a C&C game in its base-building and en masse real-time strategy take isn’t the worst idea in the world. The last thing a strategy game fan expects when they see a new C&C game is a Supercell-style game.
In fact, why not transform a new C&C mobile game in turn-based form? It may not be as fast as the past games but it’s easier to keep in line with the original tone & hardcore feel with a turn-based game. It’ll still be strategic but in a different lens and gameplay style at least.
I’d rather these twits at EA come clean and just flat-out admit that they’re using the C&C brand as another cash grab to tug the strings of nostalgic gamers. Don’t use guys like Gameindustry.biz as a pedestal for your obvious marketing bulls***.
Don’t justify your use of the C&C brand for your mobile game as your “modern, contemporary interpretation of the Command & Conquer brand“. You’re embarrassing yourselves further.