The Command & Conquer franchise is making a return with Command & Conquer: Rivals, but it's not in a way that long-term fans of the series may expect. The property was one of the most important early real-time strategy franchises out there, helping to make the genre more accessible and popular with mainstream audiences while putting in place design elements that remain mainstays of the RTS world to this day.
However, Command & Conquer's time at the top of the industry wasn't going to last. Things started to go downhill in the wake of developer Westwood's buyout from publishing giant Electronic Arts, and after several disappointing releases and cancelled projects it looked as though Command & Conquer was all but dead. No new game had been seen in the franchise since 2012, and that was a free-to-play browser game.
As it turns out, Command & Conquer is making a return, but this time in the form of a mobile strategy game. Dubbed Command & Conquer: Rivals, the game is developed by EA Redwood and was part of the EA Play event during E3 2018. The title was on the receiving end of a cinematic reveal trailer, which can be seen above, before the presentation jumped into a brief gameplay demo.
Command & Conquer: Rivals is going to be release for Android and iPhone users, although Android users have the advantage for now. The game is currently available in a pre-alpha build for Android devices, and all potential players have to do is go to the Google Play store, search for the game, and hit the pre-register button. As such, it's a good way to get a glimpse at the title in its early build stages.
Whether the game will get much take-up is another matter entirely. The game's trailer is currently sitting at a disastrous ratio of likes to dislikes, with over 14,000 dislikes to under 1,000 likes at the time of writing. Fans of the original series have been left disappointed by the move to mobile, with many feeling that EA has mismanaged the franchise over the years, and other terrible mobile adaptations from EA such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park sit long in the memory.
At the moment, the final outcome of Command & Conquer: Rivals is up in the air, with gameplay that feels closer to Clash of Clans than the previous games in the series. EA will also need to be careful about monetization in the game, fresh off the heels of the loot box controversy spearheaded by Star Wars: Battlefront 2. For the publisher to win over players for Command & Conquer: Rivals, it could be a tough journey.