Mobile strategy game Command & Conquer: Rivals will launch on December 4th, 2018. Rivals signals the return of the Command & Conquer franchise, which has not released a game since 2012 with Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances. It’s been longer still since the last mobile title, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, which came out in 2009. Enough time has passed that it was beginning to look as though the franchise was dead, but publisher Electronic Arts appears confident in its revival.
The Command & Conquer franchise got its start back in the 1990s and was developed by Westwood Studios. As one of the earliest real-time strategy games, Command & Conquer played an important role in establishing design elements that continue to influence the RTS genre. The game also helped bring RTS games to a wider audience. But after being bought out by EA, things took a turn for the worst, with the franchise releasing a series of disappointing games. It looked like the series was at an end, but then Rivals was announced during E3 2018 along with a trailer and a gameplay demo.
News of the game’s official worldwide launch date was revealed on EA’s website. Rivals will be available on iOS and Android. EA called the game their next competitive gaming franchise. It is a real-time player-vs-player that will retain elements from classic RTS games, demanding a great deal of tactical execution. But they state that players will remain in control of their units, requiring strategic gameplay that will make the game fairer.
Michael Martinez, EA Redwood Studios GM describes the game as follows:
“We set out to build an RTS game for mobile players that thrives on head-to-head competition and where strategy and skill matter. With continuous unit control and intense battles where comebacks are possible, Command & Conquer: Rivals delivers this and more. We’ve been thrilled to see the early response from players during soft launch. Player feedback has made the game stronger for our launch in December and we’ll continue to work with the community as we accelerate into esports next year.”
EA is also announced the release of Rivals Champions, a weekend mode that will also launch on December 4th. Champions was heavily influenced by FIFA franchise’s FIFA Ultimate Team Champions. Rivals Champions is the start of a potential multi-continent esports program in 2019. Champions will rely on a matchmaking pool, divided by rank, where players of varying skill levels can compete and distinguish themselves.
EA sounds confident in the future of Command & Conquer. Fans, not so much. The game’s trailer was not well received upon its release and things have not improved since. As of the time of this writing, the trailer for Rivals has 60,000 dislikes to 2,900 likes. Fans of the franchise remain disappointed in EA’s treatment of the series and were less than impressed by the gameplay demo. Fans and EA will have to wait until December to see if Command & Conquer: Rivals will breathe new life into the franchise or if its time has well and truly passed.