RED ALERT 2
Q: When did Westwood first decide to make a sequel to Red Alert
A: We first began preproduction in May of 1999. We had been thinking of ideas for a few months while we decided how we wanted to focus our efforts.
Q: When will RA2 be in stores
A: We'll be on the shelves this Fall.
Q: At what point completion is the game in right now (as of May 1)
A: I hate to give percentages since they mean very little to most people. I'll try and describe it for you. All the units and structures are in the game and functional. We are playing network/Internet games everyday. This is a huge plus when it comes to play balancing and polishing. All the game functionality for the shell screens, the game editor, etc is all in. We are looking very good and it gives us time when we can just play the game to see what works and what doesn't.
Q: Who decided to put psychic powers into Red Alert 2
A: Why, the Soviets of course! Those pesky Reds were (and some say still are) experimenting with a lot of strange technology during the 20th Century. Psychic power is just one tech path they chose to follow.
Q: What exactly is "Turtle Mode" that we have been hearing about
A: "Turtle Mode" is when a structure has the ability to close in on itself to avoid threats. We originally planned on this but as we continued our plan of "balancing high", we found the turtle mode slowed down the game too much. Imagine that you've spent a lot of time and money on a Weather Storm only to find that it was fairly ineffectual against your enemy. To us this is frustrating and not the type of game we'd like to make. RA2 is all about big weapons, big action and big payoffs.
Q: Will the Soviet Side have MIG aircrafts in RA2
A: Currently they aren't planned for. Since the Soviets lost the last war they have revamped a lot of their tech to help defeat the Allies. Kirov Airships are slow but drop enormously powerful bombs. When a player sees his enemy trudging slowly across the battlefield with a few of these, he absolutely must address this threat. If not he'll be blown to smithereens.
A: How's is Tiberium Twilight progressing
A: That is a question better addressed by the TT team. Sorry!
Q: How is Renegade progressing and how far (time wise) is it from "Going Gold"
A: Same answer as above (except its the Renegade team).
Q: Will you ever fight against Kane face to face in Renegade
A: Same answer as above.
Q: Does Westwood ever plan to continue the Dune series
A: Again, not my jurisdiction.
Q: Have you read the Dune books, and if you did, how did you like them
A: I have read most of the books, although that was some years ago. I liked them a lot although I think some of the political intrigue went over my head since I was pretty young. Its a fascinating universe that Herbert created. Maybe after RA2 is done I'll get around to reading the new one.
Q: Are the names posted on the previews correct
A: Typhoon is the name of a Russian ballistic missile submarine, not an attack submarine. And Blackhawk is the name of a US transport helicopter. Currently we are continuing to review names for all the units & structures. It's very important that the names are fun, interesting and most of all descriptive of what the unit actually does.
Q: Isn't it a bit unbalancing for the Allies to be able to see everything on the map and have their bases hidden
A: Ahhh, play balancing. We are continuing to "balance high" which means that our gameplay should be very exciting, fun and volatile. Most games are "balanced low" where there are minimal differences between units. We're making sure that our units are powerful and worth the money/time to build. As far as Gap Generators and the Spy Satellite, they are proven play mechanics from the original RA1. The Allies are all about information while the Soviets are all about brute force.
Q: They're probably obsolete because of surface ships, but will missile subs make a return
A: Too soon to tell. We want to make sure we introduce lots of new tactics, units and structures. Missile subs are cool but we may want to try something fresher. We do have subs in now though.
Q: Will the name of the game stay "Red Alert 2" or will it get another name, maybe "Soviet Invasion"
A: Red Alert 2 is the name for now. If we come up with something better then we'll use that.
Q: How has the "economic model" or the gathering of ore changed in RA2 from previous C&C games
A: While we still have Ore Trucks like before, there are a few things we've altered in RA2 with regard to the economics.
1) We added Oil Derricks that can be captured by engineers in many of the maps. These provide the occupying player with a steady stream of cash.
2) The Ore Trucks themselves have special abilities. The Allied Ore Truck (Chrono Miner) can chrono itself back to the refinery to avoid threats and speed the collection process up. The Soviet Ore Truck (War Miner) has a turret on top that can repel small threats - especially the Terror Drones. We will specifically watch out for making the War Miner an offensive unit though.
3) The Allies have a purchasable structure called the Ore Purifier which increases the worth of ore collected.
4) We've improved the ore collection logic for the miners so that they collect "smarter". They'll go after the closest ore patch, return ore to the closest Refinery, etc.
Q: Who is Yuri
A: Yuri is Premier Romanov's #1 guy. He has a very checkered and mysterious past. He is the leader and most powerful of the Psychic Corps. These genetically enhanced soldiers were originally part of Stalin's experiments during the first Red War. Since Stalin's death they have been dormant as far as most Soviet's are concerned. Few knew of their existence but during Romanov's drive for power he recognized the worth that they could bring to the Russian military. Yuri can control the mind of most beings - although he has trouble with dogs. He can't mind control robotic beings, like Terror Drones or Miners, either. Yuri has been instrumental in helping Romanov choreograph the Russian invasion into the US. He can also use his mind attack to deploy a psychic wave around himself, frying the brains of other infantry. Some say that Yuri has lots of connections to underground technology and that his staring into his gaze is to give away your will.
Q: What is the Psychic Sensor
A: The Psychic Sensor is a Soviet structure that enables the player to actually "see" where his enemy is going to strike. It allows players to plan for attacks and be ready for an onslaught - before they happen. Its wide radius protects any structure or unit within the radius. If Tanya decides to attack a player's War Factory, that player will now before she gets there. A very useful structure.
Q: What's new with the Allied Spy
A: One of the directives for the team when making RA2 was to make sure all the units were very critical and useful. We felt that the Spy in RA1 could use an upgrade so we made him fairly powerful. Currently he can take the identity of whoever he wants. He will appear as this unit to the enemy. He can also enter lots of buildings to wreak havoc. If he goes into a Tesla Plant he will shut down the enemy's power for a while, if he enters a super weapon he will reset the enemy's timer for the special, if he goes into the Radar Tower he resets the enemy's shroud. One of the great new things is that when he enters an enemy's Battle Lab he will use the enemy technology and his own to develop a new unit. That unit is a combo unit and is buildable from then on. One example at this time is the Chrono Commando. This unit can chrono anywhere and bomb buildings. The farther he chrono's the longer it takes for him to "phase back in" or become active. Generally these units are very powerful.
Q: What do you mean by "Balancing High"
A: Typically in most strategy games the units and structures are fairly similar. Not only that but their differences in terms of hit points, mobility rate, etc are negligible. While this philosophy has worked plenty of times for other games, we wanted to take RA2 in a different direction. RA2 units/structure and specials are all meant to be game enders if used correctly. Our intention is to make sure that a player could possibly win the game at any time. He or she may be getting beaten pretty handily but think to themselves, "If I can just hold out for a few more minutes THEN I'll have them!" By balancing high we are also aiming high. It's very exciting as the games we've been playing together are like roller coaster rides. Our games are shorter and more volatile than most. The intensity just keeps on building. And, of course, the key word in "balancing high" is "balancing". So far, so good.
Q: What does the team think of all the fan sites for RA2
A: We absolutely love them. Without the fans RA2 wouldn't mean anything. Seeing your work appreciated, talked about and speculated on is fantastic. We love the forums and we look at them everyday to see what the community is saying about us. We love the compliments but we really try and take some of the criticisms to heart. Many of these go directly toward improving the game on a daily basis. I wish we had more time to discuss the game but since we're knee deep in the production process, it makes it hard. Just know we're watching. Heck, say hi to us sometimes!
Q: What type of game are you trying to make with RA2
A: Good question. We are very specific with regard to the vision of the game. We want to capture the magic of the first one with its fast gameplay and strange, techy universe. The 20th century tech we chose to focus in on was due to lots of research on the net, libraries, etc. You'd be surprised how much of it is based in theory or off-beat science. We want the game to be a fun, deep and exciting game. We decided our focus would be on new units, structures and tactics. This is the heart of the game. We want to keep it fresh for a long time.
Q: What interface improvements have you made from previous C&C games
A: So far, lots of them. We wanted to keep the same gameplay but make sure players spend a lot more time on the battlefield rather than the Command Bar. We want the UI is be very easy to use. The real fun is playing with the toys (units) in the sandbox (game). Here's a quick initial list.
1) Tab System We have changed the Command Bar so that there are typically only 2 button clicks to arrive at the unit/structure you want to build. There are 4 tabs Infantry, Arsenal (Includes specials and defenses), Structures and Vehicles. This makes for fast navigation and not much scrolling of the buttons.
2) Rally Points Our "Rally Point" only requires a double click on any production building. The rally line appears and you can set it anywhere on the map
Advanced Command Bar We implemented an optional command bar on the bottom of the screen that allows for many commands like "deploy", "teams", "beacons", etc.
3) Diplomacy Button This button appears on the top of the screen and allows players to ally, know who belongs to which color, etc.
4) Planning Mode Essentially are very robust waypoint system, it allows players to coincide their own units to execute actions together easily.
Beacons These are located on the Advanced Command Bar and are used in multiplayer games. A player can set these on the tactical map and communicate with Allies easily during games.
Q: Is Kane in Red Alert 2
A: Hmmm, good question.
Q: Where did Premier Romanov come from
A: Romanov is a vengeful man. After seeing the Allies crush Russia he pledged his life to seeing that this crime would be set right. Feeling that Stalin led his homeland down the road to ruin, he sees his destiny as fulfilling the Soviet Union's rightful position as THE world power. Evidence of his lineage to the original Tzars is tenuous at best. He is a proud man that has spiraled down into the world of paranoia and treachery. His trust lies in Yuri till the end but no one else has been deemed worthy of this "honor". Now the only country that truly stands in his path to world domination is America.
Q: Giant Squid - why a Giant Squid
A: Thanks to the Soviet experimentation with mind control, they have been able to utilize this research to take advantage of the "lesser" forms of life. Earlier in the 20th Century Russian marine scientists began searching for this elusive real-life sea monster. At 100 feet long they had been dragging Russian fisherman to their deaths for years. Eventually, a Psychic Corp research vessel was able to find and capture one of these creatures. They found that the beings were fairly intelligent and psychic powers worked wonders to tame them. Recognizing their stealth abilities as well as their ferocity would work well for them, they began to breed them for their own ends. The Giant Squid is useful to drag down enemy ships and limit offensive powers. They also like to munch on Dolphins, although these trained Allied units are difficult to match with their sonically enhanced fin-packs.
Q: How do you execute a "cow rush"
A: First, find some cows. Next take a Crazy Ivan and bomb the cows. The bombs will stay inactive until detonated by the player. Then use a few Yuri units to mind control the cows. You will now have control of their movements. Walk the cows up to a player base (they are not recognized as enemies) and use Crazy Ivan to blow them all up! Its udder madness!
Q: How do you garrison a building
A: In RA2 Conscripts and GIs can enter civilian structures and "garrison" them. Many soldiers can enter and this essentially becomes a safehouse. They can fire out of the buildings and the structures themselves are boarded up with barbed wire. These garrisoned buildings protect the infantry inside and enhance their firepower. They are great to command/hold points on the map and to create pinch points.
Q: When does Red Alert 2 take place
A: RA2 takes place roughly 20 years after RA1.