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Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar Interview - Command & Conquer Lore Discussion

By methuselah - 29th August 2011 - 18:16 PM

Recently, GameReplays own methuselah got a chance to visit with Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar and discuss something near and dear to most Commanders and Conquerors.

C&C lore.

Mark, for those of you that don't know him, is a long time member of what was originally known as "APOC's Army" and he is also a virtual encyclopedia regarding C&C lore.....and it just felt like a good time to have this conversation. The questions are in no particular order please feel free to join the discussion regarding this interview and hopefully Mark will have time to join us otherwise we'll do a follow up Q&A with him at a later date.


GameReplays: Name, age, location please.

Cypher: Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar, 28, Israel.

GameReplays: Some background if you will.

Cypher: Well, I'm married with two amazing kids. I've served in the Israeli Navy, on a fast patrol boat
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and then as a Logistics Officer in the Naval HQ. I retired with the rank of Lieutenant and moved to Home Front Command and am serving as an XO of the HQ Company of a Rescue Regiment, with the rank of Captain. My wife, by the way, is also a Captain in the Army.

My involvement with C&C began when I bought a "collection" CD which included cool games like Sonic, Panzer Dragoon, Epic Megagames and EA's Firefight, and two cool games without movies or music - C&C Red Alert and C&C 95.

I actually first played RA, cause I couldn't get C&C to work. And even then, not even all the levels, cause it was buggy.

It was actually after Tiberian Sun came out that I got... well, fanatic about C&C. I got the World Wide Warfare pack and replayed everything. With all the movies, music and the works.

That's when I got involved with PlanetCNC, as a features and news writer. And involved with so many arguments about the plots of the various games, and not being bale to stand inaccuracies and basic misunderstandings of logical extrapolations, I started compiling the C&C Encyclopedia.

Now, I've already mentioned that I'm Israeli. That means... Hutzpah - for the Michele Bachmann fans among you, that's not pronounced with a Ch as in Channel. So, what I did was just email directly the guys at Westwood. That included everyone from Chris Rubyor, through Adam Isgreen and Erik Yeo and to Lou Castle and Brett Sperry. I bombarded them with questions and started building a pretty decent complete picture.

So I incorporated various logical extrapolations in the various holes that were left by the in game and printed media.

I was actually told by the guys at Westwood that the guy they hired to do their in-house C&C Bible (a copy of which I received when Westwood was consolidated) used my Encyclopedia extensively.

When C&C3 was announced, I was asked and flown to EALA to comment on the game. Unfortunately, it was too late to do any real changes, but many of the comments later made their way into Kane's Wrath. I was given the chance to comment on both the KW and TT scripts.

That's also when I became the first of Apoc's Army - the team of community members who help out the Community Manager with moderating the forums and various other activities.

GameReplays: First lore question: What is Kane? He's not human, and the Scrin, in all their vast galactic knowledge, know nothing about him. Why does Tiberium suddenly change its form from C&C 2 to C&C 3? wouldn't it have been just been much easier for the Scrin to simply seed an uninhabited planet?

Cypher: That's not just the first question, that's first, second and third.

Anyway, Kane is... well, he certainly looks Human, doesn't he? I don't know what Kane is. We know he's immortal. And it's very tempting to think of him as the Cain of Genesis, the one cursed to wander the Earth forever (land of Nod), never to find rest (being immortal, maybe). Now, I'm not a big believer in Magic. I don't treat Judaism is a religion and I think that every Myth has a basis in reality. So the Shaggy God type story here seems a very nice fit - Kane got left here, as punishment, by his race. Probably humanoids, living much longer than us. Maybe a race that already met the Scrin before. Maybe a race that was able to defeat the Scrin before. Maybe... a race that caused the Scrin to start on their race for universal domination....

There are so many ways here to write Kane's background. And with each, so many possibilities for his motivations and ultimate goals.

Does he want to absolve himself? Does he do it by saving man kind from Scrin? Or does he do it by triggering humanity's own call to arms against Scrin? Or does he aim for cooler heads to prevail, to affect a universal peace? Does his own race needs to be resurrected or maybe saved?

As the EALA guys said it, TT just ended the GDI and Nod chapter. Though, it's no secret I'd love a do over of TT - maybe even of TW (keep major events, redo the Tiberium etc').

As for Tiberium - I actually had a great scene planned for the last mission of KW's Act I that would have explained the whole transformation in a great way, seamlessly tying the Tib from Tiberian Sun and Firestorm to that of Tiberium Wars. Alas, again, it was too late. Though, apparently, the guys liked it. Oh well, maybe with TS: Rising we can implement it. Or with a reboot? :-)

As for why the Scrin attack an inhabited planet - well there's a pseudo scientific reason for it.

If you assume that for Tiberium, in it's first evolution, to grow and spread and evolve, it needs a specific type of planet, where plants can grow, where an entire Eco-System can evolve, then we are talking about a very select few planets in the entire Universe. So it makes that some of those planets, maybe even most of them, would be inhabited.