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

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

GameReplays: Is it true that Red Alert had never been planned when Tiberian Dawn was written and was solely the result of TD's success and the desire to quickly release another title (rather than moving on to the more ambitious C&C2), and that any mention of connections between the Tiberian and the Red Alert universes can be discarded as non-canon, a result of the reuse of the original C&C engine rather than deliberate universe building? If there's more time, I'd appreciate a more thorough discussion of what led to the creation of the Red Alert franchise and if or how it connects to the Tiberian franchise.

Cypher: Well...

Yes, Red Alert was planned to cash in on the success. And it was originally planned as a World War II type game - but the Westwood guys were afraid of making a Nazi faction. Kinda shortsighted of them, considering the onslaught of WWII related games since then.

However, it is NOT true that it is not connect or only connected due to reuse. That's a blatant lie.

Because they didn't want to do a WWII game based on the real one, they came up with a WWII game as a prequel to Tib Dawn. Deliberately. In fact, the original RA was supposed to be structure like Firestorm - two mirror campaigns, complementing each other's events, instead of two mostly mutually exclusive ones. But that didn't work out well.

At any rate, all the events of the original RA, be it Allied win or Soviet win, lead to one outcome - the fall of the USSR, be it by the direct hand of the Allies or the Nod puppet leader placed after Stalin is taken care of, respectively. All there to effect the fall of the USSR so that Nod can rise from the economic and military ruin that happens world wide when a major super power falls.

The changes in tech (Mammoth going from Soviets to GDI, for example) is easily explained as spoils of war.

When doing the now defunct Dead Six mod's plot line, we actually came up with a mission where the Dead Six go in to retrieve plans for the Mammoth tank, and encountering the precursor to Nod's cyborg technology - a.k.a. Volkov.

As for the rest of the Red Alert Franchise - meaning RA2 and RA3 - those have nothing to do with the Tiberian fictionverse.

As a matter of fact, if you take a good look, you'll see that RA2 barely has anything to do with the original RA. Where the original RA, much like the other games of the Tiberian fictionverse, was dead serious, RA2 and RA3 are deliberately self mocking and more humor based.

As a side note: Adam Isgreen suggested, on the Petroglyph forums, long ago, a way to bridge RA2 back to the fold of the Tiberian fictionverse, by having Yuri travel back in time, under Kane's orders or some such. Adam got a lot of grief on that from me.

Also, that was just one idea he had. Something that was never written down in any form or official media.

That said, the statement itself is evidence enough of the fact that RA was indeed a prequel - since he wanted to bring RA2 back to the fold....

GameReplays: How much of the game story was thought out beyond the scope of the present game? Specifically, how much of the Tiberian universe was written out when Tiberian Dawn was released? Was there any idea as to Kane's goals and the future of Tiberium on Earth? Was it always planned to turn C&C into an alien-invasion action plot?

Cypher: Yes, the whole Alien thing was there from the get go. And originally there was indeed a plan for trilogy arch. A plan that, by Brett Sperry's own words, got expanded beyond the original three with the creation of RA as a prequel.

However, it was not a detailed plan. It was broad strokes. Not even Kane's origins, or even Kane's personality, was set in stone. The writing of the in-house C&C bible, a concordance to work off of, was started only after Renegade was finished (they hired the guy who did the Renegade script).

So yeah, there was an idea. But not a detailed plan.

GameReplays: How was the writing of a sequel story approached? How can Kane survive repeated killings without making the constant warefare seem pointless or trivializing earlier stories? What happened to just about everything that was establised in TS/Firestorm ("atmosphere lethal within one year", Tiberium flora and fauna, Tiberium research from the Tacitus... what did Tratos's translations say?

Cypher: Kane came out, each time, a bit different. Adding more to his myth. But that's also part of the reason he was... let go with TT.

There's still plenty to do with Kane, though, if they so choose.

Regarding the lethal atmosphere and everything during Firestorm;

Back when I first visited EALA, for the secret summit, before the release of C&C3, I suggested they use something similar to a Doomsday Clock, but dedicated to Tiberium.

What Dr' Gabriella Boudreaux said - before decyphering the Tacitus - was that in the then current rate of Tiberium infestation and mutation, there was one year left. However, after getting the data from the Tacitus, work began that slowly turned the tide. So there's no problem with the statement of 80+ years till total transformation that was stated in the intro to C&C3. Since they didn't reverse the process, but only slowed it, they gained more time. First a few more months to the original 1 year estimate, then a few more years, then a few more decades. It's very similar to how the Doomsday Clock works. Especially now that it incorporates environmental conditions and pollution.

Special thanks to Mark for taking the time please join the conversation regarding this question and answer session and on Command & Conquer lore in general.