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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. Interview with Raj Joshi, EA Los Angeles

Название: Command & Conquer 4: Эпилог
Зарубежное название: Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
Разработчик: EA Los Angeles
Зарубежный издатель: Electronic Arts
Издатель в России: Electronic Arts
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Официальный русский сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
Intel Core 2.0, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D Card, постоянное интернет-соединение
Core 2 Duo 2.6, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card, постоянное интернет-соединение
MultiPlayer: Internet (10)
Жанр: Strategy, RTS
Игра вышла: 16.03.2010
Рейтинг: 6.5

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Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight is the latest installment in the famous Command & Conquer line-up, which was developed by EA Los Angeles, and will be released worldwide on the 16th of March, 2010. The new episode is going to become a final chapter in the popular Tiberium saga. EA Los Angeles is bringing in some very interesting gameplay innovations and imporvements to the familiar concept. Online play with up to 10 players in one match will support strong dedicated servers, while the single-player campaigns will feature some cool cinematics filmed with live actors including Joe Kucan providing magnificient portraying of the Kane character.

We have greatly enjoyed the demonstration and play-test of the game at the special event in the end of last year, where EA has presented the game to the Russian press in Moscow. After the show we talked to Raj Joshi, the Producer of Tiberian Twilight, to deliver you all the intriguing details about the development process.

- Hi! Please, introduce yourself.

- Hello! My name is Raj Joshi and I'm the Producer of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. My main functions include presenting the game to the public and overseeing the changes in the game's interface, what also includes designing the way it works and how people can interact with it to make sure everything is easy and convenient for them.

- What do you think about Russia?

- In November, 2009 I visited Russia for the second time. We also came in 2008 to show Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (2008) in Moscow during a special launch event. I loved it that time and this time as well. Various things have been improving everywhere. Russia is a wonderful country with a lot of supporters for our Command & Conquer franchise. Also I want to mention our counterparts here from EA Russia for their great efforts here. People are so enthusiastic in Russia about videogames and interest in them has been increasing in the last years. For example, the "IgroMir Games Expo" has been running for 4 years already. We have received a really warm welcome here, so thank you all for that!

- Tell us about your career in the game industry.

- I started with working at Pandemic Studios (1998-2009) making Full Spectrum Warrior (2004) and doing environments for that game. Then I moved to EA Los Angeles to take part in the development of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (2003) for consoles. There I also was the Lead Designer for the in-game Environments. After this I was in the team making Medal of Honor: European Assault (2005). Later on I shifted to producing, where I had a chance to work on Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II (2006) for Xbox 360. My next experience was connected with Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (2007) for Xbox 360 and the latest one is the upcoming project entitled Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (2010).

- How many people are working in your team?

- That's about 70 specialists who devoted their work time to Tiberian Twilight.

- Is it difficult to manage the staff?

- When you are creating a game that is so complex as Tiberian Twilight, you have to move certain pieces a lot. Sometimes things get difficult. In the beginning you might be scoping on a few new features, and its within control. Afterwards you are expanding the concept, make it much more bigger in scale. It requires a lot of changes on the regular basis and adapting the team's vision to the latest ideas. You know, it is quite a challenging task.

- Share some recent news about your studio with us.

- We are now a lot more focused on the specific titles trying to make sure that everything we deliver to the gamers is of highest quality that is only possible. Therefore, even with Tiberian Twilight we decided to reduce the number of features to increase the quality of all that were left. Our producers on behalf of the EA are making sure that we are creating games, which our fans will enjoy a lot and what they truly deserve. It is better to do a few things better, than present many things in an 'ok' state.

- Has the last global economic crisis affected game industry anyhow?

- I think, it has affected every single major business out there. People are much less willing to take risks now leaving some shore beds behind just in case. Because of that in the future of game industry I see more sequels coming out and fewer new original IPs ("Intellectual Properties" - ed. note) appearing. The studios are becoming smaller. Companies reduce the number of ongoing projects sticking to those only, which sound more exciting for commercial sales. Not so many chances are taken in favor of something that gives better return on invested money. The world is forging a new entertainment reality, what you can see in movies, music and videogames as well.

- Command & Conquer is an iconic RTS-games franchise. Why end it now?

- Yes, we're finishing the Tiberian saga, which has been developing for nearly 15 years! The famous plot introduced you to the "Brotherhood of Nod", its leader, followers, let you become a member of "GDI", gather Tiberium resources and so on. We wanted to bring this epic story to a solid conclusion, which the fans of series really deserve. We tried to avoid the line-up being too long and losing some of its precious value. I don't think that Command & Conquer can go anywhere afterwards. We've been carefully taking our time to save the sense in all the latest events in this game world.

- However, Command & Conquer isn't everything for the Tiberian Universe. Will it be alive?

- Of course! There are a lot of its fans sharing strong passion for this game Universe. It's been so much fun to play games uncovering this wonderful futuristic story. It would be a crazy decision just to give up on it and let it go away.

- How was the concept of Tiberian Twilight born?

- We were looking to shape Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars gameplay into something different. If you compare the new game with the previous one you will see some core changes. We were inspired by our own play styles, what we liked, wanted to add basing on our experience from multiplayer battles, which partially took place in Online FPS games. Finally, we decided to add some RPG elements to the franchise with the introduction of various classes for players. We really tried to bring in some flavors of other game genres to our traditional RTS-gameplay to expand our core audience as well as providing some fresh emotions to our hardcore fans. We are proud of the results we have achieved when developing Producer of Command & Conquer 4!

Speaking more about our inspiration, we didn't want Command & Conquer 4 to be Command & Conquer 3, but with a different number in the title. It wasn't a simple task. For example, for the Xbox 360 we planned to make you feel as if you are really driving your units around. We tested this and that what resulted in the Mobile Crawler concept born. Then we decided to get rid of common Tiberium harvesting in favor of new mobile bases which you could take anywhere you like. In the end our team and our testers have really enjoyed what they saw.

- What's the background for the new story?

- The action starts around the year 2062. Tiberium is really taking up its stranglehold on the Earth creating a danger that the whole planet can blow up. GDI can't figure out, how to save the Earth and NOD either. Kane stumbles upon the Tacitus, trying to figure out the mysteries of Tiberium. He allies with GDI trying to take Tiberium threat under control. At first it is a success resulting in formation of "Tiberium Control Network". Earth become partially hospitable again with blue healthy zones where people are living as usually. Tiberium turns into a controllable resource collected for power when needed. Though there is something going on with Kane. After all these years of fighting with GDI, is he ready to give up? You can get quite suspicious about that and his motives. You will have to play the game to find all the answers you seek.

- What are the most interesting story questions enticing players to do that?

- Why Kane went to GDI to get together with it? What is his real plan? Where does the Tacitus come from? Does Kane live? Will he go back to space? Will GDI finally get the complete control over the Earth? What is going on with Tiberium? As you can see there is a lot you would like to know!

- Is the story campaign linear?

- The in-game campaign will definitely give you some cool options to play with. Command & Conquer franchise offers a lot of opportunities to make choices, for example, whether you are a GDI supporter or want to team up with "Brotherhood of Nod". You can choose any faction to try out in separate campaigns as always. We have a progression based system in the campaigns presenting you 10 missions for each factions. The maximum number of levels is 20 and it will take you about 20 hours to get there. As far as the replayability concerns, you will surely be able to use different tactics and options to succeed, what might add another 20 hours of the gameplay time.

- What gameplay innovations are you bringing in to the franchise?

- We are introducing the Class-based system, which includes three different classes: Offense, Defense and Support. No longer you just go in as a member of GDI or Nod. You will have to choose how you would like to play the game. Offense is all about heavy units and tanks, big walkers. Defensive class isn't less intriguing at all, and it is intended for people who enjoy building bases filling their perimeter with powerful turrets and other structures allowing you to defend your camp from an enemy's attack. Support class will offer you some heavy aircrafts. A lot of flying units will be able to aid your units or your team mates if you engage in cooperative play. In addition, they provide some buffs and de-buffs on the battlefield for you or your enemies. We have added a Mobile Crawler now, so your base isn't static anymore. You can take it to any corner of the map. You just need to pack things up and travel there. Also you can even build units on the move and deploy them.

- How will all of this influence the available tactical options?

- Greatly! We really want to push people to start working together as one team. A lot of Command & Conquer players in the past tended to focus only on single-player campaigns, Skirmish battles against some AI-opponents, but they didn't spend much time on playing online with others. Personally, I think the best competition comes from a human-controlled enemies. With these 3 new classes and a 5 vs. 5 Multiplayer available Online you can really feel the difference of the available battle roles working together as one team supporting each other everywhere. We have been advancing this way. You aren't going just to storm an enemy's base anymore, because the Multiplayer modes that are presented encourage team's efforts and set very specific goals.

Surely, even in the story campaign you can team up with your friend just like you did in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 to be able to take on great missions alongside a trusted human companion. There different classes will also be available giving a lot more diversity in your play styles. The cool thing is that you are versatile! Imagine you are going to a match as an Offensive class. Later on you find yourself in a situation, where you consider that being a Defensive class is more beneficial. Then just redeploy as Defense, come right back in and play. However, always try to protect your assets. Before you used to have just one base, and if you lost it, the match could end with your defeat. Now if you lose your crawler, there is just a small penalty for redeploying allowing you to get back into game quickly.

- Will the friendly AI-controlled factions help a player in the campaigns?

- We are still thinking about that. I would prefer not to disclose it for now. We'll surely try to add the feature though. I know that a lot of players enjoyed this particular option in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

- Could you name a few completely new or unique units that will be available in Tiberian Twilight, and speak about their special abilities?

- First of all, we have revised some famous units including the "Mammoth" model and some other light tanks. I would also like to draw your attention to "AHV-8 Sandstorm", which is a mobile rocket launcher platform designed to take out air targets. We have borrowed some vehicle designs from Command & Conquer 2: Tiberian Sun (1999). If we name completely new units then count in the Mastodon powerful artillery. One of the top-tier units on the field will be the "Juggernaut" ("GDI Defense-class Artillery Walker" - ed. note). There are also "Condor" planes, which serve as heavy aircrafts. Huge units are several times bigger than the most usual ones. You will definitely note that, when looking at an "Avatar" mechanical warrior created by Nod with a cannon placed to his chest. "Spider" tanks are fast moving units, which can create an energy web while staying close to each other to trap the enemies inside and damage them with small lasers as well as slowing the caught opponents down. As you can see, we have prepared a lot of cool units for you. Designs of some of them are even animal based or taking certain looks or traits from Tiberian Sun.

- How many units are at present?

- In total, it would be 88 designs for both factions, which is more than were ever offered before in the Command & Conquer games.

- Was it difficult to achieve the proper balance of powers for them?

- Certainly, it was very challenging. Previously, the Command & Conquer franchise wasn't the best with this. I mean, you could often see a picture of 50 "Scorpion" Tanks battling together or ripping apart a single building. We didn't want to see that anymore. We want to see you using all the available units trying to utilize their unique special abilities. Classes are now serve as basic balance constraints. We are building our hardcore community, and it has been evolving. To test some new ideas out we have invited about 100 people from all over the world to Cologne in Germany, where they could visit "Gamescom 2009 Expo". After a few days of communicating with them, we got huge feedback for both single-player and multiplayer modes of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. After that we took a small pre-selected group of them to our internal studio to see more of the game in action. We carefully analyzed the community wishes and we have implemented a lot of game balance changes tuning various aspects nearly every day. It's been really crazy at times, but it was all worth it.

- Is there a limit on the maximum number of units of one faction on the battlefield?

- We have a limit concept that is connected with Command Points. When you play 5 vs. 5 it gives you around 50 Command Points limit or approximately up to 200 units fighting on the same battlefield. You will hardly notice this limit since gameplay is advancing more quickly than before, though there is a lot to manage, and generally the units aren't so dispensable as earlier, but being stronger now. In matches 1 vs. 1  you will have many more Command Points at your disposal, what gives you the chance to build really large armies. In other words, you will have to pay more attention to how you are playing and assisting your friends, rather than constantly producing new recruits.

- How smart is the in-game AI?

- In one of the recent Previews an author even accused it of cheating, but our AI is just so incredibly good and competent. We were really focused on making it very intelligent and a very good companion for people, who would like to have the friendly AI-faction alongside as well as a strong enemy for those who dare to take the challenge. It also required a lot of tuning on the way to make it capable of using different tactics, class benefits, and help any allies. So you can expect even better behavior than you could see in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. The AI for Tiberian Twilight is a very robust and complex system. We made sure it stays fairly competitive, but not too invincible to save the fun for the players. A lot of work had to be done by our programmers, and they performed really well.

Pathfinding was also a main focus for us here. We made some big critical changes to our Pathfinding system very early in the development process. It was an extremely challenging task that took a lot of our time. Our reliable redesigning will allow you to do things that previously weren't working very flawlessly.

- What else can you tell us about the Multiplayer in Tiberian Twilight?

- It allows you to play up to 5 vs. 5 players on one battlefield simultaneously. We are going to run up some strong dedicated servers allowing hundreds of people to battle Online at the same time. We might expand the limitations for one match in future, but I think that 5 vs. 5 gameplay is really exciting in its current state. For example, in our objective-based "Domination" mode you will need to capture 5 different Control Points on the map and hold them for as long as you can.

- What's the name of your graphics engine and its capabilities?

- We are still using our "Sage" engine, but it has undergone some major revisions, for example, with the ways that the in-game terrain is rendered. We have introduced the new dynamic lightning system, so every time the weapons special effects appear everything in the proximity area lights up. There are also some new kinds of various shaders and improved animation bringing in more realistic movement for all the units, amazing particles and weather effects. With a lot of extensive visual details it will be easy for you to distinguish one unit from another just by their looks. We have also put a lot of time into creating some really cool environments offering interesting tactical options as well as providing the space for huge intense battles. With the in-game cinematic we chose the Widescreen film approach.

In-game animation has ranked up to a new very high quality level. We have got some great animators working in our team who made that possible. Our animation is much more expressive now. This means that a lot of new unique animation frames have been added for each single unit. Some of them are specially designed for specific states, for example, injuries. Like when the Crawler gets hurt, you will actually see it. You can even enjoy the picture now, while watching your heavily damaged Crawler driving around. We have sticked to our focus on quality, what I mentioned above. Overall, you will see some great animations in Tiberian Twilight.

- Was the interface modified accordingly?

- Yes, we have changed it quite a bit. We walked with a horizontal bar opening up more play area space and reducing the size of the information panels. Now it takes just one quarter of the screen providing you with much more important information. We have added special windows letting you know everything you might want about the units or structures that you have selected, their active buffs and de-buffs on the field, possible abilities usage and upgrades available. We modified the build area, the mini-map, the way we render it to make it more interactive and useful. Everything else has got a completely different look and feel now.

- How're the things going in your sound department? Who is the composer of the in-game soundtrack?

- His name is Nick Laviers (Head of Audio Department in EA Europe - ed. note) and he is in charge of our sound engineers. He is an RTS-fan himself. The sound is very rich and textured bringing in the real feel of the game. The guys in this team are doing great, and I especially like our sound effects accompanying the new weapons we added as well as the everything else. We have recently had a fantastic recording session working with a big orchestra on the music. The new melodies will sound very iconic for our game, and make you remember the whole series getting the appropriate nostalgie feelings. I mean, take any game. 50% of it is in the visuals, the rest is in the audio. Our audio chiefs are very responsible making their 50% of our project in a very high quality.

- What music styles has Nick chosen?

- Various drums and enigmatic themes for GDI as well as a very eclectic soundtrack for NOD. There are also some very interesting world music styles mixes for NOD. I was really excited when I heard them for the first time.

- How do you see the future of the RTS-genre?

- I think that the RTS-genre will survive these hard times. Its shape will change a lot though. Some people are already contributing to this, for example, take the developers of World in Conflict (2007-2009) and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series (2004-2009). We are also adapting. I guess, the tactics of creating one RTS-concept and then releasing it again and again with a few minor tweaks won't longer work. True RTS fans are becoming more and more hardcore, while it is still important to keep this genre open to more casual players. RTS on consoles will be a great thing we will continue pursuing. It'd be cool to see a Command & Conquer game released on consoles. Ensemble Studios has been disbanded in 2009, though there were some talented RTS-veterans working in the team, which created the famous Age of Empires (1997-2007) series. We should definitely hear something from them in future.

- What contributes the most to the success of any game?

- It is a great thing for a developer to be a gamer, and have his own experience in this field before delivering anything new to the others.

- What do you like to do in your free time?

- I really enjoy video games, though I also play bass guitar and piano. I make my own music.

- What is your favorite video game?

- I am a huge fan of cars, motorcycles and everything that is connected with them. I enjoyed the recent Need for Speed: Shift (2009) quite a lot.

- Name 3 things you associate with Russia.

- Amazing architecture, endless enthusiasm and the coldness, freezing to the bones cold winter.

- Thank you for your answers, Raj!

- It was a nice time answering them. Hope you enjoy playing Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight!

08.03.2010 15:02, Unicorn


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Анонсы: Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
Обзоры: Command & Conquer 4: Эпилог
Интервью: Command & Conquer 4: Эпилог. Интервью с Раджем Джоши, EA Los Angeles
Тренеры: Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [Unlocker]
Command And Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [+12]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [+11]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [+2]
Ролики: Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [launch trailer, 2:12, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Эпилог [trailer, 4:20, mov, 1024x576]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Kane The Man", interview, 4:39, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Night Moves", 3:43, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["GST Walkthrough", 2:39, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Multiplayer CoOp Modes", 5:55, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Эпилог ["Single Player Progression", 5:29, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Class System", 2:21, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [ "Добыча тибериума", 5:10, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Transport Down", gameplay, 5:24, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4 [gameplay, 2:17, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight ["Birth of a Unit: Crawler", 4:06, mov, HD 720p]
Command & Conquer 4 ["Director's cut" trailer, 4:08, mov, 1248x702]
Command & Conquer 4 [announce trailer, 2:33, mov, 1248x702]
Программы: Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight [World Builder]
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