Electronic Arts and BioWare Victory announced at the end of 2011 that they were bringing back the C&C franchise with Command & Conquer: Generals 2, a sequel to the franchise’s best-selling game. In a surprise twist, last week they unveiled a complete change in direction for both the title and future of the series.

No longer would the be titled Generals 2. Instead, the ‘more serious’ return of the beloved franchise would be going free-to-play and online only. If that didn’t disappoint a few long-time fans of the franchise, the latest update will since we now know the game won’t even support a campaign.

After the Command & Conquer: Generals 2 unveiling trailer played at the Spike Video Game Awards, a variety of details released about the game. At the time, they said Generals 2 would take place 10 years after its predecessor, would offer both a strong single-player and multiplayer campaign featuring Frostbite 2-powered in-game cinematics.

Well, the game is built on DICE’s Frosbite 2 engine and it sounds like it’s going to feature strong multiplayer, but you can forget the rest. In chatting with PC Gamer at Gamescom 2012 Bioware Victory GM John Van Caneghem revealed that the newly titled Command & Conquer, a relaunch of the franchise, will not release with a single-player campaign. Instead, it’ll all be about cooperative and competitive multiplayer in the online-only arena.

“As a live service I think the exciting part is you can try things. You can see what the community wants, you can give it a shot, you can put it up for a weekend and see how it goes, develop towards what the fans like.”

Of the eight things we wanted from Generals 2, we can knock out another item.

Having playing every C&C game released to date, it’s a pretty safe bet that fans of the series wouldn’t mind a mode that doesn’t require an internet connection. Just check out the comments and dislike vs. like ratio on the video above to see. While dropping the campaign entirely is a poor way to relaunch the franchise, at least they chose the Generals series to employ that strategy with. Of the three core C&C series (the other two being Red Alert and Tiberium) the Generals story and campaign was weak and practically nonexistent. More than the other two, it was all about the multiplayer.

Command and Conquer Free-to-Play with Frostbite 2

Let’s look at the official announcement from last week:

An all-out war rages in Command & Conquer, as players take control of multiple factions, compete for resources, build up operation bases and lead massive batteries of tanks, soldiers and aircrafts into battle. With incredibly detailed units, fully destructible environments, dynamic physics and exhilarating visual effects, Command & Conquer is poised to re-define what gamers expect from a strategy game. Heralding feedback driven design, Command & Conquer will evolve and develop with an expanding array of new content based on community response.

Community response seems to be the ongoing theme so if fans want a single-player mode, it can potentially come down the line. Just make sure to demand it and voice your opinion. What we do know is that C&C will incorporate and focus on e-sports features. How that will compare to what StarCraft II offers remains to be seen, but a similar emphasis is being applied by Activision and Treyarch with Black Ops 2, who are pushing for e-sports mainstreaming with their multiplayer unveil during Gamescom.

Is a free-to-play, multiplayer-only Command & Conquer the right/wrong direction for the franchise?

Command & Conquer releases on PC in 2013.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: PC Gamer