United Forum had the great opportunity to interview C&C Global Community Manager EA_CIRE and talk with him about his job, the video game awards, the teaser-trailer and about some questions the community has right now in regards to the recently announced Command & Conquer Generals 2.
UF: How is it, being on the 'other side' after years of being an C&C community fansite administrator?
EA_CIRE told us that there are always two sides of a coin. On the one hand he now has a lot more influence and insight, on the other hand he misses the freedom of being a fansite admin and not having to back check everything with legal and marketing. He gets a very positive vibe from the developers, who are very interested in his insights as fansite admin and community member, because he knows what the fans want.
UF: What is EA_CIREs typical workday?
His role in the community is not being the most active guy on the boards (he reads a lot though!), but to influence the team in order to create a great game that the fans enjoy very much. One of the reasons for him being community manager is his insight in the community and being a voice for the community as part of the C&C developer team.
UF: How did EA_CIRE experience the Video Game Awards?
His VGA day started with the Origin leak (Origin released Generals 2 preorder information hours before the VGAs), tons of emails on his blackberry and of course fixing the leak. He was live at the VGAs until shortly after the trailer and then drove back to the office to make sure the forums, blogs and so on go smooth.
UF: Does Victory Games have a guy for hunting leaks and were some leaks intentional?
There is no 'leak guy' who crawls through the net checking for leaks. Some information was posted in hope of it being discovered, but the way it went down was not intentionally. For example generals2.com linking to the product site was a mistake and therefore fixed asap. In general leaks mean panic, frantic phone calls and the person responsible being terribly sorry.
UF: Was the map shown in the teaser specifically made for the VGAs or is there already a playable version of the game?
EA_CIRE replied that they do have more, but of course that teaser was made for the VGAs. They will release more content in the form of screenshots and videos in the next months.
UF: Since the information for the game has been released, a lot of players are worried about the 'downloadable content', especially about the factions and units part.
EA_CIRE pointed out that the game is designed to be highly attractive over a long time and that there will be more content coming after time. But balance is a central point for the team and they will focus on avoiding imbalances. One thing they are looking at are the DotA-clones with their ingame stores as good DLC examples. And not everything will have to be payed for, lots of additional content will be free.
UF: Follow up question. So factions and units will be free?
The game will be released in 2013, EA_CIRE pointed out. There's a lot of time left to make and refine those decisions, not much is final about the system right now. He again states clearly that the game being balanced is very important for the team. He also mentioned that feedback is highly important and that the team follows the statement 'hey, don't make it overpowered'.
UF: Will the EU-Faction be the European Union or some kind of 'Eurasian Unity League', as depicted in the Zero Hour storyline?
EA_CIRE said we should take a close look at the tank, especially the sign on the track. It would be very similar to a symbol in real life, either an organization or a confederation. (EU probably means European Union then.)
UF: In an interview it has been mentioned that Victory Games joined Bioware this summer, what was the reaction of the dev-team to this?
EA_CIRE states that a lot of higher ups at EA have C&C in their heart right now. Bioware is known for quality and the team is very exited and happy to utilize the experience and quality management BioWare has (in terms of the game has to have a certain standard to be good enough for the fans). Generals 2, he thinks, will be one of the best Command & Conquer games, quality wise, which have been released over the last years.
UF: Will the cutscenes feature real persons again or will they be rendered in ingame graphics?
Frostbite 2 is capable of high-def cinematics, EA_CIRE said, but he knows the community wants real actors. Both are viable options, they haven't made a final decision in that regard. Time will tell.
UF: Does BioWare Victory have plans to release tools for mapping and modding? Or do they share the DICE notion, that Frostbite 2 is too complex for modding?
There is much time left until 2013, so the final decision has not been made yet. EA_CIRE knows how important it is for the community to get proper mapping and modding tools and strongly makes their case in the development team. There is still hope for all those mappers and modders out there.
UF: Will there be a ladder kit?
Presumably not, considering none has been announced yet EA_CIRE states...
UF: What did EA think off the speculations and the mood before the announcement was made?
EA_CIRE said that the site "United Forum" won some fans in the dev-team for promoting the Generals 2 rumor, despite heavy criticism. Some developers felt sorry for them. Apart from that it was really interesting for them to follow all the speculations and they were amused by some of the rumors, for example those regarding "Alliances". They also were impressed how deep some fans digged into the website code for hints.
UF: What is going on with "Alliances"?
According to EA_CIRE those are just internet domains, nothing to make a fuss about.
UF: Why is Generals 2 already announced, although it is going to be released not earlier than 2013?
EA_CIRE joined the studio very early in the development process, at a time a community manager normally is not yet needed. But BioWare Victory wants the community to take part in the development process of the game as early as possible. The feedback of the community is going to reach the developers early on so that the game will be shaped in the right way. EA_CIRE thinks that Blizzard already proved this concept to be working really good.
UF: Can we expect BioWare Victory to redesign the units multiple times considering the community feedback, for example the controversial EU 'Orca'?
Probably not as excessive as Blizzard does, but according to EA_CIRE they definitely try to implement the wishes of the fans. He stresses that the helicopter shall not be regarded as GDI Orca!
UF: How does the C&C Community Manager spend Christmas?
EA_CIRE will stay in the US to relax and celebrate at the beach, perhaps he is also going to visit San Francisco together with an old friend from Germany.
UF: A final message from EA_CIRE to the community?
EA_CIRE: "Rejoice for a kick-ass C&C game!"
So that concludes the exclusive first interview.
C&C fans should try to keep an open mind and take advantage of the opportunity that the Development Team is offering to the C&C community in regards to creating this game. Here is your chance to make your opinions heard. Lets try to offer constructive criticism to make this a better game and if necessary put our foot down and declare it when something is not right so they will take all options and opinions into consideration.
This is our chance to make this the BEST C&C game ever!