There has been an increasing number of leading developers in the gaming market over the recent years who have brought us some of the greatest franchises recently. From Infinity wards bringing us Call Of Duty to Bungie’s mighty Halo series and even Zynga bringing FarmVille into millions of daily lives.
However there is always the time we have to sit back and remember the great companies which once were, the companies which towered over all others and defined a generation and a genre. Westwood Studios was just 1 of the many developers which completed this goal of bringing the world of Real Time Strategy to our lives.
To bring Westwood into everyone’s mind quickly I have thrown together a very basic time line for the like of Westwood Studios. Originally founded in 1985 by Brett Sperry and Louis Castle (Known as Westwood Associates) created a handful of games before their merger with Virgin Interactive and name change in 1992 when they were known from then on as Westwood Studios. Westwood begun to gain traction with its use of the Dune series in 1992 where is begun the early stages to define the RTS genre.
Following the idea behind Dune II Westwood persued their own idea in an attempt to release a truly original series, not based on existing material (The Dune book series and movies). In 1995 Westwood released its own series Command & Conquer which to this day is still a high talking point in the RTS world. From 1995 onwards Westwood was known as one of the leading game developers of their time and begun to pull a huge fan-base from gamers and publishers.
The huge success of Westwood’s new series lead to their own destruction with EA Games acquiring the company in 1998 for over $122million. Since its acquisition in 1998 Westwood Studios begun to loose their original staff and loyal fan-base with their new owners pushing the developer harder, demanding more games quicker than Westwood was originally known for.
It is suggested that the last ‘official’ batch of the original Westwood team left the company after the release of C&C Generals which, like many of the series after its acquisition, was met with poor community feedback and commercial goals.
After failing to meet consumer and commercial goals the now struggling developer along with its recently assigned co-developer EA Pacific (Known for their Metal of Honor series) were in March of 2003 liquidated and its staff and games were absorbed into what is now known as EA Los Angeles.
Since Westwoods demise in 03 EA continued the C&C legacy with multiple releases in both the Red Alert and Command and Conquer series. Since the final release of C&C 4 fans of the series believe that EA has finally put the series to rest with the final game leaving all of its previous traits behind very few fans took the challenge of embracing the changes.
Its believe that most of the original C&C teams have now are members of both Petroglyph Games, which features a number of RTS like games coming to the market over the next few years, and Jet Set Games which has a smaller focus based on mobile games etc.
All Your History Are Belong To Us
The guys over at Machinima.com have done a great job at reviewing the Command & Conquer series in some of their recent videos showing the history of C&C and the RTS Genre. To help re-live the C&C series I have linked the relevant videos for you to enjoy.
All Your History Belong To Us
- Command & Conquer Part 1: Supply & Demand
- Command & Conquer Part 2: Corporations & Communists
- Command & Conquer Part 3: Diverging & Merging
- Command & Conquer Part 4: New & Old
- Command & Conquer Part 5: Death & Beyond
Where is C&C Now?
After the demise of Westwood in 03 true fans and supporters of the series have kept true to the series and continued to support the games as far back to C&C Gold (Released in 1995) with some mods and patches being released in late 2010. With the Command and Conquer series keeping strong over 10 years for some games it is no surprise that EA has kept the series alive with recent releases like C&C4 and Red Alert 3.
Re-live The Classics
As a 12 year anniversary of C&C came a very un-expected announcement came from EA games, the gaming giant announced that C&C Gold (1995), C&C:RA (2008) and C&C TS (2010). These releases are at time of writing the only games in the series to reach Freeware status with hopes EA keep the series going with Red alert 2 and C&C Renegade hopefully due to hit freeware status in 2012 and 2014.
For those wishing to keep a copy of C&C on hand at all there the First Decade edition which includs C&C Gold (1995) through to C&C Generals (2003) in one sinple pack.
Below is the link to the original C&C games and where to download them.
Full Game Downloads
Command & Conquer Gold (1995)
Command & Conquer : Red Alert (1996)
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999)
Other Westwood Titles
A lot of the other Westwood games have long been forgotten and lost over time thanks to EA’s hand and can only be found in gamers archives or sites such as GOG.com who recently released NOX. Dune among other classic Westwood games such as Blade Runner have also never seen any sequels since the early 2000’s.
The Westwood Community
Over at Facebook there has been a tribute group setup to in honour of the great Westwood studios and all of its creations. The page does a great job of general posting about Westwood related news and events just to keep everyone in the loop when possible. Anyone who is a dedicated fan should give it a look and Like the group to show we will always remember the company that defined a generation and a genre.
As the great Kane said, “He who controls the past commands the future, He who commands the future, conquers the past”