E3 2018: Command & Conquer: Rivals Announced11 Jun 2018 2
It’s not often that E3 throws up anything truly interesting on mobile, but you can always count on EA to do something in this space. This year, they announced a new 1v1 competitive real-time tactics mobile game in the form of Command & Conquer: Rivals.
Now, it IS a bit of a shame that a franchise with as storied a history as C&C’s now has to be used to give a new mobile game some legs, but if you look past that to what Rivals actually IS, there’s some potentially interesting dynamics at play. Here’s the official overview video that EA put out (don’t watch the EA conference segment, it’s awkward AF):
The objective is ultimately to destroy the enemy’s base, but you do this by taking control of the missile silo in the centre of the map (although you can also attack directly). This is in turn achieved by owning at least 2/3 of the launch pads surrounding the silo. When you own the majority of the points, the Silo will tick up. If you lose control, the opposing team keeps your progress and when the Silo ticks up to completion, a missile will launch at whoever isn’t in control at the time. Rinse and repeat until your enemy’s base is destroyed.
Beyond this, you choose a faction, a commander (they all have different special abilities) and then six unit types you want to take into the field. This potential for variety means there’s going to be a meta to contend with, and how well EA balance's it will determine how much potential the game will have. Tiberium does feature as the key resource, and both sides generate it at the same rate unless you deploy harvesters, but these can be attacked and destroyed.
Rivals shares a lot of key-points with another game we tried last year called Mini Guns. We ultimately didn’t end up reporting on it in any great detail as we weren’t 100% sure on the business model, but the core gameplay loop was actually pretty solid, and a lot of dun. The tactical problems presented by Rivals, and the constant jockeying of position over those control points could give rise to a genuinely fun strategy experience. You just have to look past the hallow shell that is now Command & Conquer.
If you are genuinely interested in giving Rivals a shot, you can pre-register on Google Play if you’re an Android user or go directly to the game’s website to pre-register as an iOS player. There will be a pre-alpha launching sometime soon, although only residents of the US and Canada will have a chance to be invited in.
Engadget has a hands-on preview that you can read that gives a bit more insight - it's going to be free-to-play (unsurprising), with the micro-transactions revolving around the purchase of "more diverse and powerful units". Doesn't sound promising but then you can earn those same units via grinding, according to the article. Mini-Guns did something similar but you bought 'packs', which had a couple of minis that could be of any rarity, so it wasn't a direct money-unit transaction.
We're not going to rule it out just yet, but the key things to pay attention to will be that business model and how they take it, and then the ultimate balancing of abilities and units so that there is a healthy and accessible competitive meta.