Command & Conquer: Red Alert was a fun, B-movie jaunt through an alternate timeline in which Albert Einstein cracked the mysteries of time travel and removed Hitler from coming into power. Without Hitler, Germany’s rise to power never happened and the Soviets were able to become Europe’s lone superpower, setting off an extended Cold War with the United States. This fostered an arms race between the two powers that gave the game its unique units and weapons, like the Tesla Coil.
The upcoming sequel, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, sees the Cold War boil over into World War III. It looks like Einstein wasn’t the only one able to crack the time barrier (obviously Al Gore and his Time Squad aren’t an active part of the Red Alert universe) as the Soviets have discovered limited time travel. In a desperate gamble to help restore the glory of Mother Russia, the Soviets travel back in time and assassinate Einstein, further mucking up the time line.
One result of the altered timeline is the emergence of a new faction, the Empire of the Rising Sun. The new faction is based on WWIII Japan, but with a Japanese pop culture-inspired twist. In addition to more traditional units, the Rising Sun will have mechs and mobile buildings, removing the need to build everything within close proximity. Keeping with the series' history, mechs aren’t its most outlandish units. Red Alert 3 asks the question “What If?” and brings to life every bizarre project and outlandish idea conceived in the last 70 years. Projects like the Philadelphia Experiment, teleportation and Tesla technology are all thriving ideas and make up the game’s units. The Rising Sun’s transforming mech units are joined on the frontlines by zeppelins armed with bombs, transforming tanks, intelligent dolphins and the absolute coolest unit to ever grace a strategy game, parachuting bears.
As I said earlier, Red Alert 3 is steep in B-movie style antics, which are part of its appeal. In addition to weaponized wildlife, the game will also utilize the series’ signature FMV story sequences to tell the story. So far, the only actor that has been announced is EliteXC fighter and American Gladiator Gina “Crush” Carano will appear as Soviet Commando Natasha. Expect more talent to be announced closer to the game’s release.
Red Alert 3 is built on the same engine used in Command & Conquer 3, though the gameplay is being tweaked to slow things down. One of the goals is to allow players more time to explore the strategy behind using certain units, including the game’s new naval game. While boats are nothing new in an RTS, Red Alert 3 is making it a big part of the gameplay and will even include water-based resources.
Red Alert 3 will also introduce a genre-first, a story driven co-op campaign.
Like Command & Conquer 3, Red Alert 3 is being prepped for release both on the PC and Xbox 360 and barring any anomalies in the time stream should appear in stores later this year.