Command & Conquer 4 may well be the last game to contain full motion video sequences, it is certainly going out with a bang.
The Command & Conquer series has been known more many things since it began in 1995. Among the series tenets are popularization of the real-time strategy game from Westwood Studios, the progenitors of the genre with Dune II, a certain bald antagonist, and the use of full motion video sequences for its cinematics. While recording video of Hollywood caliber actors and putting them in your games was all the vogue in the 90s, see Wing Commander 4, it is decidedly less fashionable in 2010. But thanks to a tour of the sets
that EA Los Angeles used to film the sequences, it appears that C&C4 is taking a cue from the aesthetic of Battlestar Galactica in delivering a futuristic military command post. Screw green screen, these guys built the whole set as if it was actually on TV.
To see the amount of work that is going into filming the full motion video is interesting. Instead of spending develoment time building art assets and models that the animators could then, well, animate, EA LA is building brick and mortar sets. The costs probably equal out, but I wonder why more games don't shoot their cinematics this way. Why exactly did this process fall out of favor? Was it because the contrast between the actual gameplay and the somewhat better resolution video was too abrupt? With the amount of technology that exists for in-game cinematics, isn't that gap basically closed now, s?
While it's definitely cool to see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of C&C4 with Samuel Bass, I'm more interested in seeing Joe Kugan mugging about on the set.
But wait a second, is that Kane? Or Escapist E.I.C. Russ Pitts?