Command and Conquer is one of the holy grails of the computer game industry and there probably isn’t a geek alive who isn’t familiar with the game or the looming face of Joe Kucan.
Now, as Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath prepares to launch on the Xbox 360, we chat to executive producer Jim Vesella about the future of the Command and Conquer series, the difference between the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game and how Red Alert 3 is shaping up…
bit-tech:How intimidating did you find it to work on Kane’s Wrath, given that Command and Conquer is such a well know franchise?
Jim Vesella: Well, yeah, there’s certainly a lot to live up to isn’t there? Um, Tiberium Wars was a huge challenge for us in that way and we felt a huge responsibility to bring the franchise back, but also bring it into the new generation. That game was very successful though, so our confidence was certainly boosted as we went into Kane’s Wrath.
That said, we still felt that huge level of responsibility and accountability going in. So, what we tried to do was bring the best experience we could to both the PC version and the Xbox 360 version. And really kind of double-down on that control scheme in the Xbox 360 version and focus in on the fiction too, bringing it to this new generation of audiences on consoles.
So, it was definitely…we felt a huge pressure in regard to living up to this franchise, but I think we successfully delivered.
BT:Regarding the fiction, you’ve retained all the full-motion video and actors from the original Command and Conquer games – but when you were planning those did you seek out actors or actresses in particular?
JV: Really? Our focus was totally on Joe Kucan as Kane. We knew that if we wanted to bring it to high-definition and bring back the full-motion videos and if we wanted to bring back the Brotherhood of Nod and the GDI then we had to have Joe Kucan as Kane. To be honest, there’s nobody but Joe who can bring that type of energy and charisma to that part. We were very fortunate to get in contact him and he was very interested in the project and so he was really where we put our focus.
Then, luckily, we got some amazing actors and actresses to join us for Tiberium Wars and we’ve also now done that for Kane’s Wrath. We’ve got Natasha Henstridge and Carl Lumly joining the cast and so it all really came together and we’re really glad that they’ve turned out so popular.
BT:Ok, and when you were creating the roles for Natasha Henstridge and the other prominent characters in the fiction did you seek our actors to fill those roles specifically or did you adapt the roles to the actors?
JV: Well, we kind of did both. We’re always looking for actors and actresses who would kind of understand what we’re trying to do – which is kind of sci-fi and kind of campy and jokey or casual. So, a lot of the actors that we’ve bought on have been from that type of past. Natasha for instance was from Species movies and we’ve had actors from Battlestar Galactica; so a lot of these people were, we felt, really clued in on what we were trying to do. That really helped us on set and helped us fill out those roles.
And then, once we’d cast the specific actors, we do kind of try to cater the parts to them and so we look at what they are best at and their performance style. Carl Lumly in particular came across as such a good orator and such an amazing public speaker. He has this big background in theatre and stage performances that we decided to cater the part of Brother Marcion for him and we had him preaching and giving all these huge speeches.
So, yeah, we kind of do both. It’s important to find the actors who can work within your style, and then it’s important to cater your characters to the actors as well.