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Devinoch_Interview _by_Apocalypse

Now that Westwood has made its first 3d RTS, will this be the end of 2d RTS games for Westwood?
[Devinoch] Who knows what the future holds? 3D certainly seems like the way of the future, but we're also trying our hand in other genres. We have Renegade in the works, and it's a FPS/Action/Adventure. We're also working on Earth & Beyond, which is a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG. Also in development is Pirates of Skull Cove, our first PS2 title. And, of course, who could forget Yuri, and the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack for Red Alert 2? So, it's hard to say exactly if it's the end of 2D RTS games or not. Guess you'll have to wait and see, just like us.
Currently, are there any plans for add-ons/expansions for Emperor?
[Devinoch] None at this time.
Is a map editor going to be released for Emperor? And if not, why?
[Devinoch] We're still looking into it, but it's a definite possibility. The problem is that our internal map editor is a tool that isn't necessarily intuitive, so it takes a while to learn and a lot of practice to master. We are investigating the possibility of releasing some version of that to the public, but nothing has been decided either way.
Seeing the C&C Universe evolve into Renegade, a first person shooter, do you think Dune could do the same and expand into other genres?
[Devinoch] Let us get Renegade out of the door first before we start thinking about other games. :) Renegade is a big first step for us and we want to make sure we get every little nuance right before we start thinking of what other things we'll do with versions of the Renegade engine. Renegade is something we've always wanted to do as a company, so it's a lot of fun really being down there on the beach, holding the gun and knowing that an entire army is depending on you.
What are is your favorite, house, sub house, and unit?
[Devinoch] Atreides, Sardaukar, Engineer. I take a great deal of delight in looking for the hole in someone's base and smuggling an APC full of engineers into that exact spot and watching as I get the key buildings and then start building turrets.
Being with Westwood for 2 and a half months now and experiencing a major game release, do you like Westwood's future and being a part of it?
[Devinoch] Westwood's a great company and there are a great bunch of people here and I look forward to working with them for a long time to come. It has been rather a change of pace for me, though. Before this, I worked for Gamecenter.com, writing news stories and reviews/previews and before that I was getting my Bachelor's of Journalism while working for about three different newspapers at once. But Emperor wasn't really my first major release -- it was, I guess, but the game was gold when I arrived at the company. With Renegade, there's a bit of time for me to ask a few questions, make a few suggestions, which is a totally new experience for me. I really enjoy "the hallway meetings." One of the coolest things about Westwood is that a lot gets done in the hallways. I'll run into Dan Cermak and he and I will start talking in the hallway and pretty soon someone else will show up and then you've pretty much got a meeting going while everyone stands and blocks part of this hallway off. That's a blast. Westwood is a great place to work. Not once have I ever woken up and thought "Oh, it's time to go to work" with a tinge of regret. I enjoy my job, and you can't put a price on that.
While working with Chris Rubyor, has he taught you about the online community and help you fit in more?
[Devinoch] Chris has a lot to teach and I have a lot to learn. On the flipside, I'm also teaching Chris a lot. Chris has been doing this a while, so he has these communities down to a fine art, but there's more to our job that just that, and I like to think I'm bringing a bundle of new ideas to the table. It's been a definite change of pace from talking about a different game a day when working in the gaming media to working on one game for several months. There's been a lot to learn, and it's not at all what I expected.
What do you think makes Renegade stand out from the onslaught of shooters coming out near the time of Renegade?
[Devinoch] It's Command & Conquer, man. Huge maps. Hand of Nod. Driving a tank. It's C&C from the ground level. We have an existing universe to play around in. C&C junkies have been wondering what the inside of a Hand of Nod looks like for years now, and we're finally going to be able to give them that answer. They'll be able to run over infantry in tanks. They'll be able to snipe Nod guards from large distances. They'll be able to see a Tiberium field from a few feet instead of a few hundred. It's up close and personal.
Will Renegade have weapon specific damage like many shooters are starting to have? So if you shoot the enemy in the knee are they going to hop around?
[Devinoch] Enemies do have damage zones. I haven't played around with them too much yet, as I'm a notorious "headshot" guy. I tell you -- you put a sniper rifle in my hands and tell me to win the war, I'm going to make you proud.
I was watching one of the Renegade movies and saw NOD AI running and hiding behind rocks. Is the AI always that smart and will they work in teams against you?
[Devinoch] They call reinforcements very well. It's been going through changes time and again, but I've seen enemy troops run to sound alarms, then run off to get two or three of his friends before they come to try and take you on. Kane makes sure his army is staffed with sharp troops, rather than the "gee whiz, were those bullets?" that some armies accept.
Renegade has been rumored to have very large maps. Are there enemies throughout the map or only at specific target locations in the map?
[Devinoch] The maps are huge. Working through one can take quite a bit of time, as it seems like there's so much to do and see. Just when you think, "Oh yeah, I've got to be at the end of the map," there's still plenty more to do and see. And some enemies hang around places, others move about. Guards take patrols and some of them are more rigorous about it than others.
How is the realism in Renegade as far as your character is concerned? Is the damage from weapons and other obstacles realistic like in Rainbow Six, or is your character more of a super character?
[Devinoch] He's the ultimate commando, the best of the best of the best. So obviously there's a line that has to be drawn, but I would say we're a bit more towards the super character without going the all-out unstoppable route. It's a very fine line between being too unrealistic and being too realistic. If it's too unrealistic, it's hard to get drawn into the character and the story. If it's too realistic, you lose some of that "fun" factor, because it can be too difficult for the average gamer.
What is your favorite weapon, enemy, vehicle, and online mode in Renegade?
[Devinoch] I'm all about the sniper rifle. And C&C mode is where it's at.
Does the music in Renegade fit the gameplay and are there plans to release a soundtrack for Renegade?
[Devinoch] Frank is having a blast reworking the old C&C themes for a new century and it sounds awesome. He's gone back and given all of his older music another listen, and is mixing and updating the themes, as well as writing new ones, to make the C&C universe come alive.
For now what are the min. system requirements and what have been the tested systems for Renegade?
[Devinoch] We have not announced these yet.
When can we expect to see more media , screenshots, and info for renegade?
[Devinoch] It's coming. I would expect to see a very impressive video of Renegade in the near future.
As of now, what is the release date looking like for Renegade? Still shooting for a November release?
[Devinoch] Fall/Winter 2001.