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One of the biggest hallmarks of PC gaming and something that consoles still have difficulty allowing is modding. Sometimes, modders have to bend over backward to apply some custom changes to a game, often coming at odds with the game’s developers or publishers, but there are many games that support modding right of the bat. EA Games, however, is going above and beyond what most major publishers do and will even release the open source code for Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun and Red Alert when their remastered versions launch next month.
This is very big news considering how major game studios are wary of open sourcing any part of their game (despite themselves using open source software for those games). It’s a tricky legal situation that lawyers simply avoid by keeping code closed but EA Games wants to do right by fans of the 25-year-old C&C franchise, especially the still vibrant modding community that has grown up around it.
Open sourcing the code for the two major versions of Command & Conquer would allow modders to take a closer look at how the game was made and modify it to their heart’s content. By choosing the GPL 3 license, however, EA Games is also doing more by making sure the code will be compatible with open source projects CnCNet and Open RA. And, of course, it could also help budding game developers see how one of the most popular RTS games was made.
Unfortunately, EA’s announcement also comes with some sad but not unexpected news. LAN Play, which has also been a stable of the older C&C games and its mods, is temporarily out of the picture. That’s mostly because the requirement for testing LAN Play would mean gathering together and more or less violating social distancing measures. The good news is that the feature isn’t completely off the tablet yet.
The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection celebrates the franchise’s 25th anniversary and is slated for a June 5th launch. Covering both the Tiberian Sun and its Red Alert sequel, the collection will rebuilt graphics, support for 4K resolutions, and all the fun FMVs the games became famous for. With open source code, EA Games is expecting both old fans and new modders to keep the brand alive with new ideas that they may have never even thought of or were not legally allowed to do.