How are EA Games going to remaster 25-year-old FMV footage? Problem is, they have to find it first!
Electronic Arts along with Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios and currently hard at work remastering the classic real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer, and its sequel, Red Alert.
Now, some of you may be too young to have played these games. Released in 1995, Command & Conquer redefined the real-time strategy genre in PC gaming and was created by Westwood Studios.
I distinctly remember buying the game at launch and dived straight in playing as the Global Defence Initiative battling the forces of The Brotherhood of Nod.
The game came on two CD-ROMs. One disc allowed you to play as the GDI with the other disc allowed you to fight as the Brotherhood of Nod.
It looks dated now but in 1995, this was awesome stuff!
One of the primary reasons for the two CDs was that the game contained live-action Full Motion Video (FMV) between each level of the game that progressed the story. As this wasn’t a huge budget for production, the videos starred Westwood employees and a single professional actor, Joseph D. Kucan, who plays Kane (leader of the Brotherhood of Nod).
Whilst Lemon Sky Studios are recreating the game’s artwork and graphics in glorious 4K, Jim Vessella, the producer of this new remaster, wanted to find the original source tapes for all the FMV sequences.
All they have to work with at the moment is the highly compressed videos from the original game release which runs at 320×200 pixels at 15 frames per second. As a comparison, 4K resolution is 3840 x 2160!
The biggest problem is that the game is now 25 years old and Electronic Arts closed Westwood Studios in 2003. Although a handful of staff were merged into EA Los Angeles. Do any of these old assets still exist?
I’ll let Jim tell the rest of the story and stay till the end to find out what they did discover and will be released to the fans as part of the final remastered game.