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How EA will upscale Command & Conquer’s famous FMV for 4K display

An archaelogical visit to Westwood Studio’s old haunt results in an improvised solution

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The developers of Command & Conquer Remastered face an unusual challenge in a work that’s supposed to polish up players’ 25-year-old experiences and memories, as opposed to remaking them. And that’s what to do about the full-motion video for which the strategy series is so well remembered.

Simply upscaling the video isn’t going to work, as even by the standards of the day it was rather pixelated at a standard viewing size, and plus it plays at 15 frames per second. So Jim Vessella, the remaster’s creative director, did his damndest to find the original masters of the games from 1995 forward.

That process, which takes up the first half of the video above, is an interesting piece of archaeo-gaming, for those interested in historical preservation. But this tale does not turn out how you might expect. Suffice to say, EA Redwood Studios does have a plan (skip to timestamp 9:40) for presenting the original FMV, and it’s one that the C&C community made a significant contribution to, even.

And for those looking for new features or content in Command & Conquer Remastered, Vessella is happy to share that this edition will bring to PC the video clips that had been exclusive to the console versions. “We’ve structured the expansion missions very similar to the console, where you can actually go through that story and experience those cinematics,” he said.

That’s not the only extra video coming out of this process, either. Vessella said he found old Betamax masters of B-roll and behind the scenes footage for Tiberian Dawn and others. This footage, four hours in all, will be released with Command & Conquer Remastered as a “Bonus Gallery” feature. In the remastered game, every mission players complete will unlock a clip from that archive.

Announced in November 2018, Command & Conquer Remastered is an anniversary update of 1995’s original Command & Conquer (also known as Tiberian Dawn) and its 1996 sequel, Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The project also brought back the original voice actor for EVA, the game’s battlefield network, to re-record her lines. The remaster does not yet have a launch window or date.