After soft-announcing a new project last month, EA has taken the wraps off a plan that will (hopefully) satisfy that ’90s real-time strategy series’ biggest fans. Production has officially begun on a full remaster of the first two RTS games—the 1995 original and the 1996 sequel —with all the games’ expansion packs included as part of the complete package.
What’s more, development is being spearheaded by Petroglyph Games, a studio formed from the ashes of original development studio Westwood.
“This is getting the band back together,” Petroglyph Audio Director Frank Klepacki said in an announcement video on Wednesday. “This is how it should be. We were all there from the inception of it.”
Klepacki’s hire as part of the team was announced today, and he joins other Westwood veterans Joe Bostic (the series’ co-creator), Steve Tall (‘s lead programmer), and Mike Legg (an audio team member since Westwood’s 1986 inception). Petroglyph will partner with a Malaysian art outsourcing studio, Lemon Sky, to develop the remastered games’ new 4K-ready assets. Though the announcement didn’t clarify why the studio was chosen, Lemon Sky’s work on last year’s solid may have had something to do with it.
No release window or hints of console versions were announced yet, as EA’s news post includes a frank clarification: “We haven’t started development yet.” Still, even at this early point, the team has clarified that the full package of original games and attached expansion packs, intended for launch on PC, will come in one full bundle “without microtransactions.” That specific phrase may be meant to assuage anyone left with a sour taste in their mouth after trying 2018’s smartphone-only game , which tried to capitalize on -style microtransaction bloat—and felt little like a classic game as a result.
We can only hope access to the original license is what Petroglyph needs to return to its old glory days. A peek at the studio’s game output since 2006 includes a shift in recent years to capitalize on early-’10s MOBA fever.
Louis Castle, another member of the original Westwood team, will have his own thoughts to offer in 2019: a post-mortem presentation at March’s Game Developers Conference about the original game’s development. Castle currently works for Amazon Game Studios, and EA’s announcement didn’t include any hint of swiping him for temporary work on this remaster project.