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» Renegade's Target Audience


The first ever video I saw for Renegade had the immortal line of: "For all you Command and Conquer fans throughout the globe, we've got a present for 'ya". It has been many months since that video was released, after countless screenshots, more videos and a monster beta test, Renegade itself grows ever nearer to the shelves. (Woohoo!) A few thoughts have came to my mind about this, always ending with "Who is going to buy Renegade". While I have no doubt that Renegade will be a big seller, I will be interested to see who the game has appealed to most.

I intend to break this down into several stages: An evaluation of the different genres of computer gaming and what Renegade offers to them; before concluding with a few more random thoughts about the game and Westwood Studios.

First Person Shooter (FPS) Players
Perhaps the most popular gaming genre is FPS. The design of these games are sheer genius and simplicity in one - Give the player a gun, and tell them to shoot things. The numbers of people playing Quake III (On and off line) at any one moment in time is frightening, and because Renegade by it's very nature an FPS, surely Westwood must be targeting a large number of resources into getting these trigger happy fraggers into Renegade. The release of "Medal of Honor: Allied Assault" and "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" has undoubtedly overshadowed Renegade in the last months, but hopefully it can still make it's mark on the market.

Another aspect of the FPS market is the abundance of game modifications available. Mods for QIII and UT must run into the thousands, and while some are more popular than others, the fact remains that there are a lot of skilled Mappers, Texture Artists, 3D Modellers, and coders floating about on the net. We can only hope some of these people turn their skills to making user add-ons for Renegade. We don't want a Counterstrike, but still, something as popular as that would be nice…

Real Time Strategy (RTS) Players
The chances are, if you're reading this, you're a Command and Conquer fan, and up until Renegade, this has also meant being an RTS fan. However, reading beta reports, and judging from the content that Westwood have released to us, It seems Renegade's multiplayer core will be thoroughly based on controlling vehicles, and using them effectively. Well organised strategy will be at the heart of this, and so I believe many RTS fans will be interested - The Command and Conquer brand tends to help here too.

Undeniably however, Renegade isn't Tiberian Dawn, it's an action game with strategy, rather than a Strategy game with action. This game isn't about out producing your enemy, It's about out manoeuvring and out gunning your enemy. The closest you come to resource management is when you start to run low on ammunition. Never the less, many people have fond memories of all C&C games, and this, combined with the people who "Like the Look" of it, should translate into more boxes being sold, giving Westwood more cash, and so being able to employ me as a PR guru. Perhaps I took that a touch to far. Moving on swiftly.

Role Playing Games (RPGs)

Before I came to write articles at CNC Series, I was engrossed in the cross genre-dressing epic Deus Ex. It was epic, a huge game where every part of your on-screen alter-ego could be modified to suit your every need. Despite it's rave reviews, and my personal love of it, Deus Ex is a misty and rainy Monday night game, as opposed to the raw Friday night adrenaline rush of Renegade. Truly Effective RPG's engross you into their world, and let you change with your surroundings. erm, and this is going to happen in Renegade how? Exactly my point.

Renegade is about killing Bad Guys. Preferably with large calibre weapons. There is no character growth. There are no multiple paths, This is a purely action game. So, In my view, all you RPG fanatics can crawl back to the land of Japanese anime, cos Renegade just ain't for you. :-(

Afterthoughts
There are many groups of gamers I chose to exclude from this evaluation, such as Simulation Gamers. I chose to concentrate on the largest groups of gamers, and ones that Renegade is probably intended to target. If your clan of black lesbian pregnant single mothers who play pong online wasn't included then I apologise.

Bot Support
Westwood remain tight lipped about this issue, but in my view, It is an absolute must to maintain longevity. Think how the Skirmish mode changed Command and Conquer, enabling the simulation of Online play helps the people like me who's computer on the net just ain't going to manage computing the path of any more than 3 polygons at one time. Personally, I ended up playing "Unreal" for longer than "Half-Life" simply because of the botmatch option. I'm no expert in coding, but can it really take that long? Even if it doesn't come out with the original release, how about making a patch available for downloading, or through the Disks on PC Magazines.

A Classic example of this is shown in Raven's "Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force". As the screenshot shows, Every aspect of online play can be replicated. Users can get new models, maps, and weapons, as well as playing Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag with AI players. If Westwood could follow this lead, It could only be good for Renegade.

Be A Renegade Tour
This feature shows us, along with the size of the Beta test, that Westwood are taking the release of Renegade very seriously. Huge marketing is underway, and we can expect the reviews to in most of next month's computing magazines. Now all we need is a European venue. Preferably in Scotland (You know, the little bit at the top of England, Just north of Africa?). Come on Westwood - There are plenty of LAN arenas over here…

» Jim

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