The original game was released in 1995 by Westwood and they owned the franchise until going defunct in 2003. After 2003, Electronic Arts took over the rights for Command & Conquer and is holding it even now. Over the time Command & Conquer grew two sister franchises taking place in a different settings, Command and Conquer - Red Alert and later Command & Conquer - Generals. Subsequently the original setting became known as the "Tiberium Universe". To reflect the naming terminology set by C&C Tiberian Sun, the original game in the newer manuals was called C&C Tiberian Dawn.
Like the other C&C franchises, the Tiberium Universe is also taking place in an alternate modern world/futuristic battlefield. In 1995, a meteor fell on Earth near the Tiber River in Italy. Said meteorite contained a mysterious extra-terrestrial mineral soon dubbed as "Tiberium". This substance could absorb nearby minerals which then could be extracted with ease, making it extremely valuable. But following studies also proved that Tiberium is spreading aggressively and extremely toxic, threatening to turn the entire ecosystem into an alien world of deadly Tiberium. Soon a war over Tiberium broke out between the forces of the Global Defense Initiative and the enigmatic Brotherhood of Nod, a war that could decide the fate of the entire Earth.
Due to various factors the continuity of the main Command & Conquer universe is somewhat confusing.
But first of all there are the various games, in-universe chronological order:
- Command & Conquer (1995, also later dubbed "Tiberian Dawn", taking place during the First Tiberium War or TW1)
- Command & Conquer: Covert Operations (1996, expansion pack featuring extra missions and multiplay elements)
- Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor (1997, expansion introduces a different kind of gameplay, it failed and fans like to forget this game)
- Command & Conquer: Renegade (2002, first person shooter taking place in the last days of TW1)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999, details the Second Tiberium War)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm (2000, expansion pack detailing the aftermath of TW2)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars (2007, detailing the Third Tiberium War)
- Command & Conquer: Kane's Wrath (2008, detailing the Nod's secret plots before, during and after TW3)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberium Twilight (2010, details TW4 and for now it's the concluding piece of the series)
Aside from the games there's a limited number of comics and short novels.These are usually side stories but at least one of them serves to bridge the time gap between the two wars. In addition since C&C is riddled with game mechanics, background lore has a fairly important role in the series. This also includes tooltip descriptions and game manuals.
It also worth noting that Westwood's original plot for the successive games differed largely from EA's version. For one Westwood took some obvious attempts to connect Red Alert as a sort of prequel to the Tiberium Universe. This is shown greatly in the first Red Alert game albeit Red Alert 2 had many contradictions.
Still, almost every of Westwood's later (but cancelled) projects were trying to re-integrate Red Alert 2 into the story. The fall of Romanov's Soviet Union was supposed to be the time when the Nod started to gain power. Plans of their version of C&C 3 included a sub-plot where GDI would've activated WW2 era technology in Area 51, including a Chronosphere which eventually would've ended up sending the Nod initiate Yuri back in time, thus making Red Alert 2 a timeline branch instead of a direct sequel of the first Red Alert.
Electronic Arts' creative staff largely ignored any connection between the Tiberium Universe and Red Alert but neither did they make attempts to deny it.
The third installment Red Alert 3 obviously has nothing to do with the Tiberium Universe but thanks to time travel sheanigans, neither does much to the previous two Red Alert games.
This bit makes the canonicity of the whole franchise more confusing than it should be.
The best way to approach this to say that the whole of the first Red Alert is part of the Tiberium Universe's backstory (with some technologies like the Chronosphere and Iron Curtain being forgotten) while only a few parts of RA2 (like the Apocalypse Tanks that were seen as posters in Nod barracks) occurred the same way as in that game.
Standing in the Battledome
The Tiberium Universe is often called the strongest Command & Conquer franchise of the three and with good reason. While the first series took place in an almost modern world environment, later installments had an obviously futuristic setting. The earliest Mammoth Tanks had building level durability and firepower and by the Second Tiberium War, these were nearly obsolete compared to conventional armor. TW1 era Obelisks of Light had city block level firepower and there are a number of vehicles that can even Tanktank these. On a more strategic level, the Tiberium Universe has highly sophisticated industry capable of assembling together entire vehicles in minutes of time, quickly producing an entire army for battle. They also have powerful electronic warfare, stealth and global surveillance. Both GDI and Nod units are assisted by extensive data-link and powerful tactical computer like EVA, CABAL and LEGION. They're also well-known for their powerful super weapons which ranged from tactical nukes to island to country-busting Liquid Tiberium explosives and even weapon systems that can pretty much wipe out the Earth. As the last piece, the Tiberium Universe has the alien Scrin, an inter-stellar race with technology well superior to the human forces.
Supporters of the Series
- Eldritch Sukima
- Cyborg Commando
- Cyborg Soldier
- Nick Parker
- Zone Trooper
- Ion Cannon
- Mammoth Mk, II (including the Mastodon)
- Mammoth Tank (Mk. I, Mk. III & Mk. IV)
- Titan (Mk. I, Mk. II & Mk. III)
- Wolverine (Mk. I & Mk. II)
- Armageddon Bomber
- Avatar Warmech
- Buggy (TW1, TW2, TW3 & TW4 incarnations)
- Nuclear Missile
- Quickstrike Attack Bite (Mk. I, Mk. II, Mk. III & Mk. IV)
- Stealth Tank
- Tick Tank
- Vertigo Bomber
- Annihilator Tripod
- Devastator Warship
- Eradicator Hexapod
- Rift Generator
- Core Defender
- Brotherhood of Nod
- Global Defense Initative
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