Renegade X Exclusive Interview
Brought together by the love of a game, developer Totem Arts took it upon themselves to bring back what they hold dear.
Late last month, Totem Arts announced a beta for Renegade X, a game they have been working on for free, for the past six years. Renegade X is a spiritual successor to Westwood Studios’ 2002 first person shooter, Command and Conquer: Renegade. Westwood Studios was liquidated in 2003. IGM had a chance to speak with Bilal Bakri, founder of Totem Arts, about the upcoming title.
Command and Conquer has been a long-standing franchise owned by Electronic Arts. Totem Arts contacted EA Los Angeles to gain permission to make a Command and Conquer game on the Unreal Engine.
“They allowed us to go forward with it, and have been very supportive,” Bakri said. “EA LA even got us into the Make Something Unreal Contest in 2009 and allowed us to collect our prize money. I suppose it is mutually beneficial, because indie games like Renegade X help advertise the C&C franchise.”
Renegade X placed fourth in “Best Machinima”, and second in “Best Vehicle Set” in 2009’s Make Something Unreal Contest.
“[EA LA] allowed us to utilize their IP and their content, they promoted our game on a number of occasions, and they even helped test an early beta of Renegade X some time ago,” Bakri said. “We still hear from former Westwood and EA devs, and they love what we’re doing. That encouragement from leaders in the industry keeps us going.”
Totem Arts consists of an international team, congregating through online communications like Skype and file transfer programs. “It was not easy establishing a team of volunteers, nor was it easy refining our abilities and building a game from nothing,” Bakri said.
Renegade X was originally intended to be a remake of the original game, but Bakri said that time played a factor in changing the game.
“Much has happened in gaming between 2002 and 2014, and we see this as an opportunity to improve on the original concept and make our own game. Our early public betas were modeled to play exactly like the original C&C Renegade, but as time went by, we decided to add new weapons, original levels, capturable tech buildings, airstrikes, and secondary abilities,” Bakri said. “A lot of hardcore C&C Renegade fans have recently been allowed to try out the internal beta, and they were unanimously impressed with the game. It’s undeniably Renegade – the essence of it is there – but it’s also its own experience.”
Bakri said Renegade X will likely remain a PC exclusive. The multiplayer beta for Renegade X will open to the public on February 26th.
Bakri told IGM that another title from Totem Arts is tempting, but their manpower will be focused on supporting Renegade X for the time being.