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Rise of the Reds is a Game Mod for Command & Conquer Generals Zero:Hour that picks on the events of the original game and presents its own story on what happened afterward. The GLA came back stronger than ever before, the USA went isolationist for the meantime, China managed a near economic take-over of the world before Russia got its industrial power rolling again and fights the ECA (an alliance of European states) on their ground who themselves rebuild their military might as well.

It also is quite reminiscent of old C&C games (mostly the Red Alert series). There are attack dogs, Tesla coils, engineers, flamethrower troopers, gun turrets and ships (including long-range artillery cruisers). No war bears, though, and exactly one mecha-type unit with the Venom, in two variants.

The latest full release is available here, with the latest patch available here.

More information on the mod can be found here and here.


Rise of the Reds provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alphabet News Network: The Americans have SNN (Satellite News Network anyone?), the Europeans have ECAN News (European Communications Agency Network) and the Russians have FFN (Federation Front News). The pro-GLA channel ARC News from Zero Hour made an appearance as well. Averted with South American Bond News and China's SinoNews24.
  • A.K.A.-47: Pops up with some of the units, although not due to licensing reasons or factual errors, but because proper word-based names are easier to memorise and more interesting than strictly alpha-numeric designations.
    • For example, the Russian Kodiaks/Golems are actually modified T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks, and even MSTA-S that is easy enough to remember uses the NATO designation "Gorgon" in-game.
    • The F-22 and F-35 are referred to as Raptors and Widowmakers, etc.
    • The story updates and render descriptions do acknowledge this and often refer to vehicles and firearms by their official real-life or in-universe designations alongside the catchy name. For example, the Paladin Tank is actually described as a M1A4 variant of today's M1A2 Abrams tank.
    • And of course lore-wise some vehicles are In Name Only futuristic offspring of the existing vehicles, inheriting the name despite being much more advanced than its IRL equivalent - Nighthawk aka "F-117 done right" takes the cake.
  • All There in the Manual: All of the mod's story, gameplay mechanics and features are explained in the news posts, which are published on the team's forum and ModDB.
  • Amphibious Automobile: China has the Troop Crawler, the ECA has the Lynx APC and Pandur IFV, and Russia has a lot of vehicles that can cross water.
  • Anti-Air: All factions have specialised units that can only fire at aerial foes and they are generally very good at this job. Some Generals even have replacements for those Anti-Air units, which are even better.
  • April Fools' Day:
  • Arms Dealer: Several:
    • The GLA War Factory is called Arms Dealer and brings them their various combat vehicles, from simple trucks with machine guns to heavy armour and artillery. Their Black Market can also deploy various weapon merchants for some extra credits.
    • There are some references to Arms Dalers in the background story and the Militia units seen on some maps or the Arena game mode can theoretically be bought.
    • Russia gains money by deploying Arms Suppliers, trucks that sell all kinds of weaponry to off-screen customers. They also sell borscht and accept various currencies, including bottle caps and (p)latinum bars.
  • Artifact Title: None of the game's factions can be described as "the Reds". Russia is explicitly stated to be "the Whites", and China is even less communist than in modern-day Real Life.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The super-heavy tanks such as the Overlord, Sentinel and Manticore would realistically be this but they're still quite useful in-game. Lampshaded by Future Warfare host Steve Dawson who points out that a vehicle as sluggish, slow and heavy as this would crush bridges, destroy roads and cost way too much money (of course he is proven quite wrong).
  • Bad Ass Army: Everyone, naturally.
  • Badass Israeli: Deconstructed. After the GLA fired a chemical warhead at Tel Aviv, Israel turned into a police state which is even more paranoid and secluded. They enact regular curfews, cut every land route to the outside world and even changed their flag. At the same time, the Arab nations destroyed each other in a catastrophic war that was sparked by the GLA.
  • Balkanize Me: Prior to the GLA insurrection, many parts of Europe, including Britain, Ireland, Bavaria, Catalonia and a few others, broke away from the oppressive EU. The Global War on Terror also left an absolute mess in the Middle East, producing a number of bizarre borders which are still disputed in-universe.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The climactic battle of Kurmuk depicted in the main menu. It's China and the US versus Russia (with some stealthed GLA observers), it's epic as all hell and it smoothly repeats forever. The scripting alone took three weeks.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: In spades. While the GLA are near-exclusively unrepentantly bad (even if ever so slightly justified), everyone else is shown to be in varying shades of grey and with similar degrees of sympathy.
    • A Lighter Shade of Gray: The closest the mod has to "good guys", America and the ECA, still have their own skeletons in the closet. The story also draws a clear distinction between the regular Russian military and the irredeemably evil Shock Troop Divisions of General Aleksandr.
    • The Chinese, like the Russians, are treated sympathetically for the most part, although there are hints that they've gotten even more authoritarian and militaristic.
    • The GLA meanwhile are near-universially depicted as amoral bastards. Their actions in the non-modded game proper certainly don't support their benevolent side, if they have one to begin with. The one exception were the troops who helped fight Doctor Thrax, because Even Evil Has Standards when the Bad Boss likes to test artificial diseases and other poisons on prisoners in absurdly cruel experiments. In Rise of the Reds proper, the GLA are split in the groups belonging to the Generals, where General Yusuuf represents extreme traditionalism and uses the most terror tactics and suicide bombings, Sulaymaan is A Lighter Shade of Black who cares slightly more and even protects part of the rain forest (for his own ends obviously, but still) and Ibrahiim borders on Blue-and-Orange Morality in that he doesn't care much about ideology or morals at all (due to being an extreme anarchist), as long as he wins.
  • Black Market: The GLA's extensive operations mean that while they make a huge amount of money off of illegal sales, its also very easy for their enemies to follow the money trail (which was how the USA tracked down Dr. Thrax in Zero Hour). Now they have to reduce their presence on the black market to avoid being tracked.
  • Bomb Disposal: Every faction has at least one unit capable of clearing land mines: the Recon Drone for the USA, the Dozer for China, Workers for the GLA, the Mishka for Russia. The ECA has two such units: the Excavator and Mole Minelayer.
  • Car Fu: Infantry can be run over by most vehicles. Conversely, some infantry wear thick armour or are otherwise too bulky to be run over by them. Then there are super-heavy tanks which can crush even other vehicles.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting shot up by bullets is probably the least nasty way to go out for the average infantryman. Getting dissolved by toxins, burned in a firestorm, popped by microwaves or disintegrated via Tesla bolt... not so much. As of version 1.7, there is also a lot of splashy gibs.
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • Even though more house colors are available in skirmish/multiplayer games, every faction looks best with a distinct color: blue for the USA, red for China, green for the GLA, yellow for the ECA and maroon for Russia.
    • On another note, the vehicles and buildings themselves have a second set of colors, white and grey for the USA, brown and beige for China, sand colors for the GLA, two-tone blue for the ECA, and black and dark grey for Russia.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Well of course, it is a Command and Conquer Game Mod after all. So you build structures, collect supplies and use power plants for your bases.
  • Continuity Creep: This became quite apparent after the mod's lengthy hiatus which lasted for almost two years. Before this period, updates generally presented brief, self-contained in-universe news reports, documents or personal stories with little overarching direction aside from "Russia invades Europe for the sake of revenge". After the project kicked back into full gear, the narrative grew a lot more complex with a clear chronology as well as expository updates which provided reliable story information from an omniscient/retrospective view point.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a number are made to the original games, albeit in a different light due to the revisions.
  • Continuity Porn: Many updates went into great lengths to fill in the numerous plot holes of the original game and there are frequent references to past events within the story itself.
  • Continuity Reboot: SWR's ROTR is very different from the mod's original incarnation. For one, the Russians actually used to be just generic communists way back in the day and there were no plans for a fifth faction.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Arguably the entire premise.
  • Danger Deadpan: Most of the various pilots. Understandably, many of them do lose their cool when they get shot down.
  • Darker and Edgier: ROTR is set in a very grim, extremely militarized future where international diplomacy fails to catastrophic effect on a regular basis and WMDs have seemingly become conventional weapons of war. The extended war against the GLA has effectively collapsed the economies of many countries and ravaged much of Europe, leading to the fall of the EU and the resurgence of Russia. Africa has also turned into a hellhole after the GLA rose again to power in the region. The start of the Russo-European War marks a point in the timeline where this becomes most evident.
  • Deconstruction: ROTR started out as a futuristic scenario of the Cold War gone wrong but the story has started to reflect a lot about the world of today and what it could become in a near future.
  • Days of Future Past:
    • To a certain degree, with the Chinese and Russians using updated versions of Cold War-era methods.
    • Generally speaking, much of the technologies in the game do seem a bit dated for a story that is set in the late 2040s and we don't learn anything about major scientific fields that'd be relevant by then such as genetic engineering, cybernetics or transhumanism. Somewhat justified in that Rise of the Reds is set in a Crapsack World in which The War on Terror escalated into a protracted war that killed millions, caused catastrophic damage to the global economy and damaged especially the Western world to a point where scientific progress was slowed down.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Israel has caved into fear and turned into a full-blown authoritarian state after a major GLA attack and Greece is apparently ruled by a fascist party which granted the Russians passage through the Aegean Sea out of sheer spite for the ECA.
  • Death from Above: Artillery, whether of the conventional or missile varieties can rule the battlefield when played right, leveling structures, defenses and ground units alike. On the other hand, they tend to be Glass Cannons and are vulnerable to air strikes. Also, AI won't hesitate to use them against you.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Every side has a few infantry or vehicles that have to deploy to fire, and they are usually artillery pieces. Among them are Chinese Nuke Cannons and Weapon Teams, as well as ECA Grenadiers and Combat Pioneers.
    • Various infantry have weapons to clean Garrisonable Structures and these are generally alternate attack modes, such as the ECA Panzerfaust's Vacuum missiles or the GLA Rebel's Molotov Cocktail.
    • The American artillery unit, the Tomahawk Launcher, offers the choice between long-range cruise missiles or shorter-ranged ones which fly much faster and are more difficult to intercept.
    • Chinese Dragon Tanks can use their flamethrower with a small sweep, or a very wide sweep for the firestorm attack. The Shen Longs can do the same, just with much more power.
    • Several ECA units can choose between all-purpose solid slugs or dedicated anti-infantry canister rounds.
    • The GLA Rocket Buggy can switch between a Macross Missile Massacre with Super-Persistent Missiles which are counterable with point-defence systems, or an uninterceptable if inaccurate mortar.
    • The American Strategy Center and Drone Control Center can select "Battleplans" and "Drone Protocols", which affect non-drone units and drone units, respectively. See Stance System below.
    • Chinese Overlords can equip propaganda speakers, which heal units and improve Rate of Fire, Gattling Cannons for added damage against infantry and Anti-Air, or bunkers from which up to five infantry can fire out of. Han Helicopters and Shen Longs can install flamethrowers, EMP weapons, or tactical nukes. The Han Helicopters also gain a respective bomb-drop ability.
    • For the ECA, there are the protocols, which unlock a particular experimental unit (Manticore Tank, Pandora Artillery, or Venom Battlesuits) and give a few bonii. For the Manticore Protocol in particular, a selection of vehicles can equip Nanoshock Absorbers for increased armour or alternatively Hydrogen-based engines for enhanced speed, both for free.
    • The GLA really gets on this with Recyclers. Not only does the normal Recycler unit have the potential of up to 10 more forms (2 per faction they can steal technology from), their technology stealing also unlocks new, free, individual upgrades for various units and there are usually two or three per unit type, among them improved armour, hover drives, nuclear engines, or firebombs.
  • Easter Egg: A few here and there, such as the meme-face variant of the Propaganda Airship with the Trololo song or the fact many ECA units use Bullet Bills as ammo. Also, there's Duke Nukem and Doomguy in the map editor
  • Enemy Mine: A common element of the story is that sworn enemies or competitors team up against a greater adversary. This was the main motivation behind the cooperation of America and China against the GLA (and later Russia), Japan's support of South Korea in the war against the DPRK, and the unexpected reconciliation between India and Pakistan during the Global War On Terror.
  • Excuse Plot: SWR Rise of the Reds before 2011 was this. To elaborate, the USA, ECA, Russia, and China colonize Africa again. The GLA pushes out the Russians, and then the Russians blame the ECA, starting a war. Detailed lore was reserved for battle updates and the occasional look at specific units or weapons.
  • Faction Calculus: Five factions with fairly diverse playstyles. In the final version of the mod, each faction will have 3 Generals to choose from before a match properly starts, but no "default" faction as it is currently. The Generals of a faction fall into the roles of Powerhouse, Subversive and exaggerating their faction's strengths ("Exaggerator" for short), respectively.
    • Russia is the Powerhouse faction, with big, brutish, elite tanks, strong helicopters and cheap, disposable infantry. Their vehicles are costly, but would nearly always win in one-on-one confrontations against units of the same type (e.g. MBT vs MBT).
      • Zhukov is Powerhouse^2 via counting on several new, powerful and splashy artillery, as well as nuclear weapons to soften up the enemy before an assault, and even some support infantry with functions other than "disable/kill enemy".
      • Orlov is Powerhouse-Subversive due to utilizing excellent Spetznaz infantry combined with chopper assaults to attack from the flanks.
      • Aleksandr is Powerhouse-Exaggerator for Russia's forte of mechanised assaults due to excellent tanks and some good infantry, all of which employ powerful high-tech weapons, but also boasts a better infrastructure to support a typical Russian base and has a powerful defence structure.
    • The ECA is the Cannons faction, with artillery and a focus on defences, as well as infantry who gain additional bonuses in Garrisonable Structures. Unlike the USA and Russia, they have limited access to aircraft beyond support helicopters, and much of their normal army is focused on ground warfare and overwhelming static firepower.
      • Wolfgang is Cannons-Powerhouse due to using frontal tank assaults and mechanised infantry with superior stats compared to their counterparts of the other ECA Generals.
      • Charles is Cannons-Subversive via advanced artillery, Confusion Fu, and using versatile aircraft for flanking strikes.
      • Willem is Cannons-Exaggerator for the ECA's strength of powerful defences by using even more powerful defences and advanced repair powers.
    • The USA is the Balanced faction (compared with their status as an Elitist faction in the base Generals game), which heavily favors "combined arms" tactics and units who are very versatile, but don't excel in any particular role. They also have a sizeable and varied airforce.
      • Bradley is Balanced-Powerhouse via use of ground drones and superior tanks for frontal assaults.
      • Thorn is Balanced-Subversive via use of well-trained infantry and disruptive tactics.
      • Griffon is Balanced-Exaggerator for the USA's strength of using versatile vehicles, aircraft and combined arms.
    • The GLA is the Subversive faction, who employ stealth, toxins, suicide bombers, booby traps and other mean tricks. Their greatest advantages are being unreliant on power and tunnel networks to quickly transport troops.
      • Sulaymaan is Subversive-Powerhouse via use of fairly unconventional (by GLA standards) tank assaults and high-grade infantry that are the Mercenaries he can employ.
      • Ibrahiim is Subversive^2 via employing even nastier tricks than usual such as corrosive chemicals, deadly toxins and assassins.
      • Yusuuf is Subversive-Exaggerator for the GLA's strength of stealth, suicide bombers and other terrorism tactics.
    • China is the Horde faction, who can employ countless numbers of cheap infantry and tanks who all gain a bonus when performing as a Horde, has some strong units that are fewer in number, as well as electro-magnetic weapons, hackers and inspiring propaganda.
      • Mau is Horde-Powerhouse due to using large amounts of electro-magnetic, napalm and nuclear weapons and other high-tech gadgets.
      • Jin is Horde-Subversive by using hacking, surveillance and other related tactics.
      • Chen is Horde-Exaggerator for the Chinese strength of Horde tactics by using even more units than his peers, as well as gaining an even better Horde bonus.
  • Fan Sequel: The mod as a whole is this to Generals, although some consider this to be the one Zero Hour should have been.
  • Fictional Document: Used frequently as a narrative medium for various story updates, usually in the form of in-universe intelligence documents.
  • Field Promotion: All veteran levels are basically this. ECA General Wolfgang's unique power is even called "Field Promotion" and grants affected units a free level-up.
  • Fix Fic: Many updates went to lengths to make more sense of the story of Generals, particularly the GLA invasion of Europe in Zero Hour.
  • Flash Forward Fic: Of a sort. The generals from Zero Hour had either retired, been discharged or killed.
  • Garrisonable Structures: The base game had them, and so does this mod. Some infantry can't garrison them due to their big weaponry. ECA infantry also gain additional bonii from this mechanic.
  • Gunship Rescue: Every faction has at least one unit that can pull these off convincingly.
  • Hollywood Silencer: ECA Commandos and American Pathfinders have these on their rifles.
  • History Repeats: A common pattern in the storyline:
    • As of the founding of the ECA, Europe is once again split into east and west by a wall dubbed the Concrete Curtain, although this time, the western countries built it.
    • China, Russia, America and Europe taking control of large swathes of Africa in order to extract rare resources seems reminiscent of the colonial period.
    • The Russo-European War begins with a false flag attack much like the German invasion of Poland in World War 2.
    • One story described the assault of Russian soldiers on the German Reichstag, complete with a modern recreation of the iconic flag photo.
    • The United States make a late entry into the war after the front line in Europe has degenerated into a bloody stalemate much like in World War 1.
    • World War 3 starts precisely 100 years after the end of World War 2.
    • The Olympics are once more held in Berlin, 100 years after the infamous 1936 one.
  • Hufflepuff House: The South American Pact is an aspiring coalition of Latin American nations but even though it is kind of a big deal in the setting, it only gets a few tangential references in the actual plot. An update series called 'The Stories of Others' also presented a number of countries which are not directly associated with the major factions including Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea (now united) and Switzerland.
  • Kill Sat:
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When General Aleksandr started a massive, furious ranting speech to his men about how he would retaliate against the French use of nuclear weapons with his own nuclear assault and burn Europe to cinders, the Russian government promptly yanked control of the nuclear arsenal from his command and gave it to more sane officers.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Added in version 1.7 for certain weapon types such as microwaves and high explosives
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Almost all factions have some units that can pull these off: Russia has Buratinos, the GLA has Rocket Buggies and Grads, the ECA has Tigers and Harriers; and the US, arguably the most missile-heavy faction in the game, are notable in that their Massacres are also quite accurate. The only faction without such capabilities is China which resorts to a lot of shell-based weapons instead. This may seem like an odd choice until you realise that Chinese weapons are designed to remain functional amidst the massive ECM/EMP environment they create with their specials.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The United States and Canada build a next-generation space station named the Pennsylvania, after the GDI space station from the Tiberium series. It even uses the same picture of the station from Tiberium Wars.
    • USA units being able to call in either a drone airlifter or a starlifter to transport them brings to mind the Call for transport ability from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.
    • Some of the new structures and units used in the mod are actually re-used and re-designed from the previous project of Team SWR, Command & Conquer: Generals Shockwave, as the Russian Federation uses the Buratino and Coal Power Plants that were exclusive to General Leang, now redesigned to fit with their aesthetic, or the USA now having access to Little Bird, which was a new unit used exclusively by the default version of USA in that mod.
      • The Internet Truck used to shelter China's Hackers are also a reimagined version of the new Hack Van unit from the mod as well, as they save the exact same purpose, with the only difference being that Internet Trucks are much smaller and only carry two Hackers, unlike the Hack Vans, which could carry four, or in the case of Shin Fai, six, hackers each, but they cost $400 as opposed to the $1800 that the Hack Vans cost.
  • Noodle Incident: The mod's story updates have gone into great lengths to explain even the most miniscule one-shot references of the original story: The Mudanjiang disaster in which Tao was involved was about a crashed train full of tactical nuclear shells that he helped recover, the Taiwan Conflict was a show of force in which Fai conquered most of the island before the US showed up, albeit too late to stop Taiwan from being conquered and the Second Korean War was an extended series of border skirmishes which eventually led to the removal of Kim Jong Un at the hands of his own generals.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Despite the UN's initial boost in relevance during the Global War on Terror, it not only lacks any kind of even nominal power, but has been reduced to a curiosity in New York whose resolutions and sanctions are ignored by all the world powers.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Brutal AI setting on some maps. The AI in general has been revamped to put up considerably more challenge to the player. Unlike the original game's AI, it is also a lot smarter.
  • No Recycling: Zig-Zagged. The GLA can salvage wreckage for both weapons upgrades and funding, and all of the Russian Federation's vehicles leave behind a wreck that their Badger repair tank can repair to full functionality. Everyone else? A wrecked unit is a loss of investment
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: In-universe, all factions except the GLA are nuclear powers, yet only China actually uses their nukes on a regular basis, the ECA deployed theirs as a last resort and the only Russian General with limited access to nuclear missiles is Zhukov. The USA, meanwhile, are quite conflicted about using nuclear weapons, in equal measure for historical reasons, seeing how China is overly liberal with them and due their doctrine on trying to prevent collateral damage via focus on precision weapons. In fact, a bit of lore on the wiki stated that the American and Russian presidents said over the Washington-Moscow Hotline that neither had the heart to launch their ICBMs against each other (though major American population centers are still evacuated and a massive amount of anti-missile killsats are being launched from Cape Canaveral in record time). On the other hand, the GLA are capable of stealing nuclear warheads with Bomb Trucks, turning these suicide units into nuclear suicide units similar to their incarnation in the Red Alert games.
  • One-Steve Limit: Every unit and most structures in this Game Mod have a unique name to avoid confusion when talking about any given element. Aversions are only for elements that are virtually identical in function across factions, and even then it's not that often (for example Command Centers, Dozers etc).
  • Operation: [Blank]: The Americans seem to have a special fondness for these. Their attack on the Russian Navy near the Azores was called 'Operation Blue Trident', General Bradley's Marine landing behind the Russian lines in France was called 'Operation Backbreaker' and the failed assassination of General Aleksandr by Frank Jaeger and the US Navy SEALs was dubbed 'Operation Pope's Revenge'. This one seems very random due to Genius Bonus: Jaeger tries to snipe the General from the Berlin television tower, which is known for the iconic golfball-shape of its upper portion. During the Cold War, the Berliners coined the term 'Pope's Revenge' upon noticing that the sun would often produce reflections on the tower that were reminiscent of a Christian cross shining brightly above the capital of the atheistic GDR.
    • The first wave of European nuclear strikes was dubbed 'Operation Pandora', which is appropriate not only because they used the Pandora cannon but because they "opened the box" of nuclear escalation.
    • The Russian invasion of Europe is simply referred to as 'Plan Red.' The VDV assault on the European space port in French Guiana was dubbed 'Operation Sunscreen' as its goal was to shut down the ECA's Solaris network.
  • Out of Focus: The majority of the fiction of the mod focuses on the European Continental Army and Russian Federation. China, the US, and the GLA are mostly in the background for the majority of the conflict between the ECA and Russia, with the GLA being content to rule over Africa, China keeping to itself, and the US covertly and then overtly supporting the ECA. However, there have been some hints that China is stirring up ethnic conflicts near the Russian border to prepare for a future invasion.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: As factions, China and the GLA come close to being this. The Chinese use ridiculous propaganda and technologies that are quite frankly odd while trying to be completely serious about everything while the GLA's nigh-cartoonish degree of dickishness may easily come off as very darkly comedic.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Most units have at least one of these, especially the heroes.
  • Private Military Contractors: Red River Security Solutions International is quite clearly in this business.
  • Realpolitik:
    • Though the US practiced a policy of isolationism after the events of Zero Hour, the detonation of nuclear weapons on French soil shakes them out of their isolation and prompts them to join the war on Europe's side. Even so, the US support is not a tide-turner, as the ECA was already turning the tide on their own and US forces helped push the momentum forward.
    • Because of the Russian air superiority, the ECA cannot field much in the way of fixed-wing aircraft. Most of their jet aircraft were either destroyed in the initial stages of the war or have been moved farther west to safer airfields, and they can only field helicopters close to the front lines. They need to have special authorization (in other words, spending a General's Point) to field British Harriers, which are the only fixed-wing aircraft that can launch from the ECA helipads.
  • Red Baron: Most of the Generals have distinct nicknames. This includes all US and GLA Generals as well as China's General Chen and the ECA General Wolfgang.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The US and China, though with inverted colors. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum but very much alike as reflected by the love/hate relationship they have in-game. Simply put, the US and China do not seem to like each other but they often end up cooperating against common enemies. Throughout the 2020s, they join forces against the GLA. In 2033, the US President flat-out claims that 'the once proud peoples of South-East Asia are writhing under the whip of their red Chinese masters' while a mere decade later, they once again team up to curb Russia's expansion in Africa. The operation fails and their ill-fated Pacific Peace Alliance breaks up in disputes but General Thorn still maintains that 'the Chi-Com menace is our best strategic ally' right up to the Russo-European War.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The F-35 Widowmaker has always been the go-to aircraft for American carrier missions; there have never been any Sea, Carrier or Economy Raptors.
  • Retcon: Spoofed during the reveal of the F-35 Widowmaker for the USA, complete with reference to Men in Black, here.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Much like the original game, the mod's backstory includes some intentionally topical references and extrapolations to present day issues, like a USA threatened by bankruptcy, an escalating EU crisis and China as the leading superpower.
  • Rule of Cool: Coolness tends to take precedence over realism. Strangely enough, some of the coolest (figurative or literally) technologies are actually very realistic, among them the Tesla technology (also known as electro-laser), cryo-beam (cooling laser) and fridge-sized nuclear reactors (yes these exist).
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Applies mostly to the GLA with suicide units and the Scorpion Tank managing to get across several meters when the unit is already dead, possibly managing to bring infantry down with it. Also applies to all foot soldiers in the game since they keep fearlessly advancing even when they are crippled and an inch away from death.
  • ShoutOut/Expy: Now has its own page.
  • Sigil Spam: Each faction has multiple distinct logos which can be seen on virtually every unit and structure. Generals-specific things usually sport the insigna of the respective general somewhere, provided there is enough space for it.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: Lore and descriptions match the in-game content quite often:
    • At first, it seems a little odd that Tank Command General Bradley has a Marine background when the US Army is generally known as the heavier ground branch. It does make sense when you consider that the United States makes a late and limited entry in the Russo-European War, not wanting to get caught up in an endless war of attrition. As a result, most of their frontline units in Europe would be Marine Expeditionary Forces, which could deploy across the Atlantic much faster than the Army, complete with their own tank units. It is entirely fair to assume that the bulk of the US Army still uses the M1A4 Paladin tank back home as well. The other American Generals add to this too, with Air Force General Griffon providing air support and Army General Thorn coordinating joint special forces operations.
    • The USA's greater emphasis on robotics, air superiority, and elite infantry are explained as consequences of both the downsizing of the American military after its post-Zero Hour isolationism, and its subsequent overhaul to compensate for the reduced manpower.
    • The Russian invasion drives the ECA to the breaking point morally and materially. This is represented by their Manticore, Pandora and Venom units, which are hastily being pushed into combat out of sheer necessity, as well as their widespread use of land mines, cluster bombs, neutron bombs and even nerve gas.
    • Russia finds itself in severe economic troubles at the start of the war. This is represented by their absurdly expensive vehicles, which require a late-game building (the Industrial Plant) in order to become affordable in notable numbers. Just imagine how ludicrously powerful Russia would have been while its economy was still roaring. They could have quite possibly won the war if they had invaded Europe during that time, but then again, their economic demise was their main reason for the war to begin with.
    • China's strong emphasis on flak munitions, shells, and "Gattling" CIWS almost to the exclusion of missiles and lasers, is a consequence of its military's extensive use of ECM and EMP-based equipment.
    • The limited air fleets of Russia, the ECA, and the GLA reflect their difficulty in acquiring aircraft. For Russia, economic woes make it hard to field advanced fighter aircraft and requires special authorization. For the ECA, much of the air fleets of the continental states were destroyed early on in the war, so the only jets they have access to are British Harriers and RAF-provided bombers, which require special authorization to deploy. Moreover, while both the ECA and Russia can field helicopters without spending General points, the GLA only has access to ramshackle aircraft to begin with, and fielding any aircraft, whether helicopters or planes, requires significant investment via General points.
  • Space-Filling Empire: The creation of large, supra-national organisations like the North American Union, the pro-Russian South American Pact, the powerless African Union and the pro-Chinese Greater Asian Peoples Alliance appears like this, although they only make an appearance in the backstory. Played a bit straighter with Russia and China which made some actual territorial gains in-universe.
    • The European Union (or rather, what it tried to become prior to its collapse) meanwhile is a deconstruction of this trope, being a fascist, authoritarian regime with no regard for national autonomy, and was quickly overthrown as a result. This may double as a Take That! to the faction of the same name in Command & Conquer (2013).
    • New entries include the Commonwealth (which is really more of a trade bloc than an empire), the Middle Eastern Council, which serves to stabilise and pacify the Middle East after its destruction and the Bangalore Pact, which is a strategic alliance in South Asia to oppose Chinese expansionism. One fan-fiction also introduced a Balkan Confederation which consists of a greater Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania and serves as a supportive ally to the Russian Federation. All things considered, the supra-national entities of the setting take up a lot of space on the globe, but their individual levels of integration and centralisation are quite diverse.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: Some air units perform attacks that resemble strafing runs, the most obvious example being the GLA Interceptor which absolutely massacres lines of infantry with its dual 20mm cannons. There's also the American A-10 which sprays the target area with its massive gatling gun, followed by a rocket volley.
  • Strawman News Media:
    • The Americans' SNN is a thinly-veiled Expy of CNN and MSNBC, with a few hints of sensationalism and political biases.
    • ECA-based ECAN is considered by many to be one of the most reliable and neutral news agencies in the world, mirroring the BBC's reputation...although their ties to the ECA military command begs to question just how impartial they are.
    • SinoNews24 is a Chinese state-run network that tends to serve as propaganda for the Party.
    • Russia's FFN is apparently Russia Today's successor, with a very apparent pro-Russian, anti-Western bent.
    • The pro-GLA ARC network seems to serve little other purpose than to glorify their actions.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Several examples.
    • In the original game, the Aurora is invulnerable during its attack run. Sounds cool in theory, but in practice, it's nearly always destroyed by enemy anti-air immediately after dropping its payload, essentially turning it into an expensive suicide plane. In this mod, the Aurora was revealed to be a Flawed Prototype that was pushed into combat before it was ready and suffered terrible losses during the war, leading to the sacking of General Granger.
    • The GLA's extensive Black Market operations mean that while they make a huge amount of money off of illegal sales, it's also very easy for their enemies to follow the money trail (which was how the USA tracked down Dr. Thrax in Zero Hour). Now they have to reduce their presence on the black market to avoid being tracked.
    • When General Aleksandr started a massive, furious ranting speech to his men about how he would retaliate against the French use of nuclear weapons with his own nuclear assault and burn Europe to cinders, the Russian government promptly yanked control of the nuclear arsenal from his command and gave it to more sane officers.
    • General Townes' obsession with laser-based technology in Zero Hour, though giving the US military potent firepower, proved too expensive and power-hungry to be really practical for a more isolationist and downsized America.
    • While General Leang's penchant of using the units and superweapons of every faction in Zero Hour might sound formidable, in practice this amounted to fielding glorified knockoffs and running an unwieldy, unprofessional force that's not particularly effective against her foes. No wonder she gets sacked after an "excessive public scandal."
  • Trade Snark: A meta-example mostly; when people ask for the release date, the answer is commonly "Soon™".
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The revised timeline starts in 2028 with the ending of the Zero Hour expansion while the actual war between Russia and Europe breaks out in 2045.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Defied. Unlike in the original game, base defenses can no longer auto-detect stealth units, necessitating the use of dedicated detector units to reveal hidden enemies which makes them a lot more useable.
  • War Is Hell: Even though the mod sticks to the colorful, exaggerated look and feel of the original game, the depiction of war in the story tends to be very vicious and brutal. For example:
    • The seven part mini-series surrounding Orlov's ill-fated deployment to South Sudan contains some rather nightmarish moments.
    • The failed invasion of the United Kingdom is a bloody, costly victory for the British (and ECA in general). The Russians were successfully pushed back, but at the cost of thousands of people dead and a good chunk of the English coastline a war-ravaged wasteland.
    • The first use of the ECA's neutron weapons in southern France as seen from the perspective of a vehicle crew that happened to be too close to the blast.
  • Wham Episode: Several updates contained fundamental changes to gameplay and story direction that came right out of nowhere. This would include the introduction of the GLA air force, the addition of naval units, the ECA resorting to weapons of mass destruction and the unexpected removal of the much beloved Su-25 Frogfoot due to unsolvable design issues. But Wait, There's More! The GLA get a new gameplay mechanic in the Recycler Truck, which can reverse-engineer enemy technology from salvage crates; depending on the technology level of the vehicle it came from, different new upgrades will become available. Bomb Trucks also gain various Nuclear Options by stealing enemy warheads.
  • Where Are They Now: Occasionally thrown in for the Generals of the original game, most of them not getting very kind fates. Townes mutinied against the closure of his laser projects and was arrested by one of his own men, Granger was discharged after taking the fall for the atrocious performance of the Aurora Bomber, Kwai and Tao went into retirement with Tao still being alive to comment on (and justify) the European nuclear attacks in 2048. Leang was seemingly discharged after an 'excessive public scandal' and her unit was taken over by Mau. Dr. Thrax was presumably killed in the original campaign, Prince Kassad betrayed the GLA again and got personally executed by Sulaymaan and Juhziz was ordered to stay behind to eradicate Hamburg with a nuclear bomb, killing himself and Fai in the process. Alexander's fate is still unknown, though it was revealed she took part in a Second Korean War in 2018, as well as a conflict in Taiwan several months later.
  • Worker Unit: The USA, China, Russia and the ECA builds structures with a vehicle called Construction Dozer by the USA and China, Construction Crane by Russia and Excavator by the ECA. The Chinese Dozer and Excavator also pulls double duty as mine disposal, while the US and Russia instead use the Recon Drone and Mishka (whose main purpose is scouting). None of these units can gather resources; this is instead done by the Chinese Supply Truck, ECA Supply Track, Russian Supply Wartruck (which is armed with a machine gun) and American Osprey (which can fly). The GLA uses the Worker, an infantry unit, for all of these jobs.

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