Follow TV Tropes


Web Original / Red Alert 3: Paradox

Go To

Red Alert 3: Paradox is an ambitious project that seeks to expand the lore of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, featuring an extensive 1960s Cold War world. Chock full of Shout-Outs, Historical In-Jokes and the unusual results of taking the wacky world of Red Alert 3 completely seriously, the project aimed to flesh out the very-not-serious world presented in the game without losing any of its Narm Charm.

Paradox was originally conceived as a Game Mod, though due to engine limitations, it ceased production in 2014, with some of the assets from the mod to be released under Creative Commons attribution license. The lore continues to be developed and can be found here (which has also integrated the lore originally made for the unofficial expansions Echoes and Quantum; the original lore is preserved on a different wiki), and is being converted into a Hearts of Iron IV mod.

The core team of Paradox also worked on BLOODCRUSHER II, an indie retro shooter with rogue-like elements. The Paradox wiki also features the totally self-indulgent fic by the creator of the mod, A Red Letter Day, a Crossover with Mass Effect.

The story provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The basic idea is to expand the material and explore its implications while remaining true to its campy core.
  • A.K.A.-47: Many of the vehicles distinctly resemble real world ones with different names and unusual features. The Mastiff tank is clearly a King Tiger, the Cardinal is a Huey, the Achilles a streched Avro Arrow, the Ranger a jeep, and so forth. Most of the weapons are similarly renamed, though weapons from before 1927 usually keep their names as a nod to the point of divergence.
  • Alien Space Bats: Soviets traveled back in time in an already alternative timeline without Adolf Hitler and Those Wacky Nazis to kill Albert Einstein to make a new timeline where they can finally win World War III. Team Paradox changed the outcome of THAT timeline's third world war again for its own story.
  • All Nations Are Superpowers: Either you are part of a power bloc or your country has super power status outright.
  • All Theories Are True: Every theory and scientific idea of the mid 20th century is viable in this setting.
  • Alternate History: Time travel plot and killings of Adolf Hitler and Albert Einstein aside, the time before 1927 went at times and places differently too:
    • The formation of the Order of the Talon and Cult of the Black Hand in the 11th century.
    • Japan never invaded the rest of Asia. This is because the Battle of Kumamoto Castle ended with a Shinobi running up the castle wall and opening its doors, changing the entire war scenario. The new government decided to not spend resources on invasions and went along with trading with America and Europe without being influenced much.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Unit headers with listed key features usually do this for Rule of Funny.
  • The Backwards Я: The logo swaps several letters in the word PARADOX with Cyrillic letters that are visually similar. The result would read rdyadaozh.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • Allied Nations: Technical. Low cost efficiency but pin-point accuracy and many useful effects.
    • Soviet Union: Jack of All Stats. All-arounders capable of specializing into offensive, defensive, or support roles depending on which upgrade paths are taken.
    • Empire of the Rising Sun: Ranger. Lots of light but very fast units capable of mounting hit and run attacks, transforming to get in or out of danger, and good at maneuvering and expanding.
    • Confederate Revolutionaries: Guerrillas. Stealth generators, tunnels, traps and good infantry but (initially) bad vehicles.
    • Order of the Talon: Elitist. Units are slow and rather expensive but possess extreme armour. They also improve themselves on every veterancy rank with new weapons or abilities.
    • Atomic Kingdom of China: Turtle. Weak units overall without even veterancy but absurdly powerful defenses, out of which some are mobile.
    • Mediterranean Syndicate: Economic/Ranger. Long-ranged units that specialise in urban warfare and benefit from an immense economy.
    • Electrical Protectorate: Spammer. Massive amounts of instantly-made units without armour or veterancy drown the enemy in fire.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Barkhausen overdrive as well as the Kirov and Dreadnaught secondaries carrying over from the original game. The Chinese ore collector exposing it's atomic core also tends to self-damage with radiation.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Tracers are shared between power blocks or suppliers, so Allied-aligned powers fire red, communist powers fire a sickly yellow-green, and anyone buying from the Syndicate, such as the Confederates, GLA and International Inc, fire gold. The Japanese stick to blue, the Order to greys, and the Protectorate to whites and purples. China doesn't use bullets at all, but their beams are their house colour, by default a bright green.
  • Crapsack World: Three world wars, a Cold War and five new super powers, two of them planning to get rid of everyone else. It is mainly a current age Warhammer 40,000. Also goes hand in hand with World of Badass.
  • Deconstruction: Of the original Red Alert 3. The vague Cold War setting has been given a set date and heavily grounded in history, with all of the original faction's motivations, backstories and situations being extrapolated in great detail from the scraps of information given in the original campaigns. The goody-two-shoes Allies are PR-concious control freaks, Japan's ambitious plans were crushed embarrassingly quickly, the Allies and Soviets have ground to a stalemate, and you don't get away with killing a US president scott-free. There is considerable exploration of the implications of the strange technology at play, extensive exploration of the history of how things went so wrong, parallels to the real-life Cold War, and the first Red Alert game is tied into the backstory. In both backstory and gameplay mechanics, Paradox looks at the source material and asks 'What would it be like if this was serious?' and the answers tend to go dark places.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: Classic for Command & Conquer, Engineers and variants can capture enemy buildings so their commander can make use of them.
  • Gender Is No Object: Played realistically straight. Allied, Chinese, Soviet, Syndicate and even some minor faction infantry have sometimes randomised gender with only slightly changed armour and fitting voices. The Imperial Japanese do not do this, for obvious reasons.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Everyone has corpses in the basement, but most factions at least try to be moral. Most.
  • Insistent Terminology: The word laser does not exist in universe; the word spectrum is used instead, leading to spectrum beams, spectrum designators, electrospectrum plasma channels, and so forth. Using the word laser in a suggestion is a good way to show you haven't been paying attention. In-universe, some scientists insisted that the term L.O.S.E.R. (Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation") is more accurate, but it never caught on due to obvious reasons. Also, every mention of kevlar was replaced with Kwolek, after the inventor of kevlar.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Allies, Soviets and Syndicate are the main players for this. Not that everyone else is far behind. At the beginning of WW2 in 1949, jet fighters were still experimental and most infantry ran around with bolt-action rifles. Horses were as common as trucks. By the end in 1955, everyone had assault rifles, the Allies were hiding behind rips in space-time, the Soviets were fielding tanks the size of houses and could make them invicible shortly, VTOL jet fighters were the norm, and jet packs and lightning guns were being employed. Then the Cold War arms race started...
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Moddb page had a rather humorous flash imitating an eternally loading loading bar, which loads anything from normal stuff to utter nonsense, then either the loaded part keeps falling out, regress back or just spills out.
  • The Metric System Is Here to Stay: In-lore as well as an actual Wiki rule.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: The Allies, Soviets, Talon, Confederates and sometimes the Empire actively try to get civilians out of war zones. The other times the Empire attacks civilian villages for moralic shock value. The Syndicate only do it when it suits their money-based goals. The Protectorate and Atomic Kingdom don't bother with evacuation.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Until the Chinese broke it. The technology still hasn't spread to any of the other factions yet.
  • Punk Punk: Every human faction except the Confederates are some kind of Punk Punk. The wierdness comes because they are all different sorts.
    • Allied Nations: Raygun Gothic. Retro-futuristic designs, vacuum tube computers. Extensive laser, wave and advanced physics theories based weaponry.
    • Soviet Union: Diesel Punk. Big, powerful, utilitarian. Creative use of reliable and simple technologies like electricity and magnetism. Major space program.
    • Empire of the Rising Sun: Nano Punk / Post Cyber Punk. Superior design and engineering. Automated precision manufacturing on microscopic scale. Research into psionics.
    • Mediterranean Syndicate: Cyberpunk. Circuits, cyborgs, powered armour. Very commercial mindset and a large budget.
    • Order of the Talon: Clock Punk / Steampunk. Adepts of mechanics and metallurgy. Potential evidence of supernatural religious power.
    • Atomic Kingdom of China: Atom Punk / Space Opera. Mastery of cheap nuclear energy. Orbital habitats, teleportation, segregated caste of clone workers/soldiers.
    • Technocratic Combine: Decopunk. Retro-futuristic technologies, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne aesthetics, pulp and noir influences, and World War 1 tactics.
    • Industrial Guild: Not themed after a specific type of punk, but grabs and holds a large variety of themes into a blender. Heavily industrialized factory-cities, neovictorian stylings, Gilded Age safety standards.
    • Cyberbolivaran Forum: Transistor Punk. Wires, late 60s electric displays, and gauges reading how far until you're in the red.
  • Propaganda Machine: The Soviets might be the most obvious, but they aren't the only ones. The Allies initally started running their humanitarian programs as one of these to draw small nations to their cause. The Empire has massive state-run media, both sides of the Chinese Civil War lied to their population constantly, the North Vietnamese use theirs to whip their soldiers into a frenzy, and the Cult of the Black Hand like to set these up to pit people against each other.
  • Reference Overdosed: Almost every unit and lore is a Shout-Out to something else.
  • Retro Universe: Each faction embodies a retro style as mentioned under Punk Punk but attitudes and technology are modern and border on Schizo Tech, respectively. There also is a Wiki Rule named "Law of Crimson Skies" which requires people both real and In-Universe to be culturally sensitive in terms of Double Standards against genders, races and religions.
  • Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman: A lot of future US presidents are involved in the Confederate Revolutionaries, Nikita Khrushchev is a lowly grain farmer, Mikhail Gorbachev was a Soviet Red Shirt who was unceremoniously killed, and so forth, though many figures in the lore have similar professions but just work for different organizations. And Richard Nixon actually IS a car salesman.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Everyone is fairly quick with training troops, making vehicles and building structures. The Electrical Protectorate ignore build times almost altogether. This is usually Handwaved by the factions using advanced construction methods like nanomachines or secretly bringing pre-build units on the battle field from outside the battle.
  • Rule of Cool: It is firmly established that anything which doesn't violate the base lines of the universe (free energy and Faster-Than-Light Travel among them) is allowed. Added twist being that when it's not made cooler by violating every other rule of the universe, there is no reason for it to be scientifically wrong in the first place.
  • Satire/Parody/Pastiche: All three of them as follows:
    • Satire: Industrial excess, warfare, supression of human rights and blind following of ideologies (and fighting others) simply for assuming of being right and everyone else being wrong.
    • Parody: Scifi works from the 1950s up to modern day, eastern and western alike across all media.
    • Pastiche: Works of all genres in all media and way too many to count them all. The most notable are Star Trek, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Gundam, Sucker Punch, Nineteen Eighty-Four and all Vietnam themed films.
  • Scale of Scientific Sins: The Allies have committed sins one and two, the Empire and Syndicate have done one through three, and the Protectorate is the first sin. Even the Confederates and their PAWI tech clock in with number two, as does China with a lot of its tech as well as doing genetic engineering. Note that three through six are well within the Allies' reach and four through six for the Empire and Syndicate... they just haven't done it yet. The Soviet Union and Order of the Talon seem to be the only major factions with a clean slate here, and that's mostly through not having the tech to do it rather than the will. As far as the minor factions go, Red China developed cloning technology and genetic engineering thus reviving the dead in new bodies, while Blue China can revive the dead (or rather produce zombies) with deliberate usage of crude cybernetics. Green China condemned them for both but keeps using cloning tech.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Some factions, such as the Soviet Union and Order of the Talon, believe that the Paradox world is on the cynical end of the scale and try to be good guys through the lens of a cynical world. Others, such as the Allied Nations and Confederate Revolutionaries, believe that the Paradox world is on the idealistic end and behave as good guys through the lens of an idealistic world. Where exactly the Paradox world does fall on the scale is largely left to the viewer's imagination. According to the April 17 paradoxcast, the Paradox world is very cynical. That being said, the wiki still maintains the Unit Lore shouldn't be TOO bleak. While one or two units can be completely tragic, the lore on the whole must be closer to Red Alert style Black Comedy, 'even if it's so black, light cannot escape its surface'.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: All of the characters from the original Red Alert 3 (or the characters borrowed from other Command and Conquer games) have either been killed or otherwise reduced to a state of non-importance. The sole execeptions are the commandos.
  • Take That!: The various Uprising units, overpowered as they are, are not canon in Paradox, mainly because in-lore they are worth nothing.
  • Techno Babble: Tries to avoid it when it can; if a basis in real world science can be established, it is much preferred. However, the sheer weirdness of the setting means this isn't always possible.
  • Washington D.C. Invasion: Played with, as Washington DC is being invaded by Americans.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Everyone armours at least some of their infantry up. The Talon get a pass because they are knights, though.
  • Wham Episode: The April 17 paradoxcast, which included the first hints of what the eventual campaigns will include, ranging from what was described as the Normandy landings on the moon to an Allied mission inside a human body. This latter revelation met with a Flat "What" from the community.
  • World of Badass: All heroes are this, many non-hero units are this, many other non-hero units can be this if they try and every important commander is pretty much a Colonel Badass or Four-Star Badass in their own right.
  • World War III: Paradox takes place after it with big parts of the world in ruins or under reconstruction and its three major players (Allies, Empire and Soviets) economy and military wise exhausted, thus opening space for 5 new super powers.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Soviet lightning blasts are blue-white, and purple at high levels, but when the Protectorate throw around electricity it is yellow.
  • Zeerust: Every faction represents a different take on retro 'The World of Tomorrow!' concepts. The Order of the Talon is a fantastic spin-off of 17 to 19th century technology, the Soviets are in 1930s to 50s with Diesel Punk, the Allies represent 1960s futurism, the Chinese embody 70s space opera and Atomic Age ideals, the Confederates veer into late 70s post-nuclear scavenger world as they try to rebuild a patriotic Eagle Land using manpower and dilapidated conventional technologies, the Syndicate is 80s Cyberpunk, and the Empire a combination of 90s mecha anime and modern post-cyberpunk concepts. The Protectorate contains robotic units as envisioned in many ages, from Tin Can Robots to drone swarms, Terminators, and a mechanised Eldritch Abomination. The result is something of a Mega Crossover of retro-themed genres and universes colliding. To put things in perspective, the actual year the game takes place in is 1969.

Alternative Title(s): Red Alert 3 Paradox, Red Alert 3 Paradox Expanded Universe