Another day, another storied video game franchise going free-to-play. This time, it's Command & Conquer, with the revered real-time strategy getting an all-new iteration powered by DICE's Frostbite 2 engine.

Well, all new to a point. This is actually the Command & Conquer: Generals 2 that was announced last December as BioWare's next big project, repurposed and retooled to serve as the free-to-play launch title for a new online strategy platform in 2013. The game is still being developed by EA's Victory Games under the BioWare label.

Here's the official word from EA:

With a familiar blend of cerebral, strategic gameplay and fun, fast-paced action, Command & Conquer will deliver an authentic and modern RTS experience that will instantly exhilarate longtime fans and captivate new players. Gamers can sign up for a chance to be among the first to try the closed beta of Command & Conquer at www.CommandandConquer.com/free.

"We are thrilled about this opportunity to transform Command & Conquer into a premier online experience," said Jon Van Caneghem, VP/GM at EA. "For nearly two decades, this franchise has existed as something you buy; now we are creating a destination where our fans will be able to access the entire Command & Conquer universe, starting with Generals and continuing with Red Alert, Tiberium and beyond. With Frostbite 2, we are able to keep an emphasis on the AAA quality our consumers expect while staying true to the RTS gameplay they know and love – all available online for free.

Fans of the franchise might not have to wait until next year to play — beta signups are going on right now.

Edit — This post and its headline were adjusted after publishing for clarification and focus.