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Excalibur WC4 Excalibur

The Wing Commander 5 Poll Results!

Hello, fellow Wing Commanders!

At long last: the poll has closed, and all the results are in! Before telling you the winners, let me thank all of you for voting, and for waiting patiently for over two months (!) for these results. Now, let's cut to it!



- HOW THE VOTES WERE COUNTED:

I made two tables: one with 'favorite' votes, and one with 'runner-up' votes, then I used the following system: 'favorite' votes are worth 2 points, 'runner-up' votes are worth 1. So every voter had the power to give 3 points.
Luckily, most people explicitly mentioned their favorite and runner up. Most others simply mentioned two titles, and I then assumed that the first one mentioned was the favorite, and the second one mentioned was runner-up. Still others mentioned just one title. Of course, I made those 'favorites', so unfortunatly, those people only used up 2 of their 3 points. If I had the time, I contacted these people to ask their runner up, but I very rarely got it after that.
A few people mentioned more than two titles. Some just couldn't decide, others gave whole top-5's. Depending on the wording of their votes, I either split their votes up in THREE 'runners-up', or deduced one 'favorite' and one 'runner-up' as was usual. This way, some people got to vote for three titles, but NO-ONE gave away more than 3 points. Four people also mentioned least favorites which weren't counted. Many people added additional comments, which are discussed below.

In total, 75 people voted. I counted 70 'favorite' votes and 59 'runner-up' votes, for a total of 199 points.



- THE TITLES AND THEIR VOTES:

The format is: F:# of 'favorite' votes - R:# of runner-up votes, TOTAL: Total # of points

"Private War"F:16R:4TOTAL: 36
"The Battle Forever"F:15R:9TOTAL: 39
"The Darkest Lance"F:11R:6TOTAL: 28
"Eye of the Kilrathi"F:10R:6TOTAL: 26
"Wing Commander Origins"F:3R:13TOTAL: 19
"The Tragedy War"F:4R:9TOTAL: 17
"Shadow of the Cat"F:6R:7TOTAL: 19
"A Dark Confederation"F:5R:5TOTAL:15
7059199

So, the 'official' top-8 is:

1. THE BATTLE FOREVER: 20 % of all points
2. Private War: 18 % of all points
3. The Darkest Lance: 14 % of all points
4. Eye of the Kilrathi: 13 % of all points
5. Shadow of the Cat: 10 % of all points. More 'favorite' votes places this slightly higher than....
6. Wing Commander Origins: 10 % of all points
7. The Tragedy War: 9 % of all points
8. A Dark Confederation: 8 % of all points

(some rounding-up problems give us a total of 102%, but these are the right percentages.)

If counting simply the number of votes, without discriminating between favorite and runner-up, the results are:
1. THE BATTLE FOREVER: 24 votes, 19 %
2. Private War: 20 votes, 16 %
3. The Darkest Lance: 17 votes, 13 %
4. Eye of the Kilrathi: 16 votes, 12 %
4. Wing Commander Origins: 16 votes, 12 %
5. The Tragedy War: 13 votes, 10 %
5. Shadow of the Cat: 13 votes, 10 %
6. A Dark Confederation: 10 votes, 8 %

and finally, if ONLY counting favorite votes:
1. PRIVATE WAR: 23 %
2. The Battle Forever: 21 %
3. The Darkest Lance: 15 %
4. Eye of the Kilrathi: 14 %
5. Shadow of the Cat: 9 %
6. A Dark Confederation: 7 %
7. The Tragedy War: 6 %
8. Wing Commander Origins: 4 %



- COMMENTS:

Although most voters only gave their winning and runner-up titles, many other voters added some comments. Some just commented shortly on the title they voted for, others to all titles or specific other titles. Here are all the plots again in full, with a brief summary of the comments given. Sometimes I've added my own personal comments as well (humor me).

"Private War" (#2) Blair as a privateer. The Heart of the Tiger goes undercover to find (the missing) Rachel and teams up with a rag-tag group of 'Confed rejects' (which you may, yourself, assemble) to infiltrate a mysterious evil organization that's holding her captive and is threatening peace..

COMMENTS: This idea scored very well. I think some of it's popularity is because of the link to the much-loved Privateer game. One person commented, however, that this plot was best suited to the Privateer series, and I tend to agree, personally. Another voter (who actually voted this title his favorite) said he'd like to see some adventure-elements in this one, as you try to find clues to go after Rachel. That would be pretty cool, I think: kinda like WC meets Spycraft. No less than three people mentioned they'd like to see Flint rather than Rachel: frequent readers of the newsgroup know that the pilot is far more popular than the mechanic. However, I think the suggestor of this title just wanted to keep the continuity straight: in the semi-official WC3 novel, Flint dies and Blair chooses Rachel as his girl.

"The Battle Forever" (#1) The Confederation is attacked by an ancient engergy-based race (the Mantu?), that needs carbon-based bodies (to possess) to keep alive and live forever. Colonel Blair fights on the side of the Confederation and proves that humans too can live forever by passing on what they have learned: although Blair is killed/possessed by the enemy, his most talented pupil from the Intrepid-school then follows in his footsteps.

COMMENTS: First off, I'm going to do something dangerous here and admit that I, myself, contributed this title. Dangerous, of course, because it WON, and that casts a bad light on the reliability of these results. I'm hoping you'll take my word for it that I have not messed with the votes. Actually, I was really hoping some other title would win so that I didn't have this explaining to do :-). Right then, on to the comments:

What was immediatly striking when reading the votes was that many people (and that includes mostly people who *did* vote for this title) HATED the idea of Blair dying. No less than SEVEN people noted this, which may not seem like a lot, but considering only about 1 in 4 people added comments to their votes, then that's over 25 % of all people voting for this that had added additional comments, and it's also very possible that this was why this plot got two of the four aforementioned 'least favorite' votes. Indeed, this 'Don't let Blair die!' line was actually the single most mentioned comment in the votes. In the early days, when votes were merely starting to trickle in, I had time to discuss this 'nag' with two of the people who mentioned this, and came to the conclusion that a parallel could be drawn with the anti-climactic death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations. I maintain that if done well, it could turn out far better than that, though. Three other people actually found it to be an especially good idea that Blair would 'pass on the torch' in this fassion, so Blair's death is controversial to say the least (see General Comments & Observations, below). A reason why I think this plot was so popular was that it had the Mantu in it. This enigmatic race that has thusfar received only as much as a mention in one of the WC-novels has been the source of much speculation of many WC-fans. This incarnation allowed them to finally appear yet maintain their air of mystery. Also, see Tragedy War and General Comments & Observations below for more on the 'new race' idea.

"The Darkest Lance" (#3) The remaining Black Lance forces threaten Earth with the inheritance of their late leader Geoffrey Tolwyn: a new Behemoth superweapon, created in secrecy by the BL since before the Borderworlds conflict. You (as Blair or a new hero) must stop them, but remember that they still have connections in high places!

COMMENTS: John Gallardo contacted me via E-mail to tell me he had suggested this high-scoring idea back when possible plots were being discussed on the newsgroup. That may very well be true, but I remember various people contributing to a thread discussing the future of the Black Lance and a possible second Behemoth. This idea is more of a sequel to WC4 than anything else, and if Origin would do something along these lines then the new saga that has been rumoured to start with WC5 would have already started with WC4, eliminating the odd 'in-between' episode. The question is, however, if such a sequel would retain the 'punch' of WC4's intrigue. By the way, the sentence 'You (as Blair or a new hero)' caused five voters to add 'with Blair, not a new hero!' to their vote (see General Comments & Observations, below).

"Eye of the Kilrathi" (#4) Return to the war, but this time we see it from the Kilrathi point-of-view. You are a Kilrathi pilot. Fly Kilrathi fighters and find out more about the Kilrathi than ever before. (Note: this can also be a new story, placed after the war and WC4).

COMMENTS: Two people noted that this would be more fitting as a spin-off than a full-fledged WC. Perhaps this is because of it's 'prequel-ness' (see Wing Commander Origins and General Comments & Observations below) or because of the fact that you don't control a Confed hero. I added that "Note: this can also be a new story" line because I didn't want this plot to lose votes because of it's prequel-ness: playing the Kilrathi was the main premise here, and it's obvious that idea was much liked. Two people commented they'd like to play Hobbes in this game, and one of these two also mentioned that playing Trakath might be a good idea. I think that would give some nice insights in Kilrathi-society and thinking indeed. Either of these ideas would of course require the game to be a prequel, so that adds more credence to the notion that the prequel idea isn't as disputed as was thought (see Wing Commander Origins and General Comments & Observations below) .

"Wing Commander Origins" (#6) The axed prequel idea. From the destruction of the Iason, the event that started the four decades-long war, to the first major Confederation victory. Meet a new cast of characters as well as young versions of old favorites such as Captain Eisen and Admiral Tolwyn.

COMMENTS: A favorite 'second choice', this idea got more runner-up votes than any other. 12 % of all voters thought this would be a good idea, so apparently this axed prequel idea isn't as stupid as some people think. Again, several people noted a spin-off would be a better idea than making the fifth installment a prequel. See also General Comments & Observations below.

"The Tragedy War" (#7) A new race (The Steltek?) wage war upon Confed, but no-one understands why: The race is reclusive and mysterious. Slowly you find out more about this enemy, and eventually, Confed makes contact and peace with this race, as the war was just a big misunderstanding or communication error.

COMMENTS: Some people voted for this purely to 'kick in a new race', but I think that if this plot is done well it could have the strength of sci-fi literature. Sadly, the suggestor of this plot gave too little information to make the synopsis sound attractive.

"Shadow of the Cat" (#5) The Mirathi return, the race of Kilrathi (all but) destroyed during the Kilrathi Civil War. They request asylum to Confed, which raises tensions between Confed and the Kilrathi to dangerous levels. A new clash between the two may be inevitable.

COMMENTS: The suggestion for this plot went something like: 'I'd like to see the Mirathi return! The Kilrathi sub-race that the ruling Kilrathi beat during the Civil War!". I myself added the asylum plot to make this idea presentable, and, if I do say so myself, was quite pleased with the 'political tension' idea. I received some intelligent comments, one suggesting a moral choice between keeping the peace at all costs or doing what's right and helping the weaker party. One voter suggested to being able to choose between a Human and Mirathi-pilot at the start. Two people noted that this plot may be inconsistant with the WC-universe because the Kilrathi don't pose enough of a threat nowadays to make the story work.

"A Dark Confederation" (#8) Confed is the enemy in this episode, and not just one faction either. It has become cold and evil. You control the (weaker?) race being assaulted by Confed, or possibly human Rebels fighting against what 'their' Confederation has become.

COMMENTS: This plot suffered a fate similar to the Tragedy War: the lack of detail in these synopses can't do the idea justice, and I think that this, too, has potential if intelligently written. A voter noted that this plot sounded a lot like Star Wars (a good thing, of course), and another suggested Confed be portrayed as a mega-corporation not unlike, say, OCP in the Robocop movies.



- GENERAL COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS:

Here are some comments that don't fall under one particular plot, and some loose observations.

- First off, it was striking that many, many voters thought that this was an official poll by Origin, the softwarehouse that created the WC-series. It isn't, and I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. The only way I'm associated with the company is that I play and love their games. This poll was by a fan, for the fans. I *will* pass the results on to Origin, and they can do with it what they want. My guess is they'll appreciate the feedback: these results paint a picture of what the fans want to see happen to the series, and there are some interesting things to be deducted from it (read on!). The people who thought I was with Origin did mention they loved their games in general and the WC-games in particular. So there.

- Some time ago, the future of WC was fiercly debated on the WC-newsgroup, and it appeared many people were against introducing a new "superrace" as Confed's enemy because that would imply the saga was a neverending story with enemy after enemy to be fought. The poll's results show, however, that this idea isn't that much hated afterall. Most people that voted for Tragedy War, voted for the Battle Forever as well, so there are a lot of people dying to see a new race. Maybe it's because these are semi-established races (Mantu and Steltek), but having a new mysterious enemy to explore proved an interesting notion to many. No less than four people also mentioned they'd like to see some alien crewmembers or civilians or even pilots 'hanging around' in the game, three of which mentioning, in that vein, a return of the Firekkans, who haven't surfaced since their appearance on that WC2-data disk. Also, a comment added both to Tragedy War and Battle Forever for a total of four times was that Confed should team up with the Kilrathi to fight the new opponent. As for WC being a neverending saga: it sells very well, so for the time being, it is :-).

- Something else (that I have noted above) is that the prequel idea isn't that hated either: Both the semi-prequel idea Eye of the Kilrathi and Wing Commander Origins raked in many votes. Many people voted for both, just like with Tragedy War and Battle Forever, so we can conclude a WC-prequel wouldn't be without fans. One person even suggested linking WC-Origins with Eye, to create one 'super-prequel' where you can choose to play either Kilrathi or Confed (WC meets Command & Conquer?). Still, there were also three people who said a prequel would suck. My personal take is that it would be good, but as a spin-off, not in the main series now that we're up to part 5 already.

- Two people suggested their own plot rather than voting: one short premise revolved around the return of Angel, the other was a very elaborate time-travel saga called WC: Eternity. The person in question claimed to have 30 pages of script done, which I've suggested he posts (in part) to the newsgroup alt.games.wing-commander.

- From the comments with The Battle Forever and The Darkest Lance, as well as some loose comments, it was obvious that many people would love to see Blair remain the hero in this saga. Apparently, Blair/Hamill is still mighty popular, so if Origin is reading this: revoke your decision of axing him, 'cause the fans want him to stay! If not as a pilot or the protagonist, then in some other roll, just to remind us that he's still around. Also, Angel, Vagabond and Jazz were mentioned as characters that should return. I think they're all dead, personally...

- Only one person mentioned this in his vote, but as the discussion raged on the WC-newsgroup some time ago, I'll mention it here: Origin would do good to put those cockpit-views back in rather than just HUD's. Personally, I didn't miss 'em for a moment, but apparently many people did, so the least Origin could do is make it an option, as it was in WC3.

- Finally, something which no-one mentioned, but which was discussed on the newsgroup recently: a funeral scene for Captain Eisen as a tribute to Jason Bernard (the actor portraying Eisen, recently passed away). Personally, I think it's a fabulous idea, although Origin should of course get permission from the family first.

- THE END:

Well, that's it for this poll! I hoped you enjoyed reading it and participating as much as I enjoyed running it! Any response is welcome, but the best place for it is the WC-newsgroup alt.games.wing-commander, so that all on-line fans can discuss the results and the future of Wing Commander. Thanks to all voters (my in-box will be empty without you!:-) and all suggestors, who ever you were. A very special thanks goes to Chris Reid for creating the WC5-poll web-page at http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/7575/WC5Poll.html. I can't confirm how many votes came from the web and how many from the newsgroup, but I think the webpage brought in at least half the votes! Thanks also to Worlds Of Origin and all other WC-fan pages for linking to Chris' page.

Bye, y'all!
GERTHEIN BOERSMA,
a fellow Wing Commander.


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