Has the wing commander movie killed the franchise?

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
When prophecy came out, origin promised that it's the first part in a new trilogy.

Well, you all know how that promise turned out... As far as I remember, WCP sold well, so why was the franchise killed off? Was it because the movie tarnished the reputation?
 

Red Baron

Rear Admiral
Nah, it wasn't that bad. Game movies rarely live up to its franchise. Besides, people are still playing Street Fighter aren't they?
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
As far as I know, the only relationship that EA had with the movie was that it allowed Chris Roberts to make it.

As for the game line, well, WCP was followed by Secret Ops, which was released for free. A number of sequels were planned, but the reasons for them not becoming a reality are numerous and complex. I'm sure this discussion is going to quickly get out of hand with all sorts of complaints about EA and the movie rehashed, but off the top of my head, I believe some of those reasons include the fact that while Prophecy sold well, it didn't do as well as EA wanted it to, as well as the fact that space-sim games in general were in decline in the gaming market.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
From what I've heard here, people stopped buying space sims; Starlancer, Freespace etc didn't sell too well.

Also, the movie was awesome.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
From what I've heard here, people stopped buying space sims; Starlancer, Freespace etc didn't sell too well.

Also, the movie was awesome.


Didn't freelancer sell well? But yes, I can remember that Freespace 2 (a great game) flopped. No idea why this genre died. Was it because the need for a joystick?


And no, the movie sucks. The cutscenes from wing commander 3 and 4 are more interesting to watch than the movie.

Show some one who doesn't know Wing Commander at all queeg's cutscene compilations:

https://www.wcnews.com/holovids/full_length_wing3.shtml
https://www.wcnews.com/holovids/full_length_wing4.shtml

and then the WC movie. I think most people would prefer the cutscenes.

It's really incredible if you think about it - Chris Roberts managed to make good movies on a medium that is thousand times more complicated than plain film (the cutscenes needed many shoots, depending on the players choice, then the need to tie them to the game sequences etc etc.) and then he has the chance to make a normal movie, which should be easier to make - and he messes it up. WOW.

It's much more incredible if you take into account that the franchise was already there, he had no need to invent something. Just take the story straight from the games, take the sets, weapons and uniforms and puppets from WC3-4, and you're done.

Speaking of puppets, why do they look in WC4 worse than in WC3 and in the movie a magnitude worse than in WC4? I know Roberts had some issues with the WC3 puppets.. so his solution was to make them worse?!
 
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MartySheen

Rear Admiral
I think EA will definately have another go at Wing Commander.

Personnely, I would love to see a game set in the early days of the Kilrathi War (e.g. the McAuliffe attack)

I think this would be an awesome prequel to the entire existing series and would be an excellent 'entryway' for new fans.

This is similar to the approach of the new MechWarrior game - theyr'e taking the setting back to the succession wars, which occurred long before the events (clan invasion, fedcom civil war etc.) in the current MechWarrior games. I just hope that the recent legal issues surrounding this title dont slow or even stop development of the game.

But, like I said, I think it would cool to see this idea applied to Wing Commander. It would be a great way to reintroduce the franchise for this generation and open it up to all those who missed out the first time.

What setting would everyone else like to see for a potential new entry in Wing Commander?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
No, debate about who did and who did not like the movie aside, the idea that Wing Commander Prophecy would be the start of a new trilogy of games was essentially dead before the game shipped. The man who was talking about that to the press, Producer David Downing, left the company late in the game's development (or just after it shipped? I can't remember exactly).

I don't think it was ever especially realistic that Prophecy was going to be the start of a new trilogy, though, despite what Mr. Downing said. EA didn't want to make another FMV game -- Prophecy was Origin's attempt to prove they could do it for as little money as possible. Unless it had been an amazing hit, the next Wing Commander was going to be something different.

And even then, there was never any budget or planning for a Prophecy 2. Privateer 3 was the next big game from the group and it was well along before it was cancelled.

They went through a number of attempts to do a followup to Prophecy (Secret Ops, Strike Team, Phantom Force, etc.) but it was ultimately decided by EA that Origin was to become their dedicated MMO studio. They had no idea why UO was the only successful MMO but believed Origin could replicate that with UO2, Wing Commander Online, Harry Potter Online, etc. All of those products died (some multiple times), but that's where the money and time went after Secret Ops.

(In fact, the team was laid off a few weeks before the movie even came out. I remember attending the premiere with a group of less-than-amused former Wing Commander developers.)
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Personnely, I would love to see a game set in the early days of the Kilrathi War (e.g. the McAuliffe attack)

I think this would be an awesome prequel to the entire existing series and would be an excellent 'entryway' for new fans.

I think that was the movie idea in general, the only thing that would have been considered bothersome was the whole pilgrim thingie, and the fact that all the ships looked completely different. I think it was a bad idea to redesign the ships, but then again it is not my creative content and Chris Roberts has the right to take it where he pleases.

The movie does hold it's own if you look at it from the view of a sci-fi enthousiast who has never played the games, read the novels, or saw the cartoon. Also, if the film had been named something else, people would be complaining that they should have called it wing commander.

Really, Really bad game movies are: Double Dragon, Super Mario bros, Doom, street fighter. Mortal Kombat and Wing Commander can hold their own, with in favor of Mortal Kombat since all characters and settings are identical to the games.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
The movie does hold it's own if you look at it from the view of a sci-fi enthousiast who has never played the games, read the novels, or saw the cartoon. Also, if the film had been named something else, people would be complaining that they should have called it wing commander.

Really, Really bad game movies are: Double Dragon, Super Mario bros, Doom, street fighter. Mortal Kombat and Wing Commander can hold their own, with in favor of Mortal Kombat since all characters and settings are identical to the games.


Ah, I don't think so. The general public wasn't fond of the movie too.

The alien puppets were ridiculous. The kilrathi from WC3 look better. The plot was confusing. The whole "under water" feeling just didn't work. The special effects seemed to be better in WC4 than in the film (quite a feat).

The actors in the games were better than in the movie version (the mind boggles). I mean - Freddie Prinze and Matthew Lillard? Give me instead Mark Hamill and Tom Wilson any day.
The games felt more cinematic than the movie!


"Really, Really bad game movies are: Double Dragon, Super Mario bros, Doom, street fighter. Mortal Kombat and Wing Commander can hold their own, with in favor of Mortal Kombat since all characters and settings are identical to the games"

I guess I will be flamed for it, but Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter were better movies than the WC movie.

The mario games in particular have a storyline which you just cannot convert to film 1:1 (unless it's an animation). I think the film makers made a somewhat good job, if you consider what the source material was.

The end result was something like eraserhead lite. Creating a dark movie out of something happy like the Mario games takes some creativity.

The carnal sin with the WC movie is that the source material was already here! Wing Commander 3 and 4 were to some extend movies already. The franchise didn't need re-imagination, it was perfectly fine and would work on film.

All changes in the movie were for the worse. Much worse.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
We get it, you don't like the Wing Commander movie -- but the fact is that Mark Hamill wasn't a box office draw the year after he was the lead in the most successful movie ever made, there was absolutely no chance he was going to carry a film as a middle aged man. We all have great memories of the original actors, the effects in the game and so forth -- but they don't hold up to Hollywood standards at all.

(The Kilrathi in the movie didn't work and were cut down to a bare minimum in post production... but that doesn't mean the Kilrathi in WC3 would have been a better option. They absolutely would not have been -- they fall apart at even a VHS-quality resolution. The I've-never-seen-that-before! factor we experienced in 1994 and the fact that they appear in tiny, heavily compressed videos are giving them a lot more credit than they deserve.)

Take a look at the sets in the WCIV DVD, even -- an amazing, expensive production for a game... but the edges are showing even at that level. Whether or not you *liked* the Wing Commander movie, it had some amazing production values in terms of set design and CGI -- far, far better on a technical level than anything in the games.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I think it was a bad idea to redesign the ships, but then again it is not my creative content and Chris Roberts has the right to take it where he pleases.

Millions of Star Wars and Star Trek fans would disagree with the notion that whoever invented the creative content has the right to take it where they please. The fact is, very frequently the creator of something get's the idea that since they created it, they have a better idea than anyone else how to make "it" better. Unfortunately, they're often wrong...a less biased eye a little further from the subject can often make a creation even better, while the creator often does not see the flaws in his own perceptions.

Example include Star Trek TMP (which is why they basically railroaded Roddenberry off the project when they made STII), all of Lucas's attempts at making Star Wars movies other than the original three (or, some would argue, the first two), and, in my opinion, the Wing Commander movie. More general examples would be how the author of any work, be it a work of fiction or a technical paper, is generally not a very good editor of that work (see: Stephen King). Engineers work in teams for a reason--the designer of something often misses its flaws.

The movie does hold it's own if you look at it from the view of a sci-fi enthousiast who has never played the games, read the novels, or saw the cartoon.

I don't know about "sci-f enthusiasts", but the movie was not well received by the general public. Just 9% fresh with an average rating of 2.8 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, that's critics, who often take a dim view of science fiction (although not always...Serenity sits at 81% with an average rating of 7.2), but movies that came out a while back often have artificially inflated ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, because they only people that review movies that far back are fans of the movies. IMDB rates it a 3.7 out of 10, and that IS sci-fi enthusiasts, or at least people who were enthusiastic enough to see a low-budget sci-fi movie that didn't have a huge publicity machine behind it. Again, IMDB often inflates movie ratings because the only people that bother to rate it are people that care about it.

I'm not one of the movie's huge detractors (I actually thought the acting was very very good, even Lilliard's, with the glaring exception of Freddie Prinze Jr.), but I wouldn't call it a "good" movie, and it seems not many other people do either.

If you're going to talk about people that never played the games, never read the novels, or saw the cartoon, you're almost by definition talking about people that don't know all of LOAF's trivia about how the movie was re-edited at the last minute (i.e. Merlin), how the buget shortfalls forced them to do things they wouldn't have chosen to do, how the scripts were changed...etc. You probably also don't know that Roberts was intentionally trying for an underwater "Run silent run deep" feel. So what you see is just a fairly bad low budget sci-fi flick with bad acting by the lead actor, plot holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through, bad physics and astronomy, and some pretty special effects that look fairly pedestrian by today's standards.
 

Zelvik

Rear Admiral
I don't know about "sci-f enthusiasts", but the movie was not well received by the general public. Just 9% fresh with an average rating of 2.8 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, that's critics, who often take a dim view of science fiction (although not always...Serenity sits at 81% with an average rating of 7.2), but movies that came out a while back often have artificially inflated ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, because they only people that review movies that far back are fans of the movies. IMDB rates it a 3.7 out of 10, and that IS sci-fi enthusiasts, or at least people who were enthusiastic enough to see a low-budget sci-fi movie that didn't have a huge publicity machine behind it. Again, IMDB often inflates movie ratings because the only people that bother to rate it are people that care about it.

Well it might not have been the greatest movie, but if you look beyond the "fraternizing" scenes of the fighter pilots it was one of the better Sci Fi movies of the last years. The rapier design might have been a bit unlucky, but the fight scenes were decent and had their fair share of Wing Commander feeling to them. Wheter its the Broadsword run on the cruiser or the skipper missile part its doing its job quite well. And honestly you cant have a film with Jürgen Prochnow on the bridge without some tribute to "Das Boot".

Roberts probably overestimated the power of his own franchise at the time, but hey who is to blame him, its not like Wing Commander was the only "Space Sim" Franchise that died during that time. Actually they all died around that time. Space Sims are except for some half baked attempts to revive them and some freeware projects essentially dead. When did you buy your last Joystick? I still run Standoff with my trusted old 12 year old Wingman Extreme. And have you ever taken a look at todays stores? They have what? 2 or 3 Joysticks and some gamepads for sale? Actually you can watch them reduce the space for PC games and PC gaming hardware if you stay there for the better part of a day.

Its not the film that killed Wing Commander its the way PC gaming has evolved in the past decade. And its not just Space Sims its all those "nerdy" core genres that dominated the early PC gaming industry. Be it Turn based strategy games, point and click adventures or Space Sims, they are esentially all gone from the mass market. The difference between a decent Space Sim like Wing Commander that featured FMVs and Turn based strategy games is that the latter can be produced with reasonably small investments by the company for the niche markets they produce them and still make some money. Thats a very hard thing to do with Space Sims as they live off fancy graphics, a decent storyline and a decent way of presenting them.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
Has the wing commander movie killed the franchise?

I'm sorry but it's getting a bit late to hop on this train. I made it in ground floor... grass roots. I even won a spot in the mailbag. I think in terms of current events you might try claiming Arena killed Wing Commander. It might be fresh enough to entertain.
 

Max Gene

Spaceman
(The Kilrathi in the movie didn't work and were cut down to a bare minimum in post production... but that doesn't mean the Kilrathi in WC3 would have been a better option. They absolutely would not have been -- they fall apart at even a VHS-quality resolution. The I've-never-seen-that-before! factor we experienced in 1994 and the fact that they appear in tiny, heavily compressed videos are giving them a lot more credit than they deserve.)

Can you show them at a higher resolution for us, then? My first experience with the WC3 Kilrathi was just a few years ago, and they looked pretty nice to me.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
We get it, you don't like the Wing Commander movie -- but the fact is that Mark Hamill wasn't a box office draw the year after he was the lead in the most successful movie ever made, there was absolutely no chance he was going to carry a film as a middle aged man. We all have great memories of the original actors, the effects in the game and so forth -- but they don't hold up to Hollywood standards at all.

(The Kilrathi in the movie didn't work and were cut down to a bare minimum in post production... but that doesn't mean the Kilrathi in WC3 would have been a better option. They absolutely would not have been -- they fall apart at even a VHS-quality resolution. The I've-never-seen-that-before! factor we experienced in 1994 and the fact that they appear in tiny, heavily compressed videos are giving them a lot more credit than they deserve.)

I am not talking about casting Hamill and Wilson again (though, they would have been better than what we got), but Prinze and Lillard? Especially Freddie felt like an "alien" in a sci-fi movie. It's not like there is a shortage of young actors in hollywood. I think Edward Furlong would have been a better choice at the time.

I recently have seen queeg's WC3 cut - the Kilrathi aren't perfect, but they don't look too bad on this 22" screen.

And just the aesthetics:

danms1.jpg



kilrathich7.jpg



Now, who looks better? The look is quite a downgrade. The game kilrathi looked fairly original (big space cats weren't often featured in movies and tv) while the film kilrathi look like mutated klingons, standard hideous movie monster stuff.


No one asked for exactly the same WC3 puppets, but they could have designed the new ones with the old kilrathi in mind, instead we got mutants from space. Not to mention their somewhat dimwitted look and behaviour in the movie.
 
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boringnickname

Rear Admiral
And its not just Space Sims its all those "nerdy" core genres that dominated the early PC gaming industry. Be it Turn based strategy games, point and click adventures or Space Sims, they are esentially all gone from the mass market. The difference between a decent Space Sim like Wing Commander that featured FMVs and Turn based strategy games is that the latter can be produced with reasonably small investments by the company for the niche markets they produce them and still make some money. Thats a very hard thing to do with Space Sims as they live off fancy graphics, a decent storyline and a decent way of presenting them.

Why were space sims on their way out? I know it happened, but what was the reason?

I don't think it's because of the "nerd" factor - A FPS is not so different from a space sim, and we have a ton of first person shooters now. And I think RPG's like Mass Effect are more nerdy than WC ever was.

I think it has something to do with the joystick requirement.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
In the context of your post, you're using the word aesthetics wrong. In fact, the fugly hairless movie Kilrathi are more aesthetically fitting as evil space aliens than the muppet space kittens.

Yes, exactly. And that's my point. The movie kilrathi are THE TYPICAL FUGLY EVIL SPACE ALIENS.

They are not memorable at all. There are tons of fugly space monsters.



Frankenstein%20Meets%20Space%20Monster-Darksky.jpg



The good thing about the game kilrathi was that they weren't fugly and had a memorable look.
 
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