What would you have done differently?

J "Phantom" D

2nd Lieutenant
I'm sure this has been done in the past, but I'm curious to see new answers here.

If you had to change something about the WC games, what would it be? Would you save Spirit? Make Tolwyn not a traitor? Change the traitor in WCII to Stingray? Take your pick:

1) Wing Commander/Secret Missions/Secret Missions II: Crusade: Would definitely have had more interaction from Player Character in there, although it got a lot better in SM and SM II, it just seemed like everyone was talking at you and you just sat and listened.

2) Wing Commander II/Special Operations/Special Operations II: Would have switched the roles of Angel and Spirit. Have Spirit the romantic interest and CAG, whereas Angel would be the one sabotaged by Jazz.

3) Wing Commander III: Same as II, obviously. Independent change though, make Rollins the traitor. Totally from left field and unexpected (could be a continuation of the Madarin Society story from WCII (and also WC: Academy TV Show))

4) Wing Commander IV: Tolwyn isn't the bad guy, but he knows about the project.

5) Wing Commander Prophecy: You're not the son of Iceman. I never did like that aspect of an otherwise great game.

6) Wing Commander Secret Ops: FMV.

So, what singular aspect would you change about each game?
 

Max Gene

Spaceman
At your point 2- maybe switch up the fact that Spirit already had a love interest, as well? Be kind've awkward otherwise.... I agree, though.

Point 3 would've been fun. Would've loved to shoot him up.

What's wrong with being the son of the Iceman, while we're at it?
 

J "Phantom" D

2nd Lieutenant
At your point 2- maybe switch up the fact that Spirit already had a love interest, as well? Be kind've awkward otherwise.... I agree, though.

Point 3 would've been fun. Would've loved to shoot him up.

What's wrong with being the son of the Iceman, while we're at it?
Absolutely nothing, I just don't like these whole "you're the son of a legend" things, it's kinda cliched anymore (and it really was back then).
 

Catnip

Spaceman
I thought it was a cop-op that Jazz was the traitor in WC2. It would have been more significant if one of your old buddies from the original game sold you out, instead of a guy custom-made to be a traitor from the word "go." The game plays with the idea of Spirit working with the Kilrathi, and I would have liked if they went all the way with that idea. Or maybe someone completely out of left field, like Hunter.
 

Max Gene

Spaceman
If I recall that conversation correctly, then yes, exactly like that. He's only the enemy in as much as Confed's normal pilots would be.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
I wouldn't change wc2 at all. I think the emotional impact and plot twists and turns of that game are perfect. Seriously I don't think any other wing commander game is as great as wing commander 2. That said however I agree with the assessment about casey being iceman's son. I would probably change the hobbes traitor plotline as well. Mainly because a traitor plot had already been done in wc2 and it just didn't feel as well done.
 

Pulmonox

Commodore
WC2: Give me control of my ship so I can save Shadow, blast it!

I don't know why, but I think that was part of the game that bothered me the most. It's strange, that out of all the wingmates that you lose during the course of the series, I'm most bothered by the one I only knew for a few missions.
I can't explain it either... but that's one thing I would like to make different.
 

TheFraix

Vice Admiral
Absolutely nothing, I just don't like these whole "you're the son of a legend" things, it's kinda cliched anymore (and it really was back then).

Me too... Luke Skywalker, Maverick, Christopher Blair, Lance Casey, James T. Kirk.

The first WC was so good bcoz it featured a scare rookie, unattached to the father legend thingie.

In Academy we were under the impression Blair's father was some important figure,
but the movie changed things a lot. It added depth to Blair's angst, but it would've been better if the movie's main character wasn't Blair, but a totally new character made up for the movie.
 

Farlander

Rear Admiral
1) Wing Commander/Secret Missions/Secret Missions II: Crusade: Less Drakhai in SM2 - these guys were pretty annoying to fight.

2) Wing Commander II/Special Operations/Special Operations II: Somehow the flight mechanics of this game were different than WC1. Looser or something? I don't really know how to describe it, but the gameplay is a lot less fun. I'd make it like WC1.

3) Wing Commander III: Explanation of why Hobbes turned traitor. I know it was there, just missing from the PC game. I would have liked it in the PC game, because you are left wondering what happened. Or perhaps eliminate the Temblor bomb test mission, as I felt it the lack of uniqueness hurt the final mission a little.

4) Wing Commander IV: Nothing too much to change here. Maybe make missiles less ridiculous to deal with. Or maybe have cockpits instead of the HUDs.

5) Wing Commander Prophecy: Not much to change here either. Maybe a more WC1-like medals and promotions system. Or else I could have used a little more FMV - what was there was good, but some conversation choices would have been nice, like in WC3 and WC4, with maybe a little more Blair.

6) Wing Commander Secret Ops: Hard to complain about this, since it was free. If there were more sequels to wrap continue the story, I would say it's a fine little game as it was, but since it was the last one, I would have liked to know more about the bugs - who they are, how they are organized, what their true motives are, etc. I also would have like to go through the gate and fight them on their own turf at some point.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I've thought of posting a thread like this too, but my changes would mostly be to gameplay, not story.

WC1/SM1/SM2: Make missiles more deadly and capital ships stronger (more hit points, more armamement, better flak). Hunter and Maniac are always going on about how missiles are such a big deal, but I pretty much ignored them when they were fired at me (oooh...my shields were reduced momentarily by 50%...help!) and only found them useful for taking down already-almost-dead ships. Capships were too easy--a couple of passes and you could take most of them down (a pair of Hornets should never, ever, be capable of taking down three Fralthi!)

WC2/SO1/SO2: Implement torpedo runs differently. I loved the idea of having to run a slow gauntlet while closing in for a torpedo lock and fending off fighters with turrets, but it never worked well in practice.

WC3: Don't make Hobbes the traitor! Or at least do it differently. The "hidden personality thing" was rather dumb (and unoriginal), but cutting it out of the game made Hobbes' betrayal completely inexplicable. By making Hobbes the traitor you vindicated everyone who said Blair was wrong to trust him, and made the drama at the beginning rather pointless. If you were going to make Hobbes the traitor, then at least build some drama into his personality...he betrayed the Victory because even for a defector, being a party to blowing up his homeworld and committing near-genocide against his race was too much... or something like that.

WC4: Wouldn't have changed a thing, if we're only allowed to make small changes. If we're allowed to make big changes, I would have developed a full "stayed with Confed" storyline allowing the player to play through the game completely on either side. But that would have made the game probably too huge for Origin's budget.

WCP: Would have got rid of the sillyness at the end with Blair single-handedly saving the day. "Oh, man, an entire platoon of marines isn't able to fight their way through the enemy defenses, but just one aging ex-pilot with a pistol can save the day!"

WCSO: Agree on the FMV issue. Although having FMV for a freely downloadable game would have been challenging. Instead, they at least could have included an in-game fiction viewer like Standoff did, so you wouldn't have to exit out of the game between missions to read the storyline developments online.
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
This is going to sound dumb, but one of the aspects of WC2 that always bothered me was the thought of Blair putting up with ISS for 10 years. Blair doesn't strike me as the kind of warrior who would be content to remain at a backwater station, unable to clear his name.

Then again, perhaps that length of time is supposed to demonstrate to us just how backwater his posting is - especially given Blair's passion to being loyal towards his comrades. Even the mighty Blair has no way of proving his innocence from the confines of Caernarvon. Neither is he able to get back to the fight - he effectively is forced to remain insignificant for almost a decade. It's amazing that depression over the relevant hopelesness of his situation in the ISS didn't get the best of him.

Me? I might not have made that time gap so large - and I definitely would have used different animations for the character's 'before and after' trial shots. ;)
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
1) Wing Commander/Secret Missions/Secret Missions II: Crusade: Less Drakhai in SM2 - these guys were pretty annoying to fight.

But they have the best taunts.

WC3: Don't make Hobbes the traitor! Or at least do it differently.

I don`t know. I didn`t like much the personality overlay thing. It would be more dramatic, I think, if the idea of destroying Kilrah had some kind of effect on Hobbes. Fighting against the Emperor is one thing, but destroying the homeworld was just too much.

I would have developed a full "stayed with Confed" storyline allowing the player to play through the game completely on either side. But that would have made the game probably too huge for Origin's budget.

The game was too expensive as it was.

WCP: Would have got rid of the sillyness at the end with Blair single-handedly saving the day. "Oh, man, an entire platoon of marines isn't able to fight their way through the enemy defenses, but just one aging ex-pilot with a pistol can save the day!"

He does that on WCIV as well. Not only he plays spy and fights off the black lance securit forces on Axius, but he somehow evades the security of the senate untill Tolwyn spots him.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
1) Wing Commander/Secret Missions/Secret Missions II: Crusade: Would definitely have had more interaction from Player Character in there, although it got a lot better in SM and SM II, it just seemed like everyone was talking at you and you just sat and listened.

If you think about it Blair has never really been much of a talker though and being a newbie on perhaps the most prestigious ship in Confed it would make sense that he would shut up and listen to what the veterans have to say.

As to what to do differently in WC1...nothing comes to mind because the game so perfectly sets the stage for rest of the universe. It has an amazing campaign (perhaps the best considering all the paths you can take) and you really don't need the player-character to speak a lot in order to become immersed in the game itself.

2) Wing Commander II/Special Operations/Special Operations II: Would have switched the roles of Angel and Spirit. Have Spirit the romantic interest and CAG, whereas Angel would be the one sabotaged by Jazz.

Not feeling this idea. This is more of a personal thing for you I'm guessing. As for what I'd change, to be honest again everything just fits so nice I wouldn't want to fix something that isn't broken.

3) Wing Commander III: Same as II, obviously. Independent change though, make Rollins the traitor. Totally from left field and unexpected (could be a continuation of the Madarin Society story from WCII (and also WC: Academy TV Show))

To be honest, the first time I played WC3 I thought either Rollins or Cobra was the traitor. Rollins because he seemed like such an ass and Cobra because of her time as a Kilrathi POW. I remember being really shocked when it turned out to be Hobbes.

4) Wing Commander IV: Tolwyn isn't the bad guy, but he knows about the project.

Now in this situation I can see making some changes. I never liked Tolwyn as Space Nazi or the whole GE/Project aspect. Perhaps a renegade faction of Confed trying to start a war, ok sure, but a new Space National Socialism just didn't work for me. Tolwyn is the hero of BoT and countless other engagements, why make him a half-whacko eugenics supremacist.

5) Wing Commander Prophecy: You're not the son of Iceman. I never did like that aspect of an otherwise great game.

This I don't have as much of problem with perhaps because of the retroactiveness of knowing that Blair is also the son of a great war hero. Most of what I would change would be subtle character/plot situations. Make the interactions with Blair, Maniac and Hawk more indepth instead of feeling shallow as they come off.

6) Wing Commander Secret Ops: FMV.

I don't think this is necessary. SO pushed the envelope in much the same way the previous games did. The only thing I would have liked was perhaps a bit more of the backstage situations shown at Ella and elsewhere. Something to fill in that gap in the time period.
 

Sharpshooter

Rear Admiral
WC3 : I think I would have given the player an alternate way of completing the game, some kind of hard optional path that *doesn't* involve bombing Kilrah. Kind of like Outrun Ella, only it would have been several really hard missions. Bombing Kilrah felt so callous that I thought it was kind of... out of character for Blair (I honestly thought that the game would give you another way of saving Earth after the Behemoth is destroyed). When I first played WC3, anyway - after seeing the "official" WC4 storyline Blair doesn't seem so nice anymore.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I thought it was a cop-op that Jazz was the traitor in WC2. It would have been more significant if one of your old buddies from the original game sold you out, instead of a guy custom-made to be a traitor from the word "go." The game plays with the idea of Spirit working with the Kilrathi, and I would have liked if they went all the way with that idea. Or maybe someone completely out of left field, like Hunter.

I would give them some more credit for this one; it's kind of impressive that they introduced him as a fairly likeable character knowing full well he was going to be the traitor in a *different game*. It's a lot more planning than you'd expect. His dialogue in SM2 is actually very clever -- it's all blatant foreshadowing *after* you know he destroys the Tiger's Claw... but we didn't get that sense at all in early 1991.

5) Wing Commander Prophecy: You're not the son of Iceman. I never did like that aspect of an otherwise great game.

I disagree, I think they chose that very well... and, quite frankly, better than they should have. The idea was that Wing Commander Prophecy would go back to the original and be a '3D space combat simulator' instead of an 'interactive movie'... so the fact that their single thread of continuity is connecting the main character to someone who's essentially a throw-away character from the original game is pretty neat. For a game that rebuilt its fanbase for WC3, it was very cool to see a nod to a character nobody else cared about or remembered. (It's also an admiral de-Blairification; I want very m uch to believe that the Wing Commander universe recognizes heroes *other* than me.)

2) Wing Commander II/Special Operations/Special Operations II: Would have switched the roles of Angel and Spirit. Have Spirit the romantic interest and CAG, whereas Angel would be the one sabotaged by Jazz.

I don't think it would work, for a few reasons -- including the existing fact that she was engaged (in WC1) and just the fact that Angel was the one everybody in 1990 had a crush on... but most importantly her role from day one was as an entirely sympathetic character; Spirit is the one who tells you how great you are after your first mission no matter how badly you fail. There's no tension if the [love interest/commander] likes you *no matter what* (and can you really imagine Spirit standing up to Tolwyn? Or disciplining Stingray? It's not her character.).

In Academy we were under the impression Blair's father was some important figure,
but the movie changed things a lot.

The idea in Academy was going to be that Blair's father (... I mean uncle...) was a politician who lead the 'anti-war' opposition. This would have been explored in Season 2.

It added depth to Blair's angst, but it would've been better if the movie's main character wasn't Blair, but a totally new character made up for the movie.

There's a reason you don't see this basically ever -- the people who fund movies are a lot more interested in making sure licensed films touch on the things that made the game property valuable than they are with respecting every aspect of continuity. "Hey, we created a pretty popular character in Blair/Super Mario/The Mortal Kombat guy who freezes people, we need to take advantage of that..." beats "but this isn't what they planned for an unused second season of the short-lived animated series, we'd better just make this entire movie without the IP elements we paid to license in the first place" every time.


1) Wing Commander/Secret Missions/Secret Missions II: Crusade: Less Drakhai in SM2 - these guys were pretty annoying to fight.

Nahh -- one thing people forget is that the original point of addons was that they were created and sold specifically for people who were *really good* at the original games. The idea wasn't so much that you got an extra story as you got an extra *challenge*. That has certainly faded away in recent years...

WC3: Don't make Hobbes the traitor! Or at least do it differently. The "hidden personality thing" was rather dumb (and unoriginal), but cutting it out of the game made Hobbes' betrayal completely inexplicable

One thing Wing Commander III assumes, which I don't think panned out for players, is that the player is genuinely going to resent being assigned to the Victory. That's why you have things like special videos where Eisen will lecture you if you only fly with pilots you knew in Wing Commander II -- the intended reaction was that the new ship *was* really crummy with a dubious crew.

... but the fact that they used amazing-beyond-belief first-time-ever full-motion-video-with-live-actors! kind of negated that; as crummy as the Victory was supposed to be, it was still the most amazing thing any of us had ever seen ever in 1994. But with that in mind, for story purposes the traitor *had* to be someone Blair knew and that the player would have considered above suspicion compared to the Victory's crew... which leaves you Paladin, Maniac, Tolwyn and Hobbes.

WCP: Would have got rid of the sillyness at the end with Blair single-handedly saving the day. "Oh, man, an entire platoon of marines isn't able to fight their way through the enemy defenses, but just one aging ex-pilot with a pistol can save the day!"

Well, those are two separate things -- Blair needed to save the day and he needed to die... but he needed to do those things in the cockpit.

Instead, they at least could have included an in-game fiction viewer like Standoff did, so you wouldn't have to exit out of the game between missions to read the storyline developments online.

Blame the Germans for that one;-) Apparently the team actually developed a fiction viewer to include with Prophecy Gold, which was rejected by EA Germany (including the fiction in the game would mean they would have to re-rate it).

This wasn't such an issue before the game came out -- you got your fiction updates *before* you got the new set of missions each week.

Then again, perhaps that length of time is supposed to demonstrate to us just how backwater his posting is - especially given Blair's passion to being loyal towards his comrades.

I think the point is exactly that it's so unpleasant an amount of time; the game genuinely makes us resent Tolwyn and Blair's situation only a few lines after both are introduced for the very first time. The 'my God, ten years!' reaction is certainly part of that.

Me? I might not have made that time gap so large - and I definitely would have used different animations for the character's 'before and after' trial shots.

This was actually the original plan, and it made it into an earlier build of the game; the extra face (and the court backdrop) were cut for disk space (WC2 had a SKU that shipped on low density 5.25" disks, IIRC...).

What would I change?

- In general: Don't forget your roots. Later games should have worked harder to include the 'little things' that made the original Wing Commander(s) such a success: medals, cockpits, takeoff scenes, etc. Prophecy, especially, needed these things

- Wing Commander Armada. I would release Armada two years later, when people were actually playing multiplayer net-based stuff.

- Wing Commander IV. It was brilliant and amazing and wonderful... but why the heck did they write it as a *coda*? Wing Commander IV should have been the clear start of a new trilogy of games, not a strange one-off example of FMV extravagence.

- Privateer 2. Darkening is so frustrating because it's an obvious layer of mechanical shine away from being one of the greatest games of all time. If they could have done all the things the original Privateer did effortlessly (proper faction system, economy, etc.) we'd be praising it forever.

- Arena. I would have some kind of button that I could press to horrifically murder everyone from the modern 'gaming press' who bitched about the game installed. I would press this button a lot. (Seriously, though, it needed a single player 'text based' campaign as once envisioned. Also, Star*Soldier ended up being too referential.)
 
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