Wing Commander Music Kickstarter Relaunched - With Extras!

George Oldziey is back for a third attempt at creating a second album of reorchestrated music from Wing Commander 3, 4 & Prophecy. He's learned some good lessons from the last two trips out, and this time he's significantly retooled the effort with some exciting changes.


For starters, he's framing today's launch as Volume 2, Phase 1. This campaign has a much lower threshold for success at just $15,000, down from the previous $45K, so it's much more achievable. Initially, this will pay for the composition of all tracks on paper so they can be reproduced with high end digital instruments. While George still plans to eventually pursue the funding for a live orchestra in the future, today's more affordable endeavor will still enable fans to hear these enhanced tracks at much higher quality than the original.


And, as an all new super bonus, Mr. Oldziey will also be returning to some of the popular jazz music from the TCS Victory's bar. Several of these fan favorites will be tuned up and recorded live in Austin, Texas. What a treat! Digital downloads of all this start at $20, and there are some cool physical versions and bonuses for Wingnuts who are able to contribute more to help make this a reality. He's already earned $3,000 in 3 hours, so we're looking forward to it being a resounding success. Check it out here!

Happy Birthday Wing Commander Arena!

Today we're celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wing Commander Arena's release! We're used to a steady stream of 25th birthdays ticking by as the classics from the early '90s each reach a quarter century, but this one's a little different. The baby of the family has reached double digits, and while it really just seems like yesterday that we were eagerly awaiting its release, a lot of time has passed! If you weren't following us back in 2007, then this recap will help provide a glimpse into what it was like back then, and if you've been with us all along, then read on for a trip down memory lane!


Our story begins in the mid '90s when the CIC Staff cut their teeth on exciting news updates about the pending releases of Wing Commander Kilrathi Saga, Privateer 2, Prophecy, Secret Ops, the Movie, several novels and more. Things changed quite a bit in the early 2000s with the consolidation and eventual closure of Origin, and the community reinvented itself by intensely focusing on two priorities: archiving material related to the creation of Wing Commander games and an explosion of creative fan projects. Things got a nice boost with the release of Prophecy for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, but there was an even bigger surge in excitement for the all-new Arena in 2007.

Nearly ten years had passed since Prophecy/Secret Ops, and it's not lost on us that another ten years have now gone by without another follow-up. The fact that a grand total of nineteen years have gone by with just one new WC game (!!) makes us appreciate it even more today. How and why did this thing come to exist? The stars aligned and we got lucky. There have been at least half a dozen credible attempts to 'bring back' Wing Commander since the fall of Origin, and Arena is the one that succeeded. It came at a vastly different time than the PC games of the 1990s. The franchise already had a long and beautiful history of console ports, but the preferred platforms and genres were evolving rapidly through the 2000s, and the XBox 360 made the most sense in 2006. That's where the growth in the market was at the time, and the nascent market for digital downloads was just about to take off. Of course, Secret Ops was one of the world's first digitally distributed games, but that game was at least half a dozen years ahead of its time. Electronic Arts commissioned several titles to test the waters, including Boom Boom Rocket which arrived first. EA chose producer Sean Penney to lead the product out of Vancouver BC, and Gaia Industries in New York was tapped to do the art and programming. We're eternally grateful for both the man in charge and the small team tasked with bringing his vision to life. They both demonstrated considerable passion for the Wing Commander brand and a strong desire to "get it right" with a shoestring budget and the technological constraints of the format. They crammed in a wide variety of single player modes, competitive multiplayer and even a cool cooperative capship battle within a 50 megabit limit. Just a few short years later, lesser DLC games would balloon to multiple gigabytes in size, so it's amazing how much they jammed into this tiny package. There were also half a dozen iconic fighters that each sported three variants, and they dug especially deep to pull the Rapier from Super Wing Commander. Further, ships like the Longbow bomber and Pelican transport made cameos in the background. Man, what a night the release was! We all went to bed on the night of July 24, 2007 with plans to wake up at midnight and play until morning. But since these were the early days of digital releases, the exact time of release wasn't as predictable. A flurry of messages went out when it was discovered that the game was available a few hours early, and Wingnuts from the around the globe scrambled to get online. These were the days before Xbox Live Parties made grouping up with friends easy, so everyone was organized via message boards and IRC chat to link up, form squadrons and blast away. It was a classic case of being easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Ace pilots started to climb the ranks. Fans dug around to understand how to unlock each of the 18 flyable craft. Groups of 16 banded together to unlock the cap ship battle achievement, and people played the ring game to show off their acrobatic skills. The top-down 2D perspective put off some people, but fans that gave it a try were rewarded with a surprisingly deep space combat sim for an ostensibly simple arcade shooter. Agile players could rock cool 3D evasive maneuvers, and careful energy management was required to keep all systems operating when you needed them. Each ship had different strengths and weaknesses and required different piloting styles to master. LOAF even placed 3rd in an official tournament with other professional gamers in order to win an XBox 360 that we were able to give out to a fan. And we haven't even touched on Star*Soldier yet! We were fortunate enough to help build a huge manual in the spirit of Tiger's Claw or Victory Streak with tons of supplemental fiction that filled in many of the loose ends left open after Secret Ops. This subject alone is worthy of dozens of posts, so check those out for all the details and download the actual manual here (still hosted on EA servers ten years later!). There were plans initially to include a single player component. Had the game been a bigger hit, the work done on the campaign would have been refined and released as an expansion or sequel. Sadly, that did not happen, but we were gifted with a considerable amount of Gaia concept art that shows off the unreleased Centurion and Gothri fighters, Kilrathi and Firekkan pilots and more. And while we never got more than the initial release, Arena is still available to purchase online and play on the XBox 360. Fortunately, Microsoft has demonstrated a greater commitment to its back catalog of games in recent years, and support is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Although it's a long shot, someday it's possible the game could even become compatible with the XBox One, which would give it some nice enhancements such as future compatibility with the One X, improved party support, built in screenshot and recording ability and more. So get some practice rounds in now - we'll see you in the cockpit!

Wing Commander Arena is a fast-paced space combat game where players can team up to attack other teams of ships. The game introduces the classic franchise to an arcade-style experience that allows up to 16 players online in battle at once. Players can propel their customized ship through space, fire torpedoes and unleash deadly gravity bombs as they try to climb the leader board. Online players will compete for Frag count, high score and dueling stats.

"We're really excited to deliver unparalleled multi-player arcade action," said Chip Lange, EA Vice President. "The design for Wing Commander will appeal to both long-time fans of the franchise and immediately engage anyone who wants the melee style action of an arcade shooter."

Wing Commander Arena will feature four styles of play: single player, multi-team, multi-player free for all and multi-player duel. Within the game there are eight game maps that include team maps, free for all maps and dueling maps, so Wing Commander Arena offers a gameplay experience for every Arcade gamer, whether they want a quick ten minutes of action or a longer more immersive game.

Light Carrier Arrives At Spacedock

The popular Spacedock YouTube channel has chosen Wing Commander as its latest subject. They are dedicated to profiling the specs and history of spaceships from across the vast swath of science fiction, and it's pretty cool to see the angle they took on this. WC's Yorktown class light carrier is the primary feature, and there's some fun highlights from WC3 pulled in for good measure. It would have been nice to see a bit more footage from the actual game, but the Homeworld mod screenshots that they mostly source are pretty too. This was a popular submission today - thanks to DeathSnake, HotT and Delance for the tip!

Gemini Workhorse Gets Upgraded

Here's a pretty sharp ship from DefianceIndustries' massive fleet. This is his impressive Talon model. He originally built the fighter several months back, so give him a poke and see if there's a finished version stashed away in some hidden asteroid base somewhere. I'm not thinking it'd actually be that great to fly, but it sure looks like an enticing target!
I'm working on something that probably needs no further introduction than: "Die by the very weapons you adore!"

Top Shelf Library Contains Wing Commander Music

On Friday, we shared the Royal Marine Bands playing the Wing Commander movie overture… and then we got to thinking: just how do you license music from Wing Commander, anyway? Investigation revealed that FOX Music handles licensing songs from composer David Arnold. The overture recieves two listings: one for the original soundtrack and one for a 2006 library of production music. That's right: it's another previously unseen CD that includes Wing Commander music! Top Shelf Library is a five-disc set of film music that includes the Wing Commander overture on disc 3 ("Action/Epic/Heroic.") This is an example of library music, which is where movie productions source non-original music. If, say, someone cutting a trailer or making a commercial wanted to use the track, they would pay FOX and take it from this disc. The process is digital today, but until the early 2000s involved actual libraries of CDs, like those pictured here. We've sourced our own copy, and will post a digital copy of the track when it arrives!

Lost WC3 Object Appears on Radar

Here's another cool lost 'ground target' asset from Wing Commander III: a Kilrathi radar station! It's not clear why this didn't make it into the finished game, but it's possible it was hard to place a wide flat object... or there may have been issues animating the radar dish as intended.

Wing Commander in Concert

Here's a crazy surprise: the United Kingdom's Massed Royal Marine Bands recently opened the annual Mountbatten Festival of Music at Royal Albert Hall with… David Arnold's Overture from the Wing Commander movie! The result is a brilliant live performance of the excellent overture, which is now available on popular music streaming services. Want a physical copy? The concert is available both as a CD and as a DVD! You can watch the entire performance below:

Arrow Kit for Sale!

Alfred Wong's Arrow model is here! The promised plastic model kit that allows you to build your own 1/48 scale Terran Confederation Arrow fighter is now shipping. The unfinished kit costs $165 Canadian plus shipping and measures 9.5" L by 7" W when constructed. As you can see below, the finished product looks truly astounding. Convinced? You can purchase the model here.

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