Better Red than Dead

It's Throwback Thursday, and today we're throwing two previously-unseen Wing Commander movie set photos into the archive! The first was recently posted to Instagram by one of the extras who played a Confederation Marine in the Wing Commander movie and the second comes to us courtesy of Etienne Braun, the film's set photographer. Both pictures show the Confederation C-524 Space Armor (and C-512 Combat Helmet) which were used for the 'boarding' sequence late in the film.

If you are interested in learning more about the lore background for the space armor (and other boarding equipment) then the Confederation Handbook has you covered! The following six-page spread includes more information than you ever imagined was necessary on the functionality and specifications of this equipment. (Note that the helmet picture is an error; the photograph included is one of the movie's pilot helmets and not the described marine helmet!)

Electronic Games Reviews Wing Commander

Electronic Games was an American gaming magazine with a broad focus that included both PC and console titles. It's run coincided with much of Wing Commander's active development, and quite a few interesting Origin subjects were covered. This is not a complete list of Electronic Games reviews as several issues have not been scanned... we will update you when more become available!

  • October 1992 - Wing Commander Deluxe & Wing Commander I & II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide
  • December 1992 - Wing Commander SNES
  • February 1893 - Wing Commander II / Ultima Underworld CD-ROM
  • October 1993 - Wing Commander Freedom Flight & End Run
  • December 1993 - Wing Commander Academy
  • January 1994 - Wing Commander Privateer

Follow the Arrow Model

Sci-fi model kit builder Alfred Wong is making something every Wing Commander fan is going to want: a 1/48 scale Arrow model kit! Mr. Wong designs and produces his own model kits covering a variety of awesome sci-fi ships... and his decision to add Wing Commander to the mix was a great one. Once the kits are available for purchase, you will be able to order them from his store. We'll update you when that happens! (Thanks to Klavs for the tip!)

Cube 3: Cubanate

As part of my ongoing quest for industrial music tangentially connected to Wing Commander Prophecy, I happened across an interesting description of a CD from a group called Cubanate: "The group has also tried their hand at writing music for video games, the album track "Airport Bar" will appear on the home vid Wing Commander 5 -- Prophecy." Further research indicated that this was part of the album's 'iMuze' description, which has over the years fed it to thousands of eBay auctions, electronic storefronts and other databases.

But what was Cubanate and how was it connected to Wing Commander Prophecy? The story came out with a little digging. Next, I learned that the lead singer of Cubanate, Marc Heal, had toured with Cobalt 60 back in 1997 (as part of a group called Cyber-Tec Project)... exactly when they were working on Wing Commander! Searching for Mr. Heal, I found an interview where he talked about working on Wing Commander. Did Marc Heal work alongside Cobalt 60 on the Prophecy simulator music? Was one of their tracks used in a cutscene, such as when the pilots are celebrating at the bar? The answer was hidden in plain site, in the Wing Commander Prophecy music credits:

“Prophecy,” “Galactic Hives,” “Tones from the Spheres,” “Alien Space Junk,” “Quarm,” “Ashes to Life,” “Colony 328,” “Darwin was Right,” “Cult of Sivar,” All songs composed by Jean-Luc De Meyer, Dominique Lallement and Robert Wicocks, except for “Cult of Sivar,” composed by Jean-Luc De Meyer, Dominique Lallement, Robert Wicocks and Marc Heal. All songs © 1997 Les Edition confidentielle (SABAM) and Electronic Arts Music Publishing Inc. (ASCAP) except for “Cult of Sivar,” © 1997 Les Editions Confidentielle (SABAM), Polygram International Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP) and Electronic Arts Music Publishing Inc. (ASCAP).

Ah hah! Marc Heal of Cubanate fame had co-written "Cult of Sivar," one of the ten Wing Commander Prophecy industrial tracks from Cobalt 60, and his involvement was important enough that it needed special credits. But what about 'An Airport Bar'? Were they connected? The same song renamed, or resampled? For that answer, I tweeted at Mr. Heal... and he was kind enough to reply immediately! The real story? "Close, but not exactly. I wrote the lyrics while I was in Austin, working on music for WCP." So in the end, An Airport Bar was never intended for Wing Commander Prophecy, but it was written while he was in Texas working on the soundtrack! And with that, here's An Airport Bar from Cubanate... a song ever-so-slightly connected to Wing Commander Prophecy! The song appears on the 1998 Cubanate album, Interference.

Video Games Reviews Wing Commander

Let’s close out the week with two more vintage reviews. These are from the difficult-to-Google VideoGames magazine, which covered console gaming in the 1990s. The November 1993 issue (pictured with cover) gave a positive review to Wing Commander: The Secret Missions for the SNES, while the July 1995 issue praised Wing Commander III for the 3DO.

Lazy Game Reviews Covers Wing Commander

Noted YouTube retrogamer Lazy Game Reviews (LGR) has just tackled our favorite: the original Wing Commander! Lazy Game Reviews produces excellent reviews of classic gaming and tech subjects… and this one is no exception. If you need to explain Wing Commander to someone unfamiliar with the series, this is a great way to start.

Kilrathi Warrior Busts Some Skulls

The April 1994 issue of Electronic Entertainment has a short-but-interesting preview of Wing Commander III! It's fascinating to see an article that isn't especially focused on the addition of live action cutscenes... but this scan is most exciting because it includes two early concept sketches for the game: an Excalibur fighter and an initial, somewhat terrifying sketch of a Kilrathi!

End Run Still Coming

Good news for patient Wing Commander eBook readers: the ebook re-release of Wing Commander: End Run (Book #2) is still in the works. In response to an inquiry, Baen replied via Twitter:

It's in process, but I don't have a date as yet. We have to work it into the schedule, but keep checking the bundles!

Baen has re-released the rest of the series as ebooks over the past year, with End Run conspiciously absent. It turns out the problem was not legal wrangling or anything else of the sort... Baen's current staff simply did not know the book existed! During the End Run shortage of the late 1990s, they gave away every physical copy they had on hand and so when they returned to the archive to begin producing ebook versions it was skipped (the fact that the fourth and fifth books are adaptations, respectively, of Wing Commander 3 and 4 surely confused matters further.)

It's not clear when End Run will be available, as it will be used to fill a future hole in Baen's schedule (the same process that lead to the release of the other books.) Baen announces their schedules several months in advance, which means that the earliest window for finally making End Run available again is September. Once the release date is locked down, we'll let you know!

    End Run
  • Baen Ebook
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Apple iBooks
  • B&N Nook
  • Kobo

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