Behind the Scenes: Selling Privateer Online

Before Origin could develop Privateer Online in the late 1990s, they had to sell it to Electronic Arts. Alert readers are already familiar with the Privateer Online Design Layout (available in our Document Archive) submitted to the corporate office to explain how the game would work. To go alongside this document, the team also created a multimedia website to help sell the game. Thanks to an anonymous donor, you can now find that site here. The best part? The site features several never-seen-before preliminary ship renderings from the lost game!

The first couple shots appear to be a modular Vaktoth. The Crusader and Aurora, heavy fighters in the Border Worlds and Confed arsenal, are pictured next, and if you look closely, the last shot even has a swarm of Piranhas and Devastators.

Origin has an extreme edge over the competition with its strong properties like Wing Commander and Ultima. While most companies are struggling to create these properties AND communities from the ground up, Origin has several properties that fit perfectly in a persistent world environment. Each of these properties has an established loyal fan base and history that has been adored by fans for years. The next Origin property to go online? Wing Commander: Privateer.

With all that said Privateer with the strong universe backing and proven Wing Commander history proves to be the most extensive, entertaining and encompassing space based Online community in gaming history. PERIOD.

There's a ton of detailed information buried in the Privateer Online site, so make sure you check out all the various sections and links. Don't miss the areas describing how the game might control in flight, how players could interact and how ship components would combine to create over half a million different combinations. Potential sectors and systems are also diagrammed in detail. You can find a brief article describing the circumstances around Privateer Online's cancellation here.

Wing Commander Online Was Another Attempt

Privateer Online wasn't the only online Wing Commander game that met an unfortunate end. We've previously reported on concept art from Wing Commander Online. These images were on the drawing board in 1998, a year or so before the game was cancelled and the Privateer Online project was begun. There are some similarities between the POL and WCO concept shots, but they were made by different artists. You can find more here. Although it's sad that these games were never produced, it's really exciting to get an inside look at what would have been.


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Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

Action Stations Available for Pre-Order
2017-02-27 -- Get ready for Action... Stations! The sixth Wing Commander novel's ebook March 7 premiere is fast approaching and several e-tailers have gone ahead and put up preorder pages for the book.

The Art of the Sci-Fi List
2017-02-26 -- Stories set in distant futures have an interesting challenge: what frames of reference should the characters display? For example, Wing Commander takes place roughly seven hundred years in the future. Should characters speak in a 'future dialect' or in a manned immediately comprehensible?

All Nine Privateer Bartenders... RANKED
2017-02-25 -- Early inn Freedom Flight, Hunter opines that "species didn’t seem to matter; wherever there were fliers, there seemed to be a bar..." and Privateer's Gemini Sector seems to be ample proof! Every one of the game's regular bases features a variety of services; some boast ship dealers, others different guild halls...

Homeworld Mod Guide Adds Border Worlds Faction
2017-02-24 -- Since we last reported on the Homeworld Remastered Mod's Player Guide, L.I.F.

The Short, Strange History of WC4 DVD
2017-02-23 -- It's 1997 and the future of media storage is here: DVD! With 'interactive movies' like Wing Commander taking three, four and even six CD-ROM discs to store hours of low-resolution video, the immediate benefit of DVD for multimedia games seems clear. With so much space, a game like Wing Commander IV could be stored on a single disc...

Ad Ben: Where's Wing Commander?
2017-02-22 -- There's plenty of room for debate about the coolest Wing Commander print advertisement: that first image of a Hornet cockpit, Seether hidden in the shadows behind Blair and Tolwyn, the Nephilim fleet massing in a centerfold, the Dragon-as-a-car-advertisement... the list could go on! Today, however, we would like to introduce you to what is unquestionably the most simple Wing Commander advertisement.

Who's that Music?
2017-02-21 -- There's great news for fans of Wing Commander music: composer George Oldziey is back at work orchestrating his classic Wing Commander music! He tweeted on Friday: Spending a rainy LA day diving into orchestrations of more of my #WingCommander music! Stay tuned!

The Wing Commander Art of Alan Gutierrez
2017-02-20 -- Last week, we showed you how the developers behind the 1995 Wing Commander CCG used a single painting to create two different cards. Today, we'd like to share another example by walking you through the incredible art of Alan Gutierrez. Mr.

EA Gives Free Access
2017-02-19 -- Still on the fence about this whole Wing Commander thing? Electronic Arts has announced that they are adding a seven day free trial to their Origin Access service (previously reported here.) Origin Access, the PC equivalent of their Xbox-based EA Access program, gives you the ability to play a host of Electronic Arts games free of charge.

Retro Ad Highlights Tricky Windows Transition
2017-02-18 -- Anatoly Shashkin of DOSNostalgic shared this awesome advertisement for System Commander. Although it shares no relation to the Wing Commander series, it still has a pretty cool name, and this ad includes a shout out to WC4. "Win 95 is cool, but sucks with DOS games!

Digital Wing Commander in HD Discounted to $6.99
2017-02-17 -- Vudu enthusiast Jacob reports that the company has included Wing Commander in their latest monthly HDX sale. Through March 7, digital ownership of the movie will run you just $6.99.

Just Play the Classics!
2017-02-16 -- In 1994, Electronic Arts hit on a sales trick that has since become commonplace: re-release your recent back catalog as budget 'classic' titles using simple packaging and digitized manuals to lower printing costs. The original cost of producing these games could be further amortized, ultimately helping further support the ever-growing game development budgets needed for new titles to stand up. You could call it GOG's great, great grandson!

Welcome to Sol Sector, Julianna!
2017-02-15 -- We have the happiest possible news to report today: congratulations to Chris and Lacey Reid on the birth of their daughter, Julianna Ella Reid! Julianna was born on February 9th, a brand new baby girl. Chris, Lacey and daughter are home and recuperating well.

Love, Terran Confederation Style
2017-02-14 -- We all know Blair and Angel, Maniac and Rosie, Catscratch and Sosa... but the conventional wisdom says that Wing Commander is, by its very nature, not the platform for stories about complex romantic relationships. In honor of Valentine's Day 2017, I would like to respong by remembering two relationships from the Wing Commander canon that are a little more nuanced.

Ad Ben: Sound Commander
2017-02-13 -- Here's a nickel's worth of free marketing advice: if it's 1991 and you are trying to sell a PC game it does not hurt to make sure it has the word 'Commander' in the name. The degree to which Wing Commander was a success means that an incomplete list from those years includes Air Commander, Flight Commander, Tank Commander, Air Force Commander, Robot Commander and many more. And the tie-ins didn't stop there: there were even a host of hardware peripherals that tried to ride Wing Commander's coattails.

Where Everybody Knows Your Clan
2017-02-12 -- Don't drink and fly! The 1995 Wing Commander Customizable Card Game (CCG) includes a pair of 'LUCK!' cards which discuss this exact scenario: the Confederation "TOO MUCH VAK'QU" and the Kilrathi "TOO MUCH FIRE LIQUOR" cards allow the player to return an individual opposing pilot to the Ready Area, effectively disabling them for the turn.

Ghosts in the (Metal) Machine
2017-02-11 -- Could there have been new Wing Commander music in 2015? The answer may surprise you: a strong 'sorta!'Back in 1997, Wing Commander Prophecy's abortive flirtation with a Cobalt 60-supplied industrial music soundtrack resulted in one of the stranger additions to Wing Commander’s musical canon: a "Wing Commander Prophecy Original Soundtrack” that seems to be more industrial variety sampler than anything connected to the Terran Confederation.

Denis Loubet Goes Behind the Screens
2017-02-10 -- The gang from the Big Box PC Game Collectors group have a great new video of interest to Wing Commander fans: an hour-long hangout with Origin artist Denis Loubet! Denis is the man responsible for the original Wing Commander box art (and countless other pieces of early WC art) and hearing him talk about his storied career if fascinating. Wing Commander fans should pay special attention around the 50 minute mark, where talks about creating the first game's explosions and debris in Deluxe Paint and even designing the game's radar screen!

Ad Ben: Sound Runner
2017-02-09 -- Multimedia! The year was 1992 and the buzzword was inescapable. The meteoric rise in home microcomputer power (alongside the massive success of multimedia games like Wing Commander) created an audience hungry for high resolution graphics, ultra-complex game controllers...

Spoiler Filled Wing Commander Review
2017-02-08 -- The crew of Spoiler Filled have done a conversational podcast review of the Wing Commander feature film. Being unfamiliar with the Wing Commander franchise beyond the film's reputation, the podcast covers their expectations and then contrasts them with their impressions after watching the film. Their overall impression is not necessarily positive, but they do say the reputation is undeserved and give props to the movie's special effects scenes as being quite good for 1999.

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