Just when you thought the day couldn't get any better, GameSpot has done it again, premiering even more Arena content! This time it's a hands on article extolling the game's virtues and two high definition movies showing off the gameplay -- you can easily see that the game itself looks far more spectacular than the first set of screenshots suggested. Moreover, if the press release left you wondering exactly how Arena works, then this article is a must read! The verdict professional? "a game that is both respectful to the Wing Commander legacy but also approachable to an entirely new generation of players." Here's a sample of how the game controls work:
Controls in Arena are simple enough to pick up though not without their subtleties. You move your ship with the two analog sticks; the left stick controls your thruster, and the right stick, your steering. Your ship seems basically stuck on a single plane in the game, so you won't be able to approach an enemy from above or below. That said, there are some special maneuvers you can pull off with the right stick when the going gets tough, including barrel rolls, loops, and 180 degree turns, the latter of which is perhaps the most useful. All weapons are fired with the two triggers and the two bumpers on the Xbox 360 controller and while blasters are more or less unlimited (governed only by your ship's energy level), you have a finite amount of rockets. Even so, don't expect to live long in Arena battles--our typical tactic was to face down an opponent and then unload with every weapon we had until we died. You can choose a new type of ship in between spawns if your current ship isn't working out.
Lower resolution versions of the movie are available for free, but the 1280x720 is for paying GameSpot subscribers only. Here's what the game looks like in all its glory:
Simple words do not express the excitement of this moment. Wing Commander fans have waited nearly a decade since the release of Secret Ops... and today we learn that our years of dedication were not in vain: Electronic Arts has officially announced Wing Commander Arena for XBox Live Arcade! Arena focuses on multiplayer action, and includes game modes for up to sixteen players at once! Here's the official press release and logo:
EA Launches Wing Commander Arena onto Xbox LIVE Arcade
Thursday February 22, 1:00 pm ET
Legendary Game Franchise Delivers 16-Player Online Space Combat
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS - News) today announced the return of its beloved Wing Commander(TM) franchise with Wing Commander Arena in development for the Xbox LIVE® Arcade(1). With up to 16 players, Wing Commander Arena offers the largest multi-player melee experience to date on Xbox LIVE Arcade. The game is scheduled to go live worldwide on the Arcade service in Summer 2007.
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.
Wing Commander Arena is produced and published by Electronic Arts and cooperatively developed with Gaia Industries. This is the second EA title for Xbox LIVE Arcade with EA's first title Boom Boom Rocket set to launch this Spring.
(1) Players must have an Xbox LIVE marketplace account to play Wing Commander Arena.
To everyone tuning in following Electronic Arts' announcement of Wing Commander Arena: Welcome to the CIC! We have been a center for the Wing Commander online community since 1995 -- we run daily updates and provide a wealth of archived information on the series and its universe.
To help those unfamiliar with Wing Commander, we have put together a Background Guide.. hopefully it will help explain why Wing Commander is such an important franchise and also offer information on classic releases for those who are curious.
It goes without saying that we will be reporting on the release of Arena to the best of our abilities -- we hope you'll join the community!
The Wing Commander CIC Forums have been updated with a new message board for Wing Commander Arena... and that's not all -- we've added GamerCard support! If you have an XBox Live account, here's how to add it to your Chat Zone identity:
1. Go to your profile.
2. Scroll down to "Additional Information".
3. Enter your GamerTag.
4. Save changes.
Your 'tag will appear under your name whenever you post to the Arena message board -- here's to a future when 'Wing Commander' is the most recently played game!
Interested in adding other Wing Commander fans to your Live friends list? You can find an automatically updated list here!