Hands On Article #3

Following in the footsteps of GameSpot and Team Xbox comes another Wing Commander Arena preview -- this one from Shacknews. It sounds extremely promising, and confirms that the Arena team hasn't been taking liberties with our continuity:
On the human side, the light fighters are variants on the F-27 Arrow, heavy fighters are models of the F-44A Rapier II, and bombers are based on the A-17 Broadsword. Kilrathi light fighters are modelled off of the Darket, heavy fighters off of the Dralthi, and bombers off of the Paktahn. Weapons too will be familiar, and as in past Wing Commander games the weaponry of the two races largely overlaps. Ships are armed with guns such as the laser cannon, meson blaster, tachyon gun, neutron gun, ionic pulse cannon, plasma gun, and mass driver cannon; heavier weapons include the dart DF (dumbfire, i.e. unguided), javelin HS (heat-seeking), vampire HS, porcupine mines, and lance torpedo.

There is no single-player narrative in Wing Commander Arena, though there is a text prologue as well as various bits of flavor text scattered throughout the game to provide context and color for the setting. Despite the lack of a campaign component, there are four single-player gameplay modes.

Developer Website Updated

Cardinal has come across some excellent news -- the Gaia Industries website has been updated with information about Wing Commander Arena! Most importantly, it includes four new screenshots... including a nice logo with a pre-rendered Rapier, the menu screen and then two action shots!

Another Arena Impression

Team Xbox has posted a two-page hands-on preview of Wing Commander Arena! This preview differs from an earlier such article posted by GameSpot in that it's more focused on how the game works for existing Xbox fans: it includes paragrahs on things like what some of the Achievements included in the release are. Here's the verdict:
In the course of a couple of hours, we were able to try out a number of the single-player and multiplayer modes. Most of the action was smooth, despite many of the battles comprised of a dozen people in a confined area, all firing missiles at each other. Frame-rate glitches and camera foibles occurred, but EA Canada’s Penney explained that there’s still time in the development cycle for these to be cleaned up before the game becomes publicly available. While EA hasn’t offered a firm release date, a person close to the project told TeamXbox that it’s being groomed for posting to Marketplace around May. Similarly, no pricing was indicated other than the standard statement that it’ll be in line with other XBLA offerings.

First Arena Interview

Gamasutra has posted an interview with the man in charge of the Arena -- EA Producer and Lead Designer Sean Penney. Here's some choice comments:
"People talk about Nintendo being innovative with the Wii controller. They ask, 'What's Microsoft's innovation?' Well, I think that their innovation is Xbox Live." The EA designer said that Wing Commander Arena has been in development for eight months. At the beginning, he said, EA was shopping the license around to a number of smaller third party shops. "You know EA, though," he added, "they're very cautious."

As for development process, Penney was extremely complimentary of the Xbox Live system, saying that coding has gone smoothly, and that he feels EA's deep pockets will afford the company time to polish its offerings in a way that is not common on the service today.

Penney concluded by suggesting that EA intends to differentiate itself on the service through the quality of its titles and the patience demonstrated in its development cycles - something it is also striving for in the recently announced, Bizarre Creations-developed Boom Boom Rocket, shown alongside Wing Commander Arena.

Arena Spring's Forth

Electronic Arts has published a 'fact sheet' for Wing Commander Arena, complete with a new screenshot and a very high resolution logo. Take a good look at that -- you can see all kinds of details on the little fighters around 'Wing'. This release runs down all the numbers, and also gives a more optimistic hope for the release date -- late spring. Here's the word:
Wing Commander Arena blends classic arcade gameplay with modern multi-player mayhem.

The beloved Wing Commander franchise is back with an all-new game for Xbox Live Arcade. Form a squad, propel your ship through space, fire torpedoes, unleash deadly gravity bombs, and destroy enemy armadas as you try to climb the leaderboard. Online players compete for Frag count, high score and duelling stats. Offline the game offers four modes with online leaderboards where it's pure arcade style competition.

EA launches onto Xbox Live Arcade with Wing Commander Arena delivering 10 minutes or 10 hours of space combat entertainment. With four styles of gameplay players can play in single player mode or play with up to 16 players for an all out online space combat melee.

Wing Commander Arena offers everything a space combat rookie or a veteran Wing Commander pilot would expect from the game: Team Duels, Free for all play, single player modes, 18 different ships within nine environments.

Key Features

# With up to 16 players, Wing Commander Arena offers the largest multi-player melee experience to date on Xbox Live Arcade.

# The classic brand has now been rebuilt to maximize the Xbox Live Arcade feature set while providing the largest modern multi-player arcade experience available.

# 4 types of gameplay: single player, multi-team, multi-player free for all and both one on one and multi-player duel

# 8 maps, including team maps, free for all maps and dueling maps

# 18 ships in nine environments

# 2 Races with 18 ships for light fighters, medium fighter, bombers. Cloaking devices, energy sucking torpedoes, mines, homing missiles, energy weapons and a myriad of other guns, weapons and devices.

Publisher: Electronic Arts Inc.
Developer: Gaia Industries
Ship Date: Late Spring 2007

More Movies!

GameVideos has posted a new Wing Commander Arena trailer -- two minutes of action that show off the loading screen (with a familiar starbase!), the melee mode, the asteroids game and the starbase map. Exciting stuff! Here's a preview:

You can grab the movie here (28.7MB WMV) or here (36.7MB MOV).

Take Me Higher

Wondering why the first batch of Arena screenshots seems disappointing compared to the awesome gameplay movies? Apparently it's GameSpot's fault, as IGN has now posted less compressed full resolution versions of each image -- plus a seventh! The trade-off? A nasty watermark in each corner. Hopefully Electronic Arts' press site will have full versions of these available soon.

Wing Commander Arena Media Round-Up #1

Here's a collection of major news sites' articles on the Wing Commander Arena announcement... the buzz seems very positive, and the news has certainly spread very quickly! If you have any you would like to add, please contact us or post to the new Message Board.
  • Playfuls.com - Wing Commander Arena Confirmed for Xbox Live
  • The Game Feed - Wing Commander Flies on Xbox 360
  • GameFreaks365 - EA Launches Wing Commander Arena onto XBLA
  • GamePro - Wing Commander Franchise Resurrected for XBLA
  • Total Video Games - Wing Commander Returns
  • TeamXbox - XBLA: EA Announces Wing Commander Arena
  • Kotaku - EA: Wing Commander Coming to Live Arcade
  • Eurogamer - Wing Commander for XBLA
  • CVG Online - EA Brings Wing Commander to XBLA
  • Pro-G - EA Confirms Wing Commander for XBLA
  • Boomtown - EA Confirms Wing Commander Arena
  • TechShout! - Wing Commander Arena Brought to XBLA by EA
  • Totally360 - EA Announces Another Upcoming Title for Arcade
  • GamesAreFun - Wing Commander Returns, Flies to XBLA
  • Xboxic - Wing Commander Arena Announced
  • 1Up - Wing Commander Confirmed for XBLA
  • Gaming Target - Wing Commander Returns on XBLA
  • GameDAILY - EA Rolls Out Wing Commander
  • Next Generation - New Wing Commander Heading to XBLA
  • DailyGame - Wing Commander Coming to XBLA
  • GamingNexus - Wing Commander Coming to XBLA
  • GameSpot - Wing Commander Flies to XBLA
  • Gamasutra - EA Brings Wing Commander to Live Arcade
  • Game Informer - Wing Commander to Return to Consoles
  • Ve3d - Wing Commander Arena Announced
  • Gameworld Network - Wing Commander Arena Coming to XBLA
  • Spong - EA Confirms Wing Commander for XBLA
  • Comic Book Bin - Arena Football Arrives At Stores (Really)
  • And just to be complete, here's a collection of articles about the ESRB 'rumor' from the day before:
  • Pro-G - Wing Commander Franchise Rebortn on Xbox 360?
  • CVG Online - Wing Commander Jetting to XBLA?
  • Boomtown - Wing Commander Coming to X360?
  • Play.tm - Wing Commander Returning
  • Eurogamer - Wing Commander On 360
  • Guardian Unlimited - Wing Commander Returning on XBox 360?
  • TeamXbox - ESRB Reveals New Xbox Live Arcade Games
  • Fagland - Wing Commander Preparing a Comeback?
  • Video Game Blogger - Wing Commander Arena rated for Xbox 360
  • Xbox 360 Fanboy - Wing Commander Coming to 360?
  • QJ.net - All-new Wing Commander Coming to XBox360
  • Siliconera - Wing Commander... Revived on the 360?
  • Joystiq - EA Resurrecting Wing Commander on Xbox 360?
  • XBLArcade - Wing Commander on the Arcade?
  • Blongo - Wing Commander Arena Naar Xbox 360?

  • Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

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


    Hats Off To New FMV Record Holder
    2017-12-11 -- Games that feature full motion video have undergone a bit of a renaissance over the past two years with a handful of innovative adventures hitting the market since 2015's Her Story. Two decades of dormancy, however, let Wing Commander reign as king of the genre in a number of ways. Now, one game has passed Wing Commander 4 for quantity of FMV, and The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker has the Guiness World Record to prove it!

    WC1 Live Viewer Now Displays Medal Points
    2017-12-10 -- UnnammedCharacter has released an update to his WC1 Live Viewer program. The previous iteration of the app displayed game state statistics on flying objects throughout the battle space in your Wing Commander 1 game. It's not an editor, but rather, it can be paired with things like the WC Toolbox to help understand what's going on behind the scenes.

    Check Out Rebel Galaxy's Delightful Blueprint
    2017-12-09 -- The creators of Rebel Galaxy, already well known for their incredible Privateer April Fools commercial earlier this year, have made another awesome Wing Commander tribute. They've created a fighter diagram for the game's Coyote fighter that's a perfect match to the style of WC1's blueprints. Sure looks like Howie is having fun!

    Backers' Wing Commander Album Scores Released
    2017-12-08 -- Wing Commander fans who pledged for the second Wing Commander album at the $80 level and above now have a treat waiting for them. The PDF digital scores for the seventeen expected orchestral tracks have been released. Contributors can now log in to their Kickstarter Message Inbox for a special note from George Oldziey with a download link and access password.

    Homeworld Mod Now Spoofs Missiles
    2017-12-07 -- Yet another new feature has been added to the Homeworld Remastered Mod. Electronic Countermeasures are now available to the fighter fleet so that they have a much more robust defense against large missile salvos. Check out this post for exact effectiveness percentages by model.

    Hornet Zooms Towards The Action
    2017-12-06 -- NinjaLA is back with a nifty sketch that shows off his "gradient mask coloring" technique. There are two images this time so you can see how things begin as a simple pencil sketch... and progress into a very sleek Hornet!

    Nephilim Added To Star Trek Armada 2 Mod
    2017-12-05 -- The Wing Commander mod for Star Trek Armada 2 has added a major new faction to the game. A full lineup of Nephilim capships and fighters have filled out the ranks and is set to invade the spacelanes. Each individual starship is beautiful, but check out the battle scenes.

    Recording Session Set For WC Bar Music!
    2017-12-04 -- There's a pretty sizable update on the progress of George Oldziey's second Wing Commander album today. A date has been set now for early February to do the live recording of the WC bar music. It'll be performed in George's personal studio in Austin.

    The Voices Of War Speak Many Languages
    2017-12-03 -- Christian Klein, the Pixel Engineer, has dug up a really cool version of Wing Commander Armada. This one's made for the Japanese PC-98 computer. There's so much to love on every inch of the box here, but my favorite might be the dark red disks with Japanese text.

    We're Number 239!
    2017-12-02 -- Polygon has put together a massive a feature on the 500 best games of all time. Wing Commander has made many, many such lists in its time, but this might be the longest - and furthest down - that we've seen it ever rank on. I can imagine it's really hard to qualitatively score a hundred games across many disparate genres, let alone five times that number, so it's kind of interesting to scroll through and see what they ended up with.

    Wing Commander Teaches 3D
    2017-12-01 -- AD found a nifty Wing Commander feature in Isaac Kerlow's The Art of 3D: Computer Animation and Effects which includes snippets from the Wing Commander Movie. The shots are interesting because they break down certain scenes into the various elements that get composited together to produce the finished frame for the film. The book was published just a couple years after WC was released, so computer animation was still a groundbreaking field.

    Homeworld Mod Improves Skipper Missile Execution
    2017-11-30 -- The latest updates to the Homeworld Remastered Mod are all about the Skipper Missile. Several iterations have been released that update the Skipper's code to properly cloak and decloak as it cruises through space. There have also been AI tweaks to better guide when the computer deploys the missile as well as bug fixes that address an issue with deploying it against large bases.

    New WC Toolbox Release Adds WC2 & Academy Support
    2017-11-29 -- UnnamedCharacter is back with an awesome upgrade to his WC Toolbox application. The program allows aspiring modders unprecedented ease of access to play around with and tweak some of the core elements of the original Wing Commander games. Previous versions have allowed for ship editing, revision of the in-game text, new copy protection questions and more!

    Avoid The Node
    2017-11-28 -- Dark Sentinel still has some of the fearsome capships like the Hydra under construction in his shipyards, but he's let loose a smaller pair of ships this week. This time we get to see the Ray node and its smaller Remora counterparts. When Prophecy was released twenty years ago, this ship was a real oddball.

    Cyber Monday Discounts Abound For WC Fans
    2017-11-27 -- If you're still searching for the perfect present after Black Friday, Cyber Monday gives you a great opportunity to give the gift of Wing Commander. GOG currently has the Wing Commander series for 75% off, which brings it down to just $11.92 for all DOS/Windows games (you may need to add them to your cart individually).

    Fralthi Fights For Furball Frontier
    2017-11-26 -- The Kilrathi kick continues for the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack with another brown durasteel capship. This time the Fralthi II joins the fray, which actually stars in the beginning of Prophecy. Our pilots encounter it partially destroyed, which is why we're lucky enough to get the artsy damaged version here.

    Extreme Fun Pak Pushed Gamers To The Edge
    2017-11-25 -- If you're tied into the Apple ecosystem, then there's a good chance you've encountered a billion ads for discounted iPads and similar products as you navigated the Black Friday holiday salescape this weekend. But if you were to roll back the clock by twenty-one years and put yourselves in the shoes of a Mac customer in 1996, you'd have seen some significantly different products. One of them would have been this official "Apple Quality Bundle" "For Serious Gamers.

    Tom Wilson Bouncing Around The Vlogosphere
    2017-11-24 -- As we first reported last year, actor Tom Wilson is doing a pretty good job of maintaining his YouTube Vlog channel. He doesn't post nearly as often as some of the big stars out there, but his video posts are pretty funny and provide interesting insight into what he's got going on in life. The first video below provides a glimpse into his art show, then he's got a new song, and finally he takes his fans with him on a trip to Australia.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    2017-11-23 -- The holiday season is now in full swing, and Wingnuts in the US are celebrating Thanksgiving today! As the story goes, we give thanks for the assistance given the European Pilgrims and the Native Americans who cooperated with them. Although 100% unrelated, this is a fantastic opportunity to remind everyone about the super cool Wing Commander Pilgrim-related item hiding in the CIC archives.

    Annual Call For Award Nominations
    2017-11-22 -- Another busy year is flying by, and before we know it, 2017 will be coming to a close. To start to get things in order, we're now thinking about nominees for our traditional Web Site & Fan Project of the Year Awards. There are so many fans doing great things out there, so this is our chance to acknowledge some of their fantastic efforts.

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