BREAKING NEWS: Eight New Arena Screenshots!

The Arena news dry spell is over - the official EA Arcade website has posted eight new Wing Commander Arena screenshots, which show off massive multiplayer battles in action! There are more Dralthi than you can shake a Snakeir at in a few of these... spectacular! You can find them all at the official Arena site here!

Score!

NuAngel has set up a Wing Commander fan leaderboard at MyGamerCard.net for those lucky enough to be Xbox Live players. The leaderboard shows and then sums the gamerscores of all its members - so we can face off against eachother or versus other fandoms with our cumulative achievements. You can sign up here - let's show them WingNuts mean business! At the very least, you can use the same link to see which of us has the most free time on our hands...

That's Just Super

Korruptor has found an obscure Wing Commander reference. A ScrewAttack video about the "Top Ten Super Games" quickly flashed the Super Wing Commander box while introducing its concept. SWC doesn't rank a spot in the top ten, but it's neat to see someone remember that it existed. If you aren't familiar with the game, it was a 3DO and Macintosh port of the original Wing Commander which included all new graphics and full speech. The short sequence is available online here.

WC4 Movie's A Hit

Since the CIC mirror went up Friday, hundreds of people have grabbed Queeg's moviezation of Wing Commander IV. If you haven't seen it yet, you can grab the 2.1 gigabyte file here. The xvid clip comes in at just under three hours. Start your download now to help us use up the last of our May bandwidth. We expect the file to account for more than a terabyte of data transfer in less than a week. If the file doesn't run on your system, give the VLC Player a try. A couple other dedicated fans are working on similar projects, but Queeg was the first to finish. You can help him out by providing feedback at Crius.net.

The project aims to create a full movie experience by tying together high quality FMV scenes taken from WCIV DVD, along with in-game spaceflight scenes. The spaceflight scenes also feature new nebula graphics in the background.

Un Deuxième Article Français

Thomas Hesse took note of the recent Generation 4 scan update and dug out another cool French Wing Commander magazine story for us. He explains the history thusly: "Back in September 1992, a new gaming review magazine appeared on french shelves. It was called PC Player. Right out of the box, they managed to show that they had good taste: The very first issue of that magazine had a full 12-page review of the Wing Commander Saga (at that time it was WC1, WC2 and Secret Operations). Pages 38-41 give quite a detailed introduction to the WC universe and its characters. Pages 43-45 are about the enemy ships, complete with precise black-on-white drawings. Pages 46-49 are about WC2 and its storyline. Enjoy!" We certainly will, thank you very much! We're always excited to preserve these kinds of scans for future viewing, no matter what language they happen to be in. Since I first played Wing Commander in France, this is especially cool for me...

Cat Nipped

Blues News, whose layout we stole before stealing layouts was cool, has linked to a "Cool Russian Game Poster". It's a giant image that includes dozens and dozens of video game characters interacting in various funny ways - the Wing Commander reference is Hobbes' staring down the main character from Postal (who is famous for using housecats as shotgun silencers). You can inspect the whole thing here (warning, includes cartoon nudity - looking good, Lara!)

Saga Tunes Up

The Wing Commander Saga FreeSpace 2 mod project web site has been updated... in fact, it's been completely redesigned! They've also posted some of the music which will be used in the finished game:
We also want to showcase some more of the music of Wing Commander Saga. In our opinion, the music in the original Wing Commander series played a major role in creating the essence of Wing Commander that made it so compelling. The full campaign will feature remakes of original Wing Commander songs as well as original tracks that seek to capture the same tone and feeling. An example of our efforts to emulate the WC style can be heard in the intro and outro tracks we used in the Prologue. The intro music is designed to evoke the sense of anticipation that Sandman and his fellow classmates feel upon reaching the Wellington. The outro is sober and brooding, mourning the loss of many good friends and speaking of still darker days to come. You can grab them here.
A fan-designed mission (aren't they all?) is also available now - it can be found here.

The Search Continues!

From blogs to message boards, the search for Wing Commander 2 SNES is extending exactly as we'd hope! I'd like to offer my genuine thanks to everyone who has forwarded along our original article. Someone out there has a prototype of this game - and it's in everyone's best interests to find it! Keep forwarding the story, we'll get this thing yet! We're also always an e-mail away if you require assistance - if you need someone to fly to Iowa to negotiate with a collector or to pay for transfering the game into a ROM, we'll be available.

They're GrEAt

Taking some time out from warning us about celebrities, hurricanes and sharks, CNN has declared Electronic Arts one of the top employers for new college graduates:
For gamers, this is the golden trophy of jobs. Employees are given between five and 10 free games a year, with an option to purchase heavily discounted copies in a company store, and all full-time new hires get a coupon for $100 off any console. With so many games to master you might not have time to spend any of the $60,000 starting salary that's offered to the average entry-level worker. And don't forget the restricted stock grants (for instance, 300 shares for new software engineers), the on-site gym, free DVD library, and a plan that allows employees to buy company stock at a 15% discount. Be prepared for a challenge, though: Last year, 5,000 college graduates applied, but only 200 were hired.
You can read the entire article here. It would certainly be the job of a lifetime for any Wing Commander fan...

Wing Commander 3, Generation 4

Laurent Pelliser has sent us images of a French Wing Commander III magazine review. It's pretty nice - showing off characters and ships and going into a lot of detail about how the game works. The scans come from the January 1995 issue of Generation 4. Magnifique!

Pack-age of Enlightenment

Grimloc has forwarded us a cool link - a blog called FraudWasteAbuse that has posted a nice reminiscence of classic game packaging. Both Wing Commander and Ultima are focused on:
Wing Commander was my first non-educational computer game. It came out way back in 1990. The box says that the game is a special promotional release, but the only thing special about this version was that it was the second printing. The manual was made to be like a magazine for the carrier you were stationed on in the game. It also came with some neat blueprints for the various ships you could fly in the game, and they contained many of the answers for some of the evil copy protection questions you were asked. If you needed 5¼ inch floppies there was a form you could send in. The game also came with a game catalog that I’ve long since lost.
Read the entire article here.

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Pricing Announced

Electronic Arts' community guru, EAJamesPond, has posted the long-awaited pricing announcement for Wing Commander Arena to the official message boards:
Just to let you know!

EA’s Wing Commander Arena, scheduled to go live this summer on Xbox Live Arcade, will be available for 800 MSFT points.

That's $10 US, for those unfamiliar with the MS Point system. This is great news - EA had an opportunity to premiere some new kind of pricing scheme with Arena given its larger scope compared to previous original content releases. That could have created an unfortunate backlash among the ordinary XBLA users who we need to make the release a hit. As it stands now, Arena is an incredible bargain.

Queeg Releases Wing IV Movie

Barely three months after releasing his third and final version of his WC3 movie and two months after announcing the project, Queeg has released the first complete version of his WC4 movie project. The project aims to create a full movie experience by tying together high quality FMV scenes taken from WCIV DVD, along with in-game spaceflight scenes. You can download the 2.1 gigabyte, three hour long movie via BitTorrent or alternatively from our local HTTP mirror. The spaceflight scenes also feature new nebula graphics in the background. Don't forget to post your thoughts on the movie here.

Why We Fight

A reader named John Brown recently e-mailed us to ask: why are we so excited about Wing Commander Arena? Why are we so positive when there are fans who aren't happy about the release, and when other news sites insist that Wing Commander fans will be 'disgruntled' over the title? I wrote him back with an explanation... and he suggested that I convert it into an editorial so that everyone could understand our point of view on this issue. With some apprehension I've done just that - and you can read it here.
With regards to other news sites, remember that they do not know the Wing Commander community. They haven't spent a decade catering to its every whim, to making sure that it stays together, to putting it before anything else. Kotaku didn't race across the country tracking down Prophecy DVD and The Mercury Post didn't beg and plead with a dozen ex-Origin guys for rare documents to scan. If you have believed in us before, then do so now. General gaming news sites don't understand us, they simply want a negative story to help sell advertising.

Video Killed The Walkthrough Guide

Fourth Law has posted a nice 'video walkthrough' explaining how to run the original Wing Commander in DOSBox. If you're having trouble following the ordinary text-based guides, this is a great alternative! They're planning a six part series which will eventually detail running all of the major Wing Commander titles on modern computers, so check back often! Each segment will also include part of an interview with Tolwyn of the Wing Commander Saga Freespace 2 mod project. Cool stuff!

Holding The Line Chapter 218

Raptor is back with another new HTL chapter. This one comes complete with a Kilrathi/Cat joke in the title: "To Sleep, Purrchance To Dream".
Hey all, Raptor here

The Kilrathi commander, Cathrax Nar Vukar Tag was badly wounded in the fight against in the Nephilim. As he recuperates, he dreams of what the future holds for himself and the Kilrathi. It is, of course, only a dream....or is it? [Cue DUN, DUN, DUN music. ;-) ] Please send any and all comments to James "JAG" Greenhow at rambo_123uk _at_ hotmail.com, not to me.

The story is at: http://www.holdingtheline.net/800/8ch216.html

Best, Raptor

Logo To-Go

In a recent update we dredged up a pack of Wing Commander logos made by WildCat years ago. Well, apparently he still reads the news and has now gone through the trouble of making a new logo set! He says:
I'm still an almost daily reader of the CIC so was pleased to see my old logos resurface. Unfortunately I was pretty shocked at how bad they are. I did them using the spray paint tool so they're far from high quality. I've put together another logo pack, this time not including the second Border World logo. They're in Paint Shop Pro format so anyone can download a trial copy and change the colours as they're vector images. Hopefully someone will find them useful.
Pretty cool - and useful! Download the whole kit here (1.1 MB, .ZIP).

One In A Hundred (and One)

CVG is running a four part article revealing the "101 best" PC games of all time from 'Blood' to... who knows? Part 3 gives a nod to Wing Commander IV, in 29th place:
YEAR 1995: Beyond the orgy of million-dollar FMVs (this time abandoning blue screen for real sets) and the dumb thrill of having Luke Skywalker play your hero, WC4 offered high-impact space battles, the likes of which are curiously uncommon in this day and age. Come back soon, Wing Commander. Please!
Please indeed! So where are the other Wing Commander games? In the forthcoming top 25 list, one assumes.

Raiders of the Lost Game

We've put together a new article collecting everything known about the lost Wing Commander game: WC2 SNES. WC2 SNES is a sad case, and I really think getting the word out could help find a missing review copy. The article includes a short history, both known magazine reviews and seven newly discovered screenshots! Check it all out here!
Although the game is complete somewhere, no prototype has ever surfaced and no members of the development team have copies. Because of the odd numbering of SNES ports (Wing Commander 2 is actually the third game, after Wing Commander and The Secret Missions), most mainstream SNES groups do not realize the title existed. These two magazine reviews and few scanned screenshots are all that remain of this promising Wing Commander game...
Are you an SNES collector? Do you know someone who is? Pass this article along - let's get its status out there... and let's find Wing Commander 2 SNES!

It's In the Cards

Think you've seen every Wing Commander card? Think again! In the early 1990s Nintendo Power magazine released a series of 'Super Power Cards' - one for each SNES game. Six cards were included randomly with each magazine... and naturally Mindscape's SNES port received recognition - in the form of card #57! Wing Commander SNES is now available as part of EA Replay - so the trainsim 'challenge' is still valid today. Go nail some Krants, aces!

Standoff Goes On

It's news you've all been waiting for: the Wing Commander Standoff mod has updated their website with an update on the progress of Episode 4!
As you can see on the progress page, Episode 4 missions have shifted from yellow to green. I'm still a bit uncertain whether they really deserve green, or if they're more of a greenish yellow, but it's close enough. We still have two missions which haven't been started, and some of the others haven't got proper briefings yet. Most of the missions are at least fairly bug-free, though - and, since the missing missions are only on the losing path, the winning path is already completely play-through-able.

Other progress - the Episode 4 fiction has jumped all the way from red to blue. That's really not a big deal - getting the fiction done is easy, so we're literally talking about one weekend's worth of work. Still, it's one thing less hanging over our heads, and one step closer to completion. Finally, game engine cutscenes have gone from green to blue. Visually, they're done - the music isn't done yet, but that's a different category on the progress page.

(On the subject of music, we do expect some progress in a few weeks - Michael has just started his summer holiday, though he's away in Europe for the next two weeks)

The worst part is that I still haven't been able to make much progress on the remaining graphics-related tasks, and especially the videos. This is partially because, unlike the game engine cutscenes, the videos can't really be considered complete until the music is in there, because it's only then that I convert them into the game's file format - so, just as soon as Michael returns, we'll hopefully see a lot of progress in the video department.

You can read the whole update here. At least they're still faster than Valve! They've also posted some new screenshots:

Hard Times

Here's a cute reference we came across - Tom's Hardware Guide's Spring Hard Drive Guide mentions Wing Commander II:
Back in pre-gigabyte times, you often had to move data from your hard drive before you could install something else. I remember that I had to erase the game Wing Commander II off the hard drive, so I could install Strike Commander in the early 1990s. The latter required 40 MB (including the speech add-on), while my Maxtor hard drive could store 120 MB. Can you imagine having to delete data on your hard drive today? I doubt it.
Uninstall Wing Commander II?! I'm not sure I want his advice about hard drive quality! Joking aside, it is amazing how far away those days have become...

Quite an Achievement

Following good news with good, TeamXbox has posted a new preview of Wing Commander Arena. It gives descriptions for every game mode, talks about fighting 'bots and confirms what we've noticed in recent screenshots - that the game is a lot more polished than it was three months ago. Most importantly, it reveals for the first time all of the game's Achievements. For those unfamiliar with Xbox games, Achievements are special graphical awards unlocked for accomplishing various in-game feats, similar to winning medals in Wing Commander I... except everyone can view your accomplishments online!
Hot Dog: Complete each Ring Game difficulty level. (20 points)

Commando: Earned Commando Tattoo (15 Frags in a Melee Match). (10 points)

Dogfight: Shot down first pilot in an Xbox Live game. (10 points)

Ace: Defeat 5 ships in a Ranked Xbox Live match without respawning. (20 points)

Untouchable: Reach wave 10 in Gauntlet without ever taking damage to your hull. (20 points)

TCS Tiger’s Claw: Compete in a 16-player Capital Ship game. (10 points)

Hibernation: Reach a streak of 5 in a Bearpit game. (20 points)

Gunfighter: Win a Ranked Duel with each ship type. (20 points)

Navigator: Travel through every gold jump gate in the game. (10 points)

Retro: Reach wave 20 in Meteor Storm. (10 points)

Paladin: Shoot down 1000 pilots on Xbox Live. (30 points)

Deathstroke: Finish in first place in any Ranked Free-for-All match. (20 points)

You can read the entire article here.

The Game is First Rate

There are no small Wing Commander news articles, only small Wing Commanders: the German equivalent of the ESRB, the USK, has rated Wing Commander Arena. The verdict? "Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG", meaning "restricted for those below the age of 12". This is a slightly higher rating than the game received in the United States, where the ESRB awarded it the 'E for Everyone' ranking.

BREAKING NEWS: All the Ships Revealed

TeamXbox has scored a real coup - a massive article comparing and contrasting all eighteen of Wing Commander Arena's ships! We now know their exact loadouts, specifications and some background history about each ship. If that wasn't enough, they've also posted all eighteen of the high resolution wallpaper-quality renderings that WingNuts have been lusting after since the official site posted the Rapier II Blade! You can now examine each of Arena's ships in painstaking detail! The articles seem to be expertly written:
The Cavalier and the Rhino are the ultimate evolutions of their respective, storied design lineages. The Cavalier is a nimble all-around fighter with an emphasis on shields. Its device bays carry both a power core and a battery. As the Rhino's name implies, it focuses its energy on sheer battering capacity. Enhanced generators power large bore Plasma cannons capable of knocking down the heaviest enemy shields. Under normal circumstances a proficient Cavalier pilot can dance circles around a Rhino by making sure to avoid its powerful forward guns.
All it needs is a Venn Diagram (and it does include charts!) You can read all nine here!

BREAKING NEWS: A Different Kind of Interview

Noted freelancer Paul Semel has interviewed Wing Commander Arena Producer Sean Penney for a story in his videogame blog at Riottt. This article is especially cool because it's a lot less formal than the videos and gaming news interviews we've seen so far - you get the impression that, Wing Commander involvement aside, Sean is one of us. He talks about everything from wanting to work on a bigger Wing Commander title to the continuity of Chris Roberts' Wing Commander movie:
IT HAS BEEN A WHILE SINCE THERE’S BEEN A “WING COMMANDER” GAME. DID THE MOVIE FUCK THINGS UP THAT BADLY?

Um... one of the big questions in the "Wing Commander" community is, "Is the movie part of the universe?" And I had the opportunity in this game, by simply making references to events in the movie, to put a stamp on the "Wing Commander" history and say “this is the next step of the history. And people are looking at this game and are taking it as holy writ for the "Wing Commander" universe. So did the movie fuck up the storyline? No.

Read the whole thing here. To editorialize for a moment, it's great to see EA letting Sean put his face on this game - it's the sort of 'focus on the creative team' that we haven't really seen since the days of the original Wing Commander games.

This Presentation Is Spot On

Matt Clothier has a great Wing Commander Arena story for us: GameSpot's weekly video show, On the Spot, included a presentation about Arena! In the process they managed to reveal the last unknown player ship: it's the Darket Dragonfly! You can download the entire presentation here or stream it here. The Arena material, also extracted below for your convenience, begins around the 1h03m mark.

  • Video - "On the Spot - 5/17/07" (19.1 megs, .AVI)
And for those who aren't video-inclined, here's a transcript:
Rich: I love Tom F. Wilson.

Jeff: Dude, me too.

Rich: Yeah.

Jeff: And finally he's back in video game form with Wing Commander.

Rich: Kind of.

Jeff: No, not at all.

Rich: Not even kind of?

Jeff: No, not even kind of. Wing Commander Arena is an Xbox Live Arcade game that's coming soon, and this aint the Wing Commander that you are thinking of, essentially. Though it does have a lot of what you'd expect a Wing Commander game to have. There's Kilrathi ships, also the Earth forces. We'll pick an Earth ship and get right in. Now look at that! It is like a top down kind of shooter game and it's primarily focused for multiplayer action. Now this... it'll have sixteen player support when it does come out, but we're in a match with bots right now, which will not be the most exciting thing in the world, but we can get in here and fly around and do some stuff. Multiple weapons and basically you just kind of fly around and shoot stuff. There's a few different modes. There's one where each side has a capital ship you're trying to take out.

Rich: These bots are pretty good. I can see this game getting pretty hectic with sixteen players all yelling at eachother and playing this game.

Jeff: Yeah, and with team based stuff and the right stick will do your little evasive maneuvers, you flip around and dodge shots. You can actually, you can change the camera perspective here if you want a different look at the action, but none of them are going to give that first person kind of Wing Commandery feel that the original had. This is a very much different game which, you know, if you're the sort of person who's been expecting a new Wing Commander game for years and years you might be a little angry. But it's actually pretty cool.

Rich: Maybe there'll be enough clamor over this that then they'll make a new Wing Commander game. Mark Hamill is available.

Jeff: Mark Hamill, yeah, Mark Hamill not doing much. Tom F. Wilson, he can still do the, he can still say "chalk up another one for the Maniac". He can do that. Drop of a hat he's showing up to say that for you.

Rich: Bot names also awesome. Fireclaw, Lone Wolf, Hollywood, Deathstroke.

Jeff: Yeah, all really awesome. You have afterburners here, if you click in both sticks you get a little boost. Little powerups to pick up that'll restore your gun efficiency and you know, repair your engines if you afterburn too much. And yeah, it's just a fun little action packed multiplayer shooter. And it's surprisingly exciting, you know, for what looks l ike a pretty simple game.

Rich: Ryan Davis, I want one question about Wing Commander Arena.

Ryan: How much is it going to cost asks {someone} from Finand.

Jeff: I don't believe EA has announced a price for the game, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that it's going to end up being 800 points. That seems like pretty much the base level maximum for originally developed content for Xbox Live Arcade and for the Playstation 3 is that 800 point $10 mark.

Rich: Cool, and I'd ask for a release date but...

Jeff: Oh, you know how this Xbox Live Arcade stuff is. We don't know.

Rich: It could show up tomorrow!

Jeff: I know that this is not the final version of the game as I understand it. So, I don't know, maybe it'll come out next week, maybe it'll come out next year.

Rich: It looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Jeff: Yeah

Rich: Great. Thanks.

Jeff: No problem.

Rich: Wing Commander Arena.

Take special note of those bots -- Fireclaw is flying a Darket, Lone Wolf is flying a Rapier... awesome stuff.

Forstchen, Live On Tour

Want to meet Dr. William Forstchen, author and co-author of six Wing Commander novels? I'm telling you, you do! He's currently in the middle of a book signing with Newt Gingrich for his new historical novel, Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th. Be on the lookout if you're in one of these cities and want to meet the author of Fleet Action:
Thursday May 17 - Reston, VA
Friday May 18 - Atlanta, GA
Sunday May 20 - York, PA
Monday May 21 - Manchester, NH
Tuesday May 22 - Council Bluffs, IA
Tuesday May 22 - West Des Moines, IA
Wednesday May 23 - Dallas, TX
Thursday May 24 - Yorba Linda, CA
Friday May 25 - Honolulu, HI
Saturday May 26 - Waipahu, HI
Wednesday May 30 - Maui, HI
Good call, writing a book that would make your publisher send you to Hawaii for a week. You can view the whole schedule (with specific locations) at Newt.org.

You'll Loye've It

Chris Knudsen has some new visuals from his Privateer Ascii Sector project to show off! If you aren't familiar with this one, it's an (apparently succesful) attempt to replace the gameplay of the original Privateer with an ASCII text-based game! It's pretty astounding. These are pictures of "Loye Naval Base", which is presumably the game's equivalent of Perry. In order: two shots of the central concourse followed by the bar, the shipyard and the in-flight base exterior.

Aegis Cruises to XBLA

Microsoft yesterday released "Aegis Wing", a free side-scrolling space shoot-em-up game for Xbox Live Arcade. The game was developed by a trio of interns over a semester and is being released as a free gift for XBLA fans! We gave it a few test flights last night. Although the general idea is similar to Wing Commander Arena, the game itself is several orders of magnitude less complex -- it's essentially a classic sidescroller with updated (though still simplistic) graphics. It does, however, feature four player co-op play... which could be a good way to start training wingman teams for Arena's elaborate co-op battles! Head on over to your Marketplace panel and grab your free game. Well, it does have one thing in common with Wing Commander; MTV [ed: really?] says:
Naming the game is fun, and the interns handled that. First they wanted to call the game "Wingmen," but the Microsoft people involved in clearing titles said they couldn't. "Aegis Wing" was the number-two choice, according to Dyer.

BREAKING NEWS: New Video Interview!

Game Trailers is the video-game-movie-clearinghouse-site that keeps on giving: they've just posted a new video interview with Wing Commander Arena Producer Sean Penney! It's in a crisp high-resolution format and lets us have a look at just how detailed the 'Freelancer'-style camera can be -- the tiny Confed symbols on Broadswords' wings are a sight for sore eyes. You can download the video here.

  • Video - "Game Modes Interview" (44.2 mb, .WMV)
  • Video - "Game Modes Interview" (44.9 mb, .MOV)
For those who don't want to wait, here's the transcript:
Sean: Wing Commander Arena is about sixteen player online multiplayer space dogfighting. That's the core of the experience. We have single player modes as well but really the meat of the experience is in the eight on eight team battles and the sixteen player free for all battles. We have a variety of game modes in Wing Commander, so one of them is called Capital Ship versus Capital Ship and in this mode you and seven friends get together with your capital ship, which is a massive battlecruiser, and go up against eight other guys who have their own battlecruiser. So it's Confederation versus Kilrathi. When you get these two capital ships coming across from each other sending broadsides at each other and you've got sixteen ships in the middle all dogfighting, it's truly spectacular. In true Wing Commander fashion, communication is going to be an important part of victory. We've got Team Chat for the battles so you and seven of your buddies get together and you can talk amongst yourselves using team chat. Your opponents can't hear you. In terms of the arcade experience, if you're going to compare this to other arcade games that are out there right now there is no comparison. Depth of play, the beauty of our environments, sixteen player multiplayer, team speak, I mean there's nothing to compare to it out there right now. Bang for the buck, I don't care what we price it at there won't be anything that will give you the value that this game will give you. Come and play Wing Commander, it's the best thing on Xbox Arcade!
Looking good, Sean!

It's Showing Up On Radar

Online magazine Games Radar has posted a new preview of Wing Commander Arena! Like many others, this article is very positive about the gameplay. Here's the summary:
Wing Commander Arena may be an extremely downsized version of the epic 3D space shooters it took its name from... but it's an extremely upgraded version of the retro shooters we usually see on Xbox Live Arcade. The 16-player combat and wealth of options might win over even the most disgruntled of original Wing Commander fans. We'll find out this summer, when the game is scheduled to go online.
They also have a nice long video clip of the capital ship mission... unfortunately it's in a highly compressed Flash format. You can view it online here.

  • Video - "Sneaky Cam" (29.8 mb, .AVI)
  • Video - "Sneaky Cam" (20.8 mb, .FLV)

Everything's Ship Shape

We took some time yesterday to collect all the recent data and put a new coat of paint on our Wing Commander Arena Ships Page. The article now includes all the hanger images released to-date set alongside specification charts for each ship. You can go ahead and learn their guns, missile and devices (where known)! There's also a new "cameos" section, archiving some of the cool background ships which have appeared in recent previews (like the Longbow and Centurion). The next time you find someone talking about how Arena doesn't have any classic Wing Commander elements, show him the ships page!

Official Site Updated!

The EA Arcade site for Wing Commander Arena has been updated with fantastic new content! Included are four new movies -- two fast-paced high-resolution trailers and two funny 'instructional' movies about satellites:

You need to head over to the official site and watch them right now! Take a moment to post to their forums, too - lets show EA what a great community we've formed. There's also a new 'ship fact' which reveals the name of one of the yet-unseen Darkets (Raptor)! It also shows how dedicated the Arena team is to classic Wing Commander continuity:

The Darket was first introduced in 2668, making it the most advanced light fighter in the reduced Kilrathi fleet. The Raptor improves upon the classic design, with modifications built to the specifications of Najji "Fireclaw" nar Ragitagha. This Darket's light gun loadout betrays its abilities: it is a true dogfighter, designed with options like flares to allow it to survive extended combat encounters.
Unfortunately there's no high-res Darket Raptor wallpaper yet, but there is a tantalizing thumbnail:

  • Video #1 - "Capital Ship" (57.6 MB .MOV)
  • Video #2 - "Fighter Combat" (45.1 MB .MOV)
  • Video #3 - "Satellite 1" (33.6 MB .MOV)
  • Video #4 - "Satellite 2" (39.4 MB .MOV)

Mo' Previews, Mo' Problems

AD came across a new preview of Wing Commander Arena at GameDaily. It's not especially long, but we're nothing if not dedicated completists. The tone is overall positive, with a complaint about the graphics. It's an odd criticism (if anything, previews make the game seem too bright), but a much more reasonable one than we've seen from the likes of Kotaku and Mercury News:
During our brief hands-on session with the game, we noticed that occasional lag time in the controls left our ship wide-open to incoming enemies. The game could also use a little extra lift in the looks department -- simplistic graphics and a muted color palate could make this game a turn-off for anyone who's not riding the wave of Wing Commander nostalgia that EA seems to be banking on for this otherwise fun pick-up-and-play shooter, set to hit the Xbox 360 this summer.
Read the whole thing here.

Missile Command

There have been a lot of question as to how missiles work in Wing Commander Arena. Are they simple fire-and-forget weapons, or even worse all Dumb Fires? Not so! Producer Sean Penney stopped by to explain how locking works: "There are heat seekers. The cursor turns red and you get a box; fire heat seeker. If you don't get the box they still heat seek, but they don't have a specific target. There's no autotracking for guns." We saw this in a recent video. Arena is a lot more complex than many people think!

Remember (To Buy) Pearl Harbor

The latest historical novel from Wing Commander veteran Dr. William Forstchen hits bookstores this week. The book is Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, co-authored with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. This is the fifth collaboration for Forstchen and Gingrich, following alternative history novels set during World War II and the Civil War. Here's the official word and the cover art:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech on December 8, 1941, lasted a mere six and half minutes. But his words and tone—in a monologue that would later be named the Infamy Speech—sent ripples into a nation and a world that continue even today. The historical implications that emerged from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were unprecedented, launching America not only into the depths of a dangerous war, but forever altering the safety and comfort of everyday living. December 8th became a day of speaking out publicly and declaring war; of action, battle, plotting, and victories. This date’s significance is resonant and profound as an indelible moment in American history.

Fresh from their series on the American Civil War, bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen now launch a new epic adventure by applying their imaginations and knowledge to the “Date of Infamy”—the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor covers the full spectrum of characters and events from that historic moment, from national leaders and admirals to the views of ordinary citizens caught in the chaos of war. From the chambers of the Emperor of Japan to the American White House, from the decks of aircraft carriers to the playing fields of the Japanese Naval Academy, this powerful story stretches from the nightmare slaughter of China in the 1930s to the lonely office of Commander James Watson, an American cryptographer, who suspects the impending catastrophic attack. It is a story of intrigue, double-dealing, the horrific brutality of war, and the desperate efforts of men of reason on both sides to prevent a titanic struggle that becomes inevitable.

Gingrich and Forstchen’s now critically acclaimed approach, which they term “active history,” examines how a change in but one decision might have profoundly altered American history. In Pearl Harbor, they pose the question of how the presence of but one more man within the Japanese attacking force could have transfigured the war. More than a retelling, the book also serves as a potent warning, valid still today as an example of what happens when communications and understanding breaks down, and a nation is ill-prepared for the onslaught that might ensue.

A compelling, meticulously researched saga, Pearl Harbor is also a novel of valor about those who took part in this cataclysmic moment in world history. It inaugurates a dramatic new Pacific War series that begins with the terrifying account of the day that started it all.

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Video Walkthrough

Advanced Media Network has won a lot of friends here by posting a six and a half minute 'walkthrough interview' with Wing Commander Arena Producer Sean Penney. The video shows the game in action while explaining all sorts of gameplay elements... everything from cloaked mines to Vampire Missiles! Here's a kicker: it flashes through seven of the nine unidentified ships! We've only yet to see two Darkets now (the ships not pictured below are the Broadsword Warpig and the Paktahn Tusk). You can find the video online here.

Two more general previews are also now available, at Yahoo and Game Almighty. Neither is especially in-depth.

Update: Interview Transcript

Here's a text transcript for those who don't want to download the entire 135 megabyte AMNTV Interview (if you missed skipped update, check it out; the video alone is worth the download time). There's a lot of exciting information here -- in the thrill of finding out new ship types, we missed the best news of all... Sean talks about a late June release date! Here's the text:
AMNTV: Hey guys {someone} here for AMNTV. I'm here with Sean Penney. We're playing Wing Commander ARena at the EA Summer Preview in San Francisco. So tell us a little bit more about, maybe a synopsis for the game for those who don't know what Wing Commander Arena is all about.

Sean: Well, this is a 16-player online multiplayer dogfighting game that also has single player modes. That's what I'm playing right now is a little single player mode. And it's all about getting together with your friends and doing a little team battle, doing a little single player, getting on the leaderboards and, you know, playing a beloved and favorite franchise from years past. It's a brand new, it's a brand new way to play it, it's a brand new look. I'm playing a Kilrathi ship right here, we've got nine of those you can play, that's a first.

AMNTV: What type of main features stand out from a graphical and gameplay standpoint?

Sean: What, you mean compared to other arcade games? Well, I think right off the bat a lot of people don't even realize it's an arcade game. When they look at it they don't, they, you know, they're surprised when they find out it's a fifty meg download. I personally, I think the graphics, the gameplay itself, the depth of play, the, all the different ways that you can play. So online you can go play a eight versus eight capital ship versus capital ship battle. This is amazing, you've got sixteen guys together, you got two massive capital ships doing, throwing broadsides at each other, blowing. It's, it's just amazing to look at, it's absolutely gorgeous.

AMNTV: So just looking at this, I mean level wise, how do you get, the scope of the game. How big is each level?

Sean: Well, so this is a pretty typical environment. Lets see if I can give you a look of it here. So this is a pretty typical sized environment. This one's maybe a little smaller than most just it's enclosed. It's, it really depends on, you know, what we need to do on the envornmnent. One of the things we've done is you'll notice that we're in a two dimensional, we're in, you're on a 2D plane, you can't actually go up or down other than to do things like loops or barrel roles or to get, pardon me, you know, and you can do Immelman turns and 180s. But really, we keep you on a 2D plane, and one of the reasons we do that is in an arcade title you are somewhat limited, you know in memory limitations and things like that. And in a sixteen player game you don't need guys coming at you from top and from bottom and left and right and all over the place. It would just be nothing but death, death, death, death, death. So the envornments, really what we do is we, we keep the envornments to a size that's most useful to the actual mode that you're playing. So capital ship versus capital ship you've got these two huge spaceships circling around eachother, going around, this is a really large environment. So you've got sixteen people with a lot of place, with a lot of space to play in. We have another environment, it's a one on one environment, it's called Duel. This is a much smaller environment. That's lots of stuff you can hide around and do, but arguably you don't need a whole bunch of space if it's just one on one. So the environments tend to be as big as they need to be. Some of them are quite large, others are small. We have everything in between.

AMNTV: Seems like you got a lot of cool weapons over there. Can you showcase some of your main missiles or main weapon arsenal?

Sean: Sure! If you look on the lower left hand screen you can see there's an iconic display. I've got, when I fire my weapons you can see the bar going down there on the left. So I've got energy weapons. Two types of energy weapons, this particular ship has two types of energy weapons. It also has four Dumb Fire missiles, I can drop mines, and if I turn around here you'll notice that the mines fade away, they're cloaked. But I can use my sonar ping to make, to bring them up again. So, use the sonar ping to show up cloaked ships and cloaked mines and things like that. So I've got missiles and, this guy has missiles and mines and two types of energy energy weapons, and he can also cloak himself if I have enough energy. There we go, and I can cloak myself now other people can't see me. If I fire my weapons I, I, I uncloak. Every ship has different weapon combinations. There are some similarities, the the Confederation ships have the same types of heat seeking missiles, the image recognition missiles, Vampire missiles. But some of the races have unique... there's a Vampire missile there, it's draining all my energy. You see it coming down there. Soon as I'm out of energy, it drops off. So the, the different weapon combinations are what makes the game a lot of fun and makes it really unique. If you're playing a heavy bomber, here let me die here... so that somebody will kill me. If you're playing a heavy bomber, there we go, I'll show you some of the different ships. So odd the way, I'm down to the Terran here. We start with the light Arrow, the Arrow Scout, right. We move on to the Arrow Eclipse, right. This is a slightly larger ship, it's still an Arrow but its got more armor and it's got, it's got a gun battery, cloak and flares as opposed to this one has an engine power core, flares and sonar. So they all have different abilities and devices. This is the Arrow Guardian, this is the largest Arrow that we have, but you can see it's got a whole bunch of different stuff it can do. And we can go all the way up to the heaviest bomber, the Broadsword Behemoth. And that's all, that's, you know, that what, that baby's packing, so...

AMNTV: About how many ships and how many total levels are we talking about?

Sean: So, in total, all the ships, there are eighteen total. You start, there's four ships that you start with. Two Terran ships, two Kilrathi ships and what you do is, depending on what mode, actually it doesn't matter what mode you play, you'll unlock ships. Right, any mode you play you start unlocking ships. We got four single player modes, we have eight online modes. A combination of free for all modes, team modes, one on one modes and a really special mode that we call the Bearpit. And in the Bearpit what happens is it's a large environment with an arena within it and two people go into the arena and only one comes out. And then somebody else from the environment goes into the arena. It's all about winning streaks. What's cool is the guys outside of the arena can dogfight, play mini-games and sometimes even shoot inside at the arena. It's very fun.

AMNTV: So you said there's also some online leaderboards for those hardcore enough to really get into the nice competitive mode for Wing Commander Arena?

Sean: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. The the online leader, the online leaderboards track both single player and multiplayer. So if you're playing, if you're playing, you know, if you're, if you're the best at the Proving Grounds or the best at melee your score is going to get online and people are going to see that. And these are true online style single player modes, there's no end to them, they just keep on going, right. Online multiplayer we use Microsoft Arcade's trueskill, so, it's, you know, there's ranked games and player games and there's ways of, of calculating your skill level based on how, your kills and how well you do. But we also track things like frags and points and how many times you die and stuff like that.

AMNTV: So when are we expecting the game to be on Xbox Live?

Sean: Well, we should see it real soon. Some time in June, late June. We're, you know, we're driving for beta right now. You see the game looks pretty good, it plays pretty well. You know, it's a lot of fun, it looks great. What we, we're hoping to get it out near the end, the end of June. And I expect then we'll see a billion people playing it.

AMNTV: Thanks a lot, it all looks very promising.

Sean: My pleasure. Thank you.

Catch Up On Your Ship Identification

When it comes to Wing Commander Arena's ships, we're only half way there! Recent movies have upped the total number of 'hangar views' to nine -- out of eighteen total. We've yet to see two Arrows, two Darkets, two Paktahns and three Broadswords. The name "Broadsword Executioner" has also been revealed - but we haven't seen its hangar 'shot yet. Here's what we have so far, from left to right: F-27 Arrow Guardian, F-44 Rapier II Blade, F-44 Rapier II Vanguard, F-44 Rapier II Cavalier, Darket Stalker, Dralthi Striker, Dralthi Shank, Dralthi Rhino and Paktahn Phantom.

DragonCon Ticket Prices Increasing Tuesday

Advance passes to this year's DragonCon are set to go up in price this week. After Tuesday they will rise from $60 to $70 for four-day memberships. DragonCon is a large science fiction convention held in Atlanta, Georgia over Labor Day weekend (August 31-September 3, 2007). Each year the CIC staff heads down to meet various Wing Commander celebrities and spread Wingnut cheer. This year we plan to also man a table in the lobby to discuss the series with everyone who passes by. You can see what we did last year in our 2006 Gallery.

Alone in the Night

Gevatter Lars has a neat new Wing Commander rendering to show off. It's called 'Lone Bhantkara': "Working on the Bhantkara model for the Wing Commander Saga Mod I more or less accidentaly created this image. It was an interesting angle and I added a light and a random background I have found on the web and their it was. Added some effects and it was done." Good stuff:

Do Look Back

It's been a crazy few days here in the Wing Commander sphere - things are only now slowing down following Electronic Arts' Summer Preview event which showed off Wing Commander Arena. Here's a quick rundown of the new media posted in the last few days... or you can always follow recent events using our Arena mini-site, which is updated whenever news on the game is published here.

  • Five new official screenshots (here).
  • Eleven new videos (here, here, here, here and here).
  • Five new concept images (here and here),
  • Six new previews: GameSpy (here), IGN (here), Kotaku (here), GamerInfo (here), 1Up and The Mercury News (here).
  • One new Sean Penney interview (here).

More Arena Previews

1Up has posted a new preview of Wing Commander Arena. It sounds very positive and goes into some detail regarding several of the game modes:
Never-ending single-player defensive missions like Meteor Storm, where you defend a space station from rocks and the occasional bandit, seem to be great time killers. And scores from all missions, except Proving Grounds (a very basic never-ending bot fight), will be posted to the leaderboards. Part of EA's summer line-up, Arena seems to provide some decent fun, whether you're a Wing Commander fan or not.
The entire article is available here. The Mercury News has also posted a very negative preview which ends by admitting that the writer didn't really try the game:
I didn’t play this title for very long since I was quite annoyed with the different direction this game took. I thought it was a dud.
Clever guy - he has a bright future in political reporting. If you haven't read through yesterdays news, there's plenty of exciting Arena information... everything from a Longbow cameo to over a gigabyte of videos!

Blast Off With Another New Video

The internet's gone Arena video crazy since EA showed the game off at their Summer Preview 2007. Yet another new video has been released, and this time it comes from GameVideos.com. "Blasto" reveals the well-armored F-27 Arrow Guardian participating in a coordinated defense/assault. A Terran pilot takes a few pot shots at a Kilrathi battlecruiser before pulling back to defend against incoming Dralthi and Paktahn. You can stream the new clip here or download the medium res clip in two formats.

Analysis: Gaia Concept Art

It's certainly been an exciting twenty four hours - if you haven't been following the news, we now have over a gigabyte of Wing Commander Arena preview videos in our archive! Today we're looking back at some other exciting news from the past week - the Arena concept art seen at the Gaia Industries office.

First of all, GamerTag Radio has posted a YouTube video of the Street Trace: NYC preview event. It includes a few seconds of the 'Arena board', which we've cut out and put online here (584k, AVI). It's blurry, but you get an impression of how the artwork is layed out.

Next, we've put together a speculative list of everything on the board - you can identify individual pieces using the numbers attached to the first image.

1. Arrow upgrades concept art.
2. Confederation pilot concept art.
3. Kilrathi pilot concept art.
4. Rapier blueprint rendering.
5. Sketches: Paktahn, Gothri, Darket, Centurion, Dralthi, Rapier, Broadsword.
6. Firekkan pilot concept art.
7. Mercenary pilot concept art.
8. Award icons concept.
9. Paktahn early rendering.
10. Rapier early rendering.
11. 3D head test renderings.
12. Gun blast artwork.
13. Gaia website printout.
14. In-game screenshot.
15. Pre-Renderd Artwork.
16. In-game screenshot.
17. In-game screenshot.
18. Award icons concept.
19. WC2-style cockpit cutscene test rendering.
20. F-27 Arrow final rendering.
21. F-44 Rapier II final rendering.
22. A-17 Broadsword final rendering.
23. Darket final rendering.
24. Dralthi IX final rendering.
25. Paktahn final rendering.
26. Terran Battlecruiser final rendering.
Unnumbered: Electronic Arts logo.
Unnumbered: Wing Commander Arena logo.
Unnumbered: Gaia Industries logo.

BREAKING NEWS: New Arena HD Trailer!

... but wait, there's more! GameTrailers has posted another new Wing Commander Arena video. It's called "Galactic Battle Gameplay" and shows off some hardcore action on the 'Proving Grounds' map. It's not as long as the earlier video updates, but it still manages to reveal some fantastic details - including a classic 'box target' system and another fighter, the Rapier II Cavalier. "Galactic Battle Gameplay" is available in two different formats:

BREAKING NEWS: Three New HD Videos

This day just keeps getting better: GameSpot has posted three more High Definition video previews of Wing Commander Arena! The first shows off the Space Station map, the second is melee combat in the Boneyard and the third is capship combat. There are some huge surprises here, including a lineup of F/A-76 Longbow bombers parked at the Space Station and a big Kilrathi face carved into an asteroid in the Boneyard! No Wing Commander continuity, eh? You can find all three online here.

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Preview #9

Another one bites the dust: GamersInfo.net has posted yet another hands-on preview of Wing Commander Arena. This article is very well done; it divides the game into specific areas (sound, controls, graphics, etc.). The word is good:
Wing Commander: Arena picks up the franchise and moves it into a new direction, away from a space sim to a space shooter. EA did a great job in carefully including as much of the old as they move forward with the new, and in the end it looks like they succeeded. I know I’m eagerly anticipating the release of this game.
See it all here.

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Preview #8

"Edgy" gaming news site Kotaku has posted their impressions of Wing Commander Arena. As with the GameSpy preview this morning, they were disappointed that it "wasn't Wing Commander"... but they were pleased with the game itself. While their criticism is somewhat understandable, it should be clear to everyone reading this that Electronic Arts has gone to extreme lengths to make sure Arena incorporates many elements of the Wing Commander continuity -- and I will personally guarantee that you'll be seeing a lot more in the coming weeks. Read the whole thing here.
I asked one of the EA guys about that and he told me that the cockpit view just didn't fit with this version of the game. Mostly, he said, because the game is so fast-paced and can have up to 15 others in the game dog-fighting with you. He also said it' a view that can make you motion sick... and I know what that's like.
The best thing to come from this article are a pair of photos from the preview event, one of which shows the control layout:

BREAKING NEWS: New HD Movies & Preview Article

IGN joins the fray with even more exciting Wing Commander Arena content -- an all-new preview and two High Definition gameplay videos! They have to be seen to be believed! You can watch the videos here and read the entire preview here. From the Preview:
Your choice of craft also determines what types of special maneuvers are available. All can be piloted with the two thumbsticks, but the two lighter models are capable of performing forward and backward loops, hops, 180 degree turns, and barrel rolls. The heavier ships turn much more slowly and can't perform such acrobatics, instead relying on their thicker armor and more powerful weaponry and gadgets. The game maps all four of your ships weapons to the triggers and bumpers, all of which can be fired simultaneously. Assuming you can get on someone's tail, they go down pretty quickly. Pressing Y activates the more specialized gadgets, which include flares, cloaks, and sonar.
  • Video #1 - "Shoot Those Missiles" (43.9 MB, .WMV)
  • Video #2 - "Do a Barrel Roll" (48.7 MB, .WMV)

Arena Preview - GameSpy

Electronic Arts held their "Summer Preview 2007" last night, which included a demo of Wing Commander Arena for the press. As such, we expect to see several previews in the next few days... and the first up is GameSpy:
Wing Commander Arena seems to evoke Subspace's hectic vibe brilliantly. While there is a single-player component, the game is all about the multiplayer. 16 players can battle it out on a variety of different maps -- some of which are wide-open, while others more "mazey" -- in either free-for-all battles, or team matches. The action takes place on a 2D plane, with a few key concessions that utilize the Z-axis, evasive maneuvers like loops and barrel rolls and. Attacks are mapped to your triggers and shoulder buttons, with each one deploying a different weapon.
You can read the entire article here. Their primary complaint is that the game doesn't have any depth of mythology, and I can say from personal experience that that aint so. We're going to see some neat continuity material before this is over...

Scan OXM's Arena Preview For Yourself

Here's a closer look at this month's OXM preview of Wing Commander Arena. The transcript was posted earlier. It's great to see the game in print, though the author is oddly focused on the Wing Commander movie. Despite this conspicuous digression, the magazine is very positive about Arena and its imminent success on XBox Live.
Fortunately, we're not just talking about Asteroids with the Wing Commander name slapped on it. Famous ships (18 in total) from both the Terran and Kilrathi sides are available in different classes -- bombers, fighters, and so on... Four single-player modes are included, but it's the 16-player online play that distinguishes Arena from the pack.
High Res

BREAKING NEWS: Four New Arena Movies

Hot on the heels of their Sean Penney interview, the guys at Game Informer have posted four new Wing Commander Arena videos! The files, available here, are the first we've seen of the game 'in action' in quite a while - and it's looking very polished! The second video even shows the new 'first person' camera angle in action! Check them out:

  • Video #1 - "Melee" (17.8 MB, .WMV)
  • Video #2 - "Pseudo first person" (10.8 MB, .WMV)
  • Video #3 - "That's a big ship" (8.1 MB, .WMV)
  • Video #4 - "Asteroids 2007!" (14.3 MB, .WMV)

They Saved Kane's Brain

GameSpot has posted an article on Electronic Arts' quarterly financial data. The best news relates to Command and Conquer III - the article quotes EA's CFO as saying that it has been a succesful relaunch of the classic series:
Though he didn't give sales figures, EA CFO Warren Jenson did say during an analyst conference call that Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars was a 'successful relaunch' of the series. According to NPD data, the game has sold more than 128,000 copies on the PC in the US; an Xbox 360 version was released today.
This is especially important for us because the C&C relaunch seems to be the pathfinder for EA's recent renewed interest in Wing Commander. Both games were successful around the same time and they both have had similar strikes against them, including the onus of FMV production requirements and 'single creator' familiarity. EA will take this as a good sign for the future of Wing Commander, and so should we! Those purchasing consoles for Wing Commander Arena may be interested to know that Command & Conquer 3 for the Xbox 360 shipped yesterday!

BREAKING NEWS: New Arena Interview

Game Informer has conducted an interview with Sean Penney, Producer of Wing Commander Arena. This article goes into depth about issues like fan response and the importance of staying true to the Wing Commander continuity. This all sounds pretty great...
GI: Storyline-wise, how is the game going to unfold for gamers?

Penney: We sort of ignore the Privateer stuff and we take off where the Nephilim have been pushed back. But before that the Kilrathi sort of had their asses handed to them by the Confederation. The situation that we see it as is the Kilrathi empire is in shambles, the Confederation has been drained by their battles with the Nephilim. So right now the confederation is concentrating on the rebuilding the core worlds. The frontier, or what was the frontier has been pretty much forgotten – or it’s a very distant frontier now. This is where we decided to place this because it gives us a lot of flexibility in the fact that we don’t have to deal with the core storyline because this is a very near and dear franchise to a lot of people. A little arcade title I don’t think warrants any major plot deviations from expected history. By putting it out in the frontier we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to really play with some of the classic ships, the classic human versus Kilrathi rivalry. But I almost see humans versus Kilrathi, you know, the last time we saw them versus the Nephilim they were allied, so we sort of see the relationship where they’re certainly not allies and there’s lots of conflict between them. But it’s not all out war any more.

GI: The levels that you’re battling in, are any of them inspired by the original game?

Penney: We’ve actually put all of the levels in places on the Wing Commander map. They’re definitely in systems that fans would be familiar with. The exact look and feel of some of the levels may not be specific to an area. It’s deep space, right? So we’ve put artifacts in the areas that people may recognize, like a Midway class carrier.

You can read the whole thing here.

Wedge's Wing Commander Moves to New Domain

Wedge has completed an overhaul of his comprehensive Wing Commander site. It's still divided into major sections by WC game, but each section has been beefed up with links to more Wing Commander resources. Along with a handful of cosmetic upgrades and minor corrections to almost page, he's made improvements to the online ICIS Manual. Page navigation should be much easier now. Wedge's site has long been the place to go for extensive dialogue scripts, and they've now been expanded with the losing track for Wing Commander 1. You can visit the site at its new domain: wedge009.net/wc and help provide feedback Crius.net. It's great to see that people are still maintaining their own fan sites like this.

GameTap Opening Free Area

GameTap has announced that they are expanding in two new ways. First, they will begin selling retail games through their digital distribution network, and second, the service will expand with a new free section. Some thirty games, out of nearly 900 available to subscribers, will be available in an advertising-supported version of their client. Wing Commander was not listed as part of the initial free batch, but it is available for regular play. Plans range from $7 to $9 a month, and there is a promotion that will let players get their first month for under a dollar.

Happy Birthday, Frosty!

Here's something important that we almost missed in the rush of Wing Commander Arena news this morning: today is the birthday of our newest staff member, Asher "Frosty" Lawson. Frosty is one of my best friends and he has stuck by me through more crazy projects than anyone will ever know. Everyone here at the CIC wishes him nothing but the best. You'll all be seeing a lot more of Frosty in the immediate future -- he's already taken on some important site development projects. Please take a moment to wish him well via e-mail or at the forums!

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Concept Art!

Gaia Industries, the developers of Wing Commander Arena, held an event this weekend to promote their other Xbox Live Arcade title, Street Trace NYC. The Street Trace community came out in force and, in the process, managed to snag some very interesting data on Arena. First up are these two pictures from the Gaia offices, which show a board of Arena concept art. They were taken by Wondermonkey2k, who has more from the event at his flckr page.

We can see high resolution renders of all six fighter types and one of the capital ships - hopefully we'll see these available as wallpapers from the official site! Even more interesting is the cockpit (upper right) and character (left) art. Is that a Firekkan? What are the Kilrathi symbols and knife images at the bottom? Keep in mind that this is all concept artwork - there's no guarantee that any of it will make it into the finished game... but it's pretty cool to see the process!

BREAKING NEWS: Arena Coming Soon?

More followup from the Street Trace NYC Community Day: one of those involved with the XBLA community, DaKing240, posted a short article after talking to Gaia's reps. The news is good:
After speaking with Gaia Industries, and EA, I have a feeling that we will be seeing Wing Commander Arena pretty soon. How soon?

My guess is within 3-4 weeks.

Get your planes loaded, people!

BREAKING NEWS: Gaia Interview

Even more: GamerTag Radio has interviewed the team from Gaia about Street Trace... and also Wing Commander Arena! You can learn more and download the podcast in various formats here. The biggest news is a brief mention that doing more with Wing Commander in the future is a possibility! The Arena-relevant portion is transcribed below:
Q: I know you guys are also working on Wing Commander, and this this is crazy cause you guys haven't even released Street Trace yet. So how'd that happen with EA and you guys. Did EA contact, contacted you guys, or you went up to them? Want to, anybody want to...

A: Uh, yeah, EA... uhm, I, you know, I think they heard we were developing action titles for XBLA, so they, they went with us to develop Wing Commander for them, and that's, and that's gone pretty well. I don't know how much we're allowed to say about it with EA, but ah, but ah, but yeah, no, it's gone really well and EA's been great, and yeah, so.

Q: One question, though, because I know Wing Commander is also a Xbox Live Arcade, I mean Xbox Live, with Street Trace. So how is it different working on a new title straight to Xbox Live than a classic, you're bringing it back but now it's going to have a new, you know, Xbox Live for the first time in this game. How difficult was it, like, to work on...

A: Wing Commander, yeah, I mean, when you're dealing with a title like that, a classic, you really have to spend a lot of time with the universe and the property. You have to be very careful with it because it's, you know, it's a great classic property that you don't want to mess up. So, so yeah, we did some great stuff with, you know, the old ships and sort of, you know revitalized them and put some new life into them. And the gameplay, the gameplay is a lot different from the classic, so it's sort of a different type of game there. But, but yeah, overall, the transition was good, I think the creative team did a great job sort of getting the art straight and the universe right.

Q: So, what, whats next for you guys now after Street Trace and Wing Commander? What's the plan? You gonna take a break or are you gonna work on other stuff. Anything you want, little hint for the fans?

A: Ah, I don't know if we'll give any hints, we do have another one in the works, it's different, it's a detachment from, you know, what, what we're doing now. A little comedy, a little action, a little adventure. It's fun, yeah. Did you want to say?

Q: Say something, or?

A: Yeah, no, that, that's it, we're doing an original title, the next one. We've also got some serously cool ideas now with Street Trace for the second one. Some, some, some really, I don't know if I can talk to you much about it now because the designs are all just sort of just like flying around. I don't want to say we're going to be doing this and that when the designs aren't all nailed down, but we do have some really cool ideas for the sequel that we've been developing. So the sequel, the new game we're doing, potentially we'll see what EA wants to do with Wing Commander and yeah, that's the plan, between those three, the three games. That's kind of all working on. That's it.

Fantastic stuff. Finally, if you missed the new Arena screenshots from yesterday be sure and check them out - they're amazing!

This Is The 'Pits!

Mousey333 is working on a Wing Commander IV movie edit... and he has a unique idea to spruce up the necessary in-game combat sequences - a new kind of widescreen cockpit overlay. He explains: "...using after effects I can actually trace out the space and put in real game spaceflight in 100% opacity. There still are a few kinks to work out, as you'll see in the pic." He's looking for a 3D artist to help create target VDU images to match his new effects. You can learn more in this thread. A video sample is available here (8.0 mb .AVI).

Spam of the Tiger

We came across a strange blog article today -- it tells the story of a man investigating an unusual spam message only to find out that the strange text was a quote from Wing Commander: Fleet Action:
On to the content. The line “In our plan we already have our agents at work, weakening their will to fight, ready as well to kill their leaders of war when the time is right.” comes from the book Wing Commander: Fleet Action. This appears to be a very popular book, and you can get it, besides from that website, from Amazon for 46 cents. It seems unlikely that this is a marketing ploy for that.
What a odd story. I'm also at a loss to figure out how random web-extracted text helps sell anything. For those unfamiliar with the book, Fleet Action was the third book in Baen's original Wing Commander series. It was written by Dr. William Forstchen and is no longer in print. Read the original article here.

Colors Flying High Again

DMJC has dredged up Wildcat's old WC Logo Pack that was lost when the old WC Invasion site went offline. All five original 1024x1024 PSD files are available in this zip (1.9 MB). Each is a characteristic design from Wing Commander 4, and two different Border Worlds variants are included.

Wing Commander Composer Receives Award

Joe spotted that Gamespot has video coverage of this year's GDC Developers Choice Awards online. As previously announced, veteran WC composter George "The Fat Man" Sanger was awarded the "Community Contribution Award". At the event he walked on stage to collect his award accompanied by the Wing Commander theme music. You can watch the full awards video by going here and choosing either Watch or Download to the right of the first paragraph. Fat Man receives his award at about 84 minutes in to the video.

The Vampire Strikes Back

Kris has found a fantastic thread at Starship Modeler where a professional model builder, Alfred Wong, is showing off a Wing Commander project. It's a 1/100 scale model of an F-109 Vampire Space Superority Fighter (from Wing Commander Prophecy and Secret Ops)! This thing is absolutely stunning - I wish I knew who had commissioned it. You can see more of Mr. Wong's designs here. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could have a Wing Commander ship like this someday?

Ascii Sector Coming Together

Chris Knudsen popped up to share this status update on Privateer Ascii Sector. Standardized missions and the game's flight engine are well on their way to being complete. When those items are wrapped up, work will continue on bases.
I'm still working on the non-plot missions and I've got most of them finished (except for those that require landing on a base, as I haven't integrated my "land on base" procedures with the main program yet). When I've completed the last few non-plot missions, I'll finish up the flight engine. As far as I can tell, all that's missing is (1) ECM, (2) different ship identification speeds based on which radar you've got installed, and (3) ships spinning and changing directions during collission (right now they just stop). That should complete the flight engine and I'll then move on to the bases.

Wing Commander I Remake Released

Flight Commander creator eddieb repots that a new release of the Wing Commander I Remake mod is now available. The project was developed by Kevin Caccamo. Here's the official word:
The Wing Commander 1 Remake is an attempt to re-create the same gameplay and action that was seen in Wing Commander 1, only this time with 3d graphics. Wing Commander 1 Remake has evolved steadily along with Eddie Benowitz's Flight Commander engine.

In this release, Episode 3 of Wing Commander is delivered to you, as well as some improvements to other episodes, such as a Drayman transport jumping out of the Enyo system with a jump effect. Wing Commander 1 gameflow, which greatly improves the feel of the game, has been added as well. At last but not least, a homemade Dorkir transport was thrown in as a part of the Episode 3 release, seen in the Brimstone system.

Download it here.

We're Going To Need a Paper Torpedo

Péricles was kind enough to send us a near preview of the Wing Commander paper models he's working on developing right now. They're some of the heavy hitters from Wing Commander II: a Waterloo, Ralatha, Clydesdale and Dorkathi. A Dralthi Mk. VII is also on the way! You can learn more about the paper models here. Péricles is also interested in creating variants based on famous fan projects like Standoff and Saga - his contact information can be found in this thread.

Break On Through To The Other System

Tolwyn has updated his previous release of Wing Commander Saga jump cutscene footage with an actual video. You can download a short clip showing a jump to the Cairo System here (8.04 MB XviD) The Prophecy-style unique system backgrounds look nice, but the jump point itself could use some work... it lacks the distinctive swirl-and-flash of the original and is purple for some reason.

Shines the Name

Comparing things to Wing Commander is still cool! The proof is in the legitimate electronic gaming media:
Command & Conquer 3, PALGN Review: "Not since Wing Commander 3 / 4 have we seen such an A-list of actors involved in a computer game. Actually, probably not even then, unless you count Ginger Lynn."

Star Wars: Empire At War, Inside Mac Games Review: "While I understand everyone who is allowed to make a Star Wars game wants to contribute in their own way to the universe, in many cases, sticking to a more tried and true plot, rather than some bizarre internal Empire storyline, is a strange decision. The same story as the Rebellion’s would have worked better, with branches for success or failure, much like the old Wing Commander mission branches. "

Undertow, GameGuru Preview: "Undertow will use Epic Game Unreal Engine 3 and is the second confirmed 16-player game for the XBLA after Wing Commander Arena."

You Can Counter On It

Ironduke has released a new set of counters for his Wing Commander TacOps paper game project. Ironduke notes: "the new ship counters feature a specific designation (like "Bravo 1," to better keep track of your ships) as well as their required Target Roll in the upper right corner." The new collection includes Ferrets, Epees, Rapiers, Sabres, Broadswords, Sartha, Drakhri, Jalkehi, Grikath and asteroids. Download it here (1.8 mb) This is one of my favorite fan projects - we're going to have to play it in person this year at DragonCon!

RePoster

We posted the Korean version of the Wing Commander movie poster a few days ago... and now bushes and Demonique were kind enough to translate it for us! Here's the text (poster graphic below):
Top:
You can't imagine it!
Summer 2,000. Huge new-age SciFi action is coming...

Middle:
{Titanic}{Fifth Element}{Starship Troopers}
Created by Hollywood's most talented crew.

Bottom:
Wing Commander
Freddie Prinze Jr, Saffron Burrows, Matthew Lillard, and Tcheky Karyo
{Rest of the Production Block}

It's amazing that there are Wing Commander fans all over the world who can help each other translate things like this!

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff