It's a spooky Halloween issue of The Point of Origin - October, 1996. Well, no, it isn't - but it does have some details on one of the great legends of Wing Commander development... J. Allen Brack's yelling at Chris Roberts!
- Spotlight: What the Hell?!... is up with Product Development has brief writeups on each Origin development team: "Maverick: Under the new leadership of Executive Producer Rodney Nakamoto, Maverick Productions is cranking away furiously on a variety of exciting new projects. Dave Downing is leading the charge on the highly anticipated Wing Commander V. The game will feature a new, Windows 95-based spaceflight engine with numerous enhancements over previous versions. A 'reasonably priced' Interactive Movie Shoot featuring some familiar and some new faces is scheduled for Spring of 1997 in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, John McLean and Jeff Everett, fresh from shipping The Kilrathi Saga, are preparing for a super-secret project for a late 1997 release. The Point sent spies to learn the exact nature of the product, but the best we could come up with is that their new project is an action game, similar in style to Dark Forces, set in the Wing Commander Universe. 'I'm excited to be here,' said Rodney Nakamoto. 'But I was expecting hot, sunny weather. What's up with all this fog and rain?' On a sadder note, Jason Bernard, the actor who portrayed Capt. William Eisen in Wing Commanders III and IV passed away recently at age 58."
- In Ink is largely Crusader focused, with the occasional Wing Commander mention:
Another ORIGIN title getting PC Mag's Top 100 attention was Wing Commander IV. "Wing Commander IV virtually explodes, with six CD-ROMs of pulse-quickening action."
Wing Commander IV Macintosh got a thumbs up from The Mac, a Macintosh publication out of the UK. Editors gave WC IV Mac 4 out of 5 stars. "Exactly what makes this game so engrossing is the seamless way it has melded an action movie and a shoot-'em-up. A stunning experience and it stands as powerful monument to the potential of multimedia. This game is simply on a different planet."
... Check out this month's Computer Gaming World and you'll see that Ultima games are all over the mag's 150 Best Games of All Time article... Other ORIGIN titles listed in the big list were Wing Commander (No. 7), Crusader: No Remorse (No. 38), Wing Commander III (No. 54), System Shock (No. 98), AH-64D Longbow (No. 100) and Ogre (No. 130).
... Meanwhile, Privateer 2 continues to grab its share of headlines as a November ship date looms on the horizon. The October issue of Computer Player has a three page preview on P2. Jeff Tschiltsch wrote, "Never before has a PC game looked so much like a Hollywood special-effects extravaganza. P2's attention to detail and state-of-the-arts space-combat simulator will no doubt impress."
And believe it or not, P2 already has been reviewed by a magazine in the UK. PC Zone has scored Privateer 2 at 94. Chris Anderson gushed, "The Darkening is by far and away the best space combat sim ever to grace the PC. Not only outrageously good-looking, but also incredibly addictive to boot." Hey, that works for me. Let's hope American editors are ready to agree. Stay tuned.
- Finally, the EOM for November is J. Allen Brack himself:
"I've played games forever," says November's employee of the month, J. Allen Brack, "beginning with the Pong machine my dad brought home when I was around six." In fact, J. Allen played all sorts of games before discovering the one that eventually would have a major influence his in life. "The first time I played Wing Commander, I felt my life was complete and it just couldn't get any better. Then came Wing Commander II, and Privateer, and I eventually realized that there was a direct correlation between ORIGIN, Chris Roberts, and my happiness."
Then one day, to his great surprise, J. Allen was offered an opportunity to be a tester for Wing Commander III. Although he was going to school at the time, he decided that while school would wait, Wing Commander III would not! Although he believed this was definitely his "dream job," he was riddled with fear on how he could prove himself worthy of working on a project of "the man, the myth, the legend, Chris Roberts." What he did was throw himself into the project to the point of perhaps being overzealous. In a memorable moment, J. Allen delivered what he refers to as "an impassioned speech" about a potential problem with the game to his idol. Unfortunately, his emotions got the best of him, and he will forever be remembered for yelling at Chris Roberts, "THREE POSSIBLE PATHS!! THREE POSSIBLE PATHS!!"
Nonetheless, it's that tireless drive for excellence and quality that earns the respect of his peers. As the project leader for Privateer 2: The Darkening, J. Allen has indeed proven himself "worthy." Said one co-worker, "Through is verve and inexhaustible esprit, he has concurrently maintained high morale among his testing team." Added another, "J. has gone above and beyond what anyone would be expected to do." And finally, "His devotion is unquestionable, and his dedication unmatchable."
It's a very good thing that you weren't fired by Chris Roberts, J. Allen! Congratulations, and keep up the good work!
Point of Origin
Vol. VI, No. 8 - October 31, 1996
ContentsSpotlight: What the Hell?!... is up with Product Development?
Mr. Smarty Pants
On the Road with the Skunks
PS Spotlight Letter