I knew I'd seen some of the Wing Commander IV storyboards before and as luck would have it, I came across the June, 1995 issue of E2lectronic Entertainment magazine while cleaning house last weekend. The article scanned below, written less than four months after Heart of the Tiger shipped, was the first preview of Wing Commander IV. The reveal was likely a major coup for the magazine whose memory has otherwise not survived the test of time--so much so that the two page piece offering very limited details became the month's cover story.
And that cover may be the most important part of the article! Note that the only artwork included are early storyboards, pictures from the Wing Commander III set and the special cover image. It was rendered by Origin specifically for this reveal and was not used in the finished game. This shot of Hellcats flying past the Lexington is the first piece of finished Wing Commander IV artwork and shows how early the game's artists had a handle on the game's art direction (and seemingly puts to rest the old rumor that the Lexington was originally to be a Confederation-class dreadnaught).
The text of the article is also very interesting. Some of Origin's claims were right on the money (more professional video sequences, better terrain in ground missions) while others failed to materialize. We know now that the improved textures were developed but ended up looking muddy and unimpressive when compressed for gameplay... but very little has ever been said about the fate of the strategic mission management gameplay spoken of here (it was likely reduced to the unplayable 'second wing' feature that appears in several missions).
Special thanks to elend, whose Photoshop skills restored a badly damaged magazine cover to its original glory.
Mark Hamill Premiering New Documentary at SXSW
It's a good week for Mark Hamill fans! In addition to getting his Hollywood star, Mr. Hamill will be returning to the birthplace of Wing Commander next month to help debut a new documentary, The Director and the Jedi, about his work with Rian Johnson on the new Star Wars film. (2018-02-23)
Mark Hamill To Receive Hollywood Star
Thanks in part to his recent success resuming the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, actor Mark Hamill will soon be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony is set for March 8, 2018 at 11:30 am. I'd encourage Wing Commander fans nearby to go check it out, but the crowd will likely be substantial. (2018-02-22)
Banshee Kicks Off Flat Universe's Border Worlds Faction
The first Border Worlds ship for Wing Commander Flat Universe has been announced! The Banshee now joins the battle alongside four Confed and four Kilrathi craft. It's designed to be particularly effective against slower bombers such as the Broadsword or Grikath. (2018-02-21)
New 3D Prints Highlight Gemini Sector Hotness
Sonnich Johannesen has shown off some large scale and beautifully detailed 3D prints from Wing Commander Privateer. The Centurion and (not pictured) Galaxy are from Astrofossil and the Tarsus model was designed by DJFX, who posted some gorgeous pics of his own a while back. The size of each of these is impressive, and Sonnich has posted some neat pictures of these ships coming together on the printer. (2018-02-20)
Paper Cruiser Returns Stronger & Better Armed
Adm_Maverick's Tallahassee papercraft cruiser is back again in a whole new way. This second major iteration improves on the first in a number of ways, including how the main hull fits together. It also has interior components that form the bow-mounted capship missile launcher. (2018-02-19)