BREAKING NEWS: Mythic Ultima Rerelease Site Leaked

EA Mythic briefly--and apparently accidentally--lowered the cloaking device on their plans for the Ultima IP this afternoon. Revealed was a new web site (see below, screenshot courtesy of Magnus!) called Ultimaforever.com which promises it will be "looking back at over 30 years of Ultima heritage!" The site also offered a curiously not-DOSBox-bundled download of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, helping to explain why EA became eager to shutter illegal downloads of that game several months ago.

This is likely part of the promotion for a rumored Ultima IV-derived social game which may also be called Ultima Forever. We can only hope similar plans are in the works for Origin's other great IPs. Mythic's Creative Director Paul Barnett did go public with his hopes of a Wing Commander I rerelease last year and we helped put together a DOSBox launcher for the game--but there has been no word since that time. Alas, there has been no word at all on plans for relaunching Cybermage.

They knew where we were going, and when... They knew exactly where to strike... I have every reason to suspect you have a leaky ship, Captain. - Admiral Sir Geoffrey Tolwyn

Terran Ships Rigorously Ruggedized

Scooby Doo has put together several more concept ships from different corners of the Wing Commander universe. Each wears his trademark hull plating and exaggerated Confederation features. The first is the Black Lance transport, but with way more guns. Something that appears to be inspired by a Trisystem Monolith is then crossed with a small carrier. Finally, a heavily stylized Longbow soars through the blackness.

Based on one of the [Wing Commander Arena] concept pics of the Longbow...

Happy Memorial Day

The Combat Information Center wishes everyone a happy Memorial Day. Please stay safe and make sure to take a moment to remember those who have given their lives so we can enjoy Wing Commander today.

Bid on Ginger's Pages

Wing Commander III and Prophecy actress Ginger Lynn Allen is selling two sets of her Wing Commander III script pages--the pages she used in the role, with her lines highlighted! Each auction includes an extremely cool signed photograph from the game's funeral scene--which also shows a uniformed Chris Roberts making a cameo as a Victory crewman! She has a nice paragraph describing her involvement in the game:
I’m a lucky girl who’s had the opportunity to work on and in some amazing projects in both the adult film industry as well as mainstream Hollywood projects. Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger is the first of two computer games in which I appeared as Rachel Coriolis; the ships weapons officer.
Auction #1: This script segment includes Rachel's offer to let Blair fly the Excalibur and her attempt to console Blair after he learns of Angel's death. (Ginger was kind enough to provide great scans of the photographs and the pages, reproduced here for posterity--that's better than a lot of professional archives offer!)

Auction #2: This script segment covers the famous 'Flint or Rachel' kissing scene. That's a piece of history, right there! There's only a day left, so get your bids in now--there's no time to act... gingerly.

Robotech Mod Development Random but Steady

Here's a few more preview shots and a status update from saf0775 on the Robotech Mod for Flight Commander. The latest ships to be imported are the "SDF-1" and "VF-1R." There's been a lot of different things in work over the last few weeks, and current development involves whether making atmospheric missions is feasible or not.
This game is progressing in different directions at different times. One minute I'll be working on a Cats Eye model, the next I'll be tweaking a sound effect for a laser blast. Like making a movie, nothing goes in order from start to finish. This is a work in progress, not a playable "real" game at this point.

These screens are to simply show progress, gather ideas from fans like yourself, and move on. It's by no means a finished product.

WC vs. Literature: Yeats It or Break It

After Colonel Blair defects in Wing Commander IV the game cuts back to a scene between Tolwyn and Paladin discussing the news. Tolwyn attempts to explain the news by quoting a poem, which Paladin continues:
Paladin: Blair? Defected? I find that hard to believe. He was always a hot head, but... what on earth induced him to– what the devil is going on out there?
Tolwyn: The intelligence I’ve collected is erratic, unreliable. "Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The best lack all conviction..."
Paladin: "Whilst the worst possess a passionate intensity" – Yeats.
As Paladin indicates, these lines are from a poem by William Butler Yeats (Wikipedia) called The Second Coming. The 1920 poem is usually considered to be a commmentary on the disasterous state and uncertain future of Europe after World War I--certainly germane to the post-war confusion and impending doom of the 2673 Wing Commander universe--although there is also a running argument that it owes more to Yeats' pre-war fascination with ancient apocalyptic mythology.

Yeats' ears are burning--thanks, gen-select bioweapon.

Yeats went on to win the 1923 Nobel Prize in Literature for his poetry. His work is still widely read today and The Second Coming is frequently read in literature survey courses. Here is the complete text:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

One thing's for damn sure: Yeats would have loved the end of Righteous Fire.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Roberts!

The Combat Information Center wishes a very happy birthday to Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts! Remember: there will always be a seat for you at the head of the Wing Commander table.

WC vs. History: Forty-Five Score and Eleven Lexingtons

Lexington is one of the proudest names in American history, owing to the 1775 victories at Lexington and Concord which began the American Revolution. The name quickly became a naval tradition applied to a long line of warships that run the course of American history--a group that includes two of the most important aircraft carriers ever put to sea.

Wing Commander IV's TCS Lexington (CV-44) had a few more shades of gray. While you seem to start the game on a powerful replacement for the Victory, you quickly learn it is being used as a home base for Admiral Tolwyn's sinister GE pilots... and you must turn your guns on her. Today we will look at how the ship we visited in 2673 earned her name and how she fits into a long history of other Lexingtons, both real and future.

Once again, it is the Wing Commander IV novelization which adds the fascinating detail connecting our Lexington to a grand history (and again, it is during Blair and Eisen's reunion):

[Blair] looked around the flight deck, noting the fresh paint and the new equipment. "The Lexington sure puts the old Victory to shame."

"Yeah," Eisen said, "you should have seen her after the Battle of Earth. The defenders kicked her out of lunar dry dock as a decoy. The Kilrathi savaged her, internal explosions gutted her, and the crew got wiped out. Normally, the hulk would have been left to drift or given an honorable end with scuttling charges, but the Fleet decided that a dead hull was better than no hull at all." He grinned. "It turned out that it would have been cheaper just to scrap what was left and start over."

He looked up at the overhead fondly, "She's the Lady Lex, the Grey Ghost, resurrected from the dead, the eleventh ship to bear the honorable name. Treat her right and she'll always bring you home."

First of all: we must clear up some common confusion about Lexingtons in Wing Commander. In chronological order, there is a TCS Lexington which is destroyed in the Battle of Earth in Fleet Action, a newly launched Lexington sent off on a secret mission in Armada and then the initial home carrier in Wing Commander IV (CV-44). The mathematically inclined might count that as three different Lexingtons--but it's important to note that the Wing Commander IV novelization established that that game's carrier was actually the same ship destroyed in Fleet Action, repaired and recommissioned. This means that (per the quote above) the Wing Commander IV Lexington is the eleventh ship to bear the name and the Armada carrier is the twelfth. So, then, what is the story behind Lexingtons one through ten?

On March 13, 1776 Wild Duck was purchased by the Maryland Marine Committee and renamed Lexington to honor the first battle of the war. The first USS Lexington (Wikipedia) had a short but eventful career. She captured three British auxiliary ships before herself being taken by the British off the coast of Morlaix, France on September 19, 1777.

The second USS Lexington (Wikipedia) was a purpose built sloop-of-war for the United States Navy commissioned on June 11, 1826. One of her first duties was to return the body of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, who had died while on a trip to Venezuela. For the rest of her career the Lexington was laid up once, being recommissioned in 1831 and serving until 1855. She served as a transport and blockade ship during the Mexican-American War on Mexico's northwestern coast and later as part of Commodore Mathew Perry's famous 1853 expedition to Japan. She was decommissioned in 1855 and sold in 1860. The third USS Lexington (Wikipedia) was a timber steam powered gunboat that served throughout the American Civil War. Originally built as a side-wheel steamer it was purchased by the War Department and converted into a timber clad gunboat in 1861. She served at the Battles of Belmont, Fort Henry, Shiloh, Saint Charles, and Milliken's Bend as well as several other operations. She was decommissioned in June 1865 and sold in August of that year. The fourth American vessel to bear the name Lexington (Wikipedia) was a short-lived patrol boat in service in 1917-1918. Actually named USS Lexington II (SP-705), it was a private motorboat that had been built with the name and was put into service bearing it. She conducted patrols of the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay. The fifth Lexington (Wikipedia) started life in 1916 on the drawing boards and the building slip as a battle cruiser; however the 1921 Washington Naval Conference would see her conversion into an aircraft carrier. The ship had been laid down in January of 1921 but the conversion orders would follow within the year. The "Gray Lady" or "Lady Lex" as she was called by American sailors was one of two ships in the Lexington class. The other, USS Saratoga (CV-3), more affectionately called "Sister Sara" joined the Fleet with the Lady Lex in 1927. The pair of carriers would prove pivotal in interwar American naval exercises in showcasing the power of naval aviation. Most famously during Fleet Problem IX in January 1929 when the Saratoga made the first high-speed carrier raid, using the Panama Canal as a target, while operating independently of the main battle fleet. At the start of World War II in the Pacific, the Lexington was returning from Midway after having delivered Marine aircraft to the American outpost. She was dispatched to take part in the failed attempt to relieve Wake Island in late-December 1941, but was recalled. In February 1942, the Lexington was ordered to raid Japanese forces that had seized Rabaul, New Britain. The carrier was sighted prior to the raid and was attacked by Japanese air assets. During this attack, Lieutenant Edward "Butch" O'Hare downed five enemy bombers and would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions in protecting the Lexington. In early May 1942 the USS Lexington along with the USS Yorktown (CV-5) took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea. This was the first naval battle in history where the opposing fleets never directly saw each other. Her air wing would take part in the destruction of the light carrier Shoho on May 7th. The Lexington's own Lt. Commander Robert E. Dixon, commander of the carrier's SBD Dauntless dive bomber squadron, gave the famous radio call "Dixon to carrier, Scratch One Flattop! Signed Bob!" On May 8th the USS Lexington was hit by two torpedoes and two bombs while her aircraft attacked the Japanese carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku. While the damage to the Lexington itself was not critical, the situation was made fatal by a secondary gasoline explosion hours after the attack. After one of the most successful abandon ship operations in history, the USS Lexington sank at 7:56 pm on May 8, 1942. She had earned two battle stars for her service in World War II. Many sailors had served on the Lady Lex since her commissioning in 1927 and were witness to her loss in 1942. Not an eye was dry amongst these "plank owners", nor among the rest of the ship's crew, as they watched the ship take her final plunge. Five days after the Navy publically acknowledged the loss of CV-2 in June 1942, workers at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy proposed changing the name of one of the Essex class carriers then being built at the yard from Cabot to Lexington. Secretary of the Navy Knox agreed and on September 23, 1942 the sixth American ship to bear the name Lexington (Wikipedia) was launched. She was commissioned on February 17, 1943. Like her carrier namesake, USS Lexington (CV-16) would provide an important platform for the further development of naval aviation. Upon joining the Pacific Fleet in the summer of 1943, CV-16 took part in shakedown raids on Tarawa in late September and then Wake Island in October. These raids were used by the Navy to break in the new carriers as well as test some doctrinal theories. She then took part in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands (Tarawa and Makin) in November 1943. Following that operation, the fast carriers were ordered to raid Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The raid was successful, although only partial so as a group of G4M "Betty" bombers escaped destruction before the carriers retired. These planes undertook a nighttime air attack on the carrier force. Admiral "Baldy" Pownall ordered that the ships not open fire less they give their positions away. At 11:32 pm Lexington was struck by a single torpedo that knocked out her steering gear. Pownall's mistake was never made again and he was replaced not long after the raid. The Lexington reached Bremerton, Washington at the end of the month and spent until February 1944 under repair.

The Lexington returned to action with Task Force 58 in March 1944. She participated in a variety of actions before arriving off the Mariana Islands in June of 1944. It was only a week after D-Day in Europe that the mighty 5th and 7th Fleets of the US Navy invaded the island of Saipan. This action precipitated the Battle of the Philippine Sea known otherwise as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot." On the first day of this battle the nine carriers of the Japanese Mobile Fleet launched more than 350 aircraft at the fifteen carriers of Task Force 58 and their complement of 956 aircraft, including over 450 F6F Hellcat fighters. In the four major raids that morning, American fighter pilots destroyed over 300 Japanese planes. One of the most famous images of this battle is of Lt. Alex Vraciu standing besides his F6F Hellcat onboard the USS Lexington holding up six fingers. Each one represents a Japanese plane he'd shot down. On the flag bridge, Admiral Marc Mitscher, who was commander of Task Force 58 and an aviator himself, made his way down to the flight deck to ask for a picture with Lt. Vraciu, not for publication but for his own private collection.

Following the Turkey Shoot the Lexington continued to operate with the fast carriers and raid Japanese-held islands. In early October she took part in the highly successful raids on Okinawa and Formosa that destroyed over 500 enemy aircraft. These raids moved the timetable up for the invasion of the Philippines. The Lexington played a key role in the battle that would come.

At the end of October 1944, the US 3rd and 7th Fleets assaulted the Philippine island of Leyte. This action caused the Japanese to initiate their "SHO-1" or Victory Plan 1 for the defense of the Philippines. This sent the entire Japanese Imperial Navy into high gear across the Western Pacific. The Lexington's planes would take part in the raids on Admiral Kurita's Center Force, inflicting torpedo hits on the super battleship Musashi and four cruisers on October 24. The following day her planes would singlehandedly sink the carrier Zuikaku, last of the carriers to raid Pearl Harbor and with the help of pilots from the USS Essex sink the carrier Chitose and later the light carrier Zuhio.

On November 5, 1944 the USS Lexington was introduced to the deadly new Japanese tactic of suicide planes or Kamikazes. A kamikaze crashed near the island of the carrier and caused large fires, however they were controlled quickly and the ship was able to resume flight ops within 20 minutes. Yet again she had eluded the Japanese as she arrived at Ulithi atoll for repairs. For the reminder of the war the Lexington took part in a variety of raids against Japanese-held islands as well as the Japanese home islands. She had actually launched a strike towards the Tokyo area on August 15, 1945 when en route to the target the planes were ordered to jettison their loads and return to base. The war was over.

The Lexington participated in Operation Magic Carpet after the war, returning veterans and POWs from the Far East to San Francisco. She was decommissioned in Bremerton, Washington in 1947. In 1953 she was brought back into service as an attack carrier (CVA) and began conversion for an angled flight deck. She would serve a variety of posts before being turned into a training carrier in 1969. She would serve in this role until the late-1980s when she was decommissioned. The ship was then donated as a museum in June 1992 and is now located in Corpus Christi, Texas. The USS Lexington (CV-16) was the last Essex class carrier in commission and the last wooden-decked carrier operated by the US Navy. During its career the Lexington received a Presidential Unit Citation for actions against the Japanese and 11 battle stars for major engagements during World War II. Since her decommissioning no other American vessel has born the proud name Lexington.

What about the other four Lexingtons? Presumably they will be built sometime between today and 2668! The nickname given to CV-44 in the novelization, "Grey Ghost", is also a nod to Lexington history. To characters in the Wing Commander world it seems to come from the fact that she rose from the ashes after the 2668 Battle of Earth... but it's also paying tribute to Essex-class USS Lexington's nicknake, "The Blue Ghost". The name stems from the fact that the carrier was the only one painted dark blue to confuse the enemy. "Tokyo Rose", the famous propaganda broadcaster, would report over and over that the Lexington had been sunk, yet neither she, nor any of her sister ships of the Essex class, were ever lost to enemy action. She also shares the gray with CV-2's nickname, "Gray Lady"--and all three ships are called "Lady Lex". Origin's decision to name the Confederation carrier in Wing Commander IV Lexington, though, was initially based more on geography than any desire to honor American tradition. At the start of the Wing Commander IV project, the entire development team traveled to Corpus Cristi, Texas to visit the USS Lexington museum ship to learn how to improve the next game. The game's more elaborate art design (including, especially, the high detail textures) came out of that effort. If you would like to visit the real Lexington--and walk in the footsteps of both American heroes and Wing Commander developers--you can learn more here. It is interesting to compare rooms on display on the museum ship to those seen in her outer space descendant: Lastly: eagle-eyed wingnuts may have seen that the TCS Lexington's officer's lounge includes a photo presentation of a seagoing aircraft carrier. Look closely, though--it's a modern nuclear powered carrier rather than either of the TCS Lexingtons. The ship in the picture is actually the USS Enterprise; one guess as to why they couldn't use that name for Wing Commander IV! This update was a joint effort. Without hard work from Dundradal and Bob McDob it would have been impossible.

WC vs. History: Striking While the Eisen is Hot

It goes without saying that Wing Commander's history is very Anglo-Americentric--it's full of characters whose ancestors fought for England and ships that are named after great American battles and so on. These references are also very 20th century-based--to the more modern wars much of Wing Commander is patterned after. We will look at plenty of that in the future, but today there is a little reference that manages to defy that trend that should be highlighted.

Written into the Wing Commander IV novelization by Ben Ohlander is something very interesting, mentioned only in passing when Colonel Blair reunites with his former captain:

Blair recalled that it had been Eisen who had met him upon his arrival on board the TCS Victory. "This seems like deja vu," he said, "except this ship is much nicer."

"Home, sweet home," Eisen replied. "Welcome aboard, Chris." He grinned again, a fierce warriors grimace that showed Blair what Eisen's Zulu ancestors must have looked like while they were slaughtering Englishmen.

What is being referenced here is the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war (Wikipedia)--and more specifically the opening Battle of Isandlwana (Wikipedia) in which over 1,300 British troops fell in battle against a Zulu army. The defeat was a shock to the British--their organized force of modern rifle infantry and artillery was soundly defeated by a Zulu force armed only with spears and shields.

If you would like to know more about the battle, British Battles features an overview of the battle along which includes an excellent collection of paintings and photography.

Killing is killing, hot-blooded or cold.

It's somewhat unique to see The Price of Freedom establish this aspect of Eisen's family history. It's a great contrast in the fiction itself--Eisen spends the story (and Wing Commander III) butting heads with Tolwyn, a character who both values his British martial ancestry and who believes his superior weapons technology will render him indestructible to Border Worlds 'savages'.

Finally, it's worth noting that unlike Tolwyn's background, this was certainly not something written into the character from the start. Unlike Andrew Keith, who wrote the Heart of the Tiger novelization based only on the script, Ohlander would have been familiar with the returning actor cast as William Eisen (Jason Bernard). The Wing Commander III script describes the character as "AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN IN HIS 50’S WHO HAS DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO THIS OLD TUB AND ITS CREW" and the name Eisen is actually a German word (which means "iron"). Finally, for an American audience the name and the man likely invoke another beloved commander who fought his war from behind the lines--General Dwight Eisenhower.

Little of both, I suppose.

WC vs. History: Tonight's the Knight

From Wing Commander II on, we are occasionally reminded that our commanding officer is, in fact, Admiral Sir Geoffrey Tolwyn--indicating that he holds a knighthood of some sort. But what kind of knight is the admiral? Is he some kind of future space knight... or is he part of England's long history of chivalric tradition?

At one point in the prologue to Action Stations, ostensibly written by a future military historian discussing Tolwyn's career, we are treated to a short list of his most notable military honors (the rest of which we will revisit in a companion update). There we find the designation 'KCB'--which means that Tolwyn is a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (Wikipedia) was created by King George I in 1725 and is the fourth most senior British Order of Chivalry. It was initially founded as a military order but now includes a civil component. The order has three levels, of which Knights Commander are the second-most senior. There are nominally 355 Knights Commander at one time--but exceptions are allowed during wartime (galaxy-spanning conflict with the Kilrathi would seemingly apply).

We don't know what specific action earned Tolwyn his knighthood, but Knight Commanders who are Naval officers must hold at least the rank of Captain--which may suggest that Tolwyn was being recognized for his success at the 2639 Enyo Engagement.

When in full dress uniform, Tolwyn would likely wear this star. The bright red cape was apparently his idea.

WC vs. History: Generally Speaking

In the seventh episode of Wing Commander Academy, "Expendable" (WCPedia), a hypoxic Maverick tells Payback about his family's military tradition. He explains that "there was a Blair--a General--in the Civil War". If it were just a Blair in the Civil War we would probably be out of luck... but there were a finite number of Generals! So, who was Christopher Blair's ancestor?

The answer seems to be General Francis "Frank" Preston Blair, Jr. (Wikipedia), a politician turned Union soldier who was largely responsible for preventing Missouri from joining the Confederacy early in the war. He went on to command divisions under Sherman through the March to the Sea and was regarded as an extremely competent officer. He was also the brother of President Lincoln's postmaster general, Montgomery Blair.

Separated at birth?!

Final resting places.

WC vs. History: The Ring's the Thing

Fans of the Wing Commander movie may remember that Paladin proves his loyalty to the Tiger's Claw crew early on by showing a ring given to him by Admiral Tolwyn. Captain Sansky explains that the "ring has been in Tolwyn's family for sixteen generations and any man who carries it has the admiral's full confidence!"

While we only catch a glimpse of Tolwyn's ring a few times during the film, you can get a pretty good idea of what the prop used in the movie actually looks like in the next batch of screenshots from the HD version of the movie. For those keeping track you can catch a glipse of it, first, when Paladin gives it to Sansky, then when it's on Sansky's desk immediately after Manaic and Rosie's stunt on the flight deck, and then Sansky is wearing it during the Tiger Claw's jump into the Ulysses Corridor and a little later during the Claw's ambush.

So--what is that ring? The novelization, based on the shooting script, explains:

Between his fingers rested a gold class ring, its surfaces worn, its emerald dull. Sansky held it to the holograph's light and read the inscription: Annapolis Naval Academy, 1941.

... and now that we know that, whe can rightly ask the big question: what does a 1941 United State Naval Academy ring really look like? Take a look! The stone here is a sapphire instead of an emerald (that detail doesn't exist in the script at all--it was added by Peter Telep):

An Underworldly Discovery at CES

You have to dig through a lot of singing cats and poorly animtaed Sonic the Hedgehog parodies to find them, but YouTube does contain some hidden gems. Today's example is a home video of the 1992 Summer Consumer Electronic Show in Chicago, where Sega announced the SegaCD lineup... including Wing Commander and another never-released Origin port!

Origin balanced a complex, turbulent relationship between Sega, Nintendo and a number of outside licensors through the 'console wars' of the 1990s, which lead to a number of 'false starts' where games were announced but never released. The discovery here is that their deal with Sega to support the Sega CD also included a port of Ultima Underworld which never saw the light of day!

Like Wing Commander SegaCD, Ultima Underworld was likely ported by an outside developer and advertising would have been handled by Sega rather than Electronic Arts. As a result, the project has remained hidden for years, despite the public announcement seen in this video. A console port of the game was eventually released--for the original Playstation and only in Japan.

You can watch the whole video here. The SegaCD trailer starts at the 2m50s mark. The whole segment is a great look at 1990s trade shows (which seem here to feature Chester Cheeto instead of half-naked women)--and you can't help but feel some pride seeing the Wing Commander trailer appear first on the giant bank of TVs.

Video Game Exhibit Finalized

st3lt3k reminded us that the Smithsonian Art of Video Games winners have been announced. Some 240 nominee games were whittled down to 80 titles that will be used to demonstrate the evolution of electronic entertainment over the years. PC games from the early '90s were left off the ballot, so Wing Commander and sim fans in general were mostly shut out. If the image to right isn't fancy art, I don't know what is. The exhibit will be on display on the third floor of the the American Art Museum from March 16, 2012 to September 30, 2012. Check out the full list of feature games here.
The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training.

It's a Man's Enigma Sector

Alexander Bevier, a journalist covering the LOGIN 2011 conference live-tweeted a seminar on the portrayal of women in games... and in the process provided a fascinating anecdote from Crusade, Wing Commander II and Freedom Flight writer Ellen Beeman (then Ellen Guon):
Beeman talks about working on Wing Commander back in the day. She claims that she could reskin the character to female in 30 minutes.
8:22 PM May 17th via web

...She could also test to see if women could buy it that way, and she was dismissed. "it's not worth you time"
8:22 PM May 17th via web

It would be a hard sell for women to take interest in a flight sim, but today, she believes that there's a good niche for women playing.
8:23 PM May 17th via web

Very interesting! It really wouldn't be difficult to swap the Blair and Angel talking heads in Wing Commander II--and very little of the dialogue would need to be modified. Would you have played a Wing Commander with a female lead?

WC1 Campaign Editor Cleaned Up

Flashpoint has posted a minor progress update on his WC1 campaign editor program. He's recently completed the application's 'code plan' and redesigned the main screen (pictured below). This should allow users to arrange more information in a more efficient way in the next update.
Much more ordered and it uses space much better, allowing me to have more info on screen at once. The ship slots are in one column on the right. The main screen will hold visuals like the nav map and the briefing screens. The big gap on the right will hold specific control layouts for editing campaigns, navs, ship data and briefings. An example of this is the screen below... So there you go. Not much, but something.

Hometown Boy Makes Good

Wing Commander novelist Peter Telep has a new book coming out--and you could be forgiven for missing his well-camouflaged name at the bookstore next month. Mr. Telep has written Against All Enemies with famed military author Tom Clancy--likely rocketing his fame and fortunes ahead of all other former Wing Commander authors. What's it about?
The master of international intrigue and explosive action introduces a new hero for a new era of warfare . . . against a new kind of threat.

Get ready to meet ex-Navy SEAL Max Moore.

A terrorist bombing in Pakistan wipes out Max Moore’s entire CIA team. As the only survivor, the former Navy SEAL plunges deeper into the treacherous tribal lands to find the terrorist cell, but what he discovers there leads him to a much darker conspiracy in an unexpected part of the globe—the US/Mexico border.

Here a drug war rages between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels. The landscape is strewn with bodies, innocents and drug dealers alike, but is there an even deadlier enemy lurking in background? Into this deadly brew, Moore leads a group of specially selected agents whose daring actions reveal shocking answers and uncover an unholy plan—a strike against the very heart of America.

Terrorists, drug wars and Navy SEALs in a Tom Clancy book? Who could have predicted! Get your preorder in now; it should be the second most important Peter Telep novel released this year.

Armageddon Outta Here

Hang on to your Pilgrim Crosses, it's the end of the world! Social media and some sort of cult that puts signs on cars are in rare agreement-- Kn'thrak is upon us. While our opinion is that the bible doesn't actually say anything about the world ending on May 21st, we did want to make sure everyone was prepared with these helpful blueprints:

One thing's for sure--you can't be left behind when you're afterburning at 1200 klicks-per-second.

Empire's Factory Switches Into High Gear

Chris Carpenter has posted an update on the construction of his radio controlled Dralthi. Progress is great so far - the airframe is in the middle of being reinforced and the craft's engine and battery are starting to get installed. It sounds like a test flight might be possible soon. Find the full update here.

Today, I made some changes to the Dralthi design and cut it again today on the CNC machine. I decided to use Plexiglas on the nose to keep the separate wing tips from flopping and counter the motor weight. Visually, the Plexiglas worked out pretty well. I really don’t think you will be able to see it in flight. It does keep the two wings from flopping as well.

Straight From the Fat Man Himself

Famous Wing Commander musician The Fat Man George Sanger was recently asked to answer some interview questions for a Russian gaming magazine. Rather than reply to the email, he posted an amusing video response on his YouTube channel. He has some great responses to questions such as how he got into the gaming industry and what "OST" stands for. Wing Commander even gets mentioned at the 9 minute point. You definitely want to hear about what happened when The Fat Man asked some famous rock musicians to sign his Guitar Hero guitar. Don't miss it here!

Russian Mag: Do you think music plays a great role in creating a complete gaming experience?

George: I gotta say, I did sorta dedicate a lot of my life to that, so I'm going to go with 'yes'.

Fandomania Highlights Hot Hundred

st3lt3k caught this article about the 100 greatest video games according to Fandomania. Despite being somewhat skewed towards classic Nintendo overall, the list has some PC highlights, and Origin games take several early slots. Wing Commander Privateer comes in at 90, Ultima IV ranks 85 and Wing Commander IV is 84th.

Wing Commander: Privateer
Set in the Wing Commander universe, Privateer is an early sandbox-style game that allows players to choose their alliances and factions and freely roam the galaxy as spacefaring privateers. When not engaging in then-state-of-the-art dogfights, pilots can buy and sell equipment and commodities to increase their own bankrolls.

Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
Ultima IV was a turning point for the Ultima series of RPGs and a unique concept for these sorts of games in general. Where the previous installments are traditional quests to fight evil, this fourth game sends the player on a quest to master eight virtues, thereby reaching an enlightenment.

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
Boasting a cast of actors including Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, and Malcolm McDowell in full motion video cutscenes shot on real sets, Wing Commander IV clocked in at a cost of $12 million to produce, making it the most expensively made video game ever at the time of its release. Set after the war with the Kilrathi, WC4 introduced wingmen into the established space combat simulator.

Crazy Impressive WC Sleuthing Here

HCl is continuing with his amazing Wing Commander archeology, and his latest finds continue to impress. First, the image to the right is an example of the insane scratch-paper math that he used to decrypt some of the compression algorithms in Privateer 2. In case it wasn't clear, HCl is actually a human being and not a robot! Yet, he's managed to crack some crazy code and dig deeper into the game. Some of the text that's been unearthed lists out the game's wingmen, equipment, booth data, mission data, game text and more. LOAF observed that some of these references don't actually match what's displayed in the final product, so some of it seems to be a remainder from early in the game's development. Very interesting stuff! Head over to Crius.net for more context and discussion.
Today I travelled a bit in order to enjoy easter holiday. As a matter of principle, I did not want to take my PC with me (holidays and all)... but I couldn't resist taking a couple printouts from a few Privateer 2 files, just in case. I enjoy both WC and puzzles, so I figured I could look into it during the trip and see if something occurred to me about that Huffman-based text compression algorithm. I made some progress earlier on how the Huffman tree was encoded, so maybe I could review what I had done, make sure I didn't do any mistake and, if I did, try to figure out another approach.

Things seemed to make sense, which is always good. Since i had some time, I tried to hand decode (pen and paper, very low tech) a few bytes from the printouts I had. Luckily I had the header of the TXT2 chunk and what seemed to be the start of a valid data stream with me, so I went ahead with the attempt.

Long story shot: things went well! I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to eventually be able to read "Visit Angus Santana at Interplanetary Aid" :) I'm including a photo, in case everyone is interested.

Fleet Assault Introduces Weekly Column

Iceblade is continuing to work ahead on Wing Commander Fleet Assault at a steady pace. He's posted a batch of fun screenshots and a general progress update in a weekly article titled Fleet Friday. On top of direct work on the project, he's also written a very extensive piece on Flight Commander Advanced Mission Building for other aspiring modders. Follow all the progress on Fleet Action at the WCFA Forum.

Welcome to the first Fleet Friday, a weekly day of news release and usually screenshot posting.

For this Fleet Friday I've posted some more screenshots. This time to better show off the recent capship conversions and give you an idea about the lack of limitations present in FC. The game didn't even break a sweat with all of these ships jumpin' in... simultaneously.

See if you can count how many ships are present (excluding the lonely panther flying around).

I've been making some progress on the overall storyline, even narrowing down the setting and what role the player will play throughout the campaign. Most of the WCSO weapons have been converted aside from a few sounds, a bullet scaling feature, and maybe a turret or two.

Also, I am looking for a 3D modeler to do some limited work on a few ships. If anyone is interested, pm me over at the WC CIC forums or reply to the Fleet Assault thread over at the CIC forums.

Oh and be sure to check out the Excalibur and Thunderbolt if you haven't yet. Tune in next Friday for more Fleet Action... I mean Assault.

On Attack Aproach to K'Tithrak Mang...

FekLeyrTarg has uploaded a copy of the intro movie to Deathsnake's WC2 Remake project. The game is rendered in the Freespace 2 engine and uses a handful of mixed WC Saga and Standoff models, but the classic WC2 audio overlay really pulls it all together. It begins with the destruction of the Tiger's Claw, and the result is pretty neat. There are no people models, so voiceovers follow various ships through space. Check out the video here or learn more about the project here.

Playstation Network Back Online

Sony announced early this morning that the Playstation Network is now beginning to come back online, almost one month after the service went down following a security intrusion. Online gameplay, friends features and Playstation Home should now be up in many regions. The update also includes a mandatory password reset. Remaining features should be gradually coming back online over the next two weeks. If they can get online purchases back up today, it'll be just in time for the Playstation version of Wing Commander 4's fourteenth birthday! The game originally shipped on May 15, 1997 and is (or will be again) available to purchase via the Playstation Store.

RC Dralthi Sets Sights on the Sky

Joe Garrity posted this tantalizing shot of a foam core Dralthi model he's building with Chris Carpenter. It's not just an art project though - the goal is get it flying via remote radio control. Before that happens, the craft will need some structural reinforcement, a cool paintjob and the propelling motor installed. Then it'll be just like Secret Missions 2 again at Joe's house!

Space Sim First Look: X Rebirth

Shotglass.de noticed that Egosoft has announced another space sim, X Rebirth. It will be the fourth major game in the series that began in 1999 with X: Beyond the Frontier. The 'rebirth' moniker is intended to symbolize the game's new take on space action and economics. A release is expected as soon as late 2011. The first image below is a fancy wallpaper with a hint of Wing Commander style packed in. An announcement trailer has been posted that shows off some very pretty gameplay engine footage.

Publisher Deep Silver and developer Egosoft announce the latest game set in the X Universe, set to transport the multi-award-winning series to another dimension with radically new game design and top notch graphics.

The space simulation X Rebirth heralds more than just an additional chapter within the X series, it is a fresh beginning bringing with it a number of gameplay innovations without compromising its successful origins.

In the distant future, the X universe faces a period of profound and irrevocable change. While the universe stumbles towards an uncertain future, countless adventures await as new enemies rise in search of power.

Enter a young adventurer and his unlikely female ally traveling in an old, battered ship with a glorious past - two people alone against the galaxy, playing a key part in the events to come.

The fate of the universe rests in the hands of the player...

X Rebirth represents a spectacular new beginning for the X series, offering loyal fans and newcomers alike a vast, vivid and extremely detailed universe to explore throughout the game.

Varied gameplay elements such as action-packed space combat, detailed trading mechanics and high-speed space exploration with fast travel allow players to experience a truly unique space saga that will keep them hooked for dozens of hours.

X Rebirth features a whole new user experience - it is easier than ever to start with, and remains as deep as fans expect it.

Flight Commander Continues to Get Some Robo Loving

saf0775 has put together a status update on his Flight Commander mod, Zentradi War. He has been working on importing models, customizing the weapons/sounds/environment and extracting audio resources. Here's the new menu screen and a variety of craft in the ICIS viewer.

I've finished ripping audio from all 36 episodes of the original Robotech series. I now have enough audio for 5 RDF pilots, background sounds, briefings, and enemies. I'm excited to be putting these all in-game. Also, I've reworked the FC hanger to make it appear more "robotech", as well as added a post briefing 3D animation that blends the existing FC hanger mesh with the SDF-1 model I have.

Wing Commander on French TV

The Wing Commander Movie will be airing on Le Nouvel Observateur in France over the next few days. Specifically, it will be carried on the Canal+ Family channel. There are five fantastic showtimes scheduled for the remainder of the month: May 17 @ 20:50, May 18 @ 13:15, May 22 @ 10:00, May 23 @ 13:15 and May 26 @ 22:30. The film has seen increased play time in France since the French version was released on DVD last year.

Here's the fancy French summary again:

Le sujet En 2654, un vaillant pilote intègre une force d'intervention spatiale qui s'oppose à une monstrueuse invasion perpétrée par des extraterrestres belliqueux.

Au XXVIIe siècle, la Terre entre en guerre contre le puissant empire Kilrathi, qui ambitionne de l'annexer et de la soumettre, comme le reste de l'univers. A l'issue d'une attaque-surprise, les créatures de Kilrathi, au physique proche de celui des humains, prennent le contrôle du système central de navigation. Les envahisseurs disposent désormais de voies d'accès directes à la planète bleue. Plus rien ni personne ne semble pouvoir freiner leur progression. Personne, sauf peut-être le lieutenant Christopher Blair et ses deux compagnons, le pilote Maniac et l'aventurier Paladin. Sous les ordres de leur «Wing Commander», la superbe Devereaux, il partent à l'assaut de l'empire Kilrathi...

New Warships Bolster the Terran Fleet

Astro Commander has finished painting and photographing a new batch of miniature models, and the fabulous results are a very fine show of Terran strength! The Durango and Bengal class carriers are backed up by some stout Southampton and Gilgamesh destroyers. Some of these ships were previewed in a big tabletop fleet battle earlier this year, so it's great to see them up close. Fighters and other escorts are all ready to go, so it's time for war!

Fleet Assault Lays Out a Plan

Iceblade has posted a big update with new screenshots and a list of planned features for his new Flight Commander mod, Fleet Assault. The first picture shows a well-armed Plunkett going through a jump point, and the rest of the shots follow an impressive formation of Secret Ops Thunderbolts and Excaliburs cruising through space. Goals for the mod sound fairly ambitious, but it looks like some good preliminary groundwork is being done now. New information will be updated weekly at the WCFA forum.

• Multiple mission campaign including at least 10 winning path missions plus several losing and B-path missions that include
- All missions are scripted and involved that make full use of Flight Commander features
- Custom Landing and Launching sequences
- Tracking of fighter loses across multiple vessels
- Usage of multiple fighter variants with AI performing their assigned role
- Actual Capship Combat where capships can destroy other capships (available when Turret AI is functional)

• Story-driven campaign presented to the player by
- In-game Cutscenes
- Briefings
- Personal and Official Emails
- News
- Eyes Only Reports
- And in-mission communications

• More fighters, capships, and weapons imported from WCSO to FC, all making full use of the latest FC features including slow Capship Death (explosions)

• Multiple Simulator missions both original and recreated from Prophecy

• More imported comms along with several original comms

• Full Modding Tutorials for creating involved missions, cutscenes, and custom resources along with a Ship Editor tool. (These feature will be released separate from the campaign.)

Are You Being Harassed?

Frequently heckled by bullies? If you can't handle them yourself, the Ultima Online team has posted a set of tips for how to effectively report harassment. It seems like these could apply equally well to other games or even real life. Check out the full list here.
Verbal Harassment is almost by definition a frustrating experience for those affected. Unfortunately we continue to see a few mistakes that turn many potentially valid harassment reports into situations we cannot assist with. As your glorious GM overlords we suggest following the steps below to avoid these problems:

  1. Do not exchange insults or taunts with the harassing player. This is by far the most common mistake we see. If both parties are involved in harassment or the reporting player instigated the situation then it becomes mutual harassment and a GM will not intervene for either side.
  2. Ask the player politely, by name, to stop. For example: "Please stop insulting me Acheren."
  3. Stop talking to the player. You may also want to leave the area.
  4. Add the player to your ignore list (In Options under Filter Options.)
  5. Wait a few seconds and if the harassing player still does not stop then you should immediately report them. Do not wait more than a minute or two after this point to report them and do not log out of the game before reporting them. Open your Help menu, choose "Another player is harassing me", then pick "VERBAL HARASSMENT".
  6. You will be prompted to enter some details about who and what you are reporting. Keep this short and to the point. For example: "Acheren will not stop calling my llamas fat".

Are You Mutant Enough?

Joe recently found some cool print advertisements from WarTourist. There's a handful of Origin ads from the late '80s to mid '90s. The WC4 promo highlights some of the gushing critical acclaim that the game received. There are also scans of Origin's other science fiction franchise, Space Rogue, as well as Chris Roberts' first Origin game, Bad Blood. Check out WarTourist's Photostream for more.

"Ths truly is the vanguard of the next generation of electronic entertainment." 4 1/2 out of 5 stars - Computer Gaming World

"Origin's latest science fiction spectacular is even more impressive than its predecessor." 90% - PC Gamer

"A movie game that takes CD-ROM warfare into the next generation." - Entertainment Weekly

Now Listen to the Originals!

After seeing the mp3 clips posted above, Mark Knight stopped in to share something even more amazing. Mark was the musician who worked the music and sound effects for the Amiga version of Wing Commander, and he's posted the original source .mod files online! Many media players will read the format, although it's possible that some could mess with the timing. The Oldsk00l plugin for Winamp is recommended - these tracks sound absolutely beautiful with it! Grab them here (2 meg zip).
I'm Mark, the guy who did the arrangements for Wing Commander on the Amiga/CD32 back in 1992. It was actually my first fully paid game job when I was 19, so is very close to my heart. Glad to hear the positive comments about it. It was no mean feat getting that into the 4 channel Amiga, and with huge memory restrictions.

I've uploaded the original .mod files to my website, so you can all download from there. The file is under 2 meg, and they'll play in any of the tracker players/plugins (I think) although Oldsk00l for Winamp is recommended.

Prelude to Darkness Bridges Production Gap

We haven't mentioned the WC-inspired Frontier - Prelude to Darkness fan movie recently, but work has been busy on the project. New chapters have been in limbo while lew82 has been working on 3D conversions for higher quality episodes. The first four chapters have been posted to Koldcast in high res, while YouTube carries up to Part 13. lew is also working out how to submit the movie to the 2011 GenCon Film Fest. Among new updates in the last month are a sleek fighter design and bridge set for an upcoming scene. The bridge certain gives off a 'Vesuvius' vibe!
This week has been really productive, we’re into Scene 30a now which is set on the bridge of the Hammer, so I have done a complete remake of the bridge model in Maya and here’s hoping it looks a little nicer. The next big step is a sprucing up of the Dakota ships which until now have felt a little basic and blocky.

A little news on the release of the redressed Chapter 5 – at the moment it’s being prepared and Marc is working his music magic yet again, the release date for Koldcast TV is 16th May – so stay tuned for that.

Every Wingnut Needs Star*Soldier

Lots of people ask us where they can get background information or fighter stats for Wing Commander Arena. The answer is right here (7.7 meg PDF)! The manual/magazine Star*Soldier introduces you to the world of Arena and fills you in on decades of new backstory for the end of the 27th Century. It's a free download and absolutely everyone should have it. Our Star*Soldier Gloss feature also has commentary from the writers and designers for all 60+ pages.

The ENEMY can appear ANY TIME and ANYWHERE!

Learn these planes and watch the skies!

Internet Shipyards Churning Out Warships

Astro Commander has run across a couple more virtual storefronts that have mocked up Wing Commander miniature designs for 3D printing. In addition to his Dream Foundry and Studio Bergstrom, there is also Skyguy Stardock and JP's Designs. Quite a few different ships are available for just a few dollars, but note that painting is up to the buyer. Each resin model is roughly an inch or two long and suitable for tabletop gaming. With an airbrush and some skill, incredible fleets are at your fingertips!

Post pictures if you paint them! Or pictures of them in action =)

Prepare to Pounce from the Shadows

Iceblade is working on a new mission for Flight Commander, and he's incorporating some of the advanced new features in development for FC 1.7. There aren't a whole lot of details, but the tidbits visible in the mission briefing set it up as a cool "fade and strike" mission. Here are some previews shots.

The screenshots show the following: the first two show a more complicated briefing where multiple ships fly around the nav zone... there is actually four groups that move. Three and Five show wingman feature, and four shows a wing of moray's going for a head-on pass.

Oh and normally I'm not that much of a fan of the shrike (at least in the vision engine), but boy does it come in its own in FC. Aside from the Piranha, Vampire and maybe Panther, all fighters get torn apart when trying to get turned around to attack your the tailing enemy. And even still, its mostly being about to outrun the enemy, so you have the time to turn (which doesn't take too long in these three fighters).

The Shrike though has that rear turret to get those bogies off your tall with enough of a better turn rate than the Devastator to actually get around to face your enemy. The Shrike also has the heavy punch of charging mass with the support of stormfire to give the enemy quite a concussion.

Announcing Wing Commander Fleet Assault!

It turns out the mission preview above is just a teaser for a larger project! Iceblade has announced a brand new game in the Flight Commander engine, Wing Commander Fleet Assault. It's not just a mod - the undertaking will involve creating tools to help fellow mission builders create even more FC missions. It all sounds ambitious, but Iceblade is no stranger to fan projects.
Announcing a new campaign for Flight Commander that I'm titling Fleet Assault.

The Campaign will provide shows players what Flight Commander can do with a well built campaign and give many examples for designers to use to assist in their own fan mods using this engine.

In addition, the mod will provide users with more resources for their own creations including more comms and WCSO ships and weapons that have all been fully updated to make full use of Flight Commander's latest features.

Details about the campaign are still in development, but there will some story elements included though currently animated FMV sequences will not be included.

All WCP sim missions will also be added for expand the simulator.

Lastly, a series of advanced mission, briefing, and customization tutorials will be provided using Fleet Assault as examples.

As the campaign is still in early development, screenshots are limited. I will provide you, however, with an early version of the splash screen.

Hostile Frontier Posts Progress & Asks for Assistance

Wing Commander Hostile Frontiers has made several updates in the last month. Most notably, they've added a progress page to show status on various aspects of the mod. The latest Dev Diary also shows off some Wing Commander models that may be used for a sibling Freespace WC game titled Advance Guard. Finally, Kevin Caccamo is looking for some helpers. Details on what's needed are below.

Modders, report for duty! The Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier team is looking for more people to help complete this mod, give feedback on how to improve it, test and polish it, and get it out the doors.

Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier is a Wing Commander fan project that aims to create an awesome FSO/WC gaming experience based on the novel Wing Commander: False Colors. The beginning of the demo campaign of the mod is set right after the ending of Wing Commander 3 and before the prologue of False Colors. The player takes the role of Jonathan "Rider" Darrel as he joins the Free Republic of the Landreich Navy as an academy-fresh rookie. Jonathan's first assignment is aboard the FRLS Independence, but little does he know what he is in for...

We would like you to have a little bit of experience in Freespace modding before you join the team. For example, FREDers interesting in joining should have completed the FRED walkthrough. Of course, if you're a Wing Commander fan who knows a lot about the WC universe, that's a nice bonus, but even if you don't know anything about the WC universe, that's OK as well. Perhaps you might learn something more about WC while you're on the team.

Here are some of the positions that we need filled:
1. Mission designer
2. Script/dialogue writer
3. Playtester

Modelers, texture artists, FX artists, CGI animators, and German/English Translators are welcome as well.

WC2 Mod Jumps to the Niven System

Deathsnake has made more progress on his WC2 Remake mod, and the latest results have been bundled up in a new downloadable test package. This update has a new intro cutscene, bug fixes and taunts added to the game. Previous releases have required players to grab a number of difference files, so Deathsnake's attempted to bundle everything up in a somewhat more manageable chunk. Check out the detailed download instructions here and post your thoughts at Crius.net.

Hi everyone.

I found a new upload for my files. Now it contains all recommend files to play. A few infos and a suprise ^^ are now at the page.

Please respond if the download workes for you. :) You can find the files in the new Download section.

PlayStation Network Slowly Resuming Operations

Sony has announced that Playstation Network services will begin to come back online this week, about two weeks after a malicious intrusion resulted in the system being taken offline. Access to multiplayer gaming will be restored first, followed by services such as account access and downloadable games. Although credit card information that may have been stolen should have been encrypted, it's still a good idea to change any passwords you shared between PSN and other sites. The restored network will also have additional security enhancements to protect against further intrusions, and details on "welcome back" freebies are in the works. Don't forget that the Wing Commander Movie and WC4 are available to purchase!
Following a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., SNEI quickly turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged multiple expert information security firms over the course of several days and conducted an extensive audit of the system. Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information. SNEI and its third-party experts have conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. With these measures in place, SCE and SNEI plan to start a phased rollout by region of the services shortly.

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