The game we know as Wing Commander: Privateer began life as Trade Commander, a game planned in 1992 to take advantage of the RealSpace technology being developed for Chris Roberts' opus, Strike Commander. The plan was to offset the tremendous cost of Strike Commander by quickly releasing other games built on the same engine--something that could be accomplished by beginning their development before Strike was ready. As Strike Commander ran into delays and overruns, it became clear the new 3D engine would not be available in time. Plans for Trade Commander were adapted to use the existing, less technically impressive Wing Commander engine. Trade Commander's sister project, Phoenix Force, was less lucky: it was unceremoniously cancelled and is rarely remembered today.
Trade Commander was formally announced, in typical Origin fashion, in 1992:
In 1990 ORIGIN revolutionized the industry when it introduced interactive cinema with the first Wing Commander game. In 1991 Wing Commander II carried this vision to new heights of game action, and with it new depth and sophistication. Now this year (we hope) will see the release of Trade Commander (now Privateer), a game that brings interactive entertainment software to a higher pinnacle of excitement than ever before.
(Read the full announcement.)
Maverick Gets Pantsed
LOAF is still scratching the surface of his 30 boxes of Academy archival materials, but when he does get a chance to dig in, he uncovers some real gems! Take for, example, Cadet Blair's sorely underrated bottom half. Everyone is all into torsos, but you can't have one without the other! (2018-02-24)
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)