The Wing Commander 2 celebration continues with a pair of great articles found by Music_Guru. First up is a really cool Origin profile written for the April 1991 issue of
The One. Wing Commander was barely six months old at this time, but the team was already well on their way with advanced WC2 character modeling, high resolution ship images and even early murmurings of Wing Commander 3. They also introduce "Ground Commander," which was an early working title for Strike Commander. Chris Roberts remained focused on Strike into early 1993, so it's no surprised the suggested WC3 release date that year actually ended up being late 1994. It all sounds like a terribly exciting time!
The final scan below is from the May 1991 issue of
Advanced Computer Entertainment. This article talks about the introduction of autodesk 3D Studio at Origin and the fantastic designs they got as a result. As the state of technology was changing very rapidly in the early '90s, the tools game developers used to take advantage of all this quickly evolved too. We're glad they didn't cut corners on this and managed to put together such a beautiful game!
Wing Commander 2 is set six years after the Tiger's Claw victory in the Vega Sector. In the game, you'll pilot six new Terran starfighters in a variety of missions. You might be sent to retrieve refugee life pods with your tractor beam, defend against the undetectable enemy stealth fighters or fly a jump-capable straighter against a Kilrathi starbase. "In Wing Commander 2, we'll take the Wing Commander technology beyond the imaginable - with Dynamic Intelligence, digitized art and speech, new and unusual ship and weapons technology, an intensely dramatic storyline and characters, and more of the non-stop action that made the original Wing Commander into a bestselling game," says Origin in its sales-pitch. Wing Commander 2 will be released on the PC in late summer.
You can also find The One's coverage of Wing Commander's Amiga development in our archives here.
Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, shipped to stores 25 years ago today, on September 4, 1991. It followed the original game by less than one year and just five months after fans enjoyed The Secret Missions 2 - a very good time for Wing Commander fans! Amid the flurry of major releases and expansions packs, I'm one of the Wingnuts that actually stumbled into the early games somewhat out of order. Picking a favorite Wing Commander title is excruciating decision, but for me, I always end up back at WC2. It was my first PC Wing Commander, and it represented a certain gaming ideal. The importance of WC1's revolutionary spaceflight engine or the incredible set pieces of WC4 can't be disputed, but WC2 just exuded charm and atmosphere from every seam. WC3's introduction is technically superior on every level, but the Emperor's speech to Prince Thrakhath still gives me goosebumps and can't be topped in my mind. Everything from the Emperor's red eye piece to the sway of Thrakhath's cape is just exquisite. With some presaging from SM2, the intro introduced many of the major characters that would go on to define the series for the next five years.
For their time, the graphics are absolutely stunning, and I can't say enough about the color balance. All of the rich blues and greens with red and yellow highlights contrast wonderfully against the blackness of space. Moreso than just about any game, players can pick up and play Wing Commander 2 from anywhere at any time and feel absolutely immersed. My entire middle school career consisted of coming home each day, clicking "Resume Current Game," and losing countless hours to the Enigma Sector. All of the various people, locations and drama in the story are so memorable. Nobody liked to lose a wingman in WC1, but when they go in WC2, it's especially heart breaking. And for a game titled "vengeance," the sense of vindication players feel after clawing their way back onto the flight roster and then clearing their name just feels great. It's hard to believe 25 years have gone by. Happy Birthday Wing Commander 2!
For those who'd like to celebrate further, we'll be playing through and live streaming the entire game on Saturday, September 17! The action gets going at noon Pacific US time on
Twitch. I'll be joining LOAF as he once again displays his stunning pilot skills against the Empire of Kilrah. And check out this awesome Rapier overlay frame by Disco Lando!
Jacob, the master of all things Vudu, reports that the company has phased out its 720p resolution category. There is still a standard definition 480p version, and anyone who owned an "HD" copy of Wing Commander on the service will see it upgraded to the 1080p "HDX" tier. This streamlines their catalog as they begin to introduce 4K "UHD" resolution movies. Although no such iteration of Wing Commander exists today, if Chris Roberts ever gets to do his upgraded director's cut of the WC Movie, we'd really love to see it in ultra high res! Surprisingly, it was only four short years ago that digital 1280x720 copies first became available to purchase, and Vudu was actually the first to sell a 1920x1080 version several months later.
Based on the best selling video game, Wing Commander is a
science fiction-war movie spectacle.
AD made a fun discovery while trying to find out the full name of Prophecy's gloomy Lieutenant Dallas. In the video of his funeral, the tombstone that reveals his name also contains references to Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts and to former EA executive and current venture capitalist Bing Gordon.
The last line on the plaque is Rich "T Dog" Strobers, which is clearly a lazy anagram of Chris Roberts. Rich is Chris minus the S and Strobers has the extra S from Chris, and moves it's T forward. I'm not sure I get the T Dog reference, but I'm sure there's a story behind it.
Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulator that lets players build their ships from scratch and see how they perform off the launch pad. It can be a challenge to get an air or space worthy design, but Shaggy managed to get WC1's Raptor heavy fighter flying in the game. Much like yesterday's Lego designs, it's not easy to get a good approximation going when you're working with generic parts, which is what makes this so impressive. And the "R.A.P.I.E.R." engines are a nice bonus!
So yeah, I built an A-14 Raptor in Kerbal Space Program just to see if I could get it to fly and it does. I don't know if anyone has tried this yet, but I built it all with stock parts, no mods, and it seems to work alright. I had to stick the R.A.P.I.E.R. Engines on it to give it enough speed to actually fly so it might be able to make it into orbit, I haven't tried yet. Consequently, this makes it extremely fast but its turning radius is roughly the size of Texas. :) Okay, it's not quite that bad, a little ruddering helps.
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