It was a crowd funding project very similar to Star Citizen that was launched by Piranha Games way back on September 9, 2014. At the time, the game's director claimed that Electronic Arts had given them the Wing Commander license but that they had opted to turn the game into an original IP instead. This story didn't pass the smell test but it did seem clear that Transverse had, probably recently, been developed as a Wing Commander game: the space combat-filled trailer had little to do with the setting described by the crowd funding website and concept art and other behind the screens details revealed Wing Commander terminology throughout the material that had been created. Now, thanks to the website of art director Christopher M. Hunt we have better information about what really happened behind the scenes:
Electronic Arts contracted Piranha Games to create demo re-envision the Wing Commander franchise as an MMO. The first stage was create a trailer in the Unreal engine to give the fans some insight into the universe, story, and elements of game-play to drive crowd funding. I directed the entire trailer from the script written by the Creative Director. For six months, I worked with a small internal team to design, build all the environments assets, and animations from scratch in Unreal. When EA backed out of the deal, Piranha rebranded the pitch as an original IP called Transverse. Despite the fact that this was a short-lived project it really fun to develop. Here are a few screenshot from the scenes in Unreal. Jan 2014 – Sept 2014
It sounds like Electronic Arts wanted Piranha to develop a Wing Commander Online that would compete with Star Citizen... but that they weren't happy with a milestone and killed the project. Piranha took the work they had already done and in under a month had reworked their pitch as the public facing Transverse concept. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be! It's also interesting to note that this is EXACTLY the same trajectory as Star Citizen, which similarly began life as a Wing Commander project for Electronic Arts and had its pitch adapted into a crowd funding proposal with an original IP (that, again, didn't quite match the clearly Wing Commander trailer!).
We've created an archive of all the published Transverse material we could find including the material from the Transverse crowd funding website and images from the online galleries of a number of the project's artists. You can access it here.