Behind the Scenes: Selling Privateer Online

Before Origin could develop Privateer Online in the late 1990s, they had to sell it to Electronic Arts. Alert readers are already familiar with the Privateer Online Design Layout (available in our Document Archive) submitted to the corporate office to explain how the game would work. To go alongside this document, the team also created a multimedia website to help sell the game. Thanks to an anonymous donor, you can now find that site here. The best part? The site features several never-seen-before preliminary ship renderings from the lost game!

The first couple shots appear to be a modular Vaktoth. The Crusader and Aurora, heavy fighters in the Border Worlds and Confed arsenal, are pictured next, and if you look closely, the last shot even has a swarm of Piranhas and Devastators.

Origin has an extreme edge over the competition with its strong properties like Wing Commander and Ultima. While most companies are struggling to create these properties AND communities from the ground up, Origin has several properties that fit perfectly in a persistent world environment. Each of these properties has an established loyal fan base and history that has been adored by fans for years. The next Origin property to go online? Wing Commander: Privateer.

With all that said Privateer with the strong universe backing and proven Wing Commander history proves to be the most extensive, entertaining and encompassing space based Online community in gaming history. PERIOD.

There's a ton of detailed information buried in the Privateer Online site, so make sure you check out all the various sections and links. Don't miss the areas describing how the game might control in flight, how players could interact and how ship components would combine to create over half a million different combinations. Potential sectors and systems are also diagrammed in detail. You can find a brief article describing the circumstances around Privateer Online's cancellation here.

Wing Commander Online Was Another Attempt

Privateer Online wasn't the only online Wing Commander game that met an unfortunate end. We've previously reported on concept art from Wing Commander Online. These images were on the drawing board in 1998, a year or so before the game was cancelled and the Privateer Online project was begun. There are some similarities between the POL and WCO concept shots, but they were made by different artists. You can find more here. Although it's sad that these games were never produced, it's really exciting to get an inside look at what would have been.


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Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

Retro Ad Highlights Tricky Windows Transition
2017-02-18 -- Anatoly Shashkin of DOSNostalgic shared this awesome advertisement for System Commander. Although it shares no relation to the Wing Commander series, it still has a pretty cool name, and this ad includes a shout out to WC4. "Win 95 is cool, but sucks with DOS games!

Digital Wing Commander in HD Discounted to $6.99
2017-02-17 -- Vudu enthusiast Jacob reports that the company has included Wing Commander in their latest monthly HDX sale. Through March 7, digital ownership of the movie will run you just $6.99.

Just Play the Classics!
2017-02-16 -- In 1994, Electronic Arts hit on a sales trick that has since become commonplace: re-release your recent back catalog as budget 'classic' titles using simple packaging and digitized manuals to lower printing costs. The original cost of producing these games could be further amortized, ultimately helping further support the ever-growing game development budgets needed for new titles to stand up. You could call it GOG's great, great grandson!

Welcome to Sol Sector, Julianna!
2017-02-15 -- We have the happiest possible news to report today: congratulations to Chris and Lacey Reid on the birth of their daughter, Julianna Ella Reid! Julianna was born on February 9th, a brand new baby girl. Chris, Lacey and daughter are home and recuperating well.

Love, Terran Confederation Style
2017-02-14 -- We all know Blair and Angel, Maniac and Rosie, Catscratch and Sosa... but the conventional wisdom says that Wing Commander is, by its very nature, not the platform for stories about complex romantic relationships. In honor of Valentine's Day 2017, I would like to respong by remembering two relationships from the Wing Commander canon that are a little more nuanced.

Ad Ben: Sound Commander
2017-02-13 -- Here's a nickel's worth of free marketing advice: if it's 1991 and you are trying to sell a PC game it does not hurt to make sure it has the word 'Commander' in the name. The degree to which Wing Commander was a success means that an incomplete list from those years includes Air Commander, Flight Commander, Tank Commander, Air Force Commander, Robot Commander and many more. And the tie-ins didn't stop there: there were even a host of hardware peripherals that tried to ride Wing Commander's coattails.

Where Everybody Knows Your Clan
2017-02-12 -- Don't drink and fly! The 1995 Wing Commander Customizable Card Game (CCG) includes a pair of 'LUCK!' cards which discuss this exact scenario: the Confederation "TOO MUCH VAK'QU" and the Kilrathi "TOO MUCH FIRE LIQUOR" cards allow the player to return an individual opposing pilot to the Ready Area, effectively disabling them for the turn.

Ghosts in the (Metal) Machine
2017-02-11 -- Could there have been new Wing Commander music in 2015? The answer may surprise you: a strong 'sorta!'Back in 1997, Wing Commander Prophecy's abortive flirtation with a Cobalt 60-supplied industrial music soundtrack resulted in one of the stranger additions to Wing Commander’s musical canon: a "Wing Commander Prophecy Original Soundtrack” that seems to be more industrial variety sampler than anything connected to the Terran Confederation.

Denis Loubet Goes Behind the Screens
2017-02-10 -- The gang from the Big Box PC Game Collectors group have a great new video of interest to Wing Commander fans: an hour-long hangout with Origin artist Denis Loubet! Denis is the man responsible for the original Wing Commander box art (and countless other pieces of early WC art) and hearing him talk about his storied career if fascinating. Wing Commander fans should pay special attention around the 50 minute mark, where talks about creating the first game's explosions and debris in Deluxe Paint and even designing the game's radar screen!

Ad Ben: Sound Runner
2017-02-09 -- Multimedia! The year was 1992 and the buzzword was inescapable. The meteoric rise in home microcomputer power (alongside the massive success of multimedia games like Wing Commander) created an audience hungry for high resolution graphics, ultra-complex game controllers...

Spoiler Filled Wing Commander Review
2017-02-08 -- The crew of Spoiler Filled have done a conversational podcast review of the Wing Commander feature film. Being unfamiliar with the Wing Commander franchise beyond the film's reputation, the podcast covers their expectations and then contrasts them with their impressions after watching the film. Their overall impression is not necessarily positive, but they do say the reputation is undeserved and give props to the movie's special effects scenes as being quite good for 1999.

New Concordia Model Is The Best One Yet
2017-02-07 -- Today we're happy to share the latest version of Klavs' masterpiece Concordia model. The faraway poses are jaw-dropping on their own, but there's so much detail here that you're going to want to zoom in and take a closer look. A big draw this time out is all of the enhanced texturing that adds additional color and character to the design.

Don't Get Caught By This UBW Patrol
2017-02-06 -- DefianceIndustries is well known for taking classic Wing Commander art and jazzing it up to modern standards. It turns out this also applies to his own creations, and the wallpaper below is the result. He's taken the scene from last year and added 100% more explosions and 200% more laser blasts.

Potential Premiere Project Proves Promising
2017-02-05 -- FekLeyrTarg put together this brief clip to flex his video editing muscles while taking advantage of a variety of WC2 assets. He's looking for feedback at the CIC Forums and hopefully chooses to take on some longer and more elaborate scenes in the future. We definitely encourage people to take on new kinds of creative projects like this and especially with lesser used elements of the series!

Get Your Privateer Fix Here
2017-02-04 -- We've got a new poll today that asks about all the shady and interesting people of Wing Commander Privateer. If you haven't visited Gemini in a while, there might be more than you remember! With so much of the series focused on the military side of the war, seeing such a slice of civilian life is especially cool.

Early Wing Commanders Finally Receive Rating in Australia
2017-02-03 -- Electronic Arts has recently asked Australia's Department of Communications and the Arts to provide a rating for Wing Commander, Wing Commander 2 and Privateer. Evidently, the three oldest games in the franchise (published before Origin was acquired by EA) had never been rated for the Australian market. With several Wing Commander games showing up on Origin Access, a digital delivery/subscription service, it's possible that EA had to quickly get that straightened out.

Homeworld Mod Adds Famous Battlewagon
2017-02-02 -- The newest addition to the Homeworld Remastered Mod is another hard-hitting carrier. L.I.

'Making Of WC3' Brought Into The Future
2017-02-01 -- Jim Leonard has done a bit of digital alchemy and produced an upgraded version of the Making Of documentary included with the Premiere Edition of Wing Commander 3. He's used special filter and conversion techniques to remove a lot of the grainy noise and choppiness associated with the VHS format. So if you haven't seen this in a while, or especially if you've never watched it through at all, this looks like the best way to experience the footage.

Secret Ops Upgrades Upgraded Even Further
2017-01-31 -- Today we have a mixed bag with a variety of nifty improvements to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. These are largely refinements where DefianceIndustries went back to apply newer graphical techniques to some of his earlier models as well as tightening up the Panther's geometry a bit to make it more true to the original. Additionally, there are also some test textures to try out some methods of coloring in the Nephilim ships with something exotic.

Sharing Standoff's Sim Soundtrack
2017-01-30 -- Wing Commander Standoff is a masterpiece fan creation that closely follows the events of Wing Commander Fleet Action that led up to the Battle of Earth. It's the recipient of six Fan Project of the Year awards and is renowned for its captivating cutscenes, extensive voiceovers, branching gameplay and exciting action. One thing that hasn't gotten a ton of attention is its music, and its little-known simulator tracks are even more obscure.

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