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.

WC Saga Plus Enhanced Fiction Viewer
2014-07-22 -- Luke is still plodding along on Saga Plus, incorporating many bugfixes and enhancements based on player feedback. The complete list of (intended) changes is too long to include here, but many enhancements are meant to improve the usability of the various interfaces throughout the game. Below you can see the original fiction viewer (left) alongside the WCS+ version.

Escapist's Not Feeling Privateer
2014-07-21 -- To coincide with the completion of the Wing Commander series on GOG, Escapist ran a series of reviews last year that covered almost the whole franchise. At the time they skipped over Academy and the Privateers, but they've circled back around with a Good Old Review for Gemini Sector pilots. It's the same reviewer that thought Prophecy was pretty good and loved WC1&2, but in this case, he just can't get into Privateer.

Krant Hardly Wait To Play
2014-07-20 -- Shaggy's completed the Krant fighter for Beat Hazard that he mentioned earlier this month, but the Kilrathi fleet isn't quite complete. The fearsome Jalthi is now in the works to supplement the kats on the very high end, and then that should finish off the planned lineup. You can see all of the cool ships that have been designed for this scroller shooter game here.

Armada/SWC Crossover Adds Self Sufficient Invasion Capability
2014-07-19 -- The parade of massive Kilrathi warships continues. Up next in the armada is the Shiraak carrier. It's a fairly rare ship to see in fan projects, and Klavs' take on it is certainly the most detailed Wingnut attempt.

New Documentary Explores Video Game Industry
2014-07-18 -- Crowdfunded documentary Video Games: The Movie examines the transition of video games from niche product to billion-dollar industry. It features several big names in game design, like Cliff Bleszinsky (Unreal, Gears of War) and Kobayashi Hiroyuki (Resident Evil). The only familiar name in the credits is Wing Commander veteran Warren Spector, but LOAF managed to snap (tweet) a half second of Wing Commander 4 footage with Mark Hamill, Chris Roberts and Malcolm McDowell in it.

16th Birthday Party Moves to a New Night!
2014-07-17 -- It's almost that time again! We're just about a month away from the CIC's 16th Birthday at wcnews.com.

Phoenix Crew Disembarks For New Experiences
2014-07-16 -- Silent Hunter asked us to remind everyone that the crew of his ship, the TCS Phoenix, is currently enjoying shore leave on pleasure planet Jolson. If that sounds like a place you'd like to be, join the Wing Commander From the Ashes RPG to start in. They are a forum based RPG that role plays its adventures here.

The Real Defiant Few Episode 5 Released
2014-07-15 -- The latest episode of Wing Commander: Defiant Few has been released! This time it's the real deal - a spoof was released on April Fool's Day. Episode 5 is actually a prequel chapter that takes place ten years before the prior four.

Starlancers' 45th Volunteers Remain Vigilant
2014-07-14 -- Here's a story fifteen years in the making: way back on August 26, 1999 (coincidentally the one year anniversary of Secret Ops' release), we reported on the "Star in Starlancer" contest. Lucky fans could win the opportunity to be featured in a digital promo poster for Erin Roberts' space sim game. Jaev73040 was one of the winners, and he recently came back to share the results - a pretty nifty squadron render!

Saga Plus Development Remains On Track
2014-07-13 -- As direct support of the original WC Saga mod appears to have come to an end, Luke has picked up the ball and is making good progress with his enhancement pack dubbed WC Saga Plus. In addition to support for multiple languages, improvements are being made to the ship viewer, fiction viewer, heads up display, mission editor and mission briefings. There is also helpful popup text and a menu interface for enabling various upgrades.

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