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. Recent updates:


Waterloo Prepares For Battle
2017-10-22 -- Klavs has taken a well earned break from designing real space ships to further expand his Wing Commander fleet. Today's addition is the powerful Waterloo cruiser. We don't get to admire this ship as much as we'd like in WC2, so it's nice to see how fans have taken a liking to it.

WC3 Memory Glitch Got A Clever Cover Up
2017-10-21 -- There’s a well known anecdote from the development of WC1 that talks about how an error message when quitting the game was changed to “Thank you for playing Wing Commander.” That story now has a sequel thanks to a tweet by WC3 programmer Robin Todd! In this case, there was a random crash that was changed to resemble a CD-ROM error.

Academy Concept Art Shows Off WC3 Roots
2017-10-20 -- Renowned comic and storyboard artist Tim Eldred has posted a couple of neat pictures to his Instagram. They feature concept sketch work that he did for Wing Commander Academy before the show was made. These were done early in his professional life and ended up influencing the rest of his career.

Delve Deeper Into FM Towns Wing Commander
2017-10-19 -- The amazing Pix of Pix's Origin Adventures is back with a second look at Wing Commander for the Japanese FM Towns system. If you missed his first look, it's worth a read so you can get a better understanding of the hardware and software package that goes into this. Now that he's played the game a bit, he's summarized some of the pros and cons inherent in this fairly advanced port.

Origin Heroes Profiled In New Sketches
2017-10-18 -- Denis Loubet has drawn a new pair of images based on some of his early work at Origin. They depict the twin stars of Ultima and Wing Commander reflecting on the struggles they face. Wingnuts at the CIC Forums helped provide reference material and recommendations on Bluehair's look.

High Quality Orca Pods Make A Splash
2017-10-17 -- The Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack has another fearsome addition. DefianceIndustries has successfully implemented Dark Sentinel's Orca destroyer. It looks great in the Vision Engine with a blend of distinctive details and elements that shimmer into the starry blackness.

WC Solar Empire Game Now Available To Try
2017-10-16 -- The first playable test release of the Wing Commander Mod for Sins of a Solar Empire has been released! Nomada_Firefox cautions that there are likely to be issues that players encounter, but feedback at this stage is quite valuable and it looks like a pretty cool fleet battle game. Obviously the SoaSE base game is required, and fans can download the files after registering here.

Wing Commander Available Via Movies Anywhere
2017-10-15 -- Five of the biggest movie studios have surprisingly banded together to fix an annoying aspect of the digital age. As we accumulate movies across different platforms, our library gets scattered and we have to utilize a wide variety of services to see what we own. But now, movies that that were produced by 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney and Sony Pictures and are owned within iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu or Google Play can now be interlinked under an umbrella called Movies Anywhere.

Homeworld Mod Adds Confed Light Cruiser
2017-10-14 -- The Homeworld Remastered mod has been looking at how to fill a gap in the Confed fleet lineup, and L.I.F.

Games Within Games
2017-10-13 -- Mainstream gaming news site Kotaku has an article that promises a hidden, text-based adventure game hidden inside Wing Commander: Privateer. And it's true! The original Privateer shipped with a small file called TABTNE.

Scim Milk
2017-10-12 -- Here's one that goes back a bit: DefianceIndustries, master of the Vision Engine visual Upgrade Pack, happened across a Wing Commander-inspired ship design he'd worked on some years ago: a 'movie' version of the CF-105 Scimitar! It's a pretty neat concept, mixing the classic Scimitar with the look of the movie's Rapier. Scimitars were mentioned as precursors to the movie's Rapiers in the Confederation Handbook's Joan's Fighting Ships section...

Not News: Space Battleship Yamato
2017-10-11 -- Okay, we're going to level with you on this one: our site's CMS has a section called 'skeleton' where we put ideas for future Wing Commander updates. If we don't have time to write up an article or find screenshots, we'll leave notes for other CIC staff members. We update every day, so we work together to make sure there's something interesting.

Will it Blender?
2017-10-10 -- Here's a surprise treat for anyone interested in learning to make their own 3D spaceships: a two-part, 24-minute tutorial showing how to build a Union of Border Worlds Banshee using Blender! These excellent videos were created by a user named 백선모 and it's unclear where they were intended to be published.

Aren't You a Little Star Wars to Blow Up a Fralthra?
2017-10-09 -- In addition to being an extremely talented artist, Howard Day is a man who knows his explosions! Wing Commander II has two sets of 'ship killed' sprites, one for fighters and one for capital ships. As it turns out, both of them were taken straight from the Endor battle in the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi.

Grin and Behr It
2017-10-08 -- Well before Alexa and Siri, before even Merlin there was... Dani! One of the selling points of Privateer 2: The Darkening was that your ship's computer was voiced by British actress and presenter Dani Behr.

Ranks in Wing Commander IV
2017-10-07 -- Welcome to the third part of our practical Wing Commander ranks guide! The ranks in Wing Commander IV are most familiar to fans owing to the fact that the game's credits clearly identify many characters' full ranks and the DVD quality videos have allowed them to be carefully observed. But our review found some interesting notes - including a Navy rank not called out before and the fact that some of these are quite different from those seen in Wing Commander III!

Ranks in Wing Commander III
2017-10-06 -- After learning the rank system for the Wing Commander movie, we decided to take a look back at the full motion video games. We were surprised to find that what we thought we knew wasn't accurate: as it turns out, the ranks used in Wing Commander III are different from those seen in the later games! The ranks in WC3 are harder to track because of the lower quality video, but a careful review can determine them for every character.

Ranks in the Wing Commander Movie
2017-10-05 -- I was disappointed in myself recently when I realized I had never bothered to learn the rank insignias used in the Wing Commander movie. Just like the full motion video games, Chris Roberts' team developed an entire system of rank insignias that was never explained… just shown in action! AD was kind enough to grab some screenshots and as a result we have created this guide to identifying officers and enlisted men in the film.

Wing Commander Academy in Arabic
2017-10-04 -- Some time ago we reported that Wing Commander Academy had been translated and broadcast on TV in Arabic. Now streaming service Star Dima has the episodes available for viewing online! You can access the series here.

Back to the Shack
2017-10-03 -- RadioShackCatalogs is an excellent resource for nostalgia-craving tech fans! The site offers high quality scans of 66 years worth of Radio Shack catalog. We've done the hard work for you, though, and have located the one listing for a Wing Commander game: Wing Commander III in the 1996 catalog!

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