BREAKING NEWS: Is a New Wing Commander Already In the Works?

Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts shocked fans everywhere three weeks ago during an interview with G4. In a quote now etched in Wing Commander message board signatures everywhere, he announced of Wing Commander that "I feel re-energized, and I think I can come back... and push forward parts of the industry in terms of narrative and cinematic storytelling." The million dollar question was immediately: was he just talking about his hopes for the future... or is a new Wing Commander game already secretly in development?

The question sounds like the stuff of conspiracy thriller novels... but some strong evidence now suggests it may actually be true. Longtime contributor Banjo points us to a an April, 2011 article in the Detroit News about potential tax breaks for film and game projects in Michigan. It quotes a Chris Roberts of "Bl!nk Media International" as having expansive plans for game development in the state (or Quebec, should funding fall through.)

Chris Roberts, a principal in Bl!nk Media International Ltd., wants to make a video game that would take years to build and require full-time workers. But Michigan could lose out to Quebec if Bl!nk's application for $12.3 million in tax credits isn't approved soon, Roberts said. Bl!nk plans to hire 112 residents and spend $31.1 million here. "There'd be multiple games," Roberts said. "We'd be creating long-term employment in Michigan."
Is this our Chris Roberts? It's not an uncommon name--Wing Commander III even had two Chris Roberts' on its development team! A check of LinkedIn, however, confirms that Origin Systems' star developer now lists himself as "Chief Creative Officer of Bl!nk Media International." So: what is Bl!nk and is this project a Wing Commander game? It seemed like a dead end... until we were given this (unfortunately poor quality) scan of an infograph included in the print version of the Detroit News article:

Look at the the third line. Listed only as "Video Game" is a project exactly matching the numbers quoted about Chris (112 hires, 31.1 million dollars). Then, in the last column, under "scheduled project actors": Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, Tom Wilson, John Rhys-Davies.

Remember that no announcement has been made. However convincing may seem, it is all circumstantial evidence. It's possible Detroit News decided the list of actors themselves, based on Chris' history. Keep in mind also that the article is five months old and that it is discussing plans rather than anything that had yet been financed. But at the same time, that means it predates the G4 interview. IF Chris Roberts was planning a game with the Wing Commander III and IV cast in April and then telling G4 he hoped to revisit the franchise soon in August... at the very least, the direction seems like good news.

BREAKING NEWS: More Wing Commander Academy Details

TVShowsonDVD has more details about the Wing Commander Academy DVD release that we announced last week! They report that the set will be distributed in the United States by First Look Studios/Millennium, LLC with a $24.98 suggested retail price. There's also a new description and '3D' cover image:
A spirited and elite corps of novice fighter pilots attends the Wing Commander Academy in the year 2655. Often thrust into battle against the mighty and ruthless Kilrathi race, the crew must master daring manoeuvres and veer through constant danger to save the world. Sedate and honorable Maverick, devil-may-care and impulsive Maniac, and serious-minded, cautious and competent Archer make up a quarter of the cadet wing at the academy under their brilliant, if argumentative, captain, Commodore Tolwyn.

The set should be available for preorder at US retailers next week; eager buyers (and Canadians) can go ahead and place their order with Amazon Canada.

BREAKING NEWS: GOG Releases Ultima IV, V, VI Package!

More Ultima! GOG has released a package of the Ultima series' middle trilogy--Ultima IV, V and VI for just $5.99! You can purchase a copy here. This is exciting news for Origin fans everywhere. Although Ultima IV was already free, it's still included in this package! All three of these games predate Wing Commander, so there are no great references... or are there? Check back today, as we run a number of updates connecting Ultima V and VI to the Wing Commander saga! (And, as always, be sure to check Ultima Aeira for serious celebratory Ultima updates!)

Chris Roberts In and Around Ultima V

Ultima V is actually Chris Roberts' first credit at Origin Systems! His role in the project was largely support, but he was listed as one of the game's designer in the finished release. Following Origin tradition, players can actually find and interact Chris in the game itself! He appears as a farmer named Christopher (aka "Dibbs") in West Brittany. Here is his full conversation tree--which culminates in his explaining that he's working on something called Times of Lore... the first game he released at Origin!
Christopher
You see: a dashing young farmer.
Christopher: G'day, {name}!
Player: job
Christoper: I fiddle in the fields to keep me fed.
Player: dibb
Christoper: I see thou hast been speakin' with Phillip.
Player: phil
Christoper: He's me mate!
Player: mate
Christoper: Friend.
Player: fidd or fiel
Christoper: I pride myself in a job well done, even if one does not enjoy it.
Player: enjo or job or done
Christoper: What I really enjoy is writing works of fantasy.
Player: writ or fant
Christoper: I'm currently working on an epic called 'Times of Lore!'
Player: time or lore
Christoper: I hope to have it published soon.
Player: soon or publ
Christoper: Through Origin, of course. Wilt thou buy it?
Player: (any)
Christoper: Then I'll be of little help to you in the future!
Player: y
Christoper: Good! Enchanted, I'm sure, to have met such an enlightened soul. What a nice chap thou art.
Player: bye
Christoper: Ta, mate.

Changing the Face of Ultima

Christopher--and Times of Lore--would get the last laugh. When Richard Garriott redesigned the Ultima interface for Ultima VI, he based the streamlined user interface on the one used in Chris Roberts' recent hit! Shay Addams' The Official Book of Ultima records: "But the most sweeping change would appear in the interface. Influenced by the icon-based interface of Chris Roberts' Times of Lore, Garriott streamlined Ultima's 26 commands into ten icons, one of which was new. In previous games you would "ignite" a torch, "jimmy" a lock, and so on; the new "use" commands could be used for several such actions, reducing the necessary number of commands for the player to master and simplyfing the design work." (pp.83-84) You can see the change below--a great early example of Chris Roberts' cinematic sensibilities changing the face of gaming.

Sutek and Seggallion

It turns out a pair of Ultima V/VI characters are also TCS Tiger's Claw fighter pilots! If you boot up Wing Commander I's arcade TrainSim, you'll see a list of other players and their high scores. Two names that may appear are "Sutek" and "Seggallion"--who are both NPCs in Ultima V and VI! Sutek is a mage in Ultima V who loses his mind in Ultima VI. In Ultima V, Seggallion is a retired pirate... and in Ultima VI he is a knight from another world trapped in Brittannia who can accompany you in the game (going even further back, he originates as the main character in Origin's Knights of Legend). For good measure, a star in Wing Commander I's Vega Sector map is also named Seggallion! He gets around. You can learn more about both characters (including information on their appearances in other Ultima games not yet available via GOG) at the Codex of Ultima Wisdom.

A Match Made in Heaven

This isn't the first time Ultima VI and Wing Commander have lived together! As early as 1991, Origin had the idea to bundle the two titles together in a single value-priced release in the hopes of cross-pollinating between fans of both franchises. An Ultima VI/Wing Commander package was even one of the first CD-ROMs put out by Origin, and it went on to be re-released multiple times through Software Toolworks. These releases were especially cool in that they came in a full box and included all the manuals and artifacts.

Aren't You the Guy from Ultima?

Wing Commander IBM PC Credits Chris Roberts wasn't the only Wing Commander veteran to work on the second Ultima trilogy. In fact, we've run the numbers and nearly two thirds of the Wing Commander I team actually worked on Ultima IV, V or V! Here's the full list:
Chris Roberts - Ultima VI
Warren Spector - Ultima V
Steve Beeman - Ultima VI
Paul Isaac - Ultima V
Herman Miller - Ultima V, Ultima VI
Steve Muchow - Ultima V
John Miles - Ultima V, Ultima VI
Keith Berdak - Ultima VI
Daniel Bourbonnais - Ultima VI
Glen Johnson - Ultima V, Ultima VI
Denis Loubet - Ultima IV, Ultima V, Ultima VI
John Watson - Ultima VI
Steve Cantrell - Ultima VI
Marc Shaefgen - Ultima VI
Greg Paul Malone II - Ultima VI
Mike Romero - Ultima VI
Jeff Shelton - Ultima VI
Mike Harrison - Ultima VI
Cheryl Neeld - Ultima VI

Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

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

Kilrathi Durasteel Polished For Homeworld Mod
2016-02-04 -- L.I.F.

Wing Commander Finally Gets Its Due?
2016-02-03 -- Den of Geek recently ran an article on the 50 Underappreciated DOS Games. As one of the best selling and highest rated DOS games of all time, we'd probably agree with Space Game Junkie that Wing Commander doesn't really fit on this list. Rather, this instead seem like a missed opportunity to highlight something like Wing Commander Armada or perhaps Privateer 2.

Ron Cobb's Wing Commander Concept Art Found!
2016-02-02 -- LOAF recently uncovered several pieces of exotic concept art for the Wing Commander Movie! These treasures were drafted by Ron Cobb, who is famous for creating some of the iconic imagery for Star Wars, Alien, The Last Starfighter and more. Each is dated 1997 before Chris Roberts and producer Todd Moyer decided to go in a different visual direction, although some of the promotional material such as the 1998 SFX WC magazine still credits him with the "texture" of the film.

Star Citizen Fan Creates Wing Commanderific Squadron 42 Box
2016-02-01 -- Illusive_Man has mocked up a pretty clever Squadron 42 box based on the classic Wing Commander 3 art. It mirrors the original fonts, backgrounds and all of the arrangement. Mark Hamill and John Rhys-Davies' positions are the same, as is the placement of the catlike alien and their exploding ships.

Annual Community Vote Begins!
2016-01-31 -- We've left 2015 in the past, but there's one more thing to do as we move further into 2016. You've sent nominations in over the past month, and now we're kicking off our annual awards to recognize the fan projects and websites that had some of the most impact over the past year. We had an even larger number of worthy projects this year than normal, and we definitely wanted to get this out before the end of January, so excuse the brief listings of each choice.

Medium Size Capships Get Visual Upgrades & New Orders
2016-01-30 -- Back on the Homeworld front, L.I.F.

The $6 Million Dollar Game Arrives on 3DO
2016-01-29 -- Flashback Nation, a Twitter account dedicated to all things retro, recently put up this scanned cover page of the Winter '94 issue of 3DO Magazine UK. Wing Commander 3 is featured prominently on the cover, and the issue included a review of the "$6 Million Dollar Game." The coverdisk (which appears to be free sampler disk #1) would not have included the playable 3DO demo of Wing 3.

Border Worlds Pilot Defies His Opponent
2016-01-28 -- When DefianceIndustries isn't modding Secret Ops or lending support to other fan projects, what does he like to do for fun? Make a gorgeous wallpaper! This one sticks his excellent Banshee model front and center as he recreates one of the most famous advertisement renders for Wing Commander 4.

MetalJesusRocks The Price Of Freedom
2016-01-27 -- Today we have Metal Jesus Rocks' review of Wing Commander 4. This was actually created a while ago, and despite MJR's popularity, managed to stay under our radar until now. The quirky reviewer covers retro gaming with a dash of his own heavy metal soundtrack tossed in.

"Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Cheesy Balls"
2016-01-26 -- LOAF recently uncovered a neat "alphabet" sheet for the Wing Commander Movie. It shows sixteen symbols of the type used in the alien scene translations. There are several very distinct Kilrathi writing styles observed from the dots and dashes in the SM2 Dralthi cockpit to the iconic Kiranka claw that debuted in Wing Commander 3.

Universe Explored In A Flat Way
2016-01-25 -- Space Game Junkie recently conducted a live stream playthrough of the Wing Commander Flat Universe fan game. We've posted lots of screenshots of both the top-down action as well as the flow sequences aboard Daedalus Station, but these images don't do the game justice. Videos like the one below are much better at showing off how cool it can be to just walk around in a familiar WC setting.

Classic Opponents Engage In Aerial Dogfight
2016-01-24 -- NinjaLA has combined two of the most iconic Wing Commander ships into one pretty nifty sketch. He's gotten some practice making both Dralthi and Hornets look really good lately, so it's no surprise that they're finally pictured together here. The Confed fighter needs to lean even heavier on its afterburner if it's going to avoid a pancake/wing collision though!

Homeworld Mod Experiments With Turret Upgrades
2016-01-23 -- Here are some neat screenshots of another cool concept L.I.F.

Still Time to Back the Wing Commander Album
2016-01-22 -- Physical copies of George Oldziey's reorchestrated Wing Commander album have been landing in mailboxes the world over. If you missed out on the crowdfunding campaign, there are still a few copies available. Fans that donate $20 to offset the remaining production and shipping costs will receive a digital copy of the album, the collectible physical CD (including a digital copy) is available for those who contribute $40 and an autographed album is $60.

WCP Hardpoint Editor Helps Modders Mount Weapons
2016-01-21 -- gr1mre4per has created another useful tool for all of the folks working on Secret Ops mods and enhancements these days. As the ships become more detailed, it can actually become harder to find suitable flat surfaces to place weapons turrets. grim has streamlined that process with app designed to streamline this whole process.

You're Either An Earthworm Or An Eagle
2016-01-20 -- And not every model out there can be a majestic eagle. Dark Sentinel is a super talented artist and one of the best Nephilim creators in the world. But sometimes you're limited by the subject matter, and that's made the bugs' capship missile a challenging project.

Shot Like a Movie -- On Film, Not Video
2016-01-19 -- The Documents Archive is where we try to keep track of the various development and promotional materials that we cover in our daily news updates. We've already rounded up a good selection of classic advertisement materials, but from time to time something new shows up. Late last year, gaming hub VGBounceHouse shared these two printed advertisements for Wing 3 and 4.

PC Gamer On The Most Important Games
2016-01-18 -- PC Gamer is well known for their Top 100 lists where they annually rank the best computer games in the world. While this ranking does stretch back through gaming history, it can be quite subjective with frequent changes year-to-year and a skew towards the newest games. Their latest article attempts to create a slightly more meaningful list by selecting the Top 50 "Most Important" PC games of history.

Homeworld Mod Refreshes Vesuvius & Improves Small Arms Fire
2016-01-17 -- It might seem like we just saw this Vesuvius class carrier in the news, and we did! But last week it was being featured in the Secret Ops MUP, and now DefianceIndustries' design has been imported to the Homeworld Remastered mod as Wingnuts continue to cross-collaborate in order to maximize each other's potential. The gun turrets are still not quite complete, and you can see in the images below that L.

Forums Fun Just A Click Away
2016-01-16 -- Here at the CIC we post a lot about various fan projects, complex RPG, gorgeous art and even fan fiction, but one thing we haven't much highlighted are the everyday interactions among Wingnuts at the CIC Forums. You might think after 17 and a half years that we've discussed every topic out there, but posters continue to come up with new perspectives on our classic franchise. LeHah recently challenged fellow posters to cast the Wing Commander novels with live actors.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff