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.

Magic DOSBox Streamlines Android Wing Commander Experience
2016-05-04 -- DOSBox Turbo has long been a popular option for getting classic PC games to run on modern Android devices, but it's not the only choice out there. Magic DOSBox is a relatively new entrant that takes game emulation in a different direction. Rather than focus on speed optimization or branching out to Windows compatibility, Magic DOSBox focuses on playability in the tablet or smartphone form factor.

Fan Film Follows Fearless Freddie
2016-05-03 -- Andromeda Briggs has put together a thoughtful Wing Commander tribute video. His focus is, of course, on Freddie Prinze Jr's role in the WC Movie. A lot of work has clearly gone into this project to tease out more than four minutes of young Blair looking alternately pensive and emotional.

Fans Take On Prototype Midway Model
2016-05-02 -- DefianceIndustries has recently decided to take a stab at rendering an odd prototype in the CIC archives. The ship depicted in these black & white photos and blurry images is commonly seen as the precursor to the TCS Midway. It has many of the megacarrier's design elements built in, although the final version smooths out some of the hard lines, centralizes the bridge tower and separates/stretches out the left and right hull sections.

Wing Blender Works With Even More WC Ships
2016-05-01 -- Kevin Caccamo has released a new version of Wing Blender. The program is a helpful tool for exporting and importing models to or from the Vision Engine into the open source Blender 3D modeling suite. This potentially makes manipulation of the Prophecy and Secret Ops ships much easier.

How Will You Make It Through?
2016-04-30 -- There's a new poll out today that challenges you to think about what Wing Commander product fans would most like to have by their side if they were stranded on an island. Is the goal entertainment or survival? There's lots of great choices, but you can only pick one!

Two Retro Reviews For The Price Of One
2016-04-29 -- The aptly named Emotional Multimedia Ride blog has posted classic reviews of both WC1 and WC2. It helps that both games are bundled together in a very affordable GOG bundle! The articles are written in a way that highlights their strong points and enduring charm after two and a half decades.

Model Upgrade Project Invites New Vampire In
2016-04-28
Tweak Guides Help Maximize The Wing Commander Experience
2016-04-27 -- In addition to his guide to Wing Commander 3, PhilsComputerLab has published helpful "tweak guides" for Wing Commanders 1 and 2 as well as Privateer. GOG does a good job of preconfiguring their games to automatically run on most people's systems, but there are a small percentage of folks who encounter compatibility or speed issues. It's not difficult to optimize a setup to run on a specific computer, but people who buy the game at GOG for the convenience factor may not be familiar how to do this.

Wing Commander Crossover Appears In Popular Mass Effect Fan Project
2016-04-26 -- Klavs spotted a Wing Commander reference in a bit of an unusual place. The Mass Effect-based web comic Marauder Shields is a fan made alternate ending to Mass Effect 3. The authors are apparently Wing Commander fans, and they've created a Christopher Blair character to fit into their story.

Outdoors Rapier Photo Shines New Light On Design
2016-04-25 -- Lightning Picture of the Day recently posted this nifty photo of what appears to be the Wing Commander Movie's Rapiers after construction. The caption references Pinewood, and if it's the same historic Pinewood Studios, then that would be where Privateer 2: The Darkening was filmed. This somewhat contradicts the info we have for the canopy photos which were believed to have been shot in Luxembourg.

Capship Combat Mod Has New Ships & A New Name
2016-04-24 -- Arraen has posted some new images from his starship combat tribute mod. He's retextured two of Klavs' destroyers to act as workhorses of the Confed and Kilrathi fleets, and both of these are quite solid. In order to create a counter to the Venture, he's also beefed up the Jalkehi to act as a type of light corvette.

Diverse Designs Incorporated Into Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack
2016-04-23 -- It hasn't been very long since we first saw the upgraded Moray and Wasp models, but DefianceIndustries has already got both running smoothly in the Vision Engine. The Nephilim medium fighter is a very common sight in contested space, so it's nice to see how good looking it is out there. And of course, they'll look even better as they're being shot down!

Huge Prophecy Spread in Old Korean Mag
2016-04-22 -- AD has come across a Korean blog that posts scans from old domestic gaming magazines. One post showcases a massive 18-page spread on Wing Commander: Prophecy from around April 1998. At first glance it appears to be a brief game guide or walkthrough, but the article concludes with a rating of 95%, so it could also be a review with a lot of background information thrown in.

Gamers Nexus Interviews Origin Super Stars
2016-04-21 -- Warren Spector has been away from making games directly for a few years, but he's hopping back into it with the development of System Shock 3. Gamers Nexus recently caught up with him and asked some questions about the gaming industry. Discussion quickly turned to the classic Origin days and company history.

Classic Rapiers Spotted In Initial Movie Sketch
2016-04-20 -- If anyone in the world were to get Wing Commander presents on their birthday in 2016, it'd be LOAF. He's celebrating his 35th this week, and he got a super cool snippet of WC art as a present. We know from the beautiful Dean McCall concept renders that a more familiar looking F-44 Rapier II was used in some of the very early work.

Confed Interceptor Upgraded For Secret Ops
2016-04-19 -- DefianceIndustries has completed his Wasp model with the addition of its massive booster pod. It's now being integrated into the Vision Engine as part of the Secret Ops Model Upgrade pack. In the grand scheme of things, we almost always launch and immediate fire our booster to intercept incoming attackers.

Crusade Livestream Now Available Online
2016-04-18 -- The 25th anniversary playthrough of The Secret Missions 2 has finally been posted to YouTube! Fans who missed the live streaming event can now find the archived video below. It's not just full of slick flying against Hhriss and Snakeirs - the nonstop commentary includes lots of great trivia and Wing Commander stories.

LOAF Gets A Wicked Kilrathi Tattoo!
2016-04-17 -- LOAF has further increased his Wingnut devotion with an awesome Wing Commander tattoo! He recently had a section of Kilrathi characters permanently inscribed on his collar. It's the same text that Paladin hid under his jacket in the Wing Commander Movie.

Freedom Flight "Half" Ebook Released!
2016-04-16 -- Baen has partially released Wing Commander Freedom Flight has an ebook! The company is known for putting out draft half-manuscripts for its upcoming novels, so even though the book is already long complete in this case, they've issues the first portion as a preview ahead of its full July 5 debut. Fans can grab it now for $6.

WC Saga Deutsch Up To Version 1.06
2016-04-15 -- Long time visitors will be familiar with Wing Commander Saga Plus, a series of patches to improve the user interface, usability and modability of the original Wing Commander Saga project. Luke and about a dozen other contributors have been slugging away at these enhancements with the goal of creating a German language conversion of the 2012 mod. Darkest Dawn was released last November, and is currently up to version 1.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff