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!
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.

1990s Chris Roberts Talks Wing Commander, Star Citizen
2015-11-27 -- YouTuber RetroMantic has dug up an old interview with Chris Roberts from 1996, sometime between the releases of Wing Commander IV and the Darkening. He talks briefly about getting into game development and his first commercial projects before moving on to Wing Commander and Privateer. The interview closes with Roberts stating his views on the future of videogames, which he sees moving in two distinct directions: scripted, solo games with a focus on story-telling, and massively online multiplayer, where players set out to achieve some goal of their choosing within a living universe.

Happy Thanksgiving!
2015-11-26 -- It's every Wingnut's favorite Pilgrim-themed holiday today, and so we're here to remind you about an important Wing Commander product. The Wing Commander Movie novelization and its sequel, Pilgrim Stars, were released as timely tie-ins in 1999. But the third novel never got a proper release...

Blue Origin Rocket Nails Vertical Descent
2015-11-25 -- Fans create awesome Wing Commander content every day, but sometimes it's nice to see the real thing! Blue Origin successfully landed their New Shepard rocket for the first time earlier this week after the vehicle briefly reached the boundaries of space. There's been some debate over how this accomplishment compares to SpaceX's attempts to land their orbital vehicle on a floating platform, but that's just noise.

Hornet Evades Determined Attacker
2015-11-24 -- NinjaLA has another nice starry nighttime sketch. This one features a Hornet light fighter evading laser blasts. It looks like the shadowy figure in hot pursuit could be the very same Dralthi that Ninja shared last month, which would be great continuity.

Secret Ops Ship Swap Project Looks Very Promising
2015-11-23 -- DefianceIndustries has kicked off a fantastic project to swap out the ships in Secret Ops. While there are some great fan patches out there that upgrade the engine resolution, graphical effects and even add DVD quality video, the ship models remain limited by their 1997-1998 vintage constraints. Defiance has recently been able to figure out how to trick the game engine into accepting higher poly count fighters by treating them as subdividable units.

Roberts Space Industries Moves To New Home
2015-11-22 -- Chris Roberts and team at the Los Angeles-based headquarters of Cloud Imperium Games are in the process of relocating this weekend. They've closed up shop at the historic 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica now that they've run out of room to expand in that location. Here's some pictures of the Wing Commander decorations that they used to decorate (until yesterday).

3D Prophecy Possible With Special Wrapper & Glasses
2015-11-21 -- Alien Grey recorded an interesting video showing off how he got Wing Commander Prophecy running in helifax's 3D Vision Wrapper. This also takes advantage of the OpenGL upgrade to make the game compatible with the software (and also look great!).

EA's CFO Talks Funding, Digital Downloads & More
2015-11-20 -- Gamespot and and a number of other media outlets have picked up on a portion of a speech from Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen that was made at the recent Global Technology Conference in San Fransisco. In typical click bait fashion, many sites are latching on to a single comment about acquiring companies in a larger presentation that touches on everything from DLC, digital distribution, mobile strategy and micro transactions. What things like the Star Wars IP allow them to do, how to reach new markets and what to do with their over-a-billion-dollars profit this year are also discussed.

Wing Commander Stars Discuss Return To The Action
2015-11-19 -- To celebrate the third anniversary of the initial livestream that concluded their first crowdfunding campaign, Roberts Space Industries has unleashed a media blitz for Squadron 42. Mark Hamill is front and center in several new videos talking about his return to video games. He's quizzed by both PC Gamer and GameStar magazines about the differences between Star Citizen's motion capture process and Wing Commander's green screen filming.

Battled Hardened Kilrathi Ready For War
2015-11-18 -- Origin artist Denis Loubet has completed a new ink drawing of a Kilrathi warrior. As the creator of the original characters like Thrakhath and Hobbes, seeing his modern perspective on the feline race is very interesting. On top of just looking "right," he's managed to impart a very sage imperial quality to the character.

RPG & CCG Development Steadily Forges Ahead
2015-11-17 -- capi has continued to make great dual path progress on both his Wing Commander RPG and the digital WC CCG. He's expanded the Elegy of Sivar campaign and is now more than half way done translating Kilrathi phrases to help with immersion. Additional WC Aces designs have also been incorporated as capi works to add lots of fan background material to further boost the project's atmosphere.

Revisit The Saga Of The Warrior King
2015-11-16 -- Den of Geek has shone a light on one of the strangest cartoon crossovers of all time, The Saga of the Warrior King. In November of 1996, Wing Commander fans excited to see the eighth episode of Wing Commander Academy were treated to an odd surprise when the show was deferred for a half hour so that an episode of Mortal Kombat could air instead. What nobody realized at the time was that four different shows had inexplicably collaborated so a space viking voiced by Michael Dorn could hop through Street Fighter to Savage Dragon to Mortal Kombat and finally Wing Commander while chasing a mysterious object.

German Edition Of WC Saga Coming Soon
2015-11-15 -- Luke has announced that the long-anticipated German language conversion of Wing Commander Saga will be released November 28. It was originally planned for development shortly after the original game's 2012 release, but a decade of mod development left the original team weary of tackling such a major project. Fortunately for the large audience of German Wingnuts out there, Luke assumed the mantle and ran with it.

Twins Review Wing Commander
2015-11-14 -- Hey there wonderful Wingnuts! It is the weekend, and I may or may not have had a little to drink this fine evening, so I'm going to just leave this ridiculous Wing Commader Movie review here for you to enjoy or not enjoy at your leisure. Long live the Confederation!

Deep Discounts For Wing Commander, Other Classics at GOG
2015-11-13 -- If you still haven't picked up Wing Commander on GOG, you have just a few more hours to take advantage of a massive discount. GOG's entire Wing Commander and Privateer catalog can be had for just $9.50, an 80% reduction off the list price.

Vega Battle Fleets Take To The Skies
2015-11-12 -- Here's some fun shots of Mike Peters' WC Vega film project with a photoshopped starry background. The results are surprisingly good considering these were made out of simple household materials in his high school film class. This is the progress he'd made with ship designs through this past summer, but we're hoping the project resumes this fall with his new students.

WC Toolbox Supports Additional Encodings & File Types
2015-11-11 -- A new version of the WC Toolbox game data editing package has been released with a variety of extra features. It now supports character encodings and can be tested with executables and the 'midgame' file format. There is also a brand new console interface.

Wing Commander Theme Remixed With Flair
2015-11-10 -- Adam Monroe has put together a great keyboard cover of the original Wing Commander theme. It looks like he's playing a piano in the video below, but it's actually much more. He started with a live recording of himself playing the notes and then he took this input to digitally enhanced it with orchestral tie-ins.

Klavs Wakes Up His Escort Carrier Model
2015-11-09 -- Klavs is back with a new capship model, the Wake class escort carrier. This particular beauty is the famous TCS Tarawa. It's a design that he played with extensively a couple years ago and has come back to complete with some very nice polish.

More Than One Way To Skin A Kat...
2015-11-08 -- We've got a fun new poll starting today that asks about your favorite method for carrying out a capship strike. Lots of people might generally prefer conventional guns or standard ordnance, but that just scratches the surface. There's different ways you can use the normal armament, plus there's a host of special weapons pilots sometimes have access to.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff