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.

Confed Fighters To The Solar Empire Rescue
2016-10-25 -- After several rounds of exotic Nephilim fighters and capships, it's time to jump back to Confed fighters that have been recently added to the Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. There's some nice lookers in this bunch! We don't see the Crossbow a whole lot, so when we do it's usually a treat.

Wing Commander Album 25% Funded, New CD Option Added
2016-10-24 -- George Oldziey has added a new tier to his campaign to create a second live Wing Commander album. Fans who missed the first orchestra recording can acquire a CD and digital download of that album for $40. The ongoing campaign has crossed $9,000 with three weeks to go.

The Price Of Freedom Ebook Announced!
2016-10-23 -- There's more great news for Wing Commander fans out of Baen! ^Death_ spotted that their January (3, 2017) Bundle will include Wing Commander: The Price of Freedom as an ebook. This is the novelization of Wing Commander 4 and will be their fourth electronic release after Freedom Flight, Fleet Action and Heart of the Tiger.

Watch Academy Live Stream Today!
2016-10-22 -- The Imperial News Network will be hosting LOAF today for a special live commentary of Wing Commander Academy! A Star Citizen themed chat will kick off at 11:30 AM Pacific US time (2:30 PM Eastern US, 10:30 PM BST London) on their Twitch channel. The Wing Commander event should begin around 1 PM Pacific (4 PM Eastern US, Midnight BST) and the series takes about four hours to stream in its entirety!

Space Sim First Look: Everspace
2016-10-21 -- Today we take a look at Everspace, an upcoming space sim from the creator of Galaxy On Fire. Everspace promises a non-linear storyline, upgradable ships and a pick-up-and-play experience. The player can scour a vast universe for resources or take on one of the hostile factions.

Help Save Academy, Get Rewards, Watch LOAF Dance!
2016-10-20 -- The campaign to archive and digitize the lost art of Wing Commander Academy has reached a major milestone! Ten of the thirty boxes available have now been funded. LOAF has posted a cool video thanking everyone for their support and sharing some of the interesting discoveries that this project has already uncovered such as ship names and confirmation of suspected universe lore information.

Watch WC Album's Reorchestration Process
2016-10-19 -- George Oldziey has posted the first update to his campaign to make a second symphonic Wing Commander album. It's a video that goes into great detail about the process he uses to recreate his classic WC music for a live orchestra. There's some very interesting technical challenges as well as clever techniques that he employs to bring everything together - a lot of work goes into it!

All Talented Hands To Action Stations
2016-10-18 -- We're past the half way point of Inktober, and NinjaLA has kept up the daily sketching! He's got two new Wing Commander drawings that are pretty nifty. The first features a well-accomplished Confed pilot stepping away from her fighter after a mission.

Nephilim Fleet Invades Solar Empire
2016-10-17 -- Last week we saw a variety of smaller Nephilim ships added to the Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. Now we can see Nomada_Firefox's larger mainline craft: the Orca destroyer, Hydra cruiser, Leviathan carrier and Kraken shipkiller. It's a pretty well-outfitted bug fleet!

Help Preserve Wing Commander Academy!
2016-10-16 -- Archiving Wing Commander material is a subject that's very near and dear to us here at the CIC. From the University of Texas to EA Mythic and dozens of other projects, we've been on a mission to preserve Wing Commander history for nearly two decades. The next great adventure kicks off today as we attempt to save thousands of pieces of artwork created during the production of Wing Commander Academy.

WCM Tape Conversion Complete!
2016-10-15 -- LOAF recently completed a very cool archiving project. Over a hundred tapes full of production material from the Wing Commander Movie have been digitized! They include a variety of things such as content for computer displays and background recording of the sets.

Second Wing Commander Album Kickstarter Launched!
2016-10-14 -- The campaign to create a second album of fully orchestrated Wing Commander music is now live! Origin composer George Oldziey has kicked things off with a recap of the fantastic efforts Wing Commander fans undertook in 2014. Last time, more than $46,000 was raised to enable the live recording of fantastic WC music with a full symphony.

Homeworld Mod Gets New Rapier & Maybe Snakeir Next
2016-10-13 -- You've seen DefianceIndustries' high res beauty shots, and here's the pictures of the new Border Worlds Rapier in L.I.F.

Well Armed Rapier Patrols The Frontier
2016-10-12 -- The venerable Rapier has been outfitted for the Border Worlds in DefianceIndustries' latest design. It's a derivative of the variant seen in Wing Commander 2 with some nice streamlining improvements to the cockpit and airframe, plus a badass stormfire gun mounted underneath. There's also a light coat of rusty UBW paint applied here and there.

Solar Empire Mod Branches Out With More Nephilim Designs
2016-10-11 -- Nomada_Firefox's Nephilim fighters were a big hit, so he's moved on to even more designs. The first shots below reveal the Triton transport and Lamprey utility ship, but he's actually evolved beyond that to several new designs that will fill critical roles in his Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. Lots of people have made new human and Kilrathi craft over the years, but original Nephilim designs are pretty rare.

Prophecy Unlimited Removes Ship Limit & Enhances Gun Mechanics
2016-10-10 -- gr1mre4per has taken the Vision Engine to new heights yet again for his Prophecy Unlimited project. Now that many of the constraints on individual ships have been lifted, he's moved on to hacking the engine to allow for vast numerous of objects at one time. The screenshot below shows off hundreds of dogfighting fighters - check out that radar display!

Heads Up! New Poll Inbound
2016-10-09 -- There's a new poll today that asks what your favorite heads up display is. Is it one of the early optional virtual HUDs that just dropped away the physical dashboard? Or did you prefer one of the later purpose-built displays designed for maximum visibility?

Privateer 2.39: The Cheapening
2016-10-09 -- has an unusual sale going through Monday where a mixed bag of EA games are on sale. Each title is 60% off individually, and the whole lot is 85% off.

Visit The Argent Sector's Slickest CIC
2016-10-08 -- Flat Universe's latest picture update features the CIC! Not the CIC here at, but rather, the combat information center for Daedalus Station.

Late Night Dub Fight: Wing Commander 3
2016-10-07 -- Improv troupe Late Night Dub Fight puts a new twist on classic cartoons, videogames and movies by redubbing the voices as show host Ian Horner picks the video material and assigns a character to each panelist. At PAX East in Boston, the group turned their attention to part of the Wing Commander 3 introduction. about Wing 3.

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