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. Recent updates:


Scary Ship Stalks Spacelanes
2017-08-22 -- Dark Sentinel has managed to once again create one of the most detailed Nephilim capships ever rendered. The subject today is a dark and brooding Orca class destroyer. It's followed up by a smaller Barracuda corvette.

Album Campaign Reaches $15,000 Milestone!
2017-08-21 -- George Oldziey's campaign to create a second Wing Commander Album had an amazing weekend! After getting a big boost from some generous matching funds, the story was picked up at Slashdot. Altogether, this brought in more than $5,000 in just the last four days, which means the project successfully hit its $15,000 minimum threshold!

Eclipse Glasses Still In Short Supply In 2790
2017-08-21 -- There's a Privateer 2 News Bulletin that's especially timely today! This blurb was a way of conveying that the price of optic nerve commodities was increasing on planet Hephaestus (and it was written as a poem because P2 is weird). Specifically, "magnifiers" had been used to view the planet's eclipse rather than "smoked glass," hence the need for these medical suppliers.

Happy 19th Birthday, CIC!
2017-08-20 -- Welcome to another CIC Birthday Party! Counting our grand opening event in 1998, this is the 20th time we've gathered to celebrate how the Wing Commander series has brought together this amazing community. It's always a great opportunity to re-energize with our fellow fans and perform some important site refreshes.

Happy Birthday Sing Along!
2017-08-20 -- Origin composer George Oldziey recorded this extra special video message to help celebrate the CIC's 19th! Sing along at home with everyone else and join the fun! His campaign to make a second Wing Commander album had a successful matching drive this past week and is now up to $12,500!

Happy 19th From DefianceIndustries!
2017-08-20 -- DefianceIndustries kindly sent along these cool graphics to commemorate the CIC's 19th Birthday. But wait, there's more! People have been asking us about CIC gear for a while, and it's been a long time since we've had anything new.

Check Out Flat Universe's Nav System & New Screens
2017-08-20 -- Here's an exciting look at the next iteration of Wing Commander Flat Universe! For starters, there's a peek at the depth of the game's navigation system. The Maslas Brothers have created an entire database out of the Prophecy universe map for pilots to explore.

And Then Play Flat Universe Multiplayer!
2017-08-20 -- And you can now register for the open Flat Universe multiplayer alpha! The game will be playable on both 32 & 64 bit versions of Windows, Linux and MacOS! It incorporates numerous improvements from smaller scale tests and is the coolest version yet!

Or Play The New Model Upgrade Pack!
2017-08-20 -- DefianceIndustries also has a new release ready to go for the slick Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. This new build revamps several major cap ships and implements the joinable Skate clusters. Grab it here (65 MB exe) and have fun!

Document Archive Keeps Growing
2017-08-20 -- In our daily updates, we sometimes share fascinating background information related to the development of a Wing Commander product. This could be never before seen storyboards, pictures from the film set, early draft scripts that differ wildly from the final version, or high resolution source files used in the creation of the box art. In 2004, we launched the Document Archive with the purpose of collecting and categorizing these materials so our visitors can more easily research the development history of their favorite titles.

Prophecy Completes Holovids FMV Archive
2017-08-20 -- It's an exciting day for the Holovids section - all of Prophecy's cinematics have been converted and made available for streaming. This means that every single cinematic from the FMV games are now online! Continuing his work from previous years with WC3, WC4, and Privateer 2, AD has taken the DVD-quality cinematics and added them to Holovids for your viewing pleasure.

CIC Now With Added Arena
2017-08-20 -- A little under a month ago we were all celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wing Commander Arena's release, so this seemed an appropriate time to revisit our coverage of the game. In doing so, our Background section has now been given a dedicated Arena page, and our original Arena mini-site has been brought in line with the rest of the site. Our dedicated Background page can be found here, and if you missed it don't forget to check out Chris' amazing 10th anniversary coverage!

Download List Gets Birthday Update
2017-08-20 -- Over the years, the CIC has gathered a huge number of files in our archives from all types of places. We've been working on organizing many of those files, 116 gigabytes of them to be exact, in our Downloads section. It's been given a birthday update to cover the things we've posted the last few years.

Any Questions?
2017-08-20 -- Here at the CIC, we get asked a lot of questions. Sometimes they are even about Wing Commander. But when we noticed that we were no longer getting so many questions about running Prophecy on a 3Dfx card in Windows 95, we decided that it was time to act!

Cake!
2017-08-20 -- It's a CIC Birthday, so here's a CIC Birthday Cake!

New Poll: Still With Us?
2017-08-20 -- The traditional birthday poll is now up with another year added to it. How long have you been coming to the CIC? We get a steady stream of newcomers, but we know a lot of Wingnuts have been with us since even before the very beginning!

Thank You!
2017-08-20 -- And that's another year down! The community came through again with some really cool releases, and hopefully you enjoy the updates we've made at the CIC as well. A big thanks to George Oldziey, the Maslas Brothers and DefianceIndustries for their contributions to the event.

You Are Cordially Invited...
2017-08-19 -- To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 19th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in #WingnutFeaturing...Some of the best Wingnuts you'll ever meet!

Last Chance To Grab Matching Funds For Album Campaign!
2017-08-18 -- It's been a productive 24 hours for George Oldziey's mission to make a second Wing Commander album. The project is well past $10,000 now, but there's still some room to go if fans would like to take advantage of a generous Wingnut's matching pledge. Overall, about $4,000 needs to be contributed in the next week for the project to get the green light.

High Caliber Plunkett Cruises Into Upgrade Pack
2017-08-17 -- Here's a peek at the latest addition to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. DefianceIndustries has finished texturing Dark Sentinel's Plunkett and getting it to function in the Vision Engine. This powerful cruiser now has some high quality detailing to match its imposing stature.

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