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.

Last Glimpse at the Origin Hiring Process
2017-01-17 -- Here's a really cool artifact for Origin fans out there. James was going through some old things and found this nifty postcard he received from OSI. It's an acknowledgement letter sent out to potential applicants who had submitted resumes.

Murphy Destroyer Prepares For MUP Debut
2017-01-16 -- The current Secret Ops MUP alpha test is all about fighter craft, but the capships are definitely coming. Check out this preview of the badass Murphy class destroyer for a taste of what to expect. It'll have some technical upgrades when it arrives in the game with both the small hangar bay and large plasma gun available as targetable components.

Flat Universe Recruiting Pilots For Multiplayer Test
2017-01-15
Votes Still Being Collected For Community Contest
2017-01-14 -- Both of our annual community votes are now in full swing, and you still have a chance to cast your ballot if you missed the initial kickoff. A long list of talented Wing Commander endeavors are in the running for Fan Project and Website of the Year. All of them have made fantastic contributions over the past twelve months, but which ones made the biggest impact on you?

Wing Commander SNES Prototype Salvaged
2017-01-13 -- A while back, LOAF managed to snag a prototype of Wing Commander for the Super Nintendo off eBay. This general purpose game pak originated at MindScape, who were responsible for porting both Wing Commander and Secret Missions to the Nintendo console. It has room for two EPROMs that contain game code and some SRAM memory that could potentially serve various purposes, notably keeping savegames alive when paired with a battery.

Homeworld Guide Adds Kilrathi, Mod Adds Special Supply Transports
2017-01-12 -- L.I.F.

Party Like It's 1995 Again
2017-01-11 -- Before we get too far into the year, we need to remind fans that their 1995 calendars are good as new again! Just like in 2006, the special WC3 calendars included in the Premiere Edition direct from EA can be used in 2017 since all of the days match up. Note that this is not the same as the more common Kilrathi Saga calendar made for 1997.

Sale at the Kindle Store!
2017-01-11 -- There's lots of book news already this month! Amazon.com has discounted the recently released Wing Commander novels available in its Kindle library.

Condor Now Ready to Resupply
2017-01-10 -- DefianceIndustries' latest ship might look like the familiar Search and Rescue ship he completed last month, but this is actually the tanker/refueler version. It has a slightly different model to account for the docking port that transfers munitions and fuel. Although it won't see action in the Secret Ops MUP due to its sole appearance in Prophecy, this bodes well for our chances of seeing the enhancement pack make the leap over to its Vision Engine sibling after the current upgrade is complete.

False Colors Confirmed for April!
2017-01-09 -- Hot on the heels of TPoF's release, Baen has confirmed a date for Wing Commander False Colors! It will become available electronically on April 4, 2017 - about a month after Action Stations. The first half will become available this Sunday to those who preorder from Baen direct, and there's also an option to get it and half a dozen books at a discounted rate as part of the April Bundle.

Merry Christmas Hobbes!
2017-01-08 -- If you're like us and still have your Christmas lights up, then this update is still just as timely as ever. Origin artist Denis Loubet has released a public snapshot of the awesome Wing Commander-themed Christmas card he sent to his Patreon subscribers this year. Contributors also got access to high resolution digital TIFs so they could reproduce the card for their Wingnut friends in future years.

Battle of the Medium Fighter Sketches
2017-01-07 -- It's two NinjaLA sketches for the price of one today! First is a very well done Dralthi with nice hull shading and perspective. Ninja credits his digital pencil set for helping make the drawing authentic here.

First Service Pack for WC Saga Deutsch and WCS Plus
2017-01-06 -- Luke and the rest of the team continue to extend and refine the Wing Commander Saga experience. The previous release (1.0.

Wojo Wows with Map Mojo for Pilgrim Project
2017-01-05 -- Wojo has been working on his Pilgrim Legacy mod for quite some time, and although we haven't seen too many updates recently, he popped him to provide this nifty New Year's update. First up is an absolutely gorgeous starmap depiction of Pilgrim space in the shadow of the Confederarion. It's done in the style of the WC Movie's opening credits map and is quite stunning.

Secret Ops MUP Playable Alpha Released!
2017-01-04 -- The first test release for the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack has arrived! This initial version provides a massive graphical overhaul for the game with some major visual enhancements created by DefianceIndustries and Dark Sentinel. This alpha only has fighters and small craft at the moment, but capships and other items will be added in the future.

The Price Of Freedom Is $6.99!
2017-01-03 -- Wing Commander fans get to start the year off on high note with today's release of The Price of Freedom as an ebook! It's now available at all major digital storefronts for $6.99.

A Look Back At 2016
2017-01-02 -- The past year has been another exciting adventure for Wing Commander fans. With 366 days of material to go through, it can be hard to remember all of the significant things that happened in the past twelve months, so that's why we did it for you! January started off with the big news that George Oldziey's physical Wing Commander album was shipping, and fans who missed the earlier crowdfunding effort even got a way to acquire a few surplus copies.

Happy New Year!
2017-01-01 -- Happy New Year Wingnuts! It's 2017 and we have a fresh opportunity to make another exciting year for the WC community. All of the fan projects and websites highlighted yesterday give us considerable inspiration to move forward and see all of the amazing things they come up with in the year ahead.

Annual Community Vote Begins!
2016-12-31 -- Another year has quickly come to an end, but before 2016 slips away for good, we've got one more thing to do! As we all get bogged down in the day to day grind, it's sometimes hard to visualize all the tremendous things that Wing Commander fans do all year round. This is our chance to recap some of the projects that had the biggest impact over the past twelve months and help confer some much deserved recognition on the fans that work hard to keep the community engaged.

New Shirt Design Redefines High Tech Wearables
2016-12-30 -- monkier has come up with one of the neatest unofficial t-shirt designs we've ever seen. It's simple - just four of the targeting VDU layouts on a black tee, but the low res readouts and green line art pack in loads of charm. If you ever ran across someone wearing this in public, you'd have to stop them and say hello from a fellow fan!

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff