Gamepower recently interviewed Erin Roberts. When asked about his reponse when people call Starlancer "Wing Commander under a new name", he had this to say:
There are a lot of elements from Wing Commander, but what we tried to do with Starlancer is add a new story and universe and a new way of telling the story. We have a new mission system that is more interesting; we tell the story through the missions now, instead of relying on the cinematics. There's no waiting for just the next flick to tell the story.