Ten Years of Wing Commander IV

It was exactly one decade ago today that the interactive movie reached its high water mark: on February 12th, 1996 Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom was released.

Wing Commander IV will go down in history for its famous film shoot. With an estimated budget of $12 million, Wing Commander IV was at the time the most expensive video game ever made. Like its predecessor, Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander 4 featured a cast of professional actors -- including Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, Tom Wilson and John Rhys Davies. For the first time, though, the movies were shot on actual sets in Los Angeles using 35mm film. Series creator and director Chris Roberts' had finally brought to life the project he had dreamt of for years: a blockbuster Hollywood movie where you were the star.

The Austin-based Maverick Team deserves equal praise for Wing Commander IV's success. In terms of gameplay it was Heart of the Tiger writ large. Wing Commander III's visually stunning but technologically cumbersome flight engine was streamlined beyond all expectations: for the first time in the series' history a new Wing Commander didn't necessitate a major hardware upgrade. At the same time, the team introduced a host of new features that have now become standard in such games: dual wings, projectile and charging guns, in-flight interactive choices, a FMV map, infiltration and capture missions and more.

Equally important were the moments of quiet brilliance. Wing Commander 4's artists visited the USS Lexington museum and applied what they learned about the look and feel of real life naval aviation to the game. For the first time individual capital ships had their own specific artwork - the TCS Lexington was distinct from the Princeton, the BWS Intrepid from the Tango. The game introduced a working background to the Wing Commander universe, featuring missions set against a complex panorama of communications arrays, weapons factories, shipyards, spacelabs starbases, turret mines and the like. Ground missions featured a detailed surface, eschewing the lumpy yellow blobs of the previous game. These little touches made gameplay more immersive than ever before - and have continued to reward a fandom interested in Wing Commander continuity to this day.

Those who waited for Wing Commander IV will forever remember January, 1996 as the longest month of their lives. The game was originally scheduled for release December 8th, 1995... fans awoke that day to find the disappointing news at Origin's early website: Wing Commander IV was delayed until February. Then, it hit. Wing Commander IV inaugurated one of the greatest years of Wing Commander fandom. Bookended by the release of two major titles, WC4 and Privateer 2, 1996 was an amazing year that helped create the community we know today. The WC:CCG was in full swing, the Academy series was on television, Baen kept novels in print and in development. In the news reports of a theatrical movie began to trickle in -- at the message board fans debated Tolwyn's ideology while lusting over the new Bearcat and Lance fighters. It was truly the best of times.

Ten years later Wing Commander fans continue to fervently hope and honestly believe that there will be another 1996 and another Wing Commander IV.

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Update published on . View all news from that day.

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Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

New Seahawk Model's In It To Win It
2016-12-10 -- Now that DefianceIndustries has so many mainline fighters and capships under his belt, it's time to move on to some of the lesser seen support craft like the Seahawk. There aren't a whole lot of these in the wild, so it's a really nice thing to see. It's also still a preliminary model - the completed picture below is a copy of the Origin high quality render.

Watch the Wing Commander 3 Intro in Japanese
2016-12-09 -- Did you know that Japan received a fully localized version of Wing Commander 3? If you would like to find out what Blair, Tolwyn, Paladin and Eisen sound like in Japanese, you can view the introduction video on YouTube. Thanks to -danr- for the tip!

Fleet Action & Heart Of The Tiger Released; Action Stations Confirmed!
2016-12-08 -- There's lots of great news to report in the world of Wing Commander ebooks! As expected, Wing Commanders Fleet Action and Heart of the Tiger were released this week in all major formats: Baen eBook, Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and more. These are the second and third releases after Freedom Flight led the charge in July.

Denis Loubet's Wing Commander Christmas Card Inbound!
2016-12-07 -- Former senior Origin artist Denis Loubet has posted some nifty preview pics for his 2016 Christmas card, and it'll be Wing Commander-themed this year! Hobbes will be featured prominently, and you can see a preview below. He'll reveal the full art for all next month, but if you'd like a printed and signed copy, you might still have time to become a Patron on Patreon and get him your mailing info if you act very fast.

Wing Commander Discounted Up To 85%!
2016-12-06 -- GOG's Winter Sale is heating up, and a selection of Origin and EA games is being discounted this week. The sale page invites you to select up to 10 titles at up to 50% off. Whether intentional or not, the Wing Commander games are currently showing at just $0.

MechWarrior 5 Announced!
2016-12-05 -- The MechWarrior series will be getting a new single-player sequel! MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was just announced at Mech Con 2016. It will be made by Piranha Games, the studio behind the MechWarrior Online multiplayer-only shooter that's been running for the past couple years.

Terran Fighters Ready To Lock & Load
2016-12-04
Annual Call For Award Nominations
2016-12-03 -- Somehow it's December already, and we're trying to be a bit more timely about our annual awards festivities this year. This is our chance to recognize many of the great things that the fan community constantly puts out. Our eighteenth annual Fan Project and Website of the Year Awards will kick off as the year comes to a close, so now's your chance to nominate.

Retro Gaming Podcast Interviews The Fat Man
2016-12-02 -- Retro Hour, a UK-based retro gaming podcast, has posted an in-depth audio interview with Wing Commander composer George The Fat Man Sanger. They talk about the origins of his artist name, his early work for slot machines and Atari, the 7th Guest, creative process and the demo scene. The segment with Sanger starts at around the 21:30 mark and the subject briefly turns to Wing Commander at 39:00.

WCSO Improvements Enhance Your Ship's Shake, Rattle & Roll
2016-12-01 -- Building on his cockpit research last month, DefianceIndustries has managed to better understand cockpit framing and motion in the Vision Engine. If you click through the gallery quickly, you can start to see how fluid motion in front of a fully detailed dashboard would be pretty cool. There are some other potential upgrades that Defiance mentions below as well...

Flashy Encounter Peeks At Project's Potential
2016-11-30 -- Adm_maverick has jumped a few more technical hurdles on the way towards his Prophecy Video Project. He's been working with multiple video and audio editors to figure out how to change the names that appear under talking heads and add in new voiceover segments. This new test video shows off this blend of dynamic elements with comm chatter superimposed over external camera footage in one of the early WCP missions.

Another Exciting Day At Action Central
2016-11-29 -- L.I.F.

That's A Heck Of A Scratching Post...
2016-11-28 -- After all the Confed Forces got a bunch of big bases, the Kilrathi were left needing a place to stay. The new stations outlined here are a great start! Melek's starbase from WC4 makes an appearance as the trading port in the Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire.

New Dimension Added To Flat Universe's Space Combat
2016-11-27 -- Flat Universe has achieved a major milestone! After months of dedicated effort, multiplayer combat has now been successfully implemented. The screenshots below show off the team's ceremonial first dogfight between a Hornet and Dralthi.

Militia Forces To The Rescue
2016-11-26 -- DefianceIndustries is here to brighten your weekend with a wonderful sunrise scene over Nephele. It shows the BWS cavalry dashing in to save a transport with a rugged assortment of tough ships. A mixed force of Rapiers, Razors, Vindicators and a Thunderbolt should be plenty to take on just about any pirate threat!

Origin's Space Rogue Added To GOG Lineup
2016-11-25 -- What should you get for the Wing Commander fan who has everything? GOG is here to help with the recent addition of Space Rogue, a space sim published by Origin about two years before Chris Roberts' Wing Commander arrived on the scene. The game was designed by Paul Neurath who went on to fame with Ultima Underworld and the System Shock series.

Happy Thanksgiving!
2016-11-24 -- Happy Thanksgiving to our readers out there in the US today! We know there's Wingnuts from all around the world tuning in, and we hope everyone has a great day and weekend coming up too. Owing to its Pilgrim origins, this is a convenient time to remind fans about a Wing Commander novel that few have read, Pilgrim Truth.

Boosted Bug Bothers Bombers
2016-11-23 -- As many of you skate into what's hopefully an extended weekend, check out this Nephilim interceptor from Dark Sentinel. The image below shows a comparison between the original and his upgraded version, which is nearly a ten-fold polygon increase. All the smoothness gained here significantly helps the organic feel that the ship should have.

WCSO Update Investigating Cockpit Upgrades & Capship Implementation
2016-11-22 -- It's been one year since we first reported on DefianceIndustries' Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. Although he's had to reprioritize and shift focus among some other projects over the last few months, he posted an update to assure fans that progress is still being made. The latest research goes inside the ships to determine how cockpits might be improved.

More Translations Complete, Kilrathi Pirate Base Looms For WC RPG
2016-11-21 -- It's been a while since we've checked in with the Wing Commander RPG, but it should come as no surprise that capi keeps plugging away. Lots of work last month centered around wrapping up the chapter 2.2 section he's been working on and conducting numerous translations into the enhanced Kilrathi language he's designed.

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