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.

Wing Commander Games 60% Off at GOG
2014-08-22 -- GOG's Electrifying EA Classics sale has discounted the Wing Commander series by 60%. This brings the regular $5.99 price for each game down to just $2.

New Wing Commander IMDB Page Removed
2014-08-22 -- As suddenly as it went up, the IMDB page for the 2015 Wing Commander film is gone - replaced by a 404 error. Too good to be true, perhaps?

The Fat Man Dishes on the Latest Game Audio News
2014-08-21 -- George The Fat Man Sanger has participated in a new episode of the Bleeps 'n' Bloops game audio podcast. Rather than merely an interview about the Fat Man's music, it's a free flowing conversation on a variety of musical topics. For example, during a discussion on the recent Twitch audio muting controversy, George weighs in with his thoughts on Wing Commander tunes being used around the web - including the recent orchestral performance at a Swedish graduation ceremony.

More Movie Models Made for Pilgrim Legacy
2014-08-20 -- Wojo is back with more models from his Pilgrim Legacy mod. He's modeled an impressive number of Wing Commander Movie ships including the Rapier, Broadsword, Diligent, Pegasus-style base, Venture and Bengal class carrier. This is an area of Wing Commander art that's been largely underappreciated over the years, so it's great to see fans taking a shot at these ships.

Time to Claim Party Prizes
2014-08-19 -- It's time for people who won prizes at the Birthday Party on Saturday to claim their gifts. If you won an item below, send us your IRC name, real name and address. If the item has a choice involved (which game, book, size of shirt, etc), be sure to let us know that as well.

HP Software Shows Terran Allegiance
2014-08-19 -- Klavs was setting up a new computer recently and was surprised to see a familiar logo in the center of the screen! Hewlett Packard didn't just read his mind and select an appropriate Wing Commanderific avatar - the "compass" logo is the icon HP associates with new computer installations and their "Getting Started with Windows 8" app. Klavs superimposed a traditional Confederation star over the symbol and they're a very close match!

New Wing Commander Proposal Drives IMDB Listing
2014-08-18 -- Last Tuesday a new IMDB page appeared for a Wing Commander film reboot slated for 2015. Fans have been understandably surprised and curious about this new development!The project description sounds similar to that of the original movie with the added addition of the 'reboot' aspect that's popular today.

Happy 16th Belated Birthday, CIC!
2014-08-17 -- Happy 16th Birthday everyone! We've had another exciting year. On top of the full DOS game lineup finally being added to GOG, Electronic Arts got back into the game with several Wing Commander additions to their Origin service - they're even heavily promoting WC3 as their August 'On the House' freebie!

Listen to Wing Commander in Concert!
2014-08-17 -- Since the conclusion of George Oldziey's successful Kickstarter earlier this year, he's been working to prepare Wing Commander tracks for live recording with a full orchestra. Austinites got a special preview of this album last month when a medley was performed live by the Austin Symphony in front of a huge Fourth of July audience. Shocked (and lucky!

Wing Commander 3 Video Index Revamped
2014-08-17 -- Last year the Holovids section was revamped so that the inline videos would work without third-party plugins in any up to date browser, on desktop or mobile. This involved re-encoding the bulk of our videos to formats that can be played by HTML5-capable browsers. Notably, the massive Wing Commander 3 movie index was still using the old Flash technology.

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