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.

EA's First XBox Live Arcade Title Gains Backwards Compatibility On XBox One
2016-07-29 -- The list of Xbox 360 games supported by XBox One backwards compatibility grew to 230 this week with the addition of EA's Boom Boom Rocket. We began closely watching this title in early 2007 as Electronic Arts first began developing games for Xbox Arcade, the name for early downloadable content on the platform. BBR was a pretty fun rhythm/puzzle game, and it was followed by Wing Commander Arena a few months later.

Fatman Interviewed for Game Sound Documentary
2016-07-28 -- Beep is an upcoming documentary about the history of game sounds, ranging from Victorian mechanical games, to pinball machines to modern video games. The documentary was financed through crowdfunding and is set to come out this Summer. In the meantime, the creators have been releasing webisodes that are free to view.

Wing Commander Running On More Micro PCs
2016-07-27 -- Allan Pead took this photo of Wing Commander 3 running on a LattePanda micro computer. Like with the Raspberry Pi, newer and better low-cost units continue to be developed, and it's great to see fans putting them to the test by seeing how they emulate WC games. It has a funny name, but if it can run The Heart of the Tiger, it's okay in my book!

Invulnerable WC1 Speedrun Focuses On The Fight
2016-07-26 -- Christopher DeWitt put together an interesting video of a Wing Commander speedrun. Lots of people have recorded themselves fully playing through the game, but Chris wanted to see how fast it could be done with invulnerability on. Some might consider this cheating, but he did not use "alt+delete" instant destruction command.

Wing Blender 2.0 Beta Adds Many New Features
2016-07-25 -- The first test release of Wing Blender 2.0 has been released! The program allows models to be easily imported and exported between the Blender app and Prophecy/Secret Ops Vision Engine for easy 3D model manipulation.

Full Speed Ahead On Flat Universe's Torpedo Development
2016-07-24 -- This week the Maslas Brothers are showing off some of the heavy ordnance that will be featured in the game. Three different grade torpedoes will be available: the Valiant and Firestorm from Prophecy as well as the heavier Lance which debuted earlier. It sounds like there'll be some pretty explosive assaults to come in Flat Universe!

Welcome Home LOAF!
2016-07-24 -- We've got some great news to report this weekend! After a very long week in the hospital, CIC co-founder Ben 'Bandit (LOAF)' Lesnick is finally home. He'll be taking it easy for a bit to get back up to full health, but it sounds like the roughest part is fortunately in the past.

Tips For Running Super Wing Commander On A Mac
2016-07-23 -- Super Wing Commander pro mkdud has written up some info to help Wingnuts play this relatively illusive game. One option is to secure a 3DO, or fans can try to find the right old Macintosh computer. After quite a bit of tinkering, he's settled on a recommended suite of computer hardware and software that performs well.

Short But Sweet Profile Shows Love For Amiga WC
2016-07-22 -- AmigaLove.com is a database that highlights the greatest games that were made for the platform. Wing Commander has earned its place as one of the top Amiga titles, so it's a perfect fit for the site.

System Shock To Be Remastered
2016-07-21 -- System Shock, the 1994 shooter/role playing game published by Origin, is getting a remake. Night Dive Studios, best known for acquiring licenses to DOS classics and updating them for modern systems has initiated a crowdfunding campaign to secure the necessary funds. This studio is also credited with last year's enhanced edition of the original System Shock, which increases the screen resolution and fixes several gameplay and usability issues.

WC RPG Wrapping Up Encounters, Mocks Up New Ships
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Homeworld Remastered Mod Debuts In 2.0 Engine
2016-07-19 -- After a marathon month of coding, L.I.F.

Wing Commander Reorchestration Calculates The Price Of Freedom
2016-07-18 -- Origin composer George Oldziey continues to make great progress on his second album of orchestrated Wing Commander music. He's moved on to Wing Commander 4 next, and it sounds like he's having a lot of fun doing it! This time there's also a sneak peek at the physical arrangement he's in the process of writing.

Flat Universe Reveals Fighter Wing
2016-07-17 -- This week the Maslas Brothers have released another two-pack preview for Wing Commander Flat Universe. There's been some focus on the game's capships lately, but here you can see all the fighters and bombers that should be playable. In some cases, multiple different variants or paint schemes further add to the diversity of the flight roster.

Think Positive Thoughts For LOAF
2016-07-17 -- We've got a bit of unfortunate news to share today. CIC co-founder Ben 'Bandit (LOAF)' Lesnick came down with an infection earlier this weekend that was serious enough to warrant a hospital stay. While things are improving, he'll still need to be there for a few days yet as everything gets taken care of.

Less Than One Month To Party Time!
2016-07-16 -- We're now just four weeks away from the CIC's 18th Birthday Party! Time really flies. The actual date is August 10, but we've selected Saturday, August 13 to celebrate so that more fans can participate.

RPS "Have You Played?" Feature Visits Wing Commander 3
2016-07-15 -- Veteran retrospective writer Richard Cobbett is back with a new article at Rock Paper Shotgun. This time he writes about Wing Commander 3 and the greatness it should be remembered for. While there are a few obvious similarities to stories like Star Wars, the game has an overall tone that's grittier and more desperate than your typical action adventure.

Wing Blender Updated, Now With Fewer Collisions
2016-07-14 -- Kevin Caccamo has released version 1.6.3 of his Wing Blender tool.

Digital HD Wing Commander Discounted to $7
2016-07-13 -- A couple of the digital platforms that reduced their prices on HD copies of the Wing Commander Movie have now dipped further to just $6.99. Both VUDU and Amazon Instant Video sport the new lower price.

Basic Functions Restored To Kilrathi & Confed In Homeworld Mod
2016-07-12 -- L.I.F.

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