Video Interview Transcript

If you don't have the bandwidth to download the 230-megabyte Wing Commander Arena video interview from GameSpot, don't worry -- we've put together a text transcript. All the dialogue is from Electronic Arts Line Producer Sean Penney:
Xbox Live Arcade, it's a great platform, it is very innovative, and we wanted to do a space shooter and we wanted to get on to Arcade. Everyone loves Wing Commander, I certainly do, and we were excited about the thought of putting Wing Commander IP with a 16-player action space shooter. So we've got a single player experience and a multiplayer experience. In the single player experience you can unlock ships by playing through a variety of modes. We have training modes, melees, a couple special modes where you're just blowing up asteroids, others that are just total mayhem, and those go on to leaderboards that go online, but I think where the real meat of it is is the, the online play. We've got sixteen player gameplay, which includes 8 on 8 team play or sixteen player free for all play. We also have one on one duels. And we have a specialized arena called the Bearpit where you can have two people go into the pit while the other fourteen wait outside and they can do all sorts of things like shoot at each other or play minigames or shoot inside the Bearpit. We've got capital ship versus capital ship, and there's going to be a lot of strategy there. We've got a capture the flag mode called satellite and then in the free for alls it's, you know, pick your favorite ship and take on the world and we've got specialized environments for them all.

So what we've got in the capital ship versus capital ship is you, you choose a side. You choose to be either Kilrathi or you choose to be human, and that's something you couldn't actually ever do in any of the previous Wing Commander titles. You couldn't play the Kilrathi, and we have nine Kilrathi ships that you can choose from and nine Terran ships that you can choose from. So you choose a side, and each side has their own capital ship, and each capital ship has three levels. On each level there are a series of turrets and missile launches which will be firing at you as you try to destroy them. If you destroy all of the devices and weapons on one level of the capital ship the capital ship actually drops down a level allowing you to then destroy all of the devices and all of the weapons and laser turrets that are on the second level of the ship. If you accomplish that the ship drops down to the final level which is the bridge. Once you destroy the bridge, the ship will break into three pieces and blow up, and you have won the game. So, so your goal in the game is to either attack the capital ship or defend your own capital ship.

So there's eighteen ships total. Each race has three base ships: a light fighter, a heavy fighter and a bomber. Each of the base types has three variations. So, one of the things that the original Wing Commander did was it allowed you to upgrade your ship, and when you upgraded your ships armor, for example, you would get better armor. You wouldn't get more of it, it would be a different alloy. It would be supersteel or duralloy or plasteel or these types of things, but in an arcade game, it's hard to communicate that visually, because arcade games are very visual games, it's not a first person shooter. So what we wanted to do was change the silhouette of the ship, so when you get an armor upgrade for your Arrow it takes on a different silhouette. It gets more armor. So there's three variations of the Arrow, three variations of the Rapier and there's three variations of the bomber, the Broadsword, and on the Kilrathi side it's the same thing. We've got the light fighter, the Darket, the heavy fighter, the Dralthi, and the heavy bomber, the Paktahn, and there's three variations on each one. It's a bit rock paper scissors. You can destroy a heavy bomber with your light Arrow, but you're going to have to play pretty carefully.

Three different types of pickups. There's regenerative pickups which will heal you or it will refill your missiles. Pickups that will enhance you, things like Hammer Shot or Cheap Shot which means it increases the damage you do or it increases your speed or it allows you to fire more often and then a third type of pickup we have is special pickup. These are quite rare, but these are things like energy absorption or supershields or wingmen, which gives you a clone of yourself. One to two would fly beside you and mirror all your actions. So if you fire weapons, they'll fire weapons so you can essentially triple your firepower with these guys.

It's an arcade game, so you want people to be able to just pick it up and play it, but it is a Wing Commander title, it is a space combat game, so you want to add some depth to it. So it's pick up and play, but there's layers of depth. It's the old adage that it takes a moment to learn but a lifetime to master, and I don't know if it would take you a lifetime, but there's a whole series of advance maneuvers, there's extra devices, so with the right stick you can do barrel rolls, you can do flips, you can do immelman turns, you can do 180s and different ships have different special maneuvers that they can do. So Wing Commander Arena should be out early summer.

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

Wing Commander On Sale For Black Friday
2014-11-26 -- Electronic Arts has kicked off its Black Friday promotions via the Origin digital storefront. The Wing Commander franchise is listed at 50% off, which makes each title $2.49.

Recap History of Game Graphics in New Documentary
2014-11-25 -- Ahoy has posted a series of videos that chronicles the Brief History of Graphics. It's a five part playlist that starts with the very earliest computer games and ends with a look into the future. There are also segments on sprite-based art and hardware 3D acceleration.

Frightful Kilrathi Concept Art Surfaces
2014-11-24 -- Concept artist Mariano Diaz has posted some startling Kilrathi additions to his portfolio. Much like Rob McKinnon's work, this dates back a couple years to Chris Roberts' early Wing Commander pitch for what would eventually become Star Citizen. The Kilrathi included here are some of the most terrifying depictions anywhere.

WC Strategy Mod Back On Track
2014-11-23 -- Arraen began work on a tribute to Wing Commander at the beginning of the year. His project is a WC-themed strategy game made in the Unity engine. Things were coming together nicely until March, when he posted this message: "Sorry, guys, due to Russian invasion at my country I put on hold this project.

Star Wars Trailer Rumors Stir WC Memories
2014-11-22 -- There have been conflicting stories this week about the Star Wars Episode VII trailer being paired with the new Hobbit film set to release in December. It's possible that the rumor was unfounded, and there are many ways they could choose to unveil the preview these days - from attachment to a hot movie to a large scale television event to many many internet-based options. Mass digital media was much more limited fifteen years ago, and in March 1999 The Phantom Menace's trailer was revealed to the world before Wing Commander.

Academy DVD Marked Down for the Holidays
2014-11-21 -- A number of people have written in to report that Amazon is now selling the Wing Commander Academy DVD collection for just $7.99. It's not clear if this price reduction is in any way permanent, but with the holiday season fast approaching, this is a great opportunity to pick up some additional copies for gifts.

Wing Commander on German TV Saturday
2014-11-20 -- The Wing Commander Movie will be broadcasting on the German station RTL2 this Saturday, November 22, at 2 PM. We frequently mention all of the streaming sources such as HBO Go, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, XBox Video and iTunes, but occasionally people in certain countries have trouble accessing these. Even if fans don't have a problem going digital, the copies online may not be in their native language, so we especially like to point out opportunities to catch the movie on normal television in non-English speaking countries.

Early Concept Art Hints at SC's WC Origins
2014-11-19 -- Concept artist Rob McKinnon has mocked up images for both major Hollywood studios and video game developers like Cloud Imperium Games. His relationship with Chris Roberts actually goes back several years to some of the earliest fighter pilot and Hornet pictures for what would become Star Citizen. There are also some very interesting mockups in his portfolio for when the game was being pitched as a potential Wing Commander game.

WC Invasion Sees Renewed Interest on YouTube
2014-11-18 -- Timpedia has produced a multipart series of video reviews for the Wing Commander Invasion game. It's a Star Wars Empire at War (Forces of Corruption) mod that hasn't really been in the news for a couple years since the project reached a final stable release, but it's still available online and looking really slick. If you ever wanted to know what a fleet of Bengal class carriers, Confederation dreadnoughts and a Behemoth could unleash on the Kilrathi, this is your opportunity.

GOG Sale Cuts Wing Commander Prices In Half (80% Off Tuesday!)
2014-11-17 -- Good Old Games has a sale for every season these days, and that's a good thing for Wing Commander fans! Our favorite franchise has gone 50% off, which means each package is marked down to $3. All of the DOS and Windows WC games and expansions are included across eight different packages, so the series is available for $24.

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