Inventory: Wing Commander Academy Co-Belligerents Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wing Commander's background lore has long established that the Confederation includes multiple alien races in addition to humans. We see the Firekkans join in Secret Missions 2: Crusade and Voices of War's history says that "the Terrans, likewise, had befriended several nearby worlds and quickly assimilated them into the Confederation. All were advanced, but none possessed technology that could rival that of Earth’s." Action Stations has the Kilrathi describe the Confederation including perhaps six additional species ("If they have an advantage it is in their depth, their web of alliances with half a dozen races, the sheer number of worlds they have colonized."). This was 2634, so Firekka would be a seventh if no others joined between then and 2655. The Wing Commander movie and Star*Soldier flags have ten smaller stars on them, which could indicate member species or founding governments. Similarly, there are sixteen large flags on display in the Grand Assembly in Wing Commander IV, which are too few to represent hundreds and hundreds of member planets on their own.

But who are these aliens? With the exception of the Firekkans, they are rarely mentioned or seen, with most productions choosing to describe human extras. Action Stations does mention that young Geoffrey Tolwyn "had met Firekka, Varni, Hagarin, Wu, and others at the Academy", though it's not clear if these are actually member races (the Firekkans certainly were not at this point and the Varni and Wu are both refugee groups fleeing the Kilrathi). With little available specifics, the next suggestion becomes something seen but not discussed on Wing Commander Academy: the series' variety of humanlike characters with unusual eyes and/or skin tones.

Before we continue, it's worth noting that we do not have an answer as to what the intent of the unusually colored characters was. We spoke to Michael Edens who was responsible for the series bible and many episode scripts and he had no idea; his world building work had predated anything visual. It's possible they're intended to be members of other Confederation member species but it's also possible they're intended to be humans in a unique art style, or even some futuristic form of human similar to those in Larry Niven's Known Space who choose new colors or designs for their skin. Of course, no one could ever accuse Wing Commander of stealing something from Known Space!

Lavender Skin, Yellow Eyes

The first unusually colored character we see in the series is Payback, who appears at attention after Red and Blue's opening TrainSim dogfight. She goes on to appear in almost every episode of the series with a particularly major role in Expendable. At one point she does establish that she is from "Icarus colony", but there's no detail as to just what that means. Her lavender skin, yellow eyes and red hair certainly seem to suggest that she's an alien… on the other hand, her full name, Lindsay Price, sounds extremely human. Payback is the only 'alien' that matches her general appearance on the show. She was voiced by Lauri Hendler.

Green Skin, Yellow Sclera

Red and Blue also features a second character who is the only known representative of their phenotype: Hilthros' Flight School Commandant who has a light green skin and distinctive fully yellow sclera. The character seems to be close friends with Commodore Tolwyn, prompting some to suggest he might be intended to be Admiral Banbridge from the tie-in novels. The Commandant is voiced by Earl Boen, better known for his recurring role as a psychologist in the Terminator film series.

Light Blue Skin, Blue Sclera

2nd Lt. Alan "Blizzard" Getz is another character who is seemingly treated as being identical to a human, though his callsign does seem to acknowledge his ice-blue skin, hair and eyes. Blizzard features in The Most Delicate Instrument and he is flashed back to several times later in the show (he's also referenced in The Last One Left as one of the pilots ordered to the briefing room… but he never shows up!). Is he an alien… named Alan?

Light Green Skin

"Raker" is a light green-skinned humanoid with ordinary eyes who appears repeatedly after he joins the Tiger's Claw's complement from the Trafalgar. Additionally, a female green skin character appear as a background extra in both Recreation and Invisible Enemy, the latter of which includes a number of 'alien' background characters. She is boarding the shuttle in Recreation and then attending the funeral and eating at the mess hall in Invisible Enemy.

Magenta Skin

A variety of background characters with magenta skin and different hair colors appear as pilots in the funeral and mess hall scenes in Invisible Enemy, with a total of nine among the crew eating before the scramble scene!

Yellow-Orange Skin

A single extra in Invisible Enemy has orangish skin and red hair. He appears at both the funeral and in the mass hall. Additionally, another humanoid with the same characteristics (and a very similar face) appears as a pirate ground crew member in The Last One Left.

Turquoise Sclera

The unusually colored humanoids are very apparent but there's also another strange one hidden in plain sight. The Tiger's Claw's psychologist, Dr. Guthrig Andropolos, seems to be an ordinary human… except that he's always depicted with blue-within-blue eyes, similar to the Fremen in Dune. This is all the stranger given his connection to the greater Wing Commander history: he's the son of the captain killed during first contact with the Kilrathi and the man who goes on to write the official history of the Terran-Kilrathi War.

Falcon

While there's plenty of room for debate as to whether or not the unusually colored humanoids are intended to be aliens, there's one that seems much more clear: "Falcon" is a squat pilot with no neck and unusual face markings who seems to be less human and more of a pineapple creature. Like Raker, he's a survivor of the Trafalgar and he appears several times. (Despite his unusual design, his simplified face markings do seem like they could be Academy's style of Doomsday's Maori tattoo).

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Another Bengal Class Carrier Built in Space Engineers Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got another amazing Wing Commander ship recreated in the modding workshop game Space Engineers. It's got a lot of wonderful touches designed by Aubi-Nation. The spaceframe shape is pretty solid with all of the recognizable pieces in place. I really like the running lights on the landing deck, and there are some nice moving doors and motion activated components as well. The interior of the ship has also been modeled as well, although it's a bit less complete. It's not the first Space Engineers Claw we've seen this year. You can also find NakaKen's here!
#ThisDadPlays Space Engineers! I take one of my favourite ships from Wing Commander and I recreate it in Space Engineers! Here is the rediscovered version of the Tiger's Claw!

Vintage Television Show Reviews WC2 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a tiny 1992 video review from the British television show GamesMaster. Non-print reviews are quite rare from this era since we were still a couple years before magazines starting including multimedia cover discs. Wing Commander 2 is one of my favorite games, so I was anxious to see what they had to say. And boy, they did not like it! Both reviewers say the game just has graphics going for it and award it a failing 59% score. I'm honestly pretty shocked at that assessment. The graphics were only minimally refined over WC1, but there were some wonderful advances in terms of storytelling, sound/speech and gameplay mechanics (torpedo bombing, turrets, tractor beams, jump points, etc). Ah well, check out this thirty year old clip below! Thanks to Oli for archiving this.

GOG Anniversary Sale Marks Down Wing Commander Series Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The folks at Good Old Games are celebrating their 14th anniversary, which means cheap Wing Commander for you! I know, it seems like there's a new sale every other week, but we hear from players excitedly picking these up every time, so we're happy to promote each event! It's the customary 75% off sale, so each title is $1.49 or less than $12 for the whole DOS/Windows Wing Commander lineup - an absolute steal!

3DO Store Tape Reveals Wrecked Rapier Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has been digitizing video donated by Electronic Arts and 3DO founder Trip Hawkins. Among their collection is the '3DO sizzle reel' found below, a store looping tape created to show off the first round of games available for the 3DO. VHSes like these were sent to stores like Babbages and Electronic Boutique to display games to customers on in-store TVs. The tape includes a short-but-interesting pre-release teaser for Super Wing Commander which includes clips from several cutscenes and some early gameplay. Pay special attention to the action: the player attacks two Scimitars which still have the original Hornet art as their VDU and when one explodes it spawns what looks like a pretty spectacular destroyed Super Wing Commander Rapier (which isn't in the final game). Neat!

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3DO Magazine Previews Wing Commander III and More Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

A tweet from 3DOgaming alerted us to an article scanned from the first issue of the UK 3DO magazine (Winter 1994). It's a very nice preview of the then-upcoming port, with a special look at some of the updated ship graphics.

The rest of the magazine proved to be something of a Wing Commander bonanza, with a review of the other 3DO Wing Commander title, Super Wing Commander, and a very nice single sentence preview of Wing Commander III (then scheduled for January 1995).

Wing Commander also appears in two third-party ads, one promoting the entire 3DO lineup and one advertising the very magazine you're already reading. Look closely at the 3DO ad's Super Wing Commander screenshot: it's an alpha build that still includes the original Hornet VDU artwork as a placeholder.

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We're All Set (Photography) Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's a great week for never-before-seen Wing Commander imagery: AD has discovered the official website and social media presence of Wing Commander III, IV and Prophecy set photographer Mike Kubeisy. A fair amount of Wing Commander III set photography has been made available over the year but almost none from Wing Commander IV and Prophecy was ever released... it's pretty neat seeing some of the sets and costumes in high resolution! We've reached out to Mr. Kubeisy to see if he has any other Wing Commander photographs available.

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Claw Marks FLIPPED! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wing Commander I's manual, Claw Marks, includes sixteen pages of hand drawn art of the game's ships. These schematics were part of a larger group draughted by Origin artist Glen Johnson as reference for the game's outsource 3D artist. While the original art consisted of 21 ships with 5 views each, Claw Marks reproduces only 16 ships with 3 views, two of those split in half to save space. We thought it would be a fun experiment to 'unsplit' the top and bottom views from the Claw Marks artwork! Here are the results, quick-and-dirty edits to show what the ships looked like when they were originally drawn:

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PC Powerplay Pictures Perfectly Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The kind human behind the X-Wing Game Series Twitter account has sent us a wonderful vintage interview. This piece from the May 1996 issue of PC Powerplay magazine talks to Mark "Hammil" (Hamill) about his experiences on the Wing Commander games. Mark is in rare form and it's a compelling transcript -- I wonder if he ever played that 3DO! -- but even more exciting than the text is this rarely seen production photo of Hamill as Colonel Blair wearing a Confederation flight suit with a Border Worlds patch. Awesome!

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