Arena series references

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Baggins, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Ok, so I've read Star*Soldier, but as I don't have any access to my old Xbox 360 I never got a chance to play Arena. I'm curious if anyone made a list of all the in-game references made in the game, related to history, story characters etc. References to movies, academy tv series, novels, etc. Any help is appreciated, and I would like to include the information on the Wing Commander Wiki at Wikia.
     
  2. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    There isn't much lore in the actual game exactly. Most of the background is fleshed out in Star Soldier. Mostly there's some flavor text for ships and in various loading screens, but overall it's mainly a multiplayer arena. I'd have to load it up to get you the actual text from the game though.

    Also if you want to contribute to a wing commander wiki we host https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/Main_Page here and is quite extensive already (though there's some holes that could used filling).
     
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  3. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Oh, I'd certainly like to help you with your own wiki as well. It seems kinda of out of date in places, and there are parts that definitely need updating and put in line with Star*Soldier etc. I link to it and these forums quite often though on the other wiki. My policy at Wing Commander wiki has been basically using Star*Soldier and gloss notes as 'most current canon', and then work from there, but with notes where previous material 'overlap', and contradict themselves.

    For example, 2654 is a particulary busy year!, and if you take Pilgrim Stars and Truth into account, there are long stretches where Manaic or Taggart, and Blair are not on board the claw for much of the year (upwards between .088 - .163, Taggart for example, was said to be in WC1 in the same period for example (but is undercover with the Pilgrims for much of the time away from the Claw), so it begs the question when game's version of Vega campaign actually takes places heh. Pulling references out of the WC1&2 guide might even suggest Vega Campaign (or rather start of LaFong at Enyo) started as late as September or August. The game starts things at .110, but almost no published timeline even makes note of that date for whatever reason.

    But the unpublished bible timeline has Enyo and LaFong as early as .085 and McAulliffe at .121, Taggart is at McAuliffe in the game, but on the Olympus during that period in the movie novels (since its unpublished perhaps its not as canon as the actual published stuff its interesting to look at), but it causes an interesting overlap with the movie novels. I might actually be one of the few people that finds the idea that LaFong, Armstrong, and Blair are all separate characters (see Star*Soldier) both amusing, and also kinda cool.

    Back to Arena, the reason I asked for any ingame mentions is that some of the messages I've seen in these forums mention that pilgrims get referenced in the game as well as Star*Soldier, and was curious how that worked. Since as you said the game is mostly multiplayer 'arena' game.
     
  4. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    In the ship selection screen, each ship has scrolling 'about' text... there's a bunch of obscure references in there, including the one to the Pilgrim Wars. (Source: am the guy who snuck it in there :))

    There's some other cool visual references, mostly to familiar ships hidden in the maps... Longbows on the flight line at the space station, a crashed Pelican full of Centurions in the boneyard, etc.
     
  5. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    That all sounds fascinating, hope someone has time to write up the transcripts, and pull some screen grabs of the interesting easter eggs.

    This is a game I'd love to see get ported to PC someday just for 'completion' sake. That and get Super Wing Commander running in a PC environment on modern computers, see the full voice script from Sega Wing Commander get added to WC1, etc. I'd so buy those all on GOG, if EA was willing.
     
  6. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Back to 2654: it is extremely hard to make everything work between the movie, novels, Wing Commander I, Academy and half of Secret Missions. You can fit Pilgrim Stars (and Truth) in there between Wing Commander I missions, but not in a way that makes a lot of narrative sense. It's a fun challenge though, and I should probably give it a go again!

    I wouldn't take the bible's numbers as canon... they're strongly contradicted elsewhere (often by the people who wrote the bible) and weren't ever intended for publication (though you can argue a technicality thanks to GOG!)

    Sadly, Arena was a bit of a flop sales-wise (in the end, the outsource studio that developed it didn't survive) so I'm not sure EA would ever have any interest in bringing it back on another platform. Would be pretty cool, though... there was a LOT of love in that project, just made a bit ridiculous by what the marketeers told them people wanted in a game.

    I do think I have the raw text somewhere, I'll dig around old emails!
     
  7. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Ya, I see the bible as something as less than 'true canon', since its technically 'unpublished' (other than if you count GOG) and is filled with outdated information.

    Although the LaFong timeline portion is definitely interesting, since its written from the conceit of being an 'in-universe document from LaFong' himself, and seems as if it might have been left overs from the WC1&2 guide that somehow didn't make it to publication, although even that guide's own 'references' to time seem to differ from it, I.E. possibly setting WC1's Enyo Campaign starting as late as Auguest/September (over .200-.243 or so). Actually if WC1 was moved to that point there really wouldn't be any overlap issues with Pilgrim Truth really (or that period of time where in Pilgrim Stars where Taggart first leaves (.088), taking Maniac and Blair with him to the Olympus, and all three are off the Claw, for most of the book, and its 'cliffhanger').

    The book ends around what was it in the .128, or so (with all three on the Olympus, or Maniac and Blair just escaping, but its been a while since I read).
     
  8. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    On a side note, is there any translations of the material specifically included for the Japanese release of the Academy animated series? I've read there was at least some timeline that came along with it?

    Also what does the back of the box for the American release of the DVD set say (I've heard it makes reference to the series taking place in 2655 (as the series was set according to the Press Kit?), and does it also include any extras?
     
  9. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    I’d agree. A series bible isn’t usually canon, as contradictory as that seems… because they include all sorts of early ideas that weren’t ever followed on (take a look at any of the Star Trek series bibles.) You run into the same problem with the Wing Commander Academy bible… LOTS of fascinating information, but it also doesn’t quite match how the show actually played out. If there were a rule, I’d say it’d be that the information is valid unless contradicted (so a degree above speculation, but below canon.)





    You are hinting at something about the bible worth pointing out: there’s two versions and one is much more interesting as a living document than the other. The huge bind refuel of data provided with the GOG release (and available here on WCNews) is the final form of a living document quasi-maintained by the Maverick team… but it also wasn’t ever really used for anything. It was more a case of the Wing Commander geeks on the team continuing to drop material (more ship specs, product info, etc.) into a big document. But they didn’t send that out to licensors or anything like that… it just existed, and never went to the guys writing the novels, TV show, Privateer spinoffs, etc.



    But the HEART of that document was ~20-30 pages of material that WAS written for external publication, including the timeline you’re referencing. That was all originally put together by David Ladyman as they were pitching Wing Commander to comic studios, book publishers, TV producers, etc. Which is why (as you noticed) it’s a little bit more clever than just chunks of later books and manuals dropped in… you get the extra conceit that it’s in-universe (mostly as a way of crediting the WC1/2 Guide for much of the material.)



    So, it came later than the WC1/2 Guide… but also isn’t especially internally consistent with WC1 (which has two set dates for missions established at the time of publication, .110 and .140) or the book (which has no dates, but has prose mentions of the passage of time (i.e., this mission was a week after this one.) A few of the later products DO draw directly from it (WC3 and KS manuals, the calendar) for dates for important missions, though… (K’Tithrak Mang, Venice 4, and so on.)





    This is the Japanese DVD of the WC movie… it included a ‘quickie’ timeline that had been translated from one we did here on WCNews years ago: https://www.wcnews.com/enc/apl1.shtml





    Yes, it starts “in the year 2655.”



    The reason for that (and the references in the press kit/bible) is because the series was originally planned to culminate with a retelling of Secret Missions 2 — the Tiger’s Claw disrupting the Sivar ceremony on Firekka. They decided to drop the Firekkans (… and make them Dolosians) and set the story in 2654 instead a bit into production, but marketing never really got the message :)



    (The movie also had a press release with a typo at one point, propagating its time as ’2564’ with inverted numerals for a while. It’s purely a typo, it’s right on-screen and everywhere else… but I remember having to social engineer Digital Anvil’s webmaster to trick him into fixing it on the WCMovie website (I had to call them and pretend I worked for FOX:))
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2018
  10. DefianceIndustries

    DefianceIndustries Commodore

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    I wonder if it couldn't be resurrected as an F2P title with micro transactions for better weapons or versions of a fighter (ie. Rapier II Blade "gold" or something)?
     
  11. Whistler

    Whistler Commodore

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    I'd have played if not for it being proprietary to Xbox Live. Steam/GOG release for the win?
     
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  12. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    The issue with porting the game now is that it's very much a product of the platform it was designed for and the time it was released. It wasn't long after it came out that MS pretty much removed the upper limit on size of games that could be released on the live arcade platform. The game is definitely fun for what it is (though WC fans were a bit divided on the actual play style) and would still be fun with enough players but the limitations placed on the game means that reception for the uninitiated would probably be tepid. From a WC fan perspective I'd love to see a steam version (heck even a MS app version for win10 available in the windows store. Xbox is almost windows anyway. I've already got an xbox controller for my PC) but from a studio/publisher perspective I just can't see EA jumping at the opportunity on a game that never really sold well the first time around.
     
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  13. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I find it odd that that .110 date almost never gets mentioned in any source outside of Wing Commander 1. Other than marked on the manual for Claw Marks in certain versions of the game. Super Wing Commander I think. Basically the publication date of the Claw Marks issue.

    Where does the .140 date appear in the game?

    The main issue of any WC1 dates other than the .110 one is that the game randomly generates dates every time you start a new campaign. Even if you started Secret Missions first it starts with that .110 date and generates dates from there. There are at least 2-3 timelines out there that seem to use the randomly generated dates from their play through of the game, that obviously are different than another person's playthrough!

    Ya, the W1&2 guide has no specific dates, other than one or two places where it actually only mentions a specific 'year', either in the past (like it mentions the year of Tiger's Claw's shake up cruise, and that it's been ten years since then, etc), or around the start of Wing Commander 2. It does mention a month for the start of the Academy, as being in September (and there might be a reference to Thanks Giving as well, a 'few months later'), and the academy and time on the Formidable going on for 3 years (was to be 4 years but was cut short). That extra lost 'year' being pushed in by removing summer and winter vacations. So basically the math, and it's going to be very rough, 3 years before 2654 would make that sequence start around 2651, but if you go the other direction, September to September essentially, it's roughly places WC1 in September of 2654, give or take a few months.

    Pretending you were fox? LMAO.

    BTW, has anyone translated the manual for Wing Commander 1 for the MegaCD? I'm curious about what it says about "Lyle Starbuck" as some sites claims that version of the game calls the "Bluehair" character.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  14. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    .140 is in Claw Marks - it's the date of the TCSO show (which the happens during the Port Hedland series.)

    The randomly generated dates have never bugged me; I assume any given playthrough is 'non canon' while there's one version that 'really' happened... so getting the 'wrong' random date isn't anything different than stealing a kill your wingman 'officially' got (say in the WC1/2 Guide.)

    The other thing elevating the .110 date is that it's consciously mirrored in the WC2 script... there's a static "2665.110" in the first mission.
     
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  15. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Or not depending on when Port Hedland occurs in your game ;)! I've seen port Hedland begin as early .120 in some videos.

    Not sure there is a specific reference to .140...

    But ya I see where you are going since TCSO show is mentioned during the port hedland series by the characters you talk to. The claw marks manual says that it is to occur as 'early as next month" of course that could also mean it could take place 'later' than a month, but the ballpark is that it's going to be at least .140-.141, but it could also mean it occurred later, it's just an estimation. .110 being mid-April to roughly .140-.141 being mid-May if the TCSO occurred at its earliest. Keep in mind 'as early as next month' doesn't mean that 30 days has to pass exactly, it could occur any time in the following month so technically early could be as early as .121 (the first day or so of May, assuming no leap year)

    True that's like the 2nd or third reference to it in the series. I just find it weird that it almost never shows up on the published timelines.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  16. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    The ad on the back of Claw Marks, promoting the TCSO show, has the date printed on it. And then Port Hedland 1 is the day before the show, so it must be .139.
     
  17. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Ah, yes. What's interesting about that is if you were to take the game's 'winning' path every time (or mostly) you would end up at Dakota rather than Port Hedland in a game, and miss out on the TCSO altogether. It only shows up on consistently losing paths!

    If we go back to the WC1&2 guide, and it's 'references to time', it creates a few oddities, since it strings most of the campaigns in order, and puts the two last losing missions as basically just before the final mission in the Vega Campaign.

    Well one oddity comes from the fact that it places Enyo and McAulliffe over the course of a 'few weeks', 'few' is one of the words that usually means roughly 2-3, but probably not more than 4. Now if if its 4 weeks roughly, that would put the end of McAuliffe at roughly .138-140... Hmm...

    Then it places Gateway, Gimle, Brimstone, Cheng-Du, Dakota, in between McAuliffe and Port Headland in that order. Although it's not entirely clear on exact amount of time, other than missions taking place roughly on seperate days, often consecutively but probably not more than 2-3 days apart.

    There are at least 12 days covering the missions between Gateway to Cheng-Du (but by the nature of how it describes things it could be a few days longer between missions). The only clue exists in the between mission storyline which suggests the period was nearly 'constant' missions. Then there is a period of 'respite' between Cheng-Du an Dakota. But specifics are not given, but assuming it's at least a few days.

    Then Dakota takes place at least another 3 or more days, or so. Port Hedland 1 representing one more day on top of that, then TCSO show occurs.

    But that still puts quite a bit of time between end of McAuliffe and when Port Hedland appears in the guide's version of events, at least another few weeks (particularly bad if it's roughly a few weeks between every two systems or so).

    Funny that in the bible LaFong timeline, would place Port Hedland if applied on top of the WC1&2 guide's format, at somewhere between .164-.187 (between Dakota and Kurasawa respectively). It placed .140 in the middle of Brimstone. It mentions Port Hedland taking place roughly around .198.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  18. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    I take the guide as the ‘canon’ story (it is, after all, essentially the first Wing Commander novel); so I’d see it as saying the Tiger’s Claw went to all of these systems (except Hubble’s Star and Hell’s Kitchen) whether or not Blair actually flew the individual missions.

    I’ve just started to put together a Google Doc to track all this in one place: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yCMlDAoNypSwvDOhIiHQ1Xx1XePAz4Ie3CC9t2qvXbM/edit?usp=sharing

    It’s woefully incomplete, but one interesting thing I do take away from it is that misunderstanding the bible timeline has caused a few odd dates to be published… specifically, both of the dates on the Kilrathi Saga calendar and in Voices of War referring to the Venice missions (.287 and .325) were intended by the bible timeline to reference ‘between missions’ interstitials rather than specific missions.
     
  19. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I take the guide as 'canon' as well with the additional addendum from Star*Soldier that LaFong and Armstrong are canon characters as well, that flew 'similar' missions perhaps at the same time as Blair give or take. Of course LaFong according to the guide never flew every mission, there are some other characters that take his place at times. It doesn't mean Blair flew every mission, either. Or Armstrong flew every 'similar' mission. Of course LaFong survives to retirement in 2701 era, where as Blair is missing during those years. As for Armstrong very little known about his whereabouts in later times.

    I basically take the guide to be LaFong's history of events (as Star*Soldier suggests it actually was published), although things get a little more spotty with the WC2 events since we have more than enough confirmation of specific details of that game also occurred to Blair, one would have to assume that both LaFong, and Blair were both accused of treason, put on trial (though the specifics of those 'trials' do differ somewhat from what appears in the guide, and what is discussed elsewhere specifically about Blair) and then sent to Caernavan station together. Both competed for Deveraux's affections (as some kind of convoluted love triangle), tried to have dates with, though only Blair won out in the end.

    There is at least one interesting detail that either in WC3 or 4 novel it mentions that Blair flew at Gimle with Maniac, whereas LaFong didn't fly there (for whatever reason), and of course the guide mentions another two pilots who also flew at Gimle Deveraux and Mariko. But it does add to interesting details of who else was deployed at the time.

    Didn't the .287 and .325 dates also make it into the Star*Soldier timeline as well?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  20. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    On a side note IIRC, the guide does mention that after Hell's Kitchen campaign, that Tiger's Claw met up with Eagle's Talon in Hell's Kitchen for refuel stop. And/or that Eagle's Talon helped defend the Tiger's Claw from an attack while they were their.

    Of course if you take the movie novels into account Tiger's Claw is based in Hell's Kitchen for much of the time in the 2nd and 3rd books.

    Back to the way guide dates things. Obviously McAullife's is dating is pretty unclear but if it was following the idea that series started around .110 (ignoring the suggestion that it might be '3 years from August/September' period based on academy reference), the reference to 'few weeks' would seem to place it anywhere between .124 (at least 2 weeks appended to .110) to .140 (4 weeks appended to .110), add at least 16 days counting missions only (the missions from Gateway to Port Hedland 1) and maybe at least a day to jump between each location, which it does seem to kind of suggest throughout the book (5 days?). Give or take a few days if for instance a mission or two did occur on the same day, or after a 'few days' (but this is not always so easy to pick up on in the guide from its brief mission interludes). This would place guides ballpark dating to roughly at least .145 for Port Hedland if you start with .124 to at least .161 if you append it to .140 (above). This is not counting the few days respite or such between Chengdu and Dakota, which could push it further, or where the book specifically says there were a few days between missions (I believe Chengdu has one such reference between a couple of missions). Of course these are just rough estimates based on fairly unclear references to time passing in the book itself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016

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