Check Out Origin's Long Term Plan Circa 1989 (May 6, 2019)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Here's a fascinating look at Origin's product plan as of 1989, just before Wing Commander changed things. It's amazing what could have been (a Star Wars RPG by Richard Garriott!) and also how far in advance they planned for projects like Ultima Underworld.

  • Bad Blood: released

  • Ultima 6: released

  • Dinosaur Valley: became Ultima Savage Empire

  • Squadron: became Wing Commander

  • Time Travel: became Ultima Martian Dreams (?)

  • Super Heroes: didn't happen

  • Ultima 5 NES: released

  • Ultima Gameboy: became Runes of Virtue

  • Ultima 7: released

  • Car Wars: didn't happen

  • Ultima 6: became Ultima 6 SNES

  • Star Wars: didn't happen

  • The Underground: became Ultima Underworld

  • Ultima adventure game: didn't happen

  • Ultima 7 Spinoff: became Serpent Isle

  • Ultima 8: happened (two years later)

  • Blood & Fog: didn't happen

  • Ultima 7 Spinoff: went into development as Arthurian Legends, ultimately cancelled
After we initially posted this on Twitter, Wing Commander designer/director Siobhan Beeman added this for context:

Honestly, Wing Commander didn't really change this product plan all that much. Super Heroes is the only genuine casualty: IIRC, that would have been Jeff George's project after Bad Blood, and I would have led Martian Dreams, but instead I took WC2 and he took MD.

Car Wars didn't happen for... reasons. (For more information, see Wasteland.) The relative failure of the WoU series killed further games in that line. U7 sluggishness, and the waning of graphical adventures, killed the STUD games.

Hah, actually, yes, now that I think about it, Wing Commander DID kill Star Wars. Not because it kicked off a bitter rivalry with their X-Wing line (tho that kind of also happened 😄), but because it made spending cash on licensed IP much less necessary/attractive.
Original update published on May 6, 2019


Rear Admiral
When I was in junior high I had a couple of Car Wars novels where you made choices and had to track stats related to vehicle combat as you read the book. Wonder if it is the same Car Wars universe.

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Absolutely! Car Wars is a franchise created by Steve Jackson Games, a company that had close ties to 'early' Origin games... many of the notable developers started there, people like Warren Spector, Aaron Allston, David Ladyman, etc. It started off as a pen and paper game and branched out into a number of other things. Origin actually did one licensed Car Wars game a few years before this, an Apple ][ era game called Auto Duel.