Dos Secret Missions 1.5

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Baggins, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Well I can only think they didn't cast Mark Hamill or his contemporaries because he was too old for the timeline of the story they were trying to tell.

    Maybe some of the other cast members pay grades had risen beyond what the studio would cover (the movie already had some other budget issues iirc? Or were busy with other projects?

    But ya absolutely love the cast in Wing Commander 4-5.

    Ya the cloaked fighters subplot that thing starts really early in Super Wing Commander from the first or second mission of the main story. It's one of the first things Shotglass mentions rumors about, and then Maniac and Hunter talking about it too. Then during the briefing Halycion mentions it and tells people not to talk about it since it's classified and anyone caught talking about will me military disciplined.

    There is a whole side story about that that builds up throughout Super Wing Commander along with additional "new cutscenes" related to it as well. 1.5's additions to that probably seem really out of place without understanding about the "extended" content relating around that subplot.

    But otherwise 99% of the dialogue from 1.5 is just stripped down version of SM2 diaologue (stripped only of the Firekkan references).

    The issues with the cloaking device also occurs in Roberts Wing Commander Academy series too. That series used Mark Hamil, Thomas Wilson, and Malcom McDowell from the tv show as well.
     
  2. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    On a side note IIRC the cloaking device/fighter subplot was actually added in away to foreshadow events leading up to WC2, but only noticeable if you play it in order and get all those references from the subplot in context. It's one of those things that's "only rumors" and no one on the ship ever confirms from what I've been able to glean from scripts and what little I've seen.

    There is a cutscenes with a Kilrathi escaping in one of the cloaked ships as well iirc. But it's only something we as outside viewers see, not something that people on board the Claw experience.
     
  3. Shot

    Shot Rear Admiral

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    Well, of course Hamill was too old to play the young Blair, but why did they have to be young? In true "Captain Hindsight" ways; I so wonder what might have been if they stuck with what they already knew worked. This cast worked with the games, racked you up over a million in sales at a time when computer games very rarely reached such sales... They may not have been "hot" in terms of newer movies people would know them from, but come on, anytime a bunch of well known old actors get together for some movie, people take notice. That film Space Dogs I think? Eastwood and James Garner, Tommy Lee Jones... More than that... Late 90's, none of them hot off success, that movie did great at the box office and it was pretty damn silly I have to say. At the very least, those Star Wars nerds would have sat through more than the preview if the first billed star was Mark Hamill, ya know? If the movie had been successful, who knows? Then you get your chance to do the prequel or start at the beginning with a new cast. What was the budget for the movie again? Does anyone know off hand how that compares with Wing3? I know Wing4 was like 8 million or something? Most expensive game ever at the time, hell, that still has to be an expensive game to this day. But I'm sure Wing3, using videotape, still CGI sets, 3 million sound about right? While some of the "effects" in the movie looked damn awesome for the time, those ships...ahhhh.... Each ship had such a personality in all the games.... Look what they turned the Rapier into for the movie... I mean, yeah, it's part a physical prop, but where's the style that Wing3 managed to put in with far less money? The Kilrathi themselves... Yeah, I understand muppets aren't exactly everyone's "thing". You sort of love them or hate them... I love them... Thrakhath, the Emperor, Mellik, they were genuinely scary and awesome looking to me... Of course Wing4 kept the muppets but lost the style... Poor, poor Mellik, why?! Didn't look like him, and that was not Tim Curry in Wing4... I do have to say the movie did keep me in genuine suspense with all the hiding they did with the Kilrathi.

    I've read that was a last minute editing thing? They were originally going to show them much more but after they saw how bad the CG cats were they kind of kept them in the shadows for most of the movie? I can remember watching that movie in the theater and getting teased, super excited to see them revealed... emmm... Of course I understand it's a movie, the catering budget is probably 2 million alone... Film... Sets... Effects... When you consider the budget, it's top quality "B" movie material.... Which I guess that's all the studio wanted... I guess Robert's was unable to sell the studio on his idea quite like he sold it to all those actors.

    Oh, I do have to say, Safron Burrows as Angel? I love her so much... I liked her before that movie though... hahha... I mean everyone, even back then, they kind of made fun of Freddie Prince for his "one face" acting style... Lillard, over the top comedy... Not a terrible young Maniac... Not sure Prince was a great choice for young Blair though... I know they tried to get Malcolm McDowell, he was busy... I remember my father and I talking about why couldn't they even get him? Toylwin is one of those people that's always old, ya know? At least I came to find out they tried. But Burrows... Unfortunately Angel is the one character in Wing3 you don't really get to know well... She's there, a kissing scene in a flashback, the death scene... It's utterly reliant on you playing the previous games to understand what a gut wrenching punch that death is. But because she's not a part of the story you don't get to see how good that Angel was, I don't even know her name. But I thought Burrows was a great choice for her... I mean I utterly hated the "they never existed" bit when someone died... Again, how iconic are the Wing Commander funerals to all of us fans? Just why did they to change it up so much from what they knew worked? I mean it's not a bad scene when Blair/Maniac kind of say no to that crap and say yes they did exist... But, ehh, I don't feel it needed to be there, even if it does make some sort of sense in terms of it's a war, people are dying... Yeah, but even the bloodiest of wars both sides usually had respect for the dead.

    I mentioned in the video that the dialogue is mostly the same as Secret Missions 2. I was having deja vu the whole time. Which is so confusing... I shut off the game thinking I didn't install the patch right because I was getting the same speeches I remember... But I installed it right! But I'm saying, when there was new dialogue, that is some of the worst written stuff I've ever seen. Most certainly in terms of Wing Commander but it's just bad out right... My end opinion on it was this patch, while awesome in terms of technicalities behind it, in terms of the story and gameplay offered... It's mostly the same game as SM2, the things that have changed? Well, I said the way I play these games is usually in order, not always, but usually. Wing 1, SM1,SM2, Wing2, SO1, SO2, Wing3, etc... I said this patch won't change that. You're not going to play SM1 and then want to put this patch on for 1.5, and then play 2. You'll like 2 more I'm pretty sure, and then, maybe once in a great while you'll mess with the files and try out 1.5 - Because, when it's not destroying the timeline, like with the stealth fighters... It's so bad it's good, in terms of the dialogue... It's a trip for sure... And what you're saying about the actual Super Wing Commander game is making me quite curious to see how the real thing handles all of this stuff... Am I blind, has anyone else found a full complete playthrough or a quality in-depth review of it? I can only find people making fun of it or non commented gameplay of maybe the first couple missions.

    I realize you can probably weave the timeline around the mention of stealth fighters in 1.5, rumors and all... But still... "Your ridiculous claims about a Kilrathi cloaking device!" - I never did like Tolywin in the games, 10 years of our life wasted.... Who knows what adventures we could have had... But at least I was going into that understanding that as true as it might be, nobody else has ever heard of this stealth fighter crap. With 1.5? Oh yeah, they've heard of it, might be rumors, but we're raiding bases to make sure that stuff does not happen... Well... If there's enough quality information to say raid that base because of possible cloaking fighters, Blair's claims are not longer exactly "ridiculous". You could say he's passing the blame on magical events... Trying to get out of it... But you can't exactly act as if you never heard of stealth fighters before. 10 years, Lt. Col, decorated beyond belief... It was a patrol mission... You patrol to find bad guys... How much space is out there? I feel he should have been able to lie and say he just didn't see anything, and ya know what? Look what he's done, we'll give this one. Without him that carrier would have exploded countless times before that. hahah, ya know? I'm just having fun with that talking about that though, made for a great story and a redeeming one. But it's hard for me to be okay with what Origin were thinking with 1.5 there... I mean for the cartoon? I mean to me that's a different timeline. I might not enjoy the movie too much, but as long as the creators and fans are not trying to say that the games and the movie and the books and the cartoon all happened, all were reality... I'm perfectly fine. To me the books have their timeline, games their own, movie its own, and yeah, the cartoon? What a little quality Saturday morning gem we had there. In that universe, things are a little different, but, hopefully in that timeline Blair does not get sentenced to 10 years of communications duty. haha. And yeah, in the end, this is just us being super anal giving a crap about timelines... Look at the Zelda timeline... But then again, look how pissed off fans get at the Zelda timeline. Fans, not casual players, the people that love it the most. I can't say the movie and the whole Pilgrim thing was my idea of a good plot, it was sort of intriguing, but ehhh...

    Not that racism is not going to exist in the future but for it to be that obvious... And for what? They feel jump points... Okay, that might not be scientific, but we're obviously a scientific group of people now with carriers in space, science might not always understanding something, but they're not going to deny what obviously works. This is not your star sign, not a horoscope, these people are able to plot jump points... It just does not make sense that this space fairing people of ours would hate a group of their own that much, and they did not paint around the picture...In my mind, as a kid, I was watching the way Blair was getting treated and I was thinking of the white man thinking blacks are inferior. It was so racist, and I never got that kind of impression that people were thinking like that in Wing Commander, not toward humans anyone... Yeah, the Kilrathi at times, but humans that are helping? I was 14 when the movie came out, it was insulting my intelligence at the time with that Pilgrim subplot.

    Back to the patch though. That patch is awesome, and from I remember, he did not have access to any kind of source code or anything. So theoretically, the whole changing of the missions and dialogue, ya know, that's possible for others to do. I'd love to see that! Destroy the timeline all you want friends! It's cool with me as long as its done in the name of fun and from fans, not official. Newer secret missions as far as the eye can see! Maybe Angel and Blair start up a little thing BEFORE Wing2? I'm pretty sure many of us are capable of writing dialogue that's a little bit better than the quality of the newer stuff from 1.5 -
     
  4. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Some of the additional lines from the early part of the game can be found here, these are 'supposed' to weave into this alternate WC1 plot leading up to "WC2" as we know it.
    http://wingcommander.wikia.com/wiki/Super_Wing_Commander_transcript

    Notice Halcyon's talk about 'rumors' and being classified and then if anyone continues to talk about they will be 'punished'. Unfortunately "Blair" (or "Armstrong" in this case) got the full end of that 'punishment' for speaking out about something he wasn't supposed to talk about (they needed a 'scape goat', ya its not very nice outcome for "Our Hero"), when something that's not supposed to exist destroyed the pride of the fleet Tiger's claw... At least from that game's alternate timeline's perspective, and 'forshadowing'. I wonder if they ever had a plan for a 'Super Wing Commander II'?

    What is more interesting is that apparently during that period the various teams wanted to get rid of Firekkans altogether for whatever reason... They thought they were unrealistic? Who knows?

    Here is a little more about it I guess...
    I think there is more stuff about our Hero being made a scapegoat in some of the manuals and strategy guides as well. Tolwyn punishing the hero so he could avoid being being punished himself. That is also reflected on in the TV series as well, that he is more concerned with his own promotions he'd betray anyone around him to get to the top... Machiavellian in action.
     
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  5. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Space Cowboys I think?
     
  6. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I thought the cats in the movie were puppets? Their redesign was apparently the fault of Chris Roberts himself. He wasn't happy with how they looked in the games, and then 'tinkered' with them further, and then later didn't like how the new movie animatronics looked... They were apparently too large for the sets, and too bulky to move about, so they had to 'hunch' over for most of the movie.

    Not sure how accurate the Wikipedia explanation is, but it does include some links to Chris Roberts himself discussing how he would like to try CGI for the Kilrathi in a 'future' project.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wing_Commander_(film)#Relations_to_other_Wing_Commander_works
     
  7. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Doinga google search;

    Space Cowboys had:

    65 million USD budget.

    Wing Commander film had;

    30 million USD


    I'm not a movie maker, nor a game maker. So I don't know what the differences in how you pay caste, crew, use technology etc, is used. The film did use a lot more physical props though than the games, IIRC.
     
  8. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I can't remember it might be something added to Goddard material of Super Wing Commander that shows the Gilkarg or someone else escaping in a cloaked fighter.

    Apparently there is an additional scene at Brimstone "of a kilrathi Baron Gorkath (sp?) testing a cloak on a Lumbari transport ship, and flying to some planet."
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  9. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    For fun there is a 1994 review of the actual game, criticisms and all.

     
  10. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    It actually was the creators trying to say they all happened in one time line as strange as that sounds! Check out the bibles! Check out Star*Soldier and Arena.

    What fans 'think' is pretty much irrelevant, yours or mine, etc.

    Here is the most current timeline from Wing Commander Arena game's "Star*Soldier' game manual:


    http://images.ea.com/ea/arcade/draft2cRGB.pdf


    You can read over the designers bible here, and see the developer's ideas for the games and how they also extended to the novels, and other materials etc.

    https://www.wcnews.com/archives/

    Also pay attention to The Kilrathi Saga manual as that also ties into the novels as well.

    http://download.wcnews.com/files/manuals/Kilrathi Saga Manual.pdf
     
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  11. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I think there is actually a interview where the concept of the Pilgrims sort of arose out of the Border Worlds civil war ideas from WC4, where Confederation wasn't honoring the Border World's rights (many who had colonized the Border Worlds before there was even a Confederation) and treating them as second class bumpkins... Along with Tolwyn's suplot of trying to create a space 'super race', that looked down upon regular humans. Hence a human vs human war, rather than human vs. monster ("Kilrathi") Humans are monster enough.
     
  12. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Apologies in advance for the random order of these quotes. It's been a while since I've had a real, fun message board conversation and I'm super excited to chat Wing Commander with new folks. It is, after all, my first, best destiny :)

    This one specifically bugged me! It's internally consistent for the two novels (sort of) but it makes the games a bit problematic and it's not really how ship designations have worked before or since. Still, it's there!


    One big thing people don't understand is that Chris never really set out to be the Wing Commander guy. Before Wing Commander, he would build totally distinct games that interested him. You had Times of Lore as his take on the massive RPG, Bad Blood, an action game, Stryker's Run, a side scrolling arcade title... he even did a soccer game! Heck, before they knew Wing Commander was going to be the biggest thing since Mario, he was planning to follow it up with a car game. Then when WC *was* a huge hit and he had the time and budget to do something that interested him... his creative impulse was to parlay that into doing an incredibly detailed F-16 simulator mated with a 1980s action movie rather than more WC.

    He was in the same position with the FMV games... Wing Commander III let him do something totally different creatively and he put everything he could into that. But then EA wanted him to keep turning out Wing Commanders every year when what he wanted to do was try new things (he had a project called Silverheart based on a Michael Moorcock outline which he first announced at Origin and then brought to DA and beyond. So I think his end goal was never just to keep telling Wing Commander stories, he wanted to do completely new things whether they involved Wing Commander as an IP or not.)

    I've been chatting with some folks doing preservation at Electronic Arts; the good news is they still have this vaulted and are going to look at a proper transfer!

    Do not feel too badly about this! They actually added the stealth fighter stuff to some of the original bar conversations in the Wing Commander I/Secret Missions section of Super Wing Commander specifically to set up for an abandoned Super Wing Commander II... so you follow it through the game and it's a bit more nuanced: Colonel Halcyon believes stealth fighters could exist and Admiral Tolwyn absolutely refuses to. The added layer was going to be 'someone DID believe Blair... and he's dead and can't defend him.'

    (As for SWC2: The hope at the time was that the 3DO was going to be the Next Big Thing(tm) and they would immediately move on to Super Wing Commander II with a similar adaptation. When the numbers came back, it was cheaper to port Wing Commander III and put the team on a project designed to take better advantage of the platform (which was a mech game called Prowler.) And then of course the 3DO didn't exactly light the world on fire and Super Wing Commander II became a distant napkin concept.

    Absolutely no apology needed! Frankly, I'm honored you found the site useful despite not having a great experience because of me... having something useful for Wing Commander fans is all I ever really wanted!

    I love the spirit of your channel, too. It's something I'd really like to do myself! Would be great to have the creative freedom to just do videos about whatever I think is interesting (my wife and I have started doing Periscopes just chatting about cool stuff we find... would be need to make more of a production out of it.)

    I'd be willing to stream the whole thing! I imagine we can output my 3DO card and share it that way. It's a strange, strange game (especially the cutscenes!) but I'd love for people to be able to see more of it.

    Unfortunately, making a movie isn't ever as easy as the director deciding the best actors for the roles and then hiring them. One of the biggest concerns we don't think about is financing; it's not as easy as FOX saying 'we'll make Wing Commander, here's $27 million, go do it'... the part people don't see is that the producers have to start off by building a coalition of investors. You might sell off individual rights to different parties: FOX provides $10 million and they get the domestic theatrical release and home video, Universal provides $5 million and they get international distribution, Nokia will pay $500,000 if we feature their logo prominently and so on (none of these numbers are accurate, although those were some of the parties involved in Wing Commander!)

    Your very first job is finding these groups and convincing them you're a good investment. And that means you have to promise them something they can bank on. That's why you often hear that a name is 'attached' to a movie... what that means is that so and so talent has signed on in order to help the movie secure financing. So you can go to a financier and say "hey, we've got an incredible script, we've got Tom Hanks and we can do it for X dollars." They run the numbers and they say okay, Tom Hanks has this impact on the box office, so-and-so screenwriter has this impact and so we can reasonably expect the movie to make this much money for us.

    You have to go in explaining exactly why your project is going to appeal to young adults age 18-35 and how you'll make X, Y and Z amount of money in whatever revenue streams. And unfortunately in this case "our movie stars Mark Hamill, the top box office draw of 1977!" wouldn't have sold the film. (In the very specific case of Wing Commander, it was not that they went in with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard attached; instead the agreement was to allow FOX to have a say in casting the leads.)

    I will note that I think a lot of the furor way back when was from the perception that Chris Roberts had left the actors that made the FMV games out to dry, that he'd sort of betrayed them by going with a younger cast. I can confirm that's absolutely not the case, all parties involved knew it was how the process works... and of course Chris went back to Mark and John and folks when he had the creative freedom to do that on Squadron! (In fact, some of the top talent in Wing Commander III and IV were sold on those projects by recieving 'points' in the franchise (a percentage of profits)... so had the movie been a financial success, folks like Mark Hamill would have made a bunch of money without doing any work. As Shot mentioned, Mark Hamill has said in interviews he made a whole lot more money off of Wing Commander than he did Star Wars for exactly that reason. I'm sure that's no longer accurate because I'm sure he got a percentage and a dump truck full of cash for the new trilogy, but it's interesting to think about.)

    The desire to redesign the Kilrathi was Chris', but the decision to go with practical effects was a call made by the studio producer. Chris spent much of the project hoping he'd secure additional financing to do them as CGI... and it sadly just didn't work out. (Reading through some of the back and forth late in the project is absolutely heartbreaking; Chris tried very hard to secure money to have the Kilrathi redone and to go back to the original intro of the film and it just fell on deaf ears...)

    Wing Commander was INSANELY cheap as movies go; no one was making movies like that for $27 million (today that gets you a mid-range romcom!) And you know, forgetting the 'it doesn't look like the games' aspect man does the cinematography ever hold up. Wing Commander looks like a $75 million picture today, when Phantom Menace with five times the budget and a direct line into the heart of cutting edge VFX looks like a lousy video game when you see it today.

    That's right, in the original script the Pilgrims were the 'Border Worlds'... got changed as the script evolved, but the concept remained the same.

    The Pilgrims are a good example of how I like the pieces of the movie more than I do the whole. I think there's a lot of really neat continuity there. I LIKE there being a future equivalent of the Mexican-American War that sort of cuts the teeth of all the older characters who end up running the Kilrathi War... I like the idea of introducing a fictional religion, I love all the work done to fill out humanity's expansion to the stars... I just don't necessarily love how it came together. (Specifically, I am NOT a huge fan of the Pilgrim powers from the novels; I think they're totally silly and a missed opportunity to tell a more interesting story. But you can't win them all!)


    I think this is another Hollywood thing; if your movie isn't attracting 18-34 year olds then you aren't getting any money. (But I guess it also makes sense; if only every single person who bought Wing Commander III and made it the best selling PC game to that point then went to see the Wing Commander movie opening weekend... it would have made far less money. It sucks for hardcore fans to think about, but they needed a script that introduced the world to Wing Commander in order to make it work financially.)

    Four million for Wing Commander III. A crazy risk at the time for EA, but one that paid off!

    There was a feeling among some folks that they were too goofy for a cross-media franchise; that aliens in the Wing Commander world needed to be more than just anthropomorphic Earth animals.
     
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  13. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    I had a feeling there was a Super Wing Commander II somewhere ther in the history of the Super Wing Commander story.

    We really do need a the complete script for that game to see all the additions and new plot in context. I've tried to emulate but have only gotten so far as its kind of difficult to get controllers working properly.

    Also as to cast of Wing Commander Movie didn't Mark Hamil do the voice of some of the cockpit computer AI? "Merlin" most of that material was cut but there is one or two lines in the film.
     
  14. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Ya some of that is at least in part foreshadowed in Confederation handbook. Dead not necessarily being dead but accending via the Tanque Dimension.

    Then the novels added astral projection and dopplegangers to the mix. Killing off a doppelgänger may or may not kill off the Pilgrim projecting the clone. It was all kinda of confusing too.
     
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  15. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    The question is more how did they do it? Is it simply a matter of changing a few file names? Like if Super Wing Commander uses more or less same engine as Wing Commander 1/Secret Missions then maybe all they did was just change the file names to match the file names of SM2 to to trick the game into loading those files instead.

    That's completely different than building Missions from scratch, or tweaking dialogue files directly. Is it possible to open up and change text in the files without knowledge of the sourcecode or some other hacks? Who knows would be interesting to learn from the designer of the pack how they managed to do it.

    However maybe someone did figure out how to actually make original missions without need of the source code or pulling in files from another origin game. Looks like there are two fan mission packs for WC1 here:
    https://www.wcnews.com/missions/#wc1

    Also on that page links to fan mission packs for WC2 and later games in the series as well.

    Also some more stuff for Wing Commander Academy.
    https://www.wcnews.com/news/update/12980
     
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  16. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    It didn't require any source code. What they're doing is altering the data files Secret Missions 2 reads from so that they match the ones that were used by Super Wing Commander. Think of it like literally copying and pasting the script (and the mission layouts and a few other things) into Wing Commander I.

    I haven't played through it, but I suspect there are a bunch of points where it doesn't quite work. Wing Commander I is very rigid: briefing->mission->debriefing->(optional transfer)->(optional medal)->(optional cutscene) while SWC had some additional gameflow options, so they could (for instance) hold a briefing in Halcyon's office or have a character who didn't appear in a mission show up in the debriefing (Ralgha, at one point!)
     
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  17. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    It may not have been impossible, but it definitely would have been harder to set up a "new" film franchise and set it later in the WC timeline. There really had to be an in for people not familiar with the games. And even for those who were fans, it still likely would have meant going back to the Kilrathi war for the film (which had already ended in the game time line).


    In a way, WC2 (and specifically Tolwyn) is the outlier when it comes to stealth tech. If you do look at the timeline as a whole, the Kilrathi have fully working stealth tech at the *beginning* of WC2, which happens not long after WC1 and SM2. The main part of WC2 is 10 years later but the tech is working and takes out the Claw not long after WC1-SM2 ends. The appearance of a stealth ship in WCA-TV that doesn't have a full cloaking ability shouldn't be that much of a stretch. And neither should Skipper missiles that are blind while cloaked (an inferior cloaking tech to that on the Strakha fighters). The issues here become "what does Eisen mean by 'New' skipper missiles", and "why is Tolwyn so dead set on not believing Blair."

    I guess I should add here that WC2 is my favorite of all the WC games, but anyway, there's an underlying theme though of some distrust and bad blood between Blair and Tolwyn that Chris Roberts seemed eager to explore. The end of WCA-TV goes to great legnths to give Tolwyn a reason to resent Blair. The movie also tried to explore this a bit and again those elements ended up on the chopping block at different points in the development. Early drafts of the script ended with a typical dress uniform medal ceremony after which Tolwyn admits to Blair that he was fully expecting that the Claw was being a sacrificial pawn and that it wouldn't survive the delaying action... basically that when Tolwyn asked Blair to carry the orders to the Claw he was aware he was sending Blair to his death. That scene more or less got cut for budget costs as they couldn't justify making dress uniforms for the whole cast for a single scene. An earlier scene did survive the rewrites and was shot where Belegard tells Tolwyn (after the comm message to Blair on the Diligent) that he doesn't agree with using Blair.

    The rapier Cockpit interiors look fantastic. The real cockpit interiors lend a look of credibility. I don't care for the exterior of the rapiers much but I don't outright hate it. It has a cheeky retro look that I kind of think fits the WW2-in-space motif of the production design. However for fans (and probably others too) even CR admits they probably took it too far. Basically WC has always been thematically pacific theater WW2 in space. So under the suggestion of the producers they decided they should just go all out in that aspect and not reference the game designs, despite the team having done test footage with game designs... you may have even seen the pic we dug of of that test Rapier... The team studied the aerial and naval footage from classic war movies for inspiration. The same movies were used as jumping off points for elements of the soundtrack. This is where things like the fighters dipping of the end of the runway comes from. They are things we can come away with explanations for why it works that way but ultimately the reason is because it's quite literally transposing "an old submarine movie" (as my in-laws described it) into outer space, depth charges and all.

    As for the Kilrathi, they did edit them out of the movie where possible, but not to the degree you might be thinking. I think I outlined in my previous posts why that is. The majority of the cut Kilrathi scenes were minor (and short) scenes where the Kilrathi Admiral is talking to the Pilgrim Traitor about whatever the Claw is doing. They aren't much different than the scenes of the Kilrathi we do get near the end of the movie when the Snakier is chasing Blair's fighter. The other deleted scene of Kilrathi is on the Concom where the Concom captain activates the self destruct button so that it's ready to go should the need arise. Most of the action scenes on board the Kilrathi Concom that involve the Kilrathi are still in the theatrical cut. There's some shooting when the Marines storm the ship, there's another hallway shootout where Angel has to rescue a fallen marine after he's shot in the leg, and there's the scene where Blair fights a couple of Kilrathi outside the Bridge. The first two of those are more or less in tact, though there was more originally of the Marines storming out of the Diligent's umbilical. This scene got hacked up to add Blair to the mix, who originally *was not* part of their Contingent. He was on the diligent as the Turret gunner and sneaks onto the Concom later. The Hallway scene didn't change much though the editing of the action makes it harder to tell what the Kilrathi are doing, But Blair fighting near the bridge is the scene that lost the most. The Kilrathi that knocks Blair to the ground originally lifts Blair off the ground and then Blair stabs it with his Pilgrim cross. Another Kilrathi on the bridge is attempting to scuttle the ship and Blair shoots that one just in time (a really awful example of the bad creature suits). There was some minor stuff shot for the Pegasus raid that got cut too of guards fighting Kilrathi marines that didn't make it into the movie.

    Just to clarify though, the Kilrathi in the movie are animatronic heads and shoulders sitting on top of stunt performers. There was some very fundamental issues with the way this type of setup works for why the effects were bad. The movie team used CG to touch up the eyes and mouths of the Kilrathi so that they weren't quite as bad...

    I think over the years we've talked up how much deleted Kilrathi content there was, but the vast majority of the deleted scenes involve the Pilgrim plot.

    Prinze wasn't great but I know I read several reviews that describe him as 'likeable'. He was pretty much an unknown at the time of filming. He made it big before the movie came out with the release of She's all that (also with some scenes with Lillard). She's all that came out before WC but was actually shot after WC. Prinze and Lillard met on WC, so one thing you can actually blame the WC movie for legitimately is starting the trend of movies with the Prinze/Lillard duo in it.

    I actually don't mind him in the movie though, I just would have preffered someone else in the role. The editing of the movie to shreds doesn't help us any in this area though since his anger doesn't register correctly, and losing many Merlin scenes mean half the time he's stating the obvious or talking to himself. Ultimately it would have been better to give the movie another rewrite to write out Merlin rather than to shoot all those scenes and then try and fudge the editing to make the story work without him.

    The editing also gives the "never existed" stuff more prominence than it really needs. In the absence of the traitor plots the only real character themes in the movie revolve around what it means to be in command. Angel has to make all the tough choices, even if it means sacrificing her friends to allow other pilots to live. Without Blair's story the never existed stuff gets promoted to prime time. I don't care for this subplot either but it gets more emphasis than it needs in theatrical cut. It's real main purpose in the mess hall scene was supposed to be for Hunter to reveal he is a pilgrim to everyone and make Blair feel like an outsider from the Pilot family. Another cut line from Angel's lecture in the hall also had a line about her telling Blair that he was "a pawn in someone else's game..." a line that doesn't get it's call back without the closing medal ceremony I mentioned above.

    Ultimately, I agree that the movie probably shouldn't have been about Pilgrims. However for what it is (or rather was supposed to be) I do find the basic story interesting.

    The movie definitely doesn't do enough to explain why everyone hates Pilgrims. Paladin's lines about the pilgrims feeling superior and being arrogant doesn't explain the whole picture. There was at one point supposed to be an opening monologue by Blair about how the Pilgrim wars left billions dead. Blair also calls it a 'Civil War'. Other scenes would have explained that the Pilgrims thought they were basically "chosen" because of their genetic difference to inherit the stars... that regular people should just stay on Earth. There's more to it than that but basically that led to a lot of atrocities on both sides. Since the end of the Pilgrim war, many of the remaining Pilgrims are running a terrorist insurgency and sabotaging Confeds efforts against the Kilrathi. The movie never really explains what the Peron massacre was either. It just sounds bad. There was a scene too where Blair and Merlin talk about how Confed has ordered records of what happened wiped from all computers and harddrives etc... suggesting that Confed's own hands probably weren't that clean. And for that, the Confed Handbook is invaluable since it fills in much of the details.

    I don't mind Blair's 'powers' in the film. I'm not okay with the other Pilgrim powers mentioned in the books. Blairs navigational abilities actually do make some scientific sense. We already know that certain animals on earth today are sensitive to electromagnetic fields. There's a cut line from the movie where Paladin explains that it was genetic mutation that made the Pilgrims sensitive to minute changes in gravity and electromagnetism. The idea that people living mainly in space might develop sensitivities to such things is plausible, but in reality it would probably take a lot longer than a couple of hundred years. The big issue with pilgrims though is that, especially for fans of the games, the movie really doesn't do enough to explain where they came from or what the deal is with them.


    There's more than a few. There's a bunch of Merlin lines when Blair and Angel first meet the Concom, and then there's a number while Blair is making the jump to Sol, and when he's drawing the Snakier into Scylla's grasp. Most of them are variations on lines Merlin would have used had he been a character other than the Rapier computer.

    There's actually another interesting thing in the development of the film... There's actually several AI characters in the first draft. Tolwyn had his own version for example. And even in the final shooting script the Tiger Claw AI has several more lines. Both Merlin and the Claw computer seem obsessed with probability. Merlin is always telling Blair his chances of survival for example. Another scene had Gerald ask the Claw what the chances of the Kilrathi overrunning Pegasus were. Sansky asks the claw AI at another point whether the signal Blair claims to have detected came from the Claw.... Anyway, if you want to hear the Tiger Claw AI you can hear it during the Jump into the Ulysses corridor. I'm kind of curious who they got to voice the Claw's AI.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  18. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Interesting point about the Claw's AI since Super Wing Commander has similar AI to announce doorways and stuff as you move about the ship. And more silly things like Save Spots in the barracks.
     
  19. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Hah, I think that was more of an external narrator. Because the 3DO version would be played on TVs that could be two decades old, they tried to have audio over text that might be hard to read.
     
  20. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    I honestly think that the Pilgrim powers are one of the worst, if not the worst, mistakes made by the film. We can talk here about how Pilgrim powers are really very limited, and how they make sense, and how they have nothing at all in common with Jedi powers in Star Wars... but to a casual audience, you've got a sci-fi film set in space, and there are people with special powers, and it all sounds too close to Star Wars. And while I couldn't point to anything in particular (it has been close to two decades), I do vaguely recall various reviewers pointing out this connection. Pilgrim powers contributed nothing to the film (every single instance of Pilgrim powers being used in the film could be made to work without Pilgrim powers, to no detriment for the plot), but they unnecessarily evoked an uncomfortable similarity to Star Wars, just at the time when The Phantom Menace was coming out.

    I should add, by having the Pilgrim powers conveyed through genetics, the movie made the exact same mistake as The Phantom Menace did: it destroyed the "everyman" feel of its main character. Originally, Star Wars was about a farm boy who masters these special powers that (potentially) anyone else could master, and goes on to save the universe - a fantasy plot where anyone could identify with being Luke. Originally, Wing Commander was about a character-less player character who barely even speaks a word, so that the player is able to pour their own personality and background into him. In Wing Commander the game, Blair wasn't special because he was a Pilgrim, Blair was special because the player is amazing. Then, 1999 comes along, and we get The Phantom Menace coming along and telling us that actually, Luke was special because he had a high midichlorian count, and no, you really shouldn't be identifying with him. And the Wing Commander movie, which tells us that actually, Blair was marked as special from the start, because he's got these special Pilgrim powers. I think that hits at an almost subconscious level, where it's really impossible to have a rational discussion about how actually, Blair's navigational powers didn't have to make him a great fighter pilot, so if he's a great fighter pilot it's still because the player is amazing. And you could see this in the discussions of the time, there was a lot of anger about Blair's special powers, and no amount of explaining that actually, Blair can just do maths very quickly, helped. The player was being depreciated.

    Ultimately, the movie should have gone in the opposite direction as far as it possibly could. Blair should have been as "normal" as humanly possible. An everyman, who's being constantly told that his life expectancy on the frontline is three weeks or something, and being constantly told that he's not up to the task - and then proving himself in an amazing way. This would have worked just fine for a character arc in an air combat film, it's been done before - and it would have felt so much better for the fans in the audience.
     

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