HG101 Conducts Hardcore Profile of Wing Commander (August 5, 2019)


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Hardcore Gaming 101 has kicked off a lengthy two-part Wing Commander retrospective. It's not too uncommon to find a classic review of Wing Commander here or there, but author AB Silvera has gone into considerable depth this time around. The piece starts with a nice introduction to the history of Origin and how the company went from being Ultima-centric to branching out to games such as Wing Commander. That's followed up with some solid backstory on how Chris Roberts found himself making the game in Austin. The article also goes into detail concerning ports and expansions, which is subject we're particular fond of. This includes five-way screenshots to show how people and places could differ from one platform to the next. It's great to see someone spend so much time to scratch beneath the surface! Check out both segments below:

'In the distant future, mankind is locked in a deadly war...'

As Kilrathi fighters fly past, laser bolts shoot past and one explodes into little pieces. Its enemy, a triumphant Earth fighter, turns away while giving the player a good view of its design. As the score soars, the title comes into view: WING COMMANDER. You are a nameless 2nd Lieutenant in the Terran Confederation Space Force. Your mission: save humanity from the evil claws of the Kilrathi Empire!

It's not an understatement to say Wing Commander looked like nothing else at the time, for many reasons. Its clearly defined storyline, characters, and cutscenes rivaled the most ambitious RPGs in the market. While a space sim, it emphasized quick reflexes instead of exploration, as well as tactically deploying your wingman. Add the most sweeping, military-symphonic score your MIDI-enabled sound card could muster, and a branching mission system, beautifully rendered ship interiors, a performance-based promotion system, a box packed full of lore-heavy literature, ship blueprints, and — you get the picture. The game was presented as a prestige product, showing that Origin was betting big on Wing Commander. And the bet paid off.
Original update published on August 5, 2019