Some interesting (?) Strike Commander eratta that is floating around my head that Kotaku almost certainly wouldn't appreciate:
- The truly important thing about Strike Commander was the 3D "RealSpace" engine. Origin was willing to pour money into the game and extend deadlines as needed because they wanted the technology. In fact, two games started development DURING Strike's cycle with the aim of being cheaper projects that could use the technology and act as sort of a sales multiplier. They were Privateer and a game called "Phoenix Force." When Strike dragged on, Phoenix Force (which was a 'Strike Commander 1.5' sequel) was cancelled and Privateer was adapted to use the Wing Commander I/II engine. RealSpace did prove valuable, though: Wing Commander III and IV both used the engine as did Pacific Strike (not a Chris Roberts game, Kotaku) and Wings of Glory (a *Warren Spector* game, so probably all the more impressive to today's gamers.)
- Strike started out life with a very different goal. The finished game is all F-16s (plus a mission or two in the F-22 prototype) and they even promoted it as a 'serious' F-16 simulator (it wasn't!) to the point of making the hint book more of a guide to flying a real F-16 than playing the game... but the original plan was that you would have an array of different vehicles, including a helicopter, a World War II vintage P-38 Lightning modified for ground attack missions and possibly even a tank. This version of Strike Commander was even advertised: early Origin catalogs show screenshots of the helicopter, and the first 'sales sheet' for the game sent to retailers in mid-1991 is full of facts and story that have nothing to do with the finished release. Origin did a second sales sheet in 1992. I have some photos I can dig up of the original if folks are interested.
- In Strike Commander's Sudden Death manual (awesome manual, by the way, the equal of the best of the WC books and the inspiration for Star*Soldier) there's a reference to someone named "Mr. Zap" who wants to recover data from a network. That's a reference to something that happened during the development of the game. Origin's development machines had barely the hard drive capacity to run Strike Commander... so there was a tool called 'Zap' that you would run which formatted the machine and set it up to run the latest build of the game. One of the programmers went to do this one night without realizing he was connected to the network drive... where the only copy of the game itself was stored. Before he realized what had happened he had "zapped" Strike Commander itself, destroying all the game assets. Recovering the data and recreating what hadn't been backed up ended up setting back the project more weeks.
- Stern's funeral in Strike Commander has one of my favorite bits of dialogue ever: "But all of us sooner or later come to this end, a shallow grave in a foreign country. That’s the life... and death... of a mercenary..."
- If you ever install Tactical Operations right from the disks, note that the top of the screen specifies that it's *Tactical Operations #1*.
Hey there! I've been something of an unofficial Origin historian for years. I've learned a LOT about Strike Commander in the last 18 months, though, while working for Chris Roberts on Star Citizen. Here's an interview I did with him reminiscing about the game:
RealSpace was used for six games: Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wing Commander Armada, Wing Commander III, Wings of Glory and Wing Commander IV.