Perennial Rumor: Wing Commander Making a Comeback? (May 15, 2021)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
The German Shock 2 gaming site has posted a new speculation piece about the potential for a new Wing Commander game. They base this on comments in Jeff Grubb's GamesBeats show. As the story goes, EA Motive of Star Wars Squadrons fame is working on a new game that's a comeback of a popular franchise. For many years, Wing Commander was in a distant third place behind Electronic Arts' other space sim franchises, Star Wars and Mass Effect, so prospects were slim. A lot has changed lately with Star Wars going non-exclusive and the mixed fortunes of the Mass Effect franchise. This means Wing Commander is certainly a potential contender once again, although the stars would need to align for a viable project to actually see the light of day. It's only a matter of time though, and we'll be here to bring you the news when it happens!





Google's translate features are working better than ever these days, so you can find a well translated copy of the original article here. While you're there, you can also find another fun piece titled "Games I Miss # 170: Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi" here.

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Original update published on May 15, 2021
 

YCDTD

Commodore
If there ever was a time in the past 10 years or so it would be now. But I am not getting my hopes up. Also feel that you need people who really care about WC (you know, US WINGNUTS) involved or it won't turn out great.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
If there ever was a time in the past 10 years or so it would be now. But I am not getting my hopes up. Also feel that you need people who really care about WC (you know, US WINGNUTS) involved or it won't turn out great.
Keep in mind that the CIC staff was regularly involved with the official revival efforts, and that if there actually is one underway, they might be under NDA (which they will respect). So regulars like us won't get more info than the rumours either.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
If there ever was a time in the past 10 years or so it would be now. But I am not getting my hopes up. Also feel that you need people who really care about WC (you know, US WINGNUTS) involved or it won't turn out great.
We would certainly avoid such prejudgement. Nothing will ever happen unless people who are at least familiar with Wing Commander are behind the push within EA. And there are many talented developers out there who are capable of making great products with or without an intimate historical understanding of whatever it is they're working on.
 

Pedro

Admiral
We would certainly avoid such prejudgement. Nothing will ever happen unless people who are at least familiar with Wing Commander are behind the push within EA. And there are many talented developers out there who are capable of making great products with or without an intimate historical understanding of whatever it is they're working on.

To be fair to his point, whilst most of the team wouldn't need to be familiar, all the reboots / remakes I've personally been fond of have been a passion project for someone with enough clout to preserve the integrity of franchise.
I would rather have no new Wing Commander than something equivalent to Syndicate 2012... or I'm sorry to say, Wing Commander Arena. The reason being it's a black mark on the franchise and one more piece of evidence it can't be revived, despite them being doomed to failure the second they went in a direction that was going to turn all the fans in the woodwork against them.

But all of that said... Squadrons felt like Wing Commander. I'd be shocked if there weren't numerous WC fans on team, and personally I'd be very optimistic about anything tied to that team.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
There was a few years old discussion that discusses some ideas on a new game. As some have said there, I really hope that if there is an actual new game that's announced and subsequently released that it performs well enough to not seal the series' death for good - the dreaded situation where no new game would have been better than a disastrous revival attempt. Even a lukewarm/mixed reception like what happened with Mass Effect Andromeda seems to have put that series' future at least on hold for the time being - maybe the recent remaster of the original trilogy is an attempt to gauge current interest?

I haven't tried Squadrons because a strong single-player (story-focused) experience is important for me, and I understand that aspect is quite weak in Squadrons. If the game-play is good that might be an interesting place to start but any new WC game would still need to differentiate itself from Star Wars. Wing Commander and the X-Wing series of the 1990s were similar in many ways but still very different games.
 
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YCDTD

Commodore
We would certainly avoid such prejudgement. Nothing will ever happen unless people who are at least familiar with Wing Commander are behind the push within EA. And there are many talented developers out there who are capable of making great products with or without an intimate historical understanding of whatever it is they're working on.
Good points, but EA calls the shots. Remember how Lucasarts rushed out KOTOR2?
 

YCDTD

Commodore
There was a few years old discussion that discusses some ideas on a new game. As some have said there, I really hope that if there is an actual new game that's announced and subsequently released that it performs well enough to not seal the series' death for good - the dreaded situation where no new game would have been better than a disastrous revival attempt. Even a lukewarm/mixed reception like what happened with Mass Effect Andromeda seems to have put that series' future at least on hold for the time being - maybe the recent remaster of the original trilogy is an attempt to gauge current interest?

I haven't tried Squadrons because a strong single-player (story-focused) experience is important for me, and I understand that aspect is quite weak in Squadrons. If the game-play is good that might be an interesting place to start but it would still need to differentiate itself from Star Wars. Wing Commander and the X-Wing series of the 1990s were similar in many ways but still very different games.
I feel that FMV is almost WC's signature now so I want to see it back. It would also help differentiate it from other products on the market. A cameo from anyone from the older games would be great. I wonder how much Mark Hammill costs these days, even for a day of shooting?

Also, I would rather an non-AAA title made with love and respect to a AAA title just trying to cash in on the name. @Howard Day Wing Leader is a great example. I mean, what would the budget be to hire 20 or 30 people to make a less expensive title, rather then hundreds? What was the budget of RGO?
 
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Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I was just thinking that any new game would be unlikely to include big-budget actors (whether physical or voice), but I suppose it would also depend on which part of the WC time-line any supposed new game would target and whether or not such an initiative would a bet on going hard with a big budget, etc, or doing something more low-key. RSI got hold of Mr Hamill, but they do have a rather large pool of funds to work from.

Edit: Even as I wrote that, I remembered the other FMV great of the 1990s - Command and Conquer - and how there was much excitement at the announcement (including from CIC news) that the Tiberium Wars sequel would include FMV. I imagine C&C enjoys a lot more popularity than WC in EA's analysis, however, so they would be more willing to spend the budget on bringing Kane et al to the players.
 

YCDTD

Commodore
I was just thinking that any new game would be unlikely to include big-budget actors (whether physical or voice), but I suppose it would also depend on which part of the WC time-line any supposed new game would target and whether or not such an initiative would a bet on going hard with a big budget, etc, or doing something more low-key. RSI got hold of Mr Hamill, but they do have a rather large pool of funds to work from.

Edit: Even as I wrote that, I remembered the other FMV great of the 1990s - Command and Conquer - and how there was much excitement at the announcement (including from CIC news) that the Tiberium Wars sequel would include FMV. I imagine C&C enjoys a lot more popularity than WC in EA's analysis, however, so they would be more willing to spend the budget on bringing Kane et al to the players.
Do big companies do Kickstarters? Or "matching" Kickstarters, like they will spend an equivalent amount to what is backed by the public?
 

Pedro

Admiral
I was just thinking that any new game would be unlikely to include big-budget actors (whether physical or voice), but I suppose it would also depend on which part of the WC time-line any supposed new game would target and whether or not such an initiative would a bet on going hard with a big budget, etc, or doing something more low-key. RSI got hold of Mr Hamill, but they do have a rather large pool of funds to work from.

Edit: Even as I wrote that, I remembered the other FMV great of the 1990s - Command and Conquer - and how there was much excitement at the announcement (including from CIC news) that the Tiberium Wars sequel would include FMV. I imagine C&C enjoys a lot more popularity than WC in EA's analysis, however, so they would be more willing to spend the budget on bringing Kane et al to the players.

Also worth remembering that as expensive as it seemed at the time the money that went on the WC FMV is nothing compared to a modern title.
With modern advances you'd almost certainly opt for CG backdrops for the majority too.
FMV has a stigma attached which would be the bigger barrier than budget I'd imagine.
 

YCDTD

Commodore
Also worth remembering that as expensive as it seemed at the time the money that went on the WC FMV is nothing compared to a modern title.
With modern advances you'd almost certainly opt for CG backdrops for the majority too.
FMV has a stigma attached which would be the bigger barrier than budget I'd imagine.
WC3 really nailed it. It balanced both gameplay and the FMV beautifully. WC4 was too heavy with FMV (especially for the time), and WCP scaled it back too much. Other games with FMV (or so I am led to believe) just didn't seem to bother trying to get quality performances from the actors.

WC3 is sort of unique. When you talk about the FMV thing from a historical perspective the consensus seems to be it was not a good idea - with WC3 being the lone standout of how to do it right.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Also worth remembering that as expensive as it seemed at the time the money that went on the WC FMV is nothing compared to a modern title...
FMV has a stigma attached which would be the bigger barrier than budget I'd imagine.
That may be true, but I imagine to bring back someone like Mark Hamill (assuming he's still an appropriate fit for whatever time-line they target) would be more expensive now too.

Regarding the stigma against FMV, as discussed above, it seems C&C and WC were among the few - if only - major titles to get it 'right'. Personally, I wouldn't mind voice acting over FMV as long as there's a strong story element.
 

Pedro

Admiral
That may be true, but I imagine to bring back someone like Mark Hamill (assuming he's still an appropriate fit for whatever time-line they target) would be more expensive now too.

If the cost of getting Blair back encouraged them to go forward in time I'd be all for it. I don't need a de-aged Blair. When franchises try and inject themselves into the existing timeline it's always a mess.
Studios are always all for it because they think it's the names of the characters that people are attached to, rather than the universe that has been built. Particularly in sci-fi franchises most fans are more interested in the next phase than extra details on the past.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I really hope that if there is an actual new game that's announced and subsequently released that it performs well enough to not seal the series' death for good - the dreaded situation where no new game would have been better than a disastrous revival attempt. Even a lukewarm/mixed reception like what happened with Mass Effect Andromeda seems to have put that series' future at least on hold for the time being - maybe the recent remaster of the original trilogy is an attempt to gauge current interest?
I don't think a "no game being better than a bad game" situation could possibly exist here. It's been 14 years since even Wing Commander Arena, and for all its detractors, it was never going to be either a make nor break game for the franchise. As I was alluding to in my earlier post, the only way a WC game could possibly be pushed through EA today would be if the producer(s) were sufficiently passionate about the series. And with that fairly low bar being met, I say give them a shot with literally whatever. Make it a card battle RPG. Resource management simulator. FMV-only choose-your-own-adventure. It could not be worse than no game. Even if most people hate it, the few who love it would bring new fans into the fold who explore other games in the series and so on, and that's an unlikely worst case - very few games are truly worthy of hate anyway.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I don't think a "no game being better than a bad game" situation could possibly exist here. It's been 14 years since even Wing Commander Arena, and for all its detractors, it was never going to be either a make nor break game for the franchise. As I was alluding to in my earlier post, the only way a WC game could possibly be pushed through EA today would be if the producer(s) were sufficiently passionate about the series. And with that fairly low bar being met, I say give them a shot with literally whatever. Make it a card battle RPG. Resource management simulator. FMV-only choose-your-own-adventure. It could not be worse than no game. Even if most people hate it, the few who love it would bring new fans into the fold who explore other games in the series and so on, and that's an unlikely worst case - very few games are truly worthy of hate anyway.

I mean Syndicate is that game. Maybe it brought new fans to the franchise, but if so that feels like two separate fanbases.

I'd turn your argument on its head and say *because* it has been 14 years the next title would need to be spiritually true to the franchise. After that I'm sure fans would welcome a branching out of the franchise into other areas because it's not a case of all hopes being pinned on that announcement or of deep disappointment.
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
RSI got hold of Mr Hamill, but they do have a rather large pool of funds to work from.
Well, the upside to making a Wing Commander as opposed to a Star Wars game is that you could bring back Mark Hamill's character fairly painlessly.


And with that fairly low bar being met, I say give them a shot with literally whatever. Make it a card battle RPG. Resource management simulator. FMV-only choose-your-own-adventure.

 

Jdawg

Commodore
I love the fmv of wing commander, dont see EA going that way though.

I do really want those awesome take off and landing sequences from wc1 and wc2
 
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