Startling Discovery Adds New WC3 Facts to the Universe (February 18, 2015)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator



LOAF has discovered an exciting feature in Wing Commander 3. Pressing ALT+S in the game's fighter loadout screen displays a handful of bonus stats and info. All of the details of today's findings were extracted from the game's .tre files almost ten years ago, but they were regarded as an oddity left over in the code. The fact that they were available in the game raises some tantalizing questions concerning the timeline! Ship type designations and numerical designations are neat enough, but the "service dates" and "architects" are where things get really interesting. WC3's Warbirds Poster gives us "manufacturers" like Douglas Aerospace and McCall Industries. A whole new complimentary set of builders and designers are now revealed as well. The intriguing dates are likely to drive the most debate. They range from May 11, 2660 to March 17, 2676! Numerous sources corroborate a 2669 setting for WC3 and 2673 for WC4. Furthermore, most of the fighters are seen in action in 2654 during Wing Commander Academy. So what could a service date be? Why are some in the future? Could there have been a plan to set the game in the later 2670s at one point? What other explanation could there be? It's not every day new material is added to the canon, so we're anxious to hear your theories!

ARROW
TYPE: Light Fleet Defense Fighter
ARMOR FRONT/BACK: 40mm
ARMOR LEFT/RIGHT: 30mm
SHIELD STRENGTH/REGEN: 200/20 joules
TOP SPEED/AFTERBURNER: 520/1400 KPS
SERVICE DATE: May 11, 2660
ARCHITECT: Kelly Chance Todd, Ph.D.

HELLCAT V
TYPE: Medium Interceptor
ARMOR FRONT/BACK: 50mm
ARMOR LEFT/RIGHT: 40mm
SHIELD STRENGTH: 220/22 joules
TOP SPEED/AFTERBURNER: 420/1200 KPS
SERVICE DATE: September 12, 2669
ARCHITECT: Garner Industries

THUNDERBOLT VII
TYPE: Heavy Fighter
ARMOR FRONT/BACK: 60mm
ARMOR LEFT/RIGHT: 50mm
SHIELD STRENGTH: 250/25 joules
TOP SPEED/AFTERBURNER: 380/1000 KPS
SERVICE DATE: December 25, 2665
ARCHITECT: Headrick, Haddock, and Roberts Co.

LONGBOW
TYPE: Torpedo Bomber
ARMOR FRONT/BACK: 150mm
ARMOR LEFT/RIGHT: 150mm
SHIELD STRENGTH: 500/100 joules
TOP SPEED/AFTERBURNER: 320/700 KPS
SERVICE DATE: July 24, 2673
ARCHITECT: Christa Kiefer, M.S.D.

EXCALIBUR
TYPE: EXPERIMENTAL PROTOTYPE
ARMOR FRONT/BACK: 55mm
ARMOR LEFT/RIGHT: 55mm
SHIELD STRENGTH: 250/25 joules
TOP SPEED/AFTERBURNER: 500/1300 KPS
SERVICE DATE: March 17, 2676
ARCHITECT: Seraphim Shipyards

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Original update published on February 18, 2015
 
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NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
by the looks of this, it (begin conjecture mode) appears that the game was originally going to take place after 2676 since the Excalibur is state of the art at the start of WCIII. (well after the attack on earth and the privateer setting) which does a lot to explain the difference in fighters and capital ships visually in 2669 as opposed to 2668, for example. Not to mention how so many massive 22km drednaughts were spawned so quickly after the battle of earth stopped the advance of the hakagas. Maybe they scrapped that idea since it'd make blair and maniac in their mid-to-late forties.
 

capi3101

Admiral
If I were to guess, I'd say the original notion was to set the events of WC3 ten years after those of WC2. That would make some sense - WC2 was set ten years after WC1. Of course, we then get this novel wherein Confed about gets its butt handed to them. Speed up the timeline - because Earth is definitely on the ropes at that point. Otherwise you'd have to explain seven years of desperation.

I don't know; I'm barely awake at the moment. The idea of having Blair and Maniac a little younger also makes some sense.
 

SabreAce

Rear Admiral
How can the service dates be in the future?

Well, it all started when Biff Tanner flew his DeLorean Aerospace Morningstar through the Enigma Sector black hole at 88,000 KPS...
 

capi3101

Admiral
How can the service dates be in the future?

Well, it all started when Biff Tanner flew his DeLorean Aerospace Morningstar through the Enigma Sector black hole at 88,000 KPS...

Equally plausible; I do seem to recall the jump drives on those Morningstars being more than a bit wonky. That could also explain the sudden change in everybody's hairstyle...Paladin goes from blonde to brunette, Blair from blue to also brownish, Maniac to normal from whatever the crap that was on his head in SO2...
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
So I wasn't going mad all those years ago thinking I had seen them in-game. Fascinating. I'll need to check this again at some point...
 

capi3101

Admiral
You know, this may be one of those pedantic things that only a complete geek, total fanboy or some other jerk that wants to start a flame war (whether inadvertently or not) would mention, but does it seem odd to anybody else that the service dates use the standard month/day/year format, and not the three digit "stardate" you see practically everywhere else in the WC Universe? I mean, it'd be easy enough to translate it over, but...
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Hi all! It's been... uh... a long time since I last visited the forums. Probably half a year or more, I'm not sure. I still read the news occasionally, so I saw this, and it actually made me want to log in and comment. So, yay :).

It's kind of weird to be even remotely interested in this, given that many of us had seen this data years ago... but its in-game accessibility changes everything. All of a sudden, it's not something that got cut from the game, but... canon? I guess... but if it's canon, then those service dates are some of the worst canon "additions" we've seen in years. It's surprising none of Origin's testers ever picked up on it - I guess it really was an easter egg. And that's probably the best way to treat it - regard it as a cute little easter egg, and nothing more. A pity, though...

Anyway, another interesting detail that nobody else seems to have mentioned (then again, perhaps we've already discussed it all those years ago, when these stats had been first uncovered), is the armour values. In terms of thickness, these values match up quite well with WC2, in some cases being a little thinner. The Victory Streak seems to then have taken these values, doubled them, and then further multiplied them by ten to replace millimetres with centimetres. Which, uh, happens to exactly coincide with the difference between durasteel and tungsten armour in Privateer - tungsten armour is the equivalent of 20x durasteel. So, while the service dates are pure, pure madness, the armour values are actually really helpful. If we take them to mean the actual thickness of the armour, then they tell us what material the armour was made of. Potentially, knowing these values could also help to make sense of the WC3 ship stat files, because they may be a better match to the in-game data than the manual stuff (or they might not...).

In regards to the dates themselves, I'm sure one could easily retcon the Excalibur 2676 date as the planned date of service entry (planned... right down to the day! Those crazy bureaucrats!). But the Hellcat and Longbow... uh, no comment.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Very cool to see them in the game. As often mentioned, having WC3 happening in 2669 makes the timeline quite crowded in the years 2667 - 2669.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Very cool to see them in the game. As often mentioned, having WC3 happening in 2669 makes the timeline quite crowded in the years 2667 - 2669.
Yeah. A later date for WC3 would have made sense for a number of reasons. The new Kilrathi fleet is one. Blair's relationship with Angel is another (when did they have time to go on holidays?). All new set of fighters on both sides is yet another. On the other hand, however, I guess it would make everyone involved significantly older, to the point where the ongoing involvement of some characters (Tolwyn, Paladin) would be a bit questionable.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Yeah. A later date for WC3 would have made sense for a number of reasons. The new Kilrathi fleet is one. Blair's relationship with Angel is another (when did they have time to go on holidays?). All new set of fighters on both sides is yet another. On the other hand, however, I guess it would make everyone involved significantly older, to the point where the ongoing involvement of some characters (Tolwyn, Paladin) would be a bit questionable.

Bah, it's the future people live longer :).
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Yeah. A later date for WC3 would have made sense for a number of reasons. The new Kilrathi fleet is one. Blair's relationship with Angel is another (when did they have time to go on holidays?). All new set of fighters on both sides is yet another. On the other hand, however, I guess it would make everyone involved significantly older, to the point where the ongoing involvement of some characters (Tolwyn, Paladin) would be a bit questionable.

There's the whole Privateer angle too. Righteous fire takes place after the war technically ends IIRC.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Found the quote...they were labeled point-defense fighters.

Four squadrons… forty fighters, interceptors, and fighter-bombers. Red Squadron flew Arrow-class point-defense fighters designed to fly close escort for the carrier and other capital ships. Though limited in range and endurance, they were well-armed for their size. In a close combat situation, they'd be worth their weight in platinum.

Blue Squadron flew space superiority fighters, Arrow-class interceptors. These had range, speed, and endurance for long patrol operations or sustained dogfights, but they were rather light when it came to arms and armor. Blair had flown Arrows before but never cared much for them. He liked a heavier ship, one with teeth, but still maneuverable enough to outfly as well as outfight an enemy.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
There's the whole Privateer angle too. Righteous fire takes place after the war technically ends IIRC.
No, no, that's our retcon attempt to make sense of Privateer :). Neither the original game nor the expansion ever claimed that the war is over, and certainly nothing in the game could lead anyone to assume that this was Origin's intention at that point. So, from that perspective, it would have been helpful to have WC3 take place a few years late.
 
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