What do you HATE (or at least dislike) in each Wing Commander game?

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
The Tiger's Claw blowing up worked for WC2 because your character arc was centered around its destruction. The Concordia being destroyed was part of what I said earlier about WC3 following 2's story beats but worse.

It feels like they just wanted an excuse to not have the Concordia because they wouldn't be able to model it in WC3's engine but the damage it took in Fleet Action would have been a good enough excuse to sideline the ship. The opening scene could have been Blair transferring off of the crippled Concordia instead. That would have set the tone of the war going south just as well. I guess that wasn't dramatic enough though!
^^^ the last sentence hits it. My experience with a lot of video game writing is that emotion as viewed as just another variable in the code that you can set instantly. You want to make the player sad? Blair needs to be sad, so just set blair.emotion.sadvalue = MAX_INT and have him lose his home, his lover, and quite possibly the war in the months since we saw him last.

Presumably there are deleted scenes of Blair getting a papercut on his transfer orders and stubbing his toe on the shuttle ride to the Victory as well :D
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
It also seems rough on all the poor folks who were on the ship, which implied to have been lost with all hands right? I understand that they want to show war and death but when it happens all the time to the story's anonymous "extras" and the heroes never show a reaction the resulting message is opposite of what the writers were going for. I had the same complaint about "The Last Jedi" as well.

I kind of feel the same way about poor Angel. She's a great character who's given stuff to do in WC2, then in the third she basically exists to be killed off and make Blair sad for a few minutes before he's on the hunt for a rebound fling. It makes sense that the writers and the game saw her as basically a disposable extra, but even the characters seem to feel the same way.

Yeah, the way Blair is over Angel in five seconds always rubbed me the wrong way. At times WC3 feels like it wanted to have its cake and eat it too, being a sequel to a continuing story while also hitting the reset button. The game goes out of its way to undo the character developments of WC2.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
It also seems rough on all the poor folks who were on the ship, which implied to have been lost with all hands right? I understand that they want to show war and death but when it happens all the time to the story's anonymous "extras" and the heroes never show a reaction the resulting message is opposite of what the writers were going for. I had the same complaint about "The Last Jedi" as well.

I kind of feel the same way about poor Angel. She's a great character who's given stuff to do in WC2, then in the third she basically exists to be killed off and make Blair sad for a few minutes before he's on the hunt for a rebound fling. It makes sense that the writers and the game saw her as basically a disposable extra, but even the characters seem to feel the same way.
Im in the minority i know but i love the last jedi, however the slow chase through space was bad.

I agree with you on angel, and can double that when it comes to maniac. He seemed unhinged in the wc2 expansions but not a complete douche like he was inwc3. His character is so paper thin in wc3 that halfway through the game he becomes nearly unbearable to me. I much prefer how they wrote him in wc4, he at least had some layers there and he was not just a one note bully 80s rip off. Also paldin and blairs friendship seemed off in wc3 coming from what we saw in wc2.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
Yeah, the way Blair is over Angel in five seconds always rubbed me the wrong way. At times WC3 feels like it wanted to have its cake and eat it too, being a sequel to a continuing story while also hitting the reset button. The game goes out of its way to undo the character developments of WC2.
Bingo, i think chris was not nearly as involved with 2 as he was with 1,3,and 4
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Tolwyn becoming Hitler? Sorry, just don't buy it. Especially not the way they wrote him after the reveal. I just played one of the last missions where he contacts Blair from the Vesuvius and he is like making wisecracks. It is really out of character.

But the scene where Blair lets him go and Tolwyn hesitates, then turns to salute him for the last time, is very, very good. Notice that this scene had no dialogue.

It is like they couldn't decide if Tolwyn should be portrayed as a sympathetic/reluctant villain, or crazy, or more campy, so they bounced back and forth. Makes for a very strange experience.
A lot of this is more grown-up us revisiting something we're overly familiar with. The problem with Tolwyn, even back when it came out, was that the marketing for the game completely spoils the fact that He's a traitor. However the game is toying with a much more conventional storytelling trope here. From Blair's point of view, it's completely plausible, even up to the point where Maniac or Blair lets him go, that Tolwyn is actually in the dark about everything up until the point. Movies do the same thing where once the bad guy is actually revealed it's now without doubt that they are in fact evil. The problem here is, that the bad guy was absolutely no secret ever. They could have toned down the evil caricature at the end but the result is still exactly the same as far as a character goes.

Is it good writing to make Tolwyn into a Hitler figure? Well, the concept isn't bad and there's some genuinely relevant themes in WC4 though the game itself is at times less than subtle. On a first play-through, WC4 is a polished piece of entertainment. It's will all the replays that the flaws show through. WC on first playthrough is amazing, but over time I've come to appreciate the other entries in the series much more than it.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
A lot of this is more grown-up us revisiting something we're overly familiar with. The problem with Tolwyn, even back when it came out, was that the marketing for the game completely spoils the fact that He's a traitor. However the game is toying with a much more conventional storytelling trope here. From Blair's point of view, it's completely plausible, even up to the point where Maniac or Blair lets him go, that Tolwyn is actually in the dark about everything up until the point. Movies do the same thing where once the bad guy is actually revealed it's now without doubt that they are in fact evil. The problem here is, that the bad guy was absolutely no secret ever. They could have toned down the evil caricature at the end but the result is still exactly the same as far as a character goes.

Is it good writing to make Tolwyn into a Hitler figure? Well, the concept isn't bad and there's some genuinely relevant themes in WC4 though the game itself is at times less than subtle. On a first play-through, WC4 is a polished piece of entertainment. It's will all the replays that the flaws show through. WC on first playthrough is amazing, but over time I've come to appreciate the other entries in the series much more than it.
I think making Tolwyn into a Hitler-like villain works better viewed from the book's angle as opposed to the games. In WC2 he's the tough but ultimately fair superior officer - Colonel Halcyon with a cape and presumably a title of some kind. In WC3 he does have a somewhat remote and sinister quality, but that's not an unexpected or even a particularly bad thing for a flag officer to have considering the kinds of decisions he has to make and the responsibilities he's entrusted with. And while he does lash out at Eisen briefly after the Behemoth debacle, he seems to also accept it when Eisen brings him down to earth.

In the books though, well, I see some very nazi-esque qualities in him. Starting from action stations his thoughts and speech seems to veer wildly between vain, overbearing, and almost sociopathic to maudlin self-pity which is often the impression I got from Nazi propaganda. I'm thinking in particular his rambling speeches to the senator in "Stations" where he discusses the dangers of his job (and by extension how awesome he is for doing it), his irrelevent family military history in "Action", and his 'leave no man behind' speech (which also helpfully informs Jason that the admiral is the only one who REALLY cares about them all) in "End Run". He's always the best, but the inferior are always seeking to undermine him and he will inform you of this fact constantly :)

In addition to that, the characters and situation in "Fleet Action" are so over the top and what happens to Confed seems so obviously like the "stab in the back" which Germans fantasized about happening in 1918 that I honestly wonder how reliable the events in it are - whether we're getting Tolwyn's extremely skewed perspective on it based on what he thinks may have happened in one of the ancient military conflicts he studied. (FWIW that theory had a lot of purchase among Brit military professionals between the wars if I recall correctly so I think someone growing up in that environment and presumably studying it like Tolwyn would believe it is very possible)

I'm not even going to get into the whole thing about Tolwyn and his buddies in a privately-organized "Free Corps" saving the bacon of all those decadent and ungrateful civilians after the armistice ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freikorps#Post–World_War_I

But yeah tldr; the progression of book Tolwyn to a Hitler-figure is entirely plausible to me, but game Tolwyn is less so
 

Jdawg

Commodore
They both plausible to me, wc5 does affirm tolwyn thoughts about the future of humanity very quickly though, with the cliche of here is another adversary that is even more evil than the kilrathi.

Add that trope to the reasons why i like the star wars sequels more than most. Disney could have gone with here is a new sith even stronger than vader. Instead we get his somewhat powerful yet batshit crazy grandson, which is far more interesting to me. It helps he was played by adam driver who i think is a wonderful actor.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Im in the minority i know but i love the last jedi, however the slow chase through space was bad.

I agree with you on angel, and can double that when it comes to maniac. He seemed unhinged in the wc2 expansions but not a complete douche like he was inwc3. His character is so paper thin in wc3 that halfway through the game he becomes nearly unbearable to me. I much prefer how they wrote him in wc4, he at least had some layers there and he was not just a one note bully 80s rip off. Also paldin and blairs friendship seemed off in wc3 coming from what we saw in wc2.

hahaha yeah I can definitely see that but I still loved him no matter how one-note he was. His bullying nature is so obviously coming from a place of insecurity that I just want to take him home and protect him.

and maybe have him wax my car regularly :D

My last playthru, I picked Maniac as my wingmen for every mission I could. I just wish that when you do that there would have been a scene with one of your shipmates takes note of it and asks me what my deal is hahaha
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
They both plausible to me, wc5 does affirm tolwyn thoughts about the future of humanity very quickly though, with the cliche of here is another adversary that is even more evil than the kilrathi.

Add that trope to the reasons why i like the star wars sequels more than most. Disney could have gone with here is a new sith even stronger than vader. Instead we get his somewhat powerful yet batshit crazy grandson, which is far more interesting to me. It helps he was played by adam driver who i think is a wonderful actor.
Ohh yeah Adam Driver is the man - with Kylo Ren he really knows how to make a hateable villain.

Great acting talent all around in those movies yeah. Getting Laura Dern as the admiral is def a coup in my book
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
And while he does lash out at Eisen briefly after the Behemoth debacle, he seems to also accept it when Eisen brings him down to earth.

I've got to give Wing Commander 3 one thing, it introduced us to Eisen who is my favorite commanding officer of the whole series. He's tough but empathetic, pragmatic but willing to roll the dice when the chips are down. He's got Picard level gravitas that helps him stand up against flag officers and succeeding in doing what's best for his people. His big damn hero moment at the end of WC4 is also one of my favorite moments in the series, as corny as it sort of is. Similarly how he goes down fighting in the losing path of WC3 is worth losing to see at least once. His history with the ship is also well done, you don't just feel like he's the captain, but the literal personification of the TCS Victory.

And god, he loves that boy's spunk. 😆
 
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Jdawg

Commodore
I've got to give Wing Commander 3 one thing, it introduced us to Eisen who is my favorite commanding officer of the whole series. He's tough but empathetic, pragmatic but willing to roll the dice when the chips are down. He's got Picard level gravitas that helps him stand up against flag officers and succeeding in doing what's best for his people. His big damn hero moment at the end of WC4 is also one of my favorite moments in the series, as corny as it sort of is. Similarly how he goes down fighting in the losing path of WC3 is worth losing to see at least once. His history with the ship is also well done, you don't just feel like he's the captain, but the literal personification of the TCS Victory.

And god, he loves that boy's spunk. 😆
God i love that boys spunk lol. I also love eisen's pimp cane/baton
 

YCDTD

Commodore
I've got to give Wing Commander 3 one thing, it introduced us to Eisen who is my favorite commanding officer of the whole series. He's tough but empathetic, pragmatic but willing to roll the dice when the chips are down. He's got Picard level gravitas that helps him stand up against flag officers and succeeding in doing what's best for his people. His big damn hero moment at the end of WC4 is also one of my favorite moments in the series, as corny as it sort of is. Similarly how he goes down fighting in the losing path of WC3 is worth losing to see at least once. His history with the ship is also well done, you don't just feel like he's the captain, but the literal personification of the TCS Victory.

And god, he loves that boy's spunk. 😆
Definitely agree with this. I like how he slowly warms up to Blair too - quite realistic.

"Kick that little twerps ass" narrowly edges out "God, I love that boy's spunk" for Favourite Eisen Line for me! It still makes me smile all these years later! It comes out of nowhere, because Eisen has been a little cold to you up until then.

@Jdawg +1 on his pimp cane! Massive boosts to Crew Morale!
 

YCDTD

Commodore
At times WC3 feels like it wanted to have its cake and eat it too, being a sequel to a continuing story while also hitting the reset button. The game goes out of its way to undo the character developments of WC2.
Kind of like Rise of Skywalker vs. The Last Jedi, hmmmm? Roberts had a conflicting vision (perhaps) then the guys who worked on WC2?

A lot criticism of WC3 - but I think it was constrained by being the first time they tried the interactive movie thing. It remains my personal favourite, even though it kind of semi-reboots the series. It always struck me as weird that Angel is suddenly Confed Special Forces. It would be like a fighter pilot in the USAF suddenly transfers to the Navy Seals!

And I liked the characters in WC3, even if there was not enough scenes with them. But the game was already 4 cds! :)
Vagabond was great - I liked how his character was tied into the whole stroy arc.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
Kind of like Rise of Skywalker vs. The Last Jedi, hmmmm? Roberts had a conflicting vision (perhaps) then the guys who worked on WC2?

A lot criticism of WC3 - but I think it was constrained by being the first time they tried the interactive movie thing. It remains my personal favourite, even though it kind of semi-reboots the series. It always struck me as weird that Angel is suddenly Confed Special Forces. It would be like a fighter pilot in the USAF suddenly transfers to the Navy Seals!

And I liked the characters in WC3, even if there was not enough scenes with them. But the game was already 4 cds! :)
Vagabond was great - I liked how his character was tied into the whole stroy arc.
Agree with you on vagabond. He wad my favorite in wc3 followed by eisen. I didnt really care for the rest. I really hoped one of radio Rollins conspiracies played into the narrative but they never did.

As a fan of the Last Jedi like me, the rise of skywalker was just a bunch of mismatched ideas that lead to nothing. although I still wouldn't mind seeing the supposed director's cut If there really is one.
 
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MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Agree with you on vagabond. He wad my favorite in wc3 followed by eisen. I didnt really care for the rest. I really hoped one of radio Rollins conspiracies played into the narrative but they never did.

As a fan of the Last Jedi like me, the rise of skywalker was just a bunch of mismatched ideas that lead to nothing. although I still wouldn't mind seeing the supposed director's cut If there really is one.
I agree and it's something I've been thinking about - why don't the WC3 characters work as well for me as their counterparts in WC1? It's not a question of character complexity - none are super deep or complex. The problem I think, is the move from "game" to "game + movie" that WC3 is attempting.

In WC1 the main characters besides you are the AI wingmen. As characters they all fit into pretty simple archetypes:

The quiet, if not so flashy pros - Spirit and Knight
The mavericks - Hunter and Maverick
The old hands - Paladin and Bossman
The detached brainiac - Angel
The killer - Iceman

These are people who have been designed to be supporting characters in a video game. Their personalities seem to be created first and foremost to give the player a unique AI script to fly with during different missions of the game. As the player goes thru the Vega campaign and basically writes their own story, the behavior of the AI wingmen helps make that story unique and memorable.

I'll never forget my run through Hubble's Star 1 when I lost all my fighter's weapons during the duel with Dakhath and the Dorkirs at Nav 2 and flew interference while ordering Bossman to pick off each enemy ship in succession. True to his character and AI script he followed orders, we knocked out the targets, and went home to well-deserved praise from the Colonel. Even more, look at people's expressions of frustration whenever they fly a mission with Maniac - his script constantly seems to screw up and put you in danger, but every time his **** ship interposes itself between me and the Kilrathi I'm tailing his character seems more alive. Maybe we don't know what their childhoods were like or what they plan to do after the war, but they feel like real comrades aboard the Claw.

Now let's look at WC3 - once again the characters you interact with are mostly your supporting wingmen.

Hobbes - Kilrathi defector who faces both enemy guns and the suspicion of your shipmates
Cobra - former slave, HATES Kilrathi, her suspicions of Hobbes' treachery aren't believed due to this same prejudice.
Vagabond - drifter with a tragic past who finds a home on the Victory
Vacquero - the citizen soldier who wants to finish the war and begin his "real" life
Maniac - still the maverick
Flint - 2nd-generation pilot who is torn between her by-the-book instincts and desire for revenge
Flash - the mouthy transfer from the rear echelon who grows up a bit under your guidance

See the difference? These seem to be characters intended for a novel or movie, with backstories and arcs that are intended to play out over the course of the story. While their AI script behavior does differ in the missions it all just feels "mushier" to me because there's not as direct a correlation between the AI behavior and what we see out of the cockpit in the cutscenes (with the exception of Maniac).

Even worse, because WC3 is trying to be both a movie and a video game it has a lot of constraints on it. Running through all these arcs just isn't doable with ~3 hours of footage available. Having to take player choice into account is a huge burden, and the space limitations of CDs meant that even some of the crucial footage that was shot had to be left out!

So yeah, in short: Making a video game is a great big artistic/technical project, making a movie is a great big artistic/technical project. Making a video game movie multiplies your problems and gives you competing demands. Thus, I found a couple of drawings and text used for the WC1 characters more compelling than the performances of some very good actors in WC3.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
I agree and it's something I've been thinking about - why don't the WC3 characters work as well for me as their counterparts in WC1? It's not a question of character complexity - none are super deep or complex. The problem I think, is the move from "game" to "game + movie" that WC3 is attempting.

In WC1 the main characters besides you are the AI wingmen. As characters they all fit into pretty simple archetypes:

The quiet, if not so flashy pros - Spirit and Knight
The mavericks - Hunter and Maverick
The old hands - Paladin and Bossman
The detached brainiac - Angel
The killer - Iceman

These are people who have been designed to be supporting characters in a video game. Their personalities seem to be created first and foremost to give the player a unique AI script to fly with during different missions of the game. As the player goes thru the Vega campaign and basically writes their own story, the behavior of the AI wingmen helps make that story unique and memorable.

I'll never forget my run through Hubble's Star 1 when I lost all my fighter's weapons during the duel with Dakhath and the Dorkirs at Nav 2 and flew interference while ordering Bossman to pick off each enemy ship in succession. True to his character and AI script he followed orders, we knocked out the targets, and went home to well-deserved praise from the Colonel. Even more, look at people's expressions of frustration whenever they fly a mission with Maniac - his script constantly seems to screw up and put you in danger, but every time his **** ship interposes itself between me and the Kilrathi I'm tailing his character seems more alive. Maybe we don't know what their childhoods were like or what they plan to do after the war, but they feel like real comrades aboard the Claw.

Now let's look at WC3 - once again the characters you interact with are mostly your supporting wingmen.

Hobbes - Kilrathi defector who faces both enemy guns and the suspicion of your shipmates
Cobra - former slave, HATES Kilrathi, her suspicions of Hobbes' treachery aren't believed due to this same prejudice.
Vagabond - drifter with a tragic past who finds a home on the Victory
Vacquero - the citizen soldier who wants to finish the war and begin his "real" life
Maniac - still the maverick
Flint - 2nd-generation pilot who is torn between her by-the-book instincts and desire for revenge
Flash - the mouthy transfer from the rear echelon who grows up a bit under your guidance

See the difference? These seem to be characters intended for a novel or movie, with backstories and arcs that are intended to play out over the course of the story. While their AI script behavior does differ in the missions it all just feels "mushier" to me because there's not as direct a correlation between the AI behavior and what we see out of the cockpit in the cutscenes (with the exception of Maniac).

Even worse, because WC3 is trying to be both a movie and a video game it has a lot of constraints on it. Running through all these arcs just isn't doable with ~3 hours of footage available. Having to take player choice into account is a huge burden, and the space limitations of CDs meant that even some of the crucial footage that was shot had to be left out!

So yeah, in short: Making a video game is a great big artistic/technical project, making a movie is a great big artistic/technical project. Making a video game movie multiplies your problems and gives you competing demands. Thus, I found a couple of drawings and text used for the WC1 characters more compelling than the performances of some very good actors in WC3.
Agree to an extent it also doesnt help each actor was only given one character trait in wc3 to go from mostley. Maniac loud mouth bully. Cobra a former slave with issues. Rollins the conspiracy guy. Flash the loudmouth douchebag. Id say vagabond and eisen fair the best when it comes to character depth, which is why they are my favorite.

While Wing Commander 4 is not perfect, I do believe they gave layers to each character a little bit more with the writing. Maniac is a prime example, he is still the same basic character but he's a lot more well-rounded then the one note Bully from Wing Commander 3, he seemed more like a character than a caricature.

Same thing happens to me when I compare Wing Commander 1 and Wing Commander 2. In wc1 the characters are caricatures and basically just an AI program of a flying algorhtym, in Wing Commander 2, they at least tried to flesh the characters out a bit more and make them seem like real pilots. For example I love the scenes of the pilots playing poker, there is something very basic but very human and real about it. While not perfect by any means it was Leaps and Bounds better than what we got in wc1 as far as character traits go.
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
I guess I should opine:

Wc1- being forced to fight gratha in a hornet, or having to save a certain Ralari
Wc2 - the fucking Epee. Any Epee mission was insufferable. I'd rather fly a Ferret. 2nd place: The Crossbow, janky POS that it is.
WC3 - Rollins, die you obnoxious ginger! Flash was only slightly less annoying, but at least you could clown him (only to get more Flash so...yeah)
WC4- the gameplay, it wasn't smooth enough to keep up with the gun fighting. Oddly I'm not opposed to the missiles in 4, it makes for a natural evolution to me, but the frame rate was difficult to get around.
WCP - Rachel. It was just this weird Graduate vibe that was really off-putting. This isn't a knock on Ginger, it is a knock on the writing of her character. ***edit - also the total character assassination of Maniac. Who in 4 developed some maturity and real leadership and was turned into SpaceBiff again by the writing***
SO - its a power fantasy that lacks nuance, but we get to see the Plunkett and the Murphy so it at least gets a nod for new ships.
 

Jdawg

Commodore
I guess I should opine:

Wc1- being forced to fight gratha in a hornet, or having to save a certain Ralari
Wc2 - the fucking Epee. Any Epee mission was insufferable. I'd rather fly a Ferret. 2nd place: The Crossbow, janky POS that it is.
WC3 - Rollins, die you obnoxious ginger! Flash was only slightly less annoying, but at least you could clown him (only to get more Flash so...yeah)
WC4- the gameplay, it wasn't smooth enough to keep up with the gun fighting. Oddly I'm not opposed to the missiles in 4, it makes for a natural evolution to me, but the frame rate was difficult to get around.
WCP - Rachel. It was just this weird Graduate vibe that was really off-putting. This isn't a knock on Ginger, it is a knock on the writing of her character. ***edit - also the total character assassination of Maniac. Who in 4 developed some maturity and real leadership and was turned into SpaceBiff again by the writing***
SO - its a power fantasy that lacks nuance, but we get to see the Plunkett and the Murphy so it at least gets a nod for new ships.
Yes thank you, i skip 5 a lot but i hated what they did with maniac
 
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