who got what fighters?


Rear Admiral
So I've been on contract work away from home for the last couple weeks which means being away from my main computer resources, so I've had a fair amount of time to read and process and think and in that process a couple thoughts cropped up into my mind from the later Wing Commander games, specifically Prophecy.

In Wing Commander Prophecy, it is stated that the F-106 Piranha is a Diamond Back exclusive. Now I had always assumed that meant that in so far as the current roster of fighters on the Midway was concerned it was exclusive to that Squadron. But in my readings I noticed something. We never see anyone else flying Piranhas besides Diamond Backs. Like even during Secret Ops where it would make sense that we would see victory flights of fighters or patrol craft and the like, we don't see Piranhas. So, is it possible the Piranhas were exclusive to the Midway squadron? If so... why? I mean the Midway was on it's shake down cruise, you know the trip where you iron out the kinks in a new ship. Was the Piranha a new fighter class going through it's real world trials? If so why on the Midway? That kind of task is better suited to a veteran carrier with an experienced and united team.

Then there is the Devastator. If you look as it, it has the same red and black 6 legged paint job as the Shrike. The Shrike was pretty clearly stated as being used by the Black Widow Squadron while the CIC manual stated that the '3rd squadron' would fly the Devastator. Now in game this third squadron turned out to be the Wolf Pack squadron. The transition from using the Panther to using the Vampire supports this as the Vampire is not available for you to use until after Stilletto mentions that you got a promotion to the new squadron. Likewise the Devastator is not available for you to use until after this point as well. So... why does the Devastator have the Black Widow paint job? Was it originally Wolf Pack and then it got transferred to the Black Widows? Did Rachel and her team really go through the effort of repainting after it got transferred? Was it a development hick up and the Devastator was supposed to available when you got moved to the Black Widows but got changed?

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
With regards to the Piranha, I believe the intent was just the opposite: the Piranha is supposed to be common elsewhere, but the Midway only has a limited number of them.

Waypoint! says: “The Piranha is most often seen assigned to very small escort carriers tasked with counter-insurgency and anti-pirate operations, but a few are assigned to the TCS Midway, where they're tasked with low-intensity fighter missions and the occasional scouting hop.”

and then Origin’s Official Guide to Wing Commander Prophecy says: ”The Confederation uses this fighter most often in counter-insurgency and anti-pirate operations, but they are becoming popular in a variety of tasks, and the TCS Midway now has a few of its own. The military is using it as a replacement for the out-of-date Arrow."

So the idea isn’t that it’s brand new, it’s that it’s not used places we’d see it in the game. (The Piranha DOES show up in Secret Ops, but it’s a blink-and-you-miss-it affair… there are NPC Piranha’s defending Krieger Station in one mission.)

The Waypoint! manual breaks down the squadrons as follows:

Diamondback - Piranha, Tigershark, Wasp

Black Widows - Tigershark, Panther, Shrike, Wasp

Wolf Pack - Vampire, Devastator, Wasp

The game tries pretty hard to match this all correctly, and you can tell that the breakdown was planned this way to match the gameplay… the only reason all three squadrons have to have the Wasp, for instance, is because they want you to be able to have scramble missions throughout. (And note that it is broken in one place: you can be assigned to fly a Shrike while still a Diamondback in the second H’hrass Losing mission.)

The Black Widow ships are supposed to be arriving from the TCS Eisen in the last mission of the G’mar series, though you only see Vampires in the mission itself. But there *shouldn’t* be any Devastators aboard the Midway until that point (you’re assigned to Wolf Pack immediately after the mission and then get to choose one ship or the other to fly for the next one.)

As you note, the paint schemes do NOT match up correctly. I can only speculate why that is. I recall Sean Murphy saying that the reason we get a closeup of the Devastator in the final cutscene is because the ships were created before it was clear what would be flown on specific missions… so my best guess is that it’s a case of the high res Devastator being created with the Black Widows paint scheme for locked cinematics and then the game needing to match that.

(It is kind of interesting that there aren’t multiple liveries for each ship; CR wouldn’t have let that get away! And you would think they would have needed a skinning system for the planned multiplayer…)

Of course, whatever intent there was to the paint schemes matching the squadrons in the game would seem to be thrown out in Secret Ops where fighters off the Cerberus have the same markings. That said, the game is mostly careful not to reuse too many of the new ships.
  • Tigersharks off the TCS Tereshokva and Luyten Station
  • Piranhas, Vampires and Shrikes from Krieger Station
We do see Panthers and Vampires off the Midway at one point, but that wouldn’t impact the paint talk! (Thunderbolts, too… wonder which Midway squadron operates them…)


Rear Admiral
The big thing that's been catching my eye of late is points of "expanded story" for lack of a better phrase. I'm working, slowly I admit, on a project to turn Wing Commander Prophecy into something more akin to a series, something like wing commander academy. It's a slow process as I'm effectively self teaching myself adobe premier, adobe after effects, learning how to integrate photoshop with those two programs, learning what's I can and can't do through play through a of the original game, how I can achieve different effects, I'm relearning camera work and shot composition, looking into the options of editing the game files to achieve various effects, and a whole host of other things I'm probably forgetting right now.

Being as scatter brained as I am, I tend to see details that raise questions, like the paint job on the devastation for instance. One of the ideas I've been tossing around is writing original stories focusing on squadrons from other ships or locations and the situations they are dealing with. The raiders from the cult of sivar that Hawk mentioned for instance, earlier engagements between the kilrathi and the nephilim before the Midway investigated the remains of the kilrathi fleet as another example.