Wing Commander in the modern age

Regarding FMV, I think it is almost guaranteed you won't see it in the next WC game. Lets look at a different long running EA franchise for a bit. I just picked up the latest Need for Speed on EAs black friday deal for cheap. This is a franchise where (like C&C) when the entire industry has stopped producing live action FVM for games at all, they went back and used greenscreen and other cheap methods to inject campy story into the games. Most Wanted, Carbon, and Undercover all had this. Now enter The Run... while I'm about halfway through and the story is rather light it's arguably the most cinematic of the bunch as far a production goes and it's all in-engine mo-cap. The performances are better, and the camera movements are more fluid and stylized than any of the previous entries. Also, performance or motion capture is easier to blend with your fake backgrounds than super-imposing real people.

I don't think there's any debate about what direction the cutscenes will take.
Playing L.A. Noire recently i realized just how far away current technology still is from creating life-like, real-time facial animations. So yeah, i'd definately prefer FMV, or alternatively the kinda cheaty L.A. Noire approach, though it looks a little choppy on a PC monitor.
That said i probably wouldn't enjoy a new Wing Commander as much as the old ones, simply because i'm unable to cotton up to some of the new game mechanics that seem to be mandatory these days.
Also, "rebooting" is something i like in franchises even less than i do on my PC, and i 'm pretty sure the new game will be a reboot.
But of course i'll still buy any new Wing Commander game if it's for PC, so go EA!
I don't think it has to be lifelike, just believable. Heck, most Wing Commander games involved talking heads without speech. Besides, even though Wing 3 pushed FMV hard into the market, Secret Ops was still a great game without it.

I've recently started playing Freelancer again, and I think it still holds up well to this day. It's obviously dated, but not awful. For the most part it had better-than-okay voice acting, which helped, too.

With games like LA Noire and Heavy Rain, we're starting to skirt the uncanny valley, the same way CG movies were about a decade or so ago. When you start getting close to human-like appearance and behavior, you stop noticing the similarities and instead start noticing the dissimilarities. Only time will tell how we'll feel about games from this time in another decade.

A new Wing Commander game doesn't have to be the latest and greatest; it just has to be fun. Have some animators draw up some cartoon heads and make me read a few lines of text between missions, just like the old days. I'll love it as long as the game is fun to play.
I'd be really surprised if we ever saw a major FMV game in the near future. With games like Starcraft II, among others, succeeding with "full motion video" except that it's animated instead of filmed, I think no studio is going to pay for actual actors and sets and film, when they can pay what is probably a lot less to animators and cheaper voice actors. But that's fine...3D animation is good enough these days to look believable and good and still run on an average (i.e. not a gaming rig) desktop, let alone an actual console.

I strongly disagree with the poster earlier in the thread that a game needs to simplify its controls to appeal to modern audiences. I don't play many modern games, but it seems like the ones I have tried (the most recent edition of Halo, Modern Warfare, etc.) are tending towards more complex control schemes, not less complex ones. Console controllers are getting more buttons and widgets every time I look at them. And there's always the chance that a new console WC game could have a dedicated controller that comes packaged with it. As LOAF (I think) has pointed out in other threads, if gamers are willing to dish out for plastic-guitar-shaped controllers, let alone all the other crazy controller paraphanalia you see for such games, would an actual flight stick and control pad be that hard a sell? Or maybe you could just use a motion sensing controller like a Wii. Anyway, I think one thing a new WC game absolutely NEEDS is an innovative and fun interface. Don't just rehash an FPS...I think that would destine the game to fail. Do something new and interesting. In other words, push boundaries like the original WC games did.

One concept I always thought would be fun would be to bring elements of the old, original DESCENT into Wing Commander, where you're not just flying through a big empty 3D space, but instead are going through a 3D maze, with tunnels and corridors in the roof and floor and walls, etc. Maybe work it in with the capital ship engine. I.e., it's a space combat simulator, but capships are so huge that the only way to bring them down is to fly your fighters INSIDE their structure, and maneuver through their innards, until you find some critical component (or maybe more than one) and take it out close in, a la the Death Star II in Return of the Jedi. Defending ships coudl pursue you into the bowels and you could have quite exciting combat in a 3D maze. It would add a whole new aspect to fleet attack or escort missions. You could also add mazes of tunnels going through asteroids that clever players could use to their advantage, as in the Last STarfighter (I know, I'm dating myself with all these references...).
In my opinion, it should not even be animated, as in animated FMV, you can do it realtime easily these days(even if you just put characters you render realtime in a pre-rendered background..), it would be cheaper by far and allow for near-infinite branching(at least as much options as the creators can come up with)

I don't know mr. Robert's vision on his "new game", but I hope he does not disgard the events in prophecy(Blair dying while you had just phased over gradually to a new character)Playing as another person in the war worked pretty good in standoff, and probably will in saga as well.

The idea Farbourne mentions sounds a lot like "Inferno"(and I thought that was a horrible game compared to WC, X-wing or even M.A.N.T.I.S), taking a blow at the engine to disable it like in WCP makes a lot more sense to me.
Hmm. How about a game in which you play as a Kilrathi, fighting to establish your clan's dominance in the post-war era? That might make any romance sub-plot a little...err...umm.
Well, it's interesting, I expressed a very similar concern back in August when we met with Richard Garriott -- Chris Roberts wants $45 million to make the new game, who was going to take that risk in a day and age when so many of his peers have moved on to social gaming? And his reply was that if there was anyone in the world who could do it, it was Roberts. That he'd known a lot of visionaries in his years in the industry and that none of them compared to Chris Roberts' ability to come in with a fully formed idea for a game in his head and to then work tirelessly to make sure that's the finished product. The whole exchange left me feeling very good about the project.
You know, investors and publishers work in logical, but very unobvious ways. It seems like asking for $20 million is always better than asking for $45 million, right? Not so - if the investor looks at your budget and concludes that you can't do a good job with the money you're asking for, not only will he reject you, but he also won't ever listen to you again, because he'll think that you don't know what you're doing. Besides that, there are some things that can only be sold if they cost a lot of money. A $45 million Chris Roberts Wing Commander game will get the attention of the public in ways that a $10 million "budget" Wing Commander game never would. You saw that with Arena - a good game that the gaming press, and the gamers, refused to even look at, because it was a small arcade title instead of a full-price AAA game.
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I'm new to this line of conversation (I hadn't heard there might be a new WC game). If there is one, I hope it's a 'regular' WC6 (i.e. continues the story from where Secret Ops left off).
Multiplayer? How does that work in the world of the interactive movie? Multiple protagonists? I don't want an infinite WC universe with no finite story and no identifiable characters. I basically want a more polished, more sophisticated Wing Commander. We don't need FMV, we can do it in-game, and then we can customize our protagonist.

Also, I feel like somebody has to mention Starlancer. Starlancer implemented a lot the ideas that we always wanted to see in WC. For instance, assaults on cap ships would be spread out over multiple missions. And once it really came time to down an enemy cap ship, that wasn't really something a fighter could do. You usually spent those battles trying to take out gun emplacements, stop the enemy fighters from taking out YOUR cap ships' guns, shooting down torpedoes, and avoiding flak and fighter-scale weaponry. It felt chaotic and massive. It felt right. Another element that Starlancer really nailed was flight time story development. Since the game lacked the same bar, barracks, briefing flow of WC, a lot of the story development occurred as conversations between you and your wingmates. You'd hear them chatting during missions, and it felt a lot less lonely in those cockpits. It was more than just "Help me out here!" and "Form on me!"

But what it really needs is an engaging story. WC1's story was pretty cookie cutter. It just tossed us into a war in a new IP we'd never heard of, but everybody who played knew what to do. We'd been dreaming of piloting X-Wings forever, and this was the closest thing (until X-Wing came out -- though X-Wing was less cinematic even if the gameplay was tighter, so I still feel like WC is the superior game), so it was an easy sell. Quality production values for the time took us the rest of the way. Rather than rehashing old material, WC2 gave us a storyline with much more intrigue, and some interesting elements, like demoting the crap out of your character and stripping him of his hero status. Traitors among us always raises the dramatic tension. We also got to meet our enemies for realsies with cinematics that featured the Kilrathi. WC3 was another easy sell since it was a huge budget FMV game featuring hollywood talent and was the conclusion of a trilogy. It also offered the compelling story elements of it being a bad time for the protagonists. Everybody is dying or defecting and the war is not going well. It's a desperate last stand. And WC4 is unique in that the Kilrathi are no longer the enemy, but rather our own flexible morality. Prophecy was wack. For a new WC game to really shine, it has to go both where we expect it, but also to completely new places. It will have to explore dramatic territory that hasn't been done to death. Or it will have to explore it in a new way or better than anybody else. A decade ago this would have been easier, but in a post-reimagined-BSG world, it's going to be a lot harder. They really nailed a lot of great sci-fi drama in that series.
Oh yeah, also, can we just forget Prophecy ever happened? Or heavily retcon it or something?

I understand that some people didn't like Prophecy when it came out, but there's still a lot of great stuff there. Also nothing in prophecy really counteracts anything in any of the other games so I don't get why we would have to retcon anything. Gameplay-wise it was a throwback to the balance of gameplay over cinematics of WC2. Pretty much anything was going to be a letdown after the huge production budget that WC4 had. Also any future WC game is likely to go back to the Kilrathi war anyway.

As far as multiplayer in a future game there's a couple ways it would work. It's possible we could see a multiplayer only side game of sorts (like with Arena) again, but any main Wing Commander came would most likely include multiplayer in either a secondary skirmish mode (deathmatch/ team events etc) or in a more integrated co-op campaign. Who wouldn't want to play through the plot of WC2 ,3 4 with a real friend as their wingman? Or you may see both. But these would almost certainly be included along side a full on single player campaign.
Co-op WC was definitely always a dream. But that would be very challenging for the narrative. The story immediately becomes an ensemble piece, but for an ensemble to work well, you've got to have a varied cast with differing attitudes, opinions, and skills. And the more you stylize the characters, the weirder it is for players to jump in. I suppose a game like Left 4 Dead attempts this and succeeds, but there isn't much story, it's more like hearing the characters have funny banter. That works during gameplay sequences, but during cutscenes? Or back on the carrier? Would I be able to interact with my friends? And how would they interact with the rest of the cast? Would it be more like a FPS onboard the ship, as opposed to a cinematic, directed filmic sequence? That would sacrifice a lot of the "I'm in a space opera" feel that the franchise strove to create. Perhaps, more like Mass Effect, where once you engage in conversations, the camera begins to shoot standard cinematic coverage. But, this would then leave the question: would the NPCs react to each player character in the same way, or would they react to my character differently than your character? And if you weren't playing, how would they think or feel about that character? Or would that character cease to exist?

These are the big questions about multiplayer. I would love to see something like that actually work out. But it would be a challenge to allow two or more people to drive the direction of the narrative forward.

I've never played any of the Halo games as a Single Player, I've always played co-op, and the story never really acknowledges that suddenly there's TWO master chiefs, and that's weird. But the game is still fun, and it's great to have a buddy there to have your back.

I think crafting a multiplayer WC adventure would be more work than a studio would be willing to undertake. I suspect we're likely to see skirmish and team based side games, but, as a side event to the main thrust of the game, which would be an immersive single-player space combat interactive cinematic experience.

I actually really thought Prophecy played very well. I enjoyed the button pushing aspect of the game greatly, but the story just felt clunky and uninspired. It felt like a direct to video sequel in that regard, even if the gameplay was a step up. Also, graphically, it was amazing at the time. Although, again, the decision to have a pulse-pounding electronic soundtrack instead of the familiar orchestral score seemed odd. It also wasn't Chris Roberts. Not that I believe the guy is a deity or something, but I always felt that the game was very much somebody else running with the intellectual property and not really carrying the heart. That said, in my ideal world maybe Prophecy wouldn't be completely erased, but would be something that could be heavily adjusted to be more... well... better. Or it could stand as an alternate universe adventure, like Super Wing Commander or something. I dunno. It doesn't marry very neatly to the Kilrathi trilogy or WC4.

The problem with returning to the Kilrathi war is that prequels are often narratively less engaging. I'm not saying across the board, but frequently. There's no hope of my character ENDING the war. I know who does that, and how it happens. But I do believe that the war was long enough and with enough twists and turns that a compelling story could still be fished out of the Kilrathi conflict. I'm just not sold on the idea just yet.

So... expectations are very high. That will be a challenge for our boy Chris. But, really, we've ALL been hungry for some more WC. So, I hope he's up to it!
I think the ten years between WC1 and WC2, would be the ideal setting for a new game.
We have almost no idea what happened in this period, so you could do almost anything.
What might be done is a complete reboot like Star Trek did. Granted Wing Commander only has 20 years to show, but apart from the few die hard fans still around I doubt many would care if the franchise got rebooted. Though the WC universe definitly grants enough possibility to fit in intrigueing storylines in between the existing ones. I would love going back to shooting cats, or shooting humans as a cat. Combining some free roaming with the traditional mission approach might be interesting - a bit of Mass Effect like story telling - making you the commander of a Spec Ops vessel that responds to a progressing story line. Depending on wheter you can reach or complete a certain mission will influence the current campaign. Destroy the Kilrathi carrier and it wont show up in that fleet battle that is going to happen some weeks later where you might add your force or chose to perform a sneak attack on enemy supply depot while the bulk of the Kilrathis forces is engaged elsewhere. When it comes to controls. Well you wont have the controls that are available to PCs for games like X-Wing or Freespace but Id argue that a DS3 controller is fully capable of doing most things adequatly that youd do with most joysticks (without a keyboard).
I think a reboot would be a mistake.
It would be easy enough to tell a new wing commander story without you *needing* to know all the history, but it also being cooler if you *do* know about it.
If they did set it in the 10 year gap, to the uninitiated, pilots like Angel or Maniac showing up for a few missions could be seen as an ace turning up for a bit, making the universe seem bigger, whereas for us old hands, it would be marvellous.
I think what makes WC so appealing is its rich universe. Ditching it would (in my opinion) be a terrible mistake.
The reboot was the movie, right? See how that went.

As to multiplayer interactive storyline, see Star Wars Old Republic. I've been playing it 2x week with buddies and having fun. Space combat is limited, but addictive.

The storyline style of choices is similar to Mass Effect

I remember when the first Mass Effect was being advertised many game critics were, well, critical about combining FPS with the RPG genre. Now we feel an FPS is lacking if it doesn't have some kind of RPG element... It stands to reason that a new Wing Commander would follow suit, and be a blend of several genres. Question being, which? Which would you like to see? Something like Armada, with a strategy/resource element? Or an RPG experience/ship upgrade/ranking sort of thing?

I think a strategy element would be ace - it would really live up to the title 'Wing Commander".

As for FMV, meh. I'm not bothered if it's animated heads.
I remember when the first Mass Effect was being advertised many game critics were, well, critical about combining FPS with the RPG genre. Now we feel an FPS is lacking if it doesn't have some kind of RPG element... It stands to reason that a new Wing Commander would follow suit, and be a blend of several genres. Question being, which? Which would you like to see? Something like Armada, with a strategy/resource element? Or an RPG experience/ship upgrade/ranking sort of thing?

I think a strategy element would be ace - it would really live up to the title 'Wing Commander".

I think it really depends on the story you want to tell.. A straight forward story about a rookie working his way up the ranks makes more sense to be in the vein of the first WC game. Something along the lines of Privateer begs for RPG elements. A hybrid of Turn-based strategy and mission based gameplay could work well with a campaign if the story could come up with an excuse for the player to have control over the shape of the missions themselves (he can direct the carrier one move per mission and has to chose the nav points within a limited distance from the carrier based on the range of the fighter he picks?... and each nav point could have the potential for secrets or enemies or other plot devices etc etc).
One could also go the mercenary route like Mechwarrior 4. Giving the control over a small capital ship/base with fighters and marines. Something like that would probably fit with the post Prophecy era - opening up possiblities to work for Kilrathi clans and Human factions, Firekka, Pirates, Retros and whoever else has the cash to pay for your service. A merc backstory would also allow for a high variety of ships to make an appearance.

The genre possiblities probably woudl include an RPG element with upgrades to pilots/ground fighters and different approaches towards the player depending on his actions/background (would be realy cool to play something like a Kilrathi clan warrior gone renegade), naturaly Space combat but also ground combat. And one could definitly add a strategic and even a tradeing system to the lot [/unrealistic dream]