According to Netdevil’s lead designer, Scott Brown, the game came close to being the much-rumored but, in time, canned Privateer Online.You can find the Avault story here. In summary, it says that Richard Garriott was impressed by what had been accomplished and Origin was thinking of buying what was there and giving it the WC treatment. Note that we believe the Richard Garriott "resignation" and Privateer Online cancellation occurred at the same time for all intents and purposes, so this begins to present somewhat of a contradiction since we know that for the first quarter of this year a team of people at Origin-Austin was also working on Privateer Online. However speculation had it that they were developing a ground based interaction engine only, with no spaceflight to speak of.
JumpGate is an online-only, massive multiplayer persistent universe for Windows 95/98. The player is the owner and pilot of a spacecraft, with the objective being to acquire wealth by engaging in trade and/or combat with that ship. Players may work on their own or together as members of a collaborative team. Players can use the funds they acquire to improve their craft in various ways, such as the typical weapon upgrades, better engines, etc.So if Jumpgate were to be licensed sometime soon after the first quarter of 2000, the team of WC vets could have hypothetically integrated it with what they'd already created and spent some additional months adding Wing Commander elements, as was done with Privateer 2 by veteran Wing Commander designers and programmers in the last six months of P2's 1996 development. Even Jumpgate's current universe could have been morphed on to the known WC timeline without terribly much difficulty. Jumpgate.. and it looks pretty cool.