J. Allen Brack on The Darkening Update ID

You probably remember the TCS Brack from Wing Commander Prophecy... well, the man behind the reference is here! As part of our birthday (and Privateer 2) celebration, Wing Commander veteran J. Allen Brack was kind enough to write us a very nice e-mail -- you can find it below! In addition to his role in main Wing Commander titles, he was part of the American portion of the Darkening team. Thanks to LeHah for arranging this!
Greetings...

Congratulations on eight years as one of the best fan sites out there! I'm a Wing Commander super-fan and had the fortune to work on a lot of the games over the years, so it's a real pleasure to see your continued success.

Happy 10-year anniversary to Privateer 2! Privateer 2 was a difficult project for me on several levels. I had just finished Wing Commander 4 and was working on The Kilrathi Saga. At that time Privateer 2 was called "The Darkening" and was an EA game. About halfway through TKS, The Darkening was branded an Origin game, which meant Origin people taking a look at it. Over the next month, the game went from "The Darkening", to "Privateer: The Darkening", to "Privateer 2". Origin was told that the reason this decision was made is someone said "Flying and trading in space sounds like Privateer".

This was a painful decision for many people at Origin. Using that logic, all space movies must also be Star Wars. The original Privateer remains my favorite game of all time. For me, the major problem was the name, and I think most of the team shared this sentiment. Making games is a large, difficult, creatively painful process. The development team had spent a great deal of time creating an entire universe. It had it's own style, it's own technology, and a unique humor. It was designed to stand on it's own. But it was not Wing Commander. To marry the two together felt like sacrilege. It felt like we were sullying the Privateer name.

There was a lot of contention between Erin and Paul on the UK side, and the team over at Origin. I'm sure I didn't make their lives any easier. They wanted to finish, and we wanted it renamed. In the end, everyone came together to get the game out. Paul in particular was great in working with us on getting a patch done after ship that included additional features! Every project is a learning experience. Erin gave a really good commentary on the lessons of the project. For me, I learned lessons I carry with me to this day.

WCNews is a great fan site. Watching the community over the years always makes me smile. Thanks for staying strong over the years and keeping the spirit of Wing Commander alive. We literally couldn't do it without you!

J. Allen Brack
"Blair"

A Phenomical Purchase Update ID

Reuters has posted a press release announcing that Electronic Arts has purchased Phenomic, a German game development house:
LEIPZIG, Germany, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc., the world's biggest video game publisher, said on Wednesday it has bought German firm Phenomic for an undisclosed sum to gain a better foothold in real-time strategy games.

"We expect real-time strategy combined with broadband to open new, wider markets," Gerhard Florin, head of international publishing at EA, told Reuters in an interview.

The interesting thing about this announcement is the unusual focus: online RTS games. These are in no way a proven trend - combined with the money EA is spending on relaunching the Command and Conquer series, they must have a very interesting strategy mapped out. We can be happy that their future plans involve trying something unproven rather than simply waiting for other companies to develop the next big thing. Lets hope this new spirit will someday include bringing back Wing Commander!

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