More Stories From The Fatman
Thought you'd seen the last update about Wing One? Not hardly! The Fatman submitted a news story to Music4Games announcing the project... and telling a few more stories. These are basically an alternate version of the published liner notes with some different comments and an interesting additional story about demoing the music at CES in 1990:
You can find the article here.
The Fat Man has finally succumbed to the pressing demand, mostly from Wing Commander CIC, to publish the music to Wing Commander I.
This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems.
I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or maybe since.
I hope I will be forgiven for saying that, at least for American PC games, it's hard to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time!
In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other interactive soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year.
A little secret: The clip being shown at CES was not interactive - the computer was only playing the dogfight medley music straight through. There was no intent to deceive, but the press was sure they were hearing the music interact with the players, and reported how impressive what they heard was!
These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.
Follow or Contact Us