By now you have probably heard that the Xbox 360 Dashboard is getting a high tech makeover which seems to combine Sony's style with Nintendo's Mii avatars. Surely your first question, though, was: what will this mean for those fantastic Wing Commander Arena themes I bought? Luckily, Xbox spokesman Major Nelson has confirmed that older themes will be supported in the new look... and he's also gone so far as to post what they 'could' look like. Just imagine Darkets and Arrows instead of Halo robots and Viva Pinata monsters:
This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first Dralthi page:
CONCEPT: This is another filler article, designed to make the magazine printable after some other more important addition (you'll find we took full advantage of the need to add three extra pages for each new one EA dictated). The general goal is to further connect Arena's setting to the Wing Commander continuity... with the most famous fighter known to man or cat. The silhouettes - in most cases we painted over a VDU image, although the movie Dralthi is new.
- "E. Vielto" - Eder from the Standoff project.
- "Dakar... Kamar... Ralar... Naukar" - An attempt to classify and explain the generic 'Kilrathi Capital Ship' shape used in many episodes of Wing Commander Academy. Note that the words are all similar to other Kilrathi ships of those classes.
- "ten complete hull redesigns... KF-100 Dralthi" - I wanted to leave as much room as possible for future retroactive Dralthi and so I've made the KF-100 (movie Dralthi) an older design that just doesn't have a numeral. Furthermore, the 'ten major redesigns' could mean that there are ten or eleven Dralthi at this point.
- "2521" - The date comes from the Terran Confederation Handbook, which says that it was over a century old when first contact took place. I gave it a few more years because I'm tired of introduction dates all ending in '4' (which happens because various ships are said to be X number of decades older than the start of the war or than Wing Commander I).
- "Wu, Varni and Mantu" - Former enemies of the Kilrathi as introduced in Action Stations, Action Stations and Fleet Action, respectively. These aren't in timeline order (... but I probably meant for them to be.)
- "first twenty years of the war" - Although I'm not a huge fan of 'then it just disappeared!', it seemed the most elegant sendoff for some of the movie technology.
- "four times the range... Epsilon Prima" - This has long been my justification for a separate movie Dralthi design. Paladin has a story in Wing Commander I about how intell didn't expect that the *new* Dralthi would have the range to strike Epsilon Prima. So presumably there were OLD Dralthi before the 'Dralthi' in Wing Commander I (which in turn was before the 'Dralthi Mk. II'... and so forth).
- "lend-lease" - This comes from the Wing Commander Academy episode "Lords of the Sky", where the Kilrathi are providing what seems to be WCI Dralthi to a primitive species.
- "Mk. II" - Note well this intentional oddity - the designations are not necessarily linear, to allow for future Dralthi-additions. I've included the "Mk." where it appears in continuity (II, VII) and left it out when it isn't used (III, IV, IX). Obviously, the problem with the Dralthi Mk. II is that it looks exactly like the Wing Commander I Dralthi... so it's hard to explain, on some level, why it would have an entirely new numeral when other changes don't get them (ie, weapons loadout changes between WC3, 4 and Prophecy).
- "built without ejection systems" - The jury is still out on this one. We're told this in Secret Missions 2 (about the Dralthi Mk. II) and it's become fan legend that Kilrathi don't eject... but we see them do it all the time. ALL the time, from Thrakhath to every single ship you shoot down in Wing Commander III. Some spinoffs, like the Handbook, adopt the line that the Kilrathi don't eject at all... so this is an attempt to explain that mess which doesn't quite wash itself (doesn't Hunter eject from a Dralthi II?). What I should have done here was noted that the KF-100 Dralthi didn't have an ejection system but that later models did - although human technology prevented man-sized ejection seats from being installed in the Dralthi II...)
- "Firekka" - References the events of Secret Missions 2.