There aren't as many gaming sites name dropping Wing Commander as there were a decade ago, but they still pop up all over if you look. Here's a couple from just this week: HotHardware ran a feature on gaming clichés. The story decries the linear nature of modern games that screech to a halt if any losing conditions are met. Wing Commander's branching mission trees and losing paths are held up as a high example of how games should be made.
One of the reasons why the Wing Commander and, to some extent, Freespace franchises were so great is that both of them allowed you to fail. They handled the concept differently -- Wing Commander had a "Losing Tree" of missions that was separate and distinct from the main game, while Freespace handed you difficult mission objectives that you could fail without losing the game. Both approaches created uncertainty and left the player wondering if better performance in-mission would change elements of future missions.
GameSpy also ran a preview of the upcoming space sim Miner Wars. They say the game has a distinctly Privateer feel to it. A demo is available to try for yourself!
Rosa and I had a chance to talk for a bit at this past GDC, but it wasn't until a few days ago that I had some time to play the Miner Wars 2081 demo (you can download it here) to see how this space sim is coming along. In short, it feels like Descent meets Wing Commander: Privateer, which if implemented right, could be awesome.
Yet another Wing Commander mention this week came from an interview with Warren Spector. Metro.co.uk caught up with the famous developer to discuss Epic Mickey 2. When talking about his early career, Spector confirms that some of his very first games were Origin titles such as Wing Commander, Space Rogue and Bad Blood. Check out the full interview here.
GC: Well, I think we're all glad you made that choice. Now, I'm afraid I'm relying on Wikipedia for this question but it seems like your first game, or at least first retail game, was one of the Wing Commanders, is that right?
WS: Ah, no. [laughs] I actually did some uncredited testing on the very first three gold box games from SSI, Pools Of Radiance and the others. The first thing I actually did in the electronic games world is I went to work for Origin and I worked on quests and adventures on Ultima VI, I did all the story flow-charting and dialogue writing for a game called Space Rogue. And then I did some work on a game called Knights Of Legend and then after that was Wing Commander. I worked on Wing Commander and a game called Bad Blood about the same time.