Den of Geek has shone a light on one of the strangest cartoon crossovers of all time, The Saga of the Warrior King. In November of 1996, Wing Commander fans excited to see the eighth episode of Wing Commander Academy were treated to an odd surprise when the show was deferred for a half hour so that an episode of Mortal Kombat could air instead. What nobody realized at the time was that four different shows had inexplicably collaborated so a space viking voiced by Michael Dorn could hop through Street Fighter to Savage Dragon to Mortal Kombat and finally Wing Commander while chasing a mysterious object. There was never any promotion nor apparent reason for the bizarre tie-in, and Wing Commander fans have long regarded it as an enigmatic oddity of Saturday morning cartoon history. Author Gavin Jasper has done a good job recounting the entire tale at DoG here. For more background, check out the CIC's original writeup.
I’m going to level with you. I don’t know much about Wing Commander. Flight games aren’t my thing. I know that it’s about future space stuff where humans take on evil Thundercats via cosmic dog-fighting and the third game was groundbreaking for its use of cutscenes with real deal actors like Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell. That’s about as far as my knowledge goes on the subject prior to watching this episode.
There are two big things I notice from the start. First, the animation is very crisp for this era. It makes the other three shows look all clown shoes. Second, it pulls no punches. Death happens on-screen and it’s important. Enemy ships are blown up in space and it’s not like GI Joe where we see parachute escapes to assure us. Those cats are dead.
The pilot Gwen actually goes through emotional turmoil from killing and openly talks about how she loses a bit of herself every time she blows up a Kilrathi ship. That’s really unique to me. I’m so used to seeing cartoons sidestep murder that seeing the ethical and emotional repercussions talked about is mindblowing.
Art Portfolio One Step Closer to Production
Mike Winterbauer reports that he's finished putting together the dedication page in his Wing Commander Art Portfolio with all of the project backers who pledged at the appropriate $25+ Book threshold. For a limited time between now and when the material soon goes to print, he's put out a call for anyone who missed the end of the campaign and wanted to upgrade to be included. If so, send Mike a message. (2018-11-14)
Flying Pancake Complements Two-for-One Salthi
DefianceIndustries has moved over to Kilrathi ships as he fills out his WC1 fleet, and the first two fliers are the Dralthi and Salthi. We've seen a hundred Dralthi variants over the years, and they just never get old. This one is as gorgeous as we've ever seen, so it's just a treat. (2018-11-13)
Check Out the Original Secret Missions
Here's a really cool find that LOAF recently came across. From the outside, it might look like a nifty WC1 Special Edition autographed by Chris Roberts, but it's what's inside that's pretty rare! The set was originally purchased directly from Origin in 1990, and the included Secret Missions were special mailed in a WC branded envelope instead of the standard slim black box. (2018-11-12)
Bengal's Tiger Stripes All Lit Up
The WC1 sprite refresh that Unnamed Character, Goliath and Howard Day are working on was a big hit last month, so here's a closer look at one of the stars. These are the full 1024x1024 frame shots used for the upgraded Bengal. They're higher res than the upgraded assets in engine so you can really get a good look. (2018-11-11)
Get a Glimpse of Classic Origin Customer Service
Entartika posted this look back at a physically distributed patch for Special Operations. Apparently in regards to an autopilot glitch, the team at Origin modified the SO1 executable and sent it to people to copy over their existing WC2 installation. Origin did have a BBS in the early '90s with a few things like this, but relatively few people had modems to access it, so they had to send out updates in the mail. (2018-11-10)