TechRaptor has published an article on the history of Origin Systems. It's a rather in-depth piece that focuses on many of the notable developers who joined the company in the early days and then went on to influence the industry for more than three decades. Wing Commander is acknowledged as the powerhouse alongside Ultima, but there is also due credit given to how ground breaking Ultima Underworld was and how it then also went on to directly feed games like Doom and System Shock. It's a good refresher for fans who might just be familiar with how Wing Commander came to be. The tone does shift quite a bit at the end when they talk about an "aggressive takeover" by Electronic Arts that led to the company stealing its innovations. We've been outspoken when it comes to EA's series of mistakes that resulted in the cancelation of numerous promising WC games in the early 2000s, but that's only half of the story. Origin was a standalone company for less than a decade when they began struggling with the costs of scaling up to large multi-disk games. EA resolved that crisis and funded everything after WC1&2, so it doesn't seem quite fair to just cast them as the villain without considering that context. Check out the full article for yourself here.
With the Ultima games becoming progressively bigger and more complex, Origin also began to pivot to other genres and niches. It was at this time that Chris Roberts joined the company and directed the RPGs Times of Lore and Bad Blood, which became mere footnotes to the 1990 release that defined the company’s identity as much as Ultima… Wing Commander. There were space combat simulation games before Wing Commander, but it raised the bar for the whole industry in terms of production value and realistic simulation.
Wing Commander was a great commercial success, and the demand for expansions and sequels didn’t diminish for most of the 1990s. Origin Systems was fully established as a powerhouse of both RPGs, simulation games, and first-person 3D technology.
The 3-D Space Combat Strategizer
Pix and Dennis Mull have both recently found an interesting compilation by Empire Interactive. The set bundles together Wing Commander, Civilization, War in the Gulf and Frontier: Elite II all in one pack. Two of them are space sims, plus there's a tank sim and a classic turn-based 4X - not unlike hundreds of various '90s packs. (2019-01-21)
Annual Community Vote Begins!
With 2018 now well in the rear view mirror and 2019 well on its way, it's time for us to jump into our annual fan project contest. We took nominations over the last couple months and have come up with this list of noteworthy endeavors to recognize. Of course, the standard disclaimer applies: this is by no means an exhaustive list of super cool things that Wingnuts have been up to lately. (2019-01-20)
Denis Loubet Remembers Aaron Allston
Former Origin artist Denis Loubet has completed another portrait. This one is a tribute to his friend and fellow Wing Commander veteran Aaron Allston. Sadly, Mr. (2019-01-19)
Chinese Secret Missions Now a Little Less Secret
Christian Klein posted these neat pics of the Secret Missions made for China/Taiwan. We've previously posted about a number of Chinese ports in the past, including WC1, SM2, WC2 and the Special Operations, but it's possible that I've not seen the SM1 before. It's nice to close the loop on that! (2019-01-18)
Wing Commander Jazz Album Discs Ready to Ship!
There's good news on George Oldziey's live Wing Commander jazz album. The production copies have finally come back, so George is ready to ship discs out to project backers. Very coolalbum art was created by SabreAce, which you can see below. (2019-01-17)