Fantastic news from GOG today: the last of the Wing Commander titles in their current allotment is now available! Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom is out now... and what's more, it's the massive DVD version! The release is just $5.99 and comes with copious extras. Check back throughout the day as we post retrospective updates related to the making of Wing Commander IV. It's going to be a great day!
As with Wing Commander III, reading through the Point of Origin's surrounding Wing Commander IV's release is a great way to learn what life was like at Origin during this massive production. These issues should take you through early development in 1995 through the press reaction and end again with a graphics award for box design!
- Vol. 5, No. 1
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- Vol. 6, No. 1
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One of the first steps in creating Wing Commander IV was to plot out exactly how the game would work--from that, programmers would update the engine as needed, writers would create dialogue, designers would plan gameflow and so on. To that end, we have today the original Wing Commander 4 treatment document. It's VERY interesting, as it comes from an earlier design for the game which would feature even more characters and a third 'setting'--Blair would start out flying from a Confed outpost on the border! Check it out below:
Even compared to Wing Commander III, Wing Commander IV's FMV script was a massive accomplishment--one that will likely stand the test of time as the biggest, most expensive and most impressive video game shoot ever put to celluloid. Origin actually posted a copy of the script for download at their official website in 1996, which you can download below. The files themselves are formatted for an earlier, more WordPerfect age... but you can still read the text!
In the scheme of things, Wing Commander IV didn't add that many new ship designs--so it's surprising we've found as many detailed sketches as you can see below!
We have located a large number of Wing Commander IV storyboards. Unfortunately they were intended for web use in 1996, which makes them very low resolution... but there's a lot to see anyway! You can find them all here.
Wing Commander IV didn't have a single awesome "making of" documentary like Heart of the Tiger... but that hasn't stopped us from collecting our own! You can find a host of on-set interviews and short featurettes about the making of the game in our Holovids section. Interviews with Tom Wilson are always a good time!
Wing Commander IV lacks the wide variety of 'missing scenes'--everything filmed made it into the finished game. The shooting script does include an alternate introduction, which begins with your choice of Flint or Rachel sending Blair a Dear John hologram... but despite the scene making it into the finished script, neither actress was ever hired (it would have been terribly confusing for new players, who were really needed to justify a twenty million dollar budget.) There is one short scene which has been long passed along as "cut"--a briefing from Admiral Wilford that doesn't play in the game itself. It's actually not that exciting, though: it does appear in the game as a postage stamp green "VDU" briefing... they just also included a full color cutscene version as well. You can download it here:
Here is a selection of candid photos from Origin's Wing Commander IV wrap party! It looks like a great time... for everyone but Melek.
The first image fans saw of Wing Commander IV was the teaser below, showing Tolwyn and Blair on opposing sides with a shadowy figure between them. It's a compelling image on the surface, but it's also problematic--since there's no actual reveal in the game itself. The shadow figure is just Seether, an entirely new character who is actually Tolwyn's henchman. The biggest problem, though, was that the first run of ads had a date promising the game on December 8, 1995. That would come back to haunt Origin when the title was delayed until February, 1996...
And here is Wing Commander IV's industry sell sheet. In all honesty, ordering the sequel to the best selling PC game to date was certainly a given--but it's always interesting to see how Origin decided to promote these games!
With a short development cycle, there wasn't much time for Wing Commander IV to go through the same dog and pony show as earlier titles. One solution to this problem was to have the art team render, early on, several beautiful magazine covers in order to ensure press coverage. Four have been discovered:
Wing Commander IV took video game trailers to a new level. For the first time ever, trailers weren't just something you found on a coverdisc or saw on a VHS tape at Egghead... EA's massive media blitz for The Price of Freedom included cable TV advertisements and theatrical trailers printed on film! Wing Commander fans would go to see movies just to catch the cinema trailer. You can download a host of different versions online here. Oh and watch carefully--you'll find a few frames of a scene not in the game: two Hellcats flying past a windmill.
Several versions of the Wing Commander IV Demo exist. The first included a cinematic trailer and was released on magazine cover discs (here - 43 megs). That was a huge file for an era when ordinary people didn't have CD burners or fast internet connections... so Origin later released a smaller internet version with the trailer removed (here - 14 megs). Even that seemed like an impossible download at the time, though! I remember sending 30-odd hastily-blanked discs to work with my dad in the hopes he could download it for me... but one was always corrupt! A Macintosh version was later released (here - 6 megs).
One secret to the Wing Commander IV demo--you can actually "pick up" a Stormfire to play with! Right after you take off, target Dekker's shuttle and follow it for about ten seconds... it will drop a new gun you can fly into (a la Arena) and then use!
While Wing Commander IV reused many fighters and capital ships from Wing Commander III, it still added a great many designs to the Wing Commander canon. A big focus of the game was to make the Wing Commander universe more of a 'living' place--to that end, the art team created an assortment of communications arrays, star bases, buildings and other "normal" craft overlooked in previous games.
These amazing 'action' poses were used in various Wing Commander IV publications--the web site, the official guide and so on. Well, half of them were; the capital ships and some of the alternate paint schemes for the fighters were never published!
The Price of Freedom was the first Wing Commander game to feature an all-digital soundtrack, replacing earlier games' MIDI music. The score, by George Oldziey, continues to be the standard for space opera games today. Music from the game appeared on only one album, Oldziey's Music from the Wing Commander Universe. Here are a selection of tracks from a variety of sources:
High quality background music
Wing Commander IV's simple red box art was a startling departure--so much so that a slipcover using the European "movie poster" art was ultimately added to the US release, covering the original Black Lance logo concept.
Interesting note: the first printing of the game has a typo right on the box cover! It reads "biologigal" instead of biological. Trey Hermann explains: "I was the packaging design supervisor for Origin Systems when Wing Commander IV was released. And I was the sod who designed the box and didn't catch the typo on sign-off. Neither did anyone else in the marketing department for that matter, well at least until after the boxes had already hit the shelves. The typo was fixed for the second printing of the game."
There's no easy way to say this: the Wing Commander IV manual was a disappointment. Instead of a cool shipboard magazine you got a sample chapter from the upcoming novelization and a note telling you that the ship specifications are on the disc. And the promised file wasn't really there! Still, there are some interesting points--especially how different the preview chapter is from the finished version, in incredibly odd ways. An editor, for instance, chanced the Arrows seen in this version to Hellcats in the finished novel. Why? You can download a copy below.
Did you get a random Wing Commander CCG card in your copy of Wing Commander IV and wonder: what the hell is that? In an oddly unexplained promotion, a random card was inserted into roughly one in ten copies of the game. Unfortunately there was no explanation or promotion attached, so it seemed to most that their game just had a small picture of a torpedo or a nav point for some reason. Rarer still, was this special card--a unique promotional card of Admiral Tolwyn not included in the regular set. These appeared in about 1 in 100 copies of the game's first pressing. Luckily, the kind people at Mag Force 7 were happy to give out more copies upon request at the time. Very cool art, too!
Can a game as massive as Wing Commander IV be ported to a console? The answer... is yes! Several ports of the game were released over the years:
Macintosh: The Macintosh port, done by Lion Entertainment, is a very close copy of the PC release. No big surprises!
Windows 95: Origin sold boxed Windows 95 versions of WC4 and also made an upgrade patch available for the original release.
DVD: The DVD version of WC4 was an incredible achievement. It was one of the first DVD games and featured a flipper disc of high quality movies. Computers at the time weren't up to playing the video, requiring a special Creative Labs decoder card be installed. A lesser known DVD version also exists, consisting of all six CDs of the normal game on one disc.
Playstation: The PSX version of WC4 was developed in-house, with an eye towards doing the game in a less confusing way than the complicated WC3 port. Unfortunately, a four disc limit meant that a good number of missions were cut from the game!
GameTap: Wing Commander 4 was one of three Wing Commander titles available through the GameTap service.
PSN: Wing Commander 4, from the PlayStation version, is currently available for sale on the Playstation Network. As a result, you can play WC4 on your PS3 console or PSP handheld!
One port was cancelled early in development--a version for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. That's really a shame, as the 3DO version of Heart of the Tiger was amazing.
Wing Commander IV resulted in only one official guide, this time developed in-house at Origin. The book seems to be a mix of the two Wing Commander III guides, featuring the full color front section of the Authorized Combat Guide but the general surgical style of Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III.
The Wing Commander IV novelization was written by William Forstchen and Ben Ohlander. It was oddly delayed at the time, not showing up until almost a year after the game. It has been translated into both German and Czech, with new covers each time!
Wing Commander IV spawned two official guides in the US, both of which were of a high quality. German had three, one featuring a truly amazing cover, including one translation of a US version.
Once again thanks to Pix's Origin Adventures we present the 'making of' section of the Wing Commander IV official guide! This is a great resource for learning about the making of the game. The sad part is all the talk about Chris Roberts' future projects--including a game called Silverheart, which he hoped to develop at Origin after Wing Commander IV.
We talked about Wing Commander's first big licensee, Zanart, for Wing Commander III. Well, they produced a similar set of material for Wing Commander IV, which included a hat, two shirts and two pieces of Chromart. The artwork used was the 'poster' style Wing Commander IV art and an oddly less iconic choice--a shot of a Lance landing on Telamon against a blue backdrop. This time around, the game actually came with an advertisement!
At the risk of getting too personal on Wing Commander IV Day: I remember loving my landing scene shirt. My mother bought it for me after the game came out and explained she'd picked that one because she thought I'd like the one with the ship more. I was a Freshman in high school and I loved it. Somewhere I have a student ID picture showing young LOAF with a bandaged eye wearing a Wing Commander IV shirt--pretty much sums up my life at that point in time.
The other big result of Wing Commander IV was the Universal Studios animated series. Developed by the team that created Exosquad, Wing Commander Academy ran for 13 episodes in late 1996. The recent DVD release proves that Wing Commander IV is still spinning off merchandise today!
For Wing Commander III we showed you an array of international articles... for The Price of Freedom, here's a nice collection of English-language previews and reviews!
One of my favorite Origin documents is this Wing Commander IV post mortem. You can read through the QA team's bug list, see all the complaints and complements Origin was sent about the game and more. It really gives you a more impressive picture of the whole process.
You know Mark Hamill, Tom Wilson and so on--but can you identify the real stars who worked on Wing Commander IV? Pictured here are: Andy Sommers, Chris Douglas, Chris Roberts, Frank Roan, Tony Morone and the QA team!
Wing Commander IV had the largest development team of any Wing Commander game--over 400 people between the film shoot and the game itself. It's likely this record will stand the test of time... but you never know!
Executive Producer - Chris Roberts
Game Producers - Mark Day, Dallas Snell
Associate Producers - David Downing, Adam Foshko
Game Director - Anthony Morone
Lead Programmer - Frank Roan
Programmer, Gameflow Coordinator - Jason Hughes
Additional Programming - Peter Shelus
Movie Compression & Playback - Jason Yenawine
Programming Intern - Daniel Yee
Mission Design & Implementation - Ben Potter, Jeff Shelton, Scott Shelton
Original Story Concept - Chris Douglas
Additional Data Implementation - Chuck Karpiak, Steve Powers, Charles Hartigan
Audio Coordinator - Martin Galway
Original Score - George Oldziey
Interactive Sound Design - Stretch Williams
Additional Interactive Sound Design - Nenad Vugrinec
Interactive Music - George Oldziey
Music Recording - George Oldziey, Stretch Williams
Musicians - Paul Baker (Saxophone), Stretch Williams (Guitar)
Dialog Casting/Recording/Editing - Jay Mahavier, Stretch Williams
Additional Dialog Casting/Recording/Editing - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb
Production Designer Chris Douglas
Art Director Jeffrey “JC” Combs
3-D Animators Rodney Brunet, Jeffrey “JC” Combs, Chris Douglas, Mark Leon,
Dean McCall, Sean Murphy, Chris Olivia, Beth Foster Pugh, Pauline Saab, Mark Vearrier
Additional 3-D Animators Jennifer Ayers, Paul Steed
RealSpace 3-D Modellers Dean McCall, Brennan Priest
Additional Artists Jeff Harris, Damon Waldrip
3-D Software provided byAlias Research
Graphics Hardware provided by Silicon Graphics
QA Project Leader - Anthony L. Sommers
Assistant Project Leaders - J. Allen Brack, Todd Wachhaus
QA Team - Cinco Barnes, Nathan Batiste, John Darsnek, Christopher D. Errett, Kenny Hott, Kevin Melton, Myque Ouellette, Kent Raffray, Carlus Wesley
Hardware Lab Tech - Brett J. Bonner
Translations Liaison - Andy Bruncke
Product Support Supervisor - Marie Williams
Hardware Lab Supervisor - Brian Wachhaus
Director of Studio Services - Kay Gilmore
Finance - Mike Grajeda, Dominique Iyer
Executive Assistant - Madeleine Fox
Resource Coordinator - Weston Giunta
Network Administrators - Dave Reeves, Mark Rizzo
Senior Technician - Rick McNeeley
Unix Administrator - Christopher Alexander North-Keys
Director of Development Services - Sean Kelley
Director of Marketing - Jennie Evans
Product Manager - Galen Svanas
Assistant Product Manager - Patrick Bradshaw
Media Relations - David Swofford, Teresa Potts, Richard Steinberg
Unit Publicist - Michaels & Wolfe, Inc.
Travel Coordination - Madeleine Fox, Barrington Smith
Subtitles - Madeleine Fox, Ana Moreno, Jörg Neumman
Translations Manager - Kirsten Vaughan
German Translation - Frank Dietz, Stefan Kolo, Jörg Neumann
German Documentation - Anja Rumbarger
German Testing - Jörg Neumann, Kai Lebert, Stephan Lips, Roman Traycey
German Dubbing - Studio FFS GmbH, Munich
French Translations - Peter Bert, Dominique Poumeyrol-Jumeau
French Documentation - Isabelle Rice
French Testing - Jean-Luc Chabrier, Lemuel Haham, Didier Jumeau, Daniel Taillefer
French Dubbing Studio - Studio Lincoln, Paris
Writing - Tuesday Frase, Kevin Schlipper, Melissa Tyler
Additional Fiction - William R. Forstchen, Ben Ohlander
Packaging - Trey Hermann
Poster Art - Sam Yeates
Promotional Materials - Jennifer Davis
Advertising - Al Carnley
Documentation Layout - Catherine Cantieri, Al Carnley, Tim Norland
Editing - David Ladyman
The Readme.txt File - Anthony L. Sommers, J. Allen Brack, Todd Wachhaus, Christopher D. Errett
Executive Producer / Director - Chris Roberts
Producer - Mark Day
Associate Producer - Adam Foshko
Co-Producer - Donna Burkons
Screenplay - Terry Borst, Frank De Palma
Line Producer - Maryann Fabian
Casting Director - Mike Fenton
Assistant Casting Director - Julie Ashton-Barson
Casting Assistant - Rachel Davies
1st Assistant Director - Harry Jarvis
2nd Assistant Director - Tia Ardran
2nd 2nd Assistant Director - John Bratton
Production Coordinator - James A. Capp
Assistant Production Coordinator - Ray Cobo
Set Production Assistants - Wendy Palmer, Andrea Netze
Production Assistants - Shaun O’Banion, Gary Sims, Orion Walker
Assistant to Mr. Hamill - Tracee Sabato
Assistant to Mr. Roberts - Barrington Smith
Mark Hamill’s Stand-In - Emidio Antonio
Director of Photography - Eric Goldstein
1st Camera Assistant - Tom Ryan
2nd Camera Assistant - Tony Nagy
Additional 2nd Camera Assistant - Daisy Smith
Loader - Amy Abrams
Gaffer / General Foreman - Joey Brown
Best Boy / Chief Lighting Technician - Corey Bibb
Best Boy Grip / 2nd Company Grip - Sandy Bloom
Key Grip / 1st Company Grip - Billy Bosson
Dolly Grip / Crab Dolly Grip Michael Flaningam
Grips - Liz Bolden, Marc Polanski, Robert Reid, Kevin Ball
Apprentice Grip - Erik Wolford
Electrical Lighting Technicians - Uriel Uribe, Anthony Guzman, Andrew Glover, Ngoli Nyirenda, Douglas Blagg, John Massaro, Thoma Reavis, Daisuke Miyake, Don Chong, Eric Kramer
Ultimatte Operator - Bob Kertesz
Tap Operator - Greg Noyes
Still Photographer - Joel Sussman
Sound Mixer - Walt Martin
Boom Operator - Bill Ratcliff
Script Supervisor - Kate Lewis
Storyboard Artists - Marc Baird, Alex Hill
Production Designers - Cherie Baker, Chris Douglas
Computer Graphics Art Director - Jeffrey “JC” Combs
Art Department Coordinator - Ann Giselle-Spiegler
Set Designers - Chris Gorak, James O’Donnell, Bryan Lane
Model Builder - Robin Schneider
Set Decorator - Carrie Perzan
Leadman - Richard D. Wright
Set Dresser - John Grevera, James Dean, Ara Darakjian
On-Set Dresser - Tom Waisanen
Costume Designer - Karen Mann
Costumer - Kristen Saints
Wardrobe Supervisor - Carol Quiroz
Set Costumer - Joel Berlin
Costumer - Dana Loats, Anita Brown, Tammy Surber
Costume Intern - Joya Flores, Staci Riesenbeck, Paulette Uris
Key Hair - Lana Sharpe
Assistant Hair - Gloria Ponce
Hair Stylist - Shastie Sharpe
Key Makeup - Bill Myer
Assistant Make-up - Kim Miner
KILRATHI CREATURE TEAM
Melek - Chris Bergschneider
Suit Technician #1 - Jeff Farley
Suit Technician #2 - Jo Ann Bloomfield
Puppeteer - Bud McGrew
Puppeteer Assistant - Mike Newman
Kilrathi Prosthetics - Obscure Artifacts, Inc
Property Master - Mark Anderson
Assistant Property - Lori A. Noyes
Special Effects Studio - Art & Technology
SETS & STUNTS
Stunt Coordinator - Rocky Capella
Construction Coordinator - Mike Clark
Assistant Construction - Coordinator Jenny Ayala
General Foreman - Keith Cox
Construction Foreman - Wade Robinson
Welder / Construction - Michael J. Cohen
Standby - Steve Degroodt
Prop Maker - Morgan Flaherty
Carpenters / Prop Makers - Paul T. Contreras, Martin Duncan, Gordan E. Holmes II, Tyler Dupuy, Ray Baron, Max K. Bozeman, Sean A. Duggan, David Nute, Steven Doss, Scott Miller, Robert A.Masini, David Wheeler, Timothy Walsh, Martin Duncan, Timothy Gruse, Frank Palazzo, Casey Wheeler, Karl Koeb, David Campbell, Gregory Campbell, Thomas Wages, Rex Cassano, Ronnie Montgomery
Lead Scenic / Head Painter - Dave Robinson
Scenic Artists - Chris Kelly, Paul Manchester, Luz
Head Decorator - Chris Kelly
Decorators - Steve Degroodt, Luz
Painters / Decorators - Brian Lynk, Peter George, Frank Oliveri, Gary Mark, Guillermo Tello, Mick Ritchason, Martin Ortiz, Jaime Casillas
Laborers - Cesar Ayala, Rick Fine, Juan Rave, Daniel R. Parker, Jason Greenwood, David Kitchen, Dennis Winters, Ruben Delgado, April Duncan
2nd Unit Directors - Mark Day, Adam Foshko
Consultant - Jim Rosenthal
Video Assistant - Dan Devaney
Video Intern - Chuck Hatigan
1st Utility - David Weinreb
2nd Utility - Jennifer Lear
1st Assistant Director - Louis Milito
2nd Assiatant Director - Brett Boydstun
Script Supervisor - Judith Saunders
Set Production Assistant - Curtis Myer, Carol Gronner
Gaffer - Reginald F. Lake
Best Boy Electrician - Sherman Fulton
Electrician - Van Johnson
Key Grip - Irv Katz
Best Boy Grip - Dave Boden
Grips - Mark Combs, Jim Nieuwenhuis
Sound - Wolf Seeberg
Medics - Christina Hershey, Suzanne Kunkel, Justin Birchfiel
Craft Service - Julie Iles
Sound Stages provided by - Ren Mar Studios, Hollywood, California, USA
Production Accountant - Laurie Woken
Assistant Production Accountant - Julie La Prath
Business / Legal Affairs - Carol Contes, Leslie Abel
Post-Production Director - Phil Gessert
Visual Effects Supervisor - Steve Moore
Visual Effects Coordinator - Jeffery “JC” Combs
Post-Production Coordinator - David Downing
POST-PRODUCTION — PICTURE
Avid Editor - Phil Gessert
Assistant Editor - Jay Mahavier
Post-Production Assistant - Jim Capp
Video Processing Facility - EA Media Lab
Video Processing & Digitization - Jeni Day
Video Technician - Michael Marsh
Digital Compositing and On Line - Western Images, Inc
Facility Producer - Todd Lindo
Technical Director - Jerry Castro
Telecine Colorists - Jim Barrett, Gary Coates
D-1 Online Editors - Greg Gilmore, Mark Sorensen
Compositing Artist - Orin Green
Rotoscoping Artists - Danielle Ciccarelli, Ali Laventhol
Visual Effects - Post Logic, Inc
Post Logic Producer - Leslie Sorrentino
Visual Effects Compositor - Robby Vignato
Telecine Colorist - Mike Eaves
Telecine Assistant - Mario Barrera T
D-1 Online Editor - Bob Blue
D-1 Assistants - Ko Maruyama, Shane Harris
Digital Non-Linear Editing System - AVID Technology, TEXTSOUND
Film to Tape Transfers by Deluxe Video
POST-PRODUCTION — SOUND
Sound Director - Martin Galway
Post Production - ProducerStretch Williams
Sound Editor - Stretch Williams
Additional Sound Editing - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb
Additional Dialogue Recording - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb
Electronic Arts San Mateo
Director of Film Audio Post-Production - Murray Allen
Dubbing Mixers - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Dialogue Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Foley Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Music Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Supervising Sound Effects Editor - Tony Berkeley
Sound Effects Editors - Ken Felton, Marc Farly
Sound Designers - Tony Berkeley, Marc Farly, Ken Felton
Special Kilrathi Vocal Effects - Tom Seufert
Foley & ADR Services provided by Post Sound Corp.
ADR Mixer - John Reiner C.A.S.
Foley Mixer - Richard Duarte
Foley Artists - Margie O’Malley, Marnie Moore
Foley Editor - Dave Nelson
Col. Christopher Blair - Mark Hamill
Admiral Tolwyn - Malcolm McDowell
Maj. James “Paladin” Taggart - John Rhys-Davies
Capt. William Eisen - Jason Bernard
Maj. Todd “Maniac” Marshall - Tom Wilson
Seether - Robert Rusler
2nd Lt.Troy “Catscratch” Carter - Mark Dacascos
1st Lt. Velina Sosa - Holly Gagnier
Lt. Winston “Vagabond” - Chang Francois Chau
Col. Jacob “Hawk” Manley - Chris Mulkey
Col. Tamara “Panther” - FarnsworthElizabeth Barones
Lt. Col. Gash Dekker - Jeremy Roberts
Chief Tech Robert “Pliers” Sykes - Richard Riehle
Vice-Admiral Daniel Wolford - Peter Jason
Captain Hugh Paulsen - John Spencer
2nd Lt. Drew Naismith - Williams Youmans
Dr. Brody - Jessica Tuck
Voice of Melek - Barry Dennen
News Anchor - Barbara Niven
Confed Redshirt #1 - Richard Garon
Confed Redshirt #2 - Chris Conrad
Confed Redshirt #3 - Casper Van Dien
Confed Redshirt #4 - Suzanne Ircha
Telamon Female Comm Officer - Kirsten Moore
Telamon Citizen - Joel Polis
Telamon Doctor - Michael Cavanaugh
Canteen Bartender - Dylan Bruno
Canteen Vet - Peter Marquardt
Canteen Man - Dean Tarrolly
Border Worlds Pilot #1 - Mauricio Mendoza
Border Worlds Pilot #2 - Lester Barrie
Border Worlds Pilot #3 - Walt Goggins
Vesuvius Helmsman - Aaron Kuhr
Vesuvius Comm. Officer - Wanda Acuna
Transport Pilot - Jane A. Rogers
Senator #1 - Dean Sommers
Senator #2 - Ed Bernard
Senator #3 - Roger Mercurio
Senator #4 - Shirlee Reed
Shuttle Pilot - Dylan Haggerty
Confed Marine - Derik Hixon
Border Worlds Lt. - Carl Banks
Bluepoint Traffic Control - Todd Covert
Helmsperson - Beverley Castaldo
Circle V Comm. Specialist - Saxon Trainer
B.W.S. Carrier Officer #1 - Allen Cutler
B.W.S. Carrier Officer #2 - Joe Fiske
Confed Pilot - Michael Wachtel
Vagabond Double - Peter Lai
Com Base Guard #1 - Tim Meridith
Com Base Guard #2 - Dan Bell
Com Base Guard #3 - Scott McElroy
Tolwyn Double - Randy Hall
Convoy Comm. Officer - Morgan Englund
Pirate - Todd Kimsey
Melek - Chris Bergschneider
Generic Cap #1 - Charles Esten
Generic Cap #2 - Michael Haplin
Generic Cap #3 - Cookie Carosella
Generic Cap #4 - Jeffrey Arbaugh
Slapping Woman - Kirsten Maryott
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Monitors Provided by Sony Corporation of America
Keyboards Provided by Kinesis Corporation of Bothell, Washington
Cantina Shoes Provided by DEJA SHOES, The Environmental Footwear Co.
Eyewear Provided by KATA Eyewear of Culver City, California
Arriflex 535 Cameras Provided by Otto Nemenz International, Inc.
Trager Manufacturing Company
The USS Lexington Museum of Corpus Christi, Texas
VF-201 “Hunters” NAS Dallas, Texas
The 924th Fighter Wing “Outlaws” of Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas
If you'd like to upgrade Wing Commander IV to the spectacular DVD version, start downloading! We're sure a GOG-specific patch will be released soon, but for now here's the current one!
Popsicle Pete reused elements of Gulikoza WC4 DVD patch and created an installer that allows owners of Wing Commander 4 (Windows or DOS) to take advantage of the DVD version's movies. Simply run the installer and and it will prompt you to insert your CDs to install the game. At the end of the install, you will be asked if you want to open the appropriate folder to drag the DVD video packs in to. Download the installer HERE. See below for the movie packs themselves.
It's just amazing how far we've come from the days when people had to hunt down expensive hardware kits just to experience this.
I cooked up an small installer to allow owners of the CD edition of WC4 to install it as a DVD version. The installer includes Gulikoza's patches, so most people should be able to fire off the game straight after the installer ends and having copied the high-res movies to into the game's folder. You can download the installer here.
To be honest no hacks or new patches is included in there; all it does it automate a process of copying the right files and configuring a few things. It also contains a few files from the DVD version of WC4. The result is an installation of Wing Commander 4 DVD playable disc-less.
What kind of work has HCl done on Wing Commander IV? Good question--let's take a look!
Before Arena was a cool XBLA game, it was the name for a fan-made Wing Commander IV mission editor. In fact, it was one of the first fan-made Wing Commander mission editors! Building your own Secret Ops missions is a smooth task today... but back in the late 1990s, it was an unlikely dream. Arena changed that! You can read about the program and download a copy here. Can it be made to work with the GOG release? Never bet against WingNuts when it comes to jury-rigging old software!
In the long, strange history of Wing Commander fandom, few things are longer or stranger than Gary Hladik's Wing Commander 4.123106. A bizarre parody of Wing Commander IV posted serially to alt.games.wing-commander in 1996, WC 4.123106 is... impossible to define. You can download an eBook version below:
For Wing Commander II there was Standoff, for Wing Commander III there is Saga... but for Wing Commander IV, the great tribute mod may surprise you! czacen has built an extremely cool Wing Commander IV-themed total conversion for Homeworld 2, a space RTS! The mod isn't finished, but it's in a very playable state. You can learn more and download a copy here.
The F-104 Bearcat, originally developed as the Cougar, was designed by Douglas Aerospace in the last years of the war as a true space superiority fighter unlike any other in the Confederation's arsenal. Perhaps no other fighter forged in that conflict's inferno better exemplified Michael Casey's ideal of a "true artist's ship." Although at first glance the Bearcat implies a streamlined version of its reliable cousin, the Hellcat, the Bear is a very different machine: a temperamental, high maintenance craft that required an extremely skilled fighter pilot in the cockpit. In an era where multi-role capacity trumped all other aspects, the Bearcat is a rarity--it remains the only "century series" spacecraft not built to double as an attack craft.
Early sketches for the Bearcat, then called the Cougar.
But the Bearcat missed the war. No squadrons had entered service by the end of hostilities in 2669. The threat of Bloodfang, Jrathek and Vatari squadrons facing Earth's thin red line had never materialized. In the years that followed Kilrah, a high profile space superiority fighter seemed to be of little good to a budget-conscious Confederation concerned more with long-range shipping escort duties and anti-piracy operations. The Bearcat was a man without a country and it seemed one of the finest spaceframes ever constructed was destined for the dustbin of history.
Preparing for war: Bearcat assembly line, Speradon System, 2673.
Then, came civil war. In 2673, the threat of hostilities between the Confederation and Border Worlds reached a boiling point. Fearing a prolonged guerilla war with a foe known for their ability to put experienced fighter pilots into space, the Confederation authorized mass production of Bearcats. Construction of new Bearcats began in earnest at Douglas' Speradon factory.
A Bearcat in flight.
It may come as a surprise, then, that the main operator of the type was not the Terran Confederation. As the conflict took shape, Union leadership developed a daring plan: an impossible gambit that endangered major forces to smash the Confederation plants at Speradon to slow their industrial power as war broke out. In a coordinated operation, the main body of the Outerworlds Fleet attacked Speradon. The plan was a success: the Border Worlds destroyed factories and drydocks and captured the TCS Princeton, a stock of Mace tactical nuclear missiles and a number of newly built Bearcats. What's more, one of the first Bearcat units currently stationed at Speradon opted to defect to the BWS Tango. As a result, no Bearcat would fly off of Vesuvius--but they would equip multiple squadrons on the Intrepid and other rebel ships.
Five-view image of a Bearcat in factory markings.
In the end, the Bearcat is a minor note in the history. The Border Worlds affair concluded quickly and with limited conflict. With only a taste of intercene conflict, the Bearcat squadrons were relegated to the greatest ignominy a truly capable warbird can suffer: peacetime.
The Grumman F8F Bearcat, much like its Wing Commander relative, missed the war by arriving too late to see combat. Designed to replace the F6F Hellcat onboard US Navy carriers, the Bearcat has been called the pinnacle of piston-engine aircraft design. The performance of the Bearcat, which was actually smaller than the Hellcat, was astounding. The Bearcat was more than capable of performing right alongside early jets. How the Bearcat was able to achieve this all came down to design.
Diagram for F8F-2 Bearcat
Like many fighters of the day, the Bearcat was designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine. The requirement was to design the smallest possible airframe to mount the engine. The designers wanted a low-weight aircraft that would provide superior performance. They more than got their wish with the Bearcat.
As the F6F Hellcat was making its combat debut in mid-1943 over the South Pacific, the Grumman “Iron Works” received orders to produce the prototype for the F8F. The first prototype flew on 21 August, 1944. The test pilot for the Bearcat was the famous, Corky Meyer, who had and would test many of Grumman’s famous aircraft including the F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, F9F Panther, and the early jet XF10 Jaguar and F11F Tiger.
The first Bearcat squadron, VF-19, reached operational status on 21 May, 1945. However, the Bearcat did not see combat before the war ended in September 1945. Yet the lessons of the war were not lost on the designers. The F8F had an improved armament of four 20 mm cannons which gave it greater damage inflicting power.
An XF8F-1 prototype, note the size of propeller.
A Bearcat in its element, in flight and on the deck of a US Navy carrier.
During the interwar years, the Bearcat became known as one, if not the, best-handling piston-engine fighters ever produced. It was a favorite amongst naval aviators, including future first Man on the Moon Neil Armstrong, who said it was his favorite aircraft. The Navy’s elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team chose the Bearcat as their plane of choice in 1946 because of its impressive aerobatic capabilities. It was with the Bearcat that the Blue Angels developed the famous “Diamond formation” that can still be seen at air shows today.
Bearcats in the Blue Angels colors in 1946.
Much like the Rapier II and F-104 Bearcat, the F8F Bearcat was an artist’s ship, however in the case of the F8F it never got to test its mettle in combat.
Like Wing Commander I through III before it, Wing Commander IV included a command line cheat option... or four! Instead of 'mitchell' you now type 'chicken' for the familiar finger-of-death option. Here are all the options:
Start the game with "wc4 -chicken" at the command line to enter debug mode. You should see the message "Chicken mode: [ON] Boc Boc!" during game start-up. Ctrl-W destroys your target. Ctrl-Alt-W destroys all enemies on the radar. Alt-F displays framerate.
Start the game with "wc4 -mitchell" at the command line to get the message "Mitchell don't work here no more. He work for Bazooka Joe now." during game start-up.
Start the game with "wc4 -mitchell2" at the command line to get the message "I told you he don't work here no more! You call Bazooka Joe! during game start-up."
Start the game with "wc4 -test" at the command line to get the message "Test okay!!!" during game start-up. The game then crashes
Not content to put together only a Wing Commander III 'movie cut,' Queeg went on to complete a similar project for Wing Commander IV. It's perfect if you love Wing Commander but don't enjoy playing video games. Here's the download:
Barely three months after releasing his third and final version of his WC3 movie and two months after announcing the project, Queeg has released the first complete version of his WC4 movie project. The project aims to create a full movie experience by tying together high quality FMV scenes taken from WCIV DVD, along with in-game spaceflight scenes. You can download the 2.1 gigabyte, three hour long movie from our local HTTP mirror. The spaceflight scenes also feature new nebula graphics in the background.
Wing Commander IV's scant manual promises players that they can get up-to-the-launch accurate ship specifications by reading a file called shipstats.txt from the first disc of the game. One problem: there WAS no shipstats.txt on the CD! Luckily, a later OEM DVD version actually included the file... and now you can read it.
There is a school of thought that claims you don't even need to advertise a sequel to Wing Commander III--that game was such a big deal that it created a genuine captive audience. Origin seems to have taken that approach with this three-page PC Gamer advertisement. Still, it's hard to argue--you do want it.
Want a closer look at Decker's bazooka/rifle from the game? After starring in Wing Commander IV it went on to appear on Star Trek Voyager... and now resides in the private collection of our own Chris Reid!
Old issues of GamePro have lately become fodder for an internet meme pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of their "protips." Wing Commander IV was no exception, as you can see in this short review scan which oddly advises players to "Save your torpedoes. They're the only ordnance that can take out certain rebel ships."
Where do nightmares go to sleep? eBay! Some years ago, Wing Commander IV's creepy (fuzzy?) Melek animatronic head appeared on the auction site... for a minimum bid of $9,000! There were no buyers, so it's not clear where Melek's head is today.
Want to put your GOG Wing Commander IV on a DVD (or several CDs)? THE_WUQKED has you covered! He created nice DVD case artwork for WIng Commander IV some years back. You can download the print-resolution version here.
Want to save some money on Wing Commander IV? If it were 1997, you could use this cool rebate included with copies of Privateer 2: The Darkening in the United States! Wing Commander and Privateer, two similar tastes that go great together.
Some years ago, there was something of a fad among Wing Commander fans who were creating music videos from the various games' cutscenes (more). I decided to try and prove that any music would feel appropriate with any piece of footage... by playing an Ashlee Simpson song over the Wing Commander IV trailer. The amazing thing--and I'm not making this up--is that people were surprisingly positive about it. The result is available here.
Here's the text of Wing Commander IV's press release--as put out by Origin's media relations department on the eve of the game's release.
ORIGIN Systems Announces Wing Commander IV Lift Off; PC CD-ROM Interactive Movie to Make History at Planet Hollywood Event
Business Editors, Entertainment & Computer Writers
AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 7, 1996--ORIGIN Systems, an Electronic Arts company and a developer of world famous entertainment software, today announced that it will ship Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, the latest version of its award-winning, space-combat interactive movie series, for PC CD-ROM on Feb. 9, 1996.
The new title, which breaks new barriers in the blending of Hollywood filmmaking and computer entertainment, will be unveiled on Feb. 8, 1996 at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills, California.
At the Planet Hollywood press event, Wing Commander IV stars Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell will make special costume presentations to representatives of the restaurant, denoting a historic first for the computer gaming industry. It will mark the first time the restaurant has accepted memorabilia from a CD-ROM computer game. The costumes will be on permanent display at one of the many Planet Hollywood locations around the world. Other Wing Commander IV cast members will also attend the event including John Rhys-Davies and Tom Wilson.
Wing Commander IV was shot on 35 mm film at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood and includes several moving cameras and more than 35 elaborate sets, delivering four hours of live-action video with a "feature film" feel to the cinematics. The graphics explode in super VGA color and are further enhanced with photo-realistic texturing. Player interactivity is expanded both in and out of the cockpit allowing game players to have even greater control of missions and drama. A fully-digitized interactive movie score is included along with Dolby Surround Sound.
Wing Commander IV follows on the heels of the highly successful Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, which sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and was named "Action Game of the Year" and "Game of the Year" in 1995 by several computer game publications.
All of the highly-talented Wing Commander III cast members returned to film Wing Commander IV, including Hamill (Star Wars), McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations), Wilson (Back to the Future I, II and III), Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones movies) and Jason Bernard (While You Were Sleeping, Herman's Head.) Wing Commander III Hollywood scriptwriters Terry Borst and Frank DePalma also returned to write Wing Commander IV. Eric Goldstein served as director of photography, and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts was the executive producer of the new title and directed the live-action portions of the game.
The Wing Commander IV Storyline
The Wing Commander IV storyline picks up where Wing Commander III left off -- the bloody battle between the Kilrathi and Terrans has concluded and Colonel Christopher Blair (Hamill) has been on a well-deserved sabbatical. It's not long, however, before civil war breaks out on the home front and the Terran government is forced to recall Colonel Blair to his post to face the next enemy. It won't be easy for the Colonel. Signs of decay will be impossible to ignore and the Confederation is beginning to splinter under the new enemy pressures. You, the Colonel, will have to determine how to save it -- or if it should be saved at all.
Wing Commander IV is shipping worldwide in three languages: English, French and German. Spanish and Japanese versions will follow. The title is supported by a $1 million plus marketing and promotions campaign that includes print, radio, television and cinema advertising. An exclusive promotional campaign with General Cinema theaters is a first for the computer entertainment industry.
Wing Commander IV promo trailers will be shown in approximately 580 General Cinema movie houses. In 10 of those theaters, Wing Commander IV games will be available for sale in the lobbies. The expected retail price for Wing Commander IV is $50-60.
Also shipping with Wing Commander IV is ORIGIN's Official Guide to Wing Commander IV, a 224-page hint book, with 48 pages of full color shots from the game, ship specs and game strategy tips. The book is sold separately at a suggested retail price of $19.95.
ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 50 titles, including the award-winning Ultima and Commander series of games. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
Electronic Arts (EA), headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., is a leading interactive entertainment software company. EA was founded in 1982 and has an annual sales rate of over $490 million. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation, as well as IBM-compatible PCs, Macintosh computers, and major dedicated video game systems.
Electronic Arts markets its products worldwide under four brand names: EA SPORTS, Electronic Arts Studios, Bullfrog Productions, Ltd. and ORIGIN Systems, Inc. EA has subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Austin, Texas. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.ea.com.
Note to Editors: ORIGIN, We create worlds, Wing Commander and Ultima are registered trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. The Price of Freedom and Heart of the Tiger are trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Electronic Arts is a registered trademark of Electronic Arts, Inc. All other products, symbols and trademarks are property of their respective owners.
CONTACT: ORIGIN Systems Media Relations David Swofford or Teresa Potts, 512/434-4263
Below you will find the first Wing Commander IV press release, published by Origin's media relations department in June, 1995. This was the first official word anyone had that another Wing Commander game was on the way--though we all suspected.
Contact: David Swofford or Eileen McKeon Butt
ORIGIN Media Relations
The Space Epic Continues with
Wing Commander IV
(AUSTIN, TX)_The best is about to get even better. The PC interactive movie that was called "the new benchmark against which all interactive entertainment will be compared," by PC Gamer magazine is preparing for its next ground-breaking act. Wing Commander IV, currently in production by ORIGIN Systems, is slated for release on PCCD in the coming winter. It follows on the heels of the awarding-winning Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, named Action Game of the Year and Game of the Year by several gaming publications and featured in Entertainment Weekly, Playboy, USA Today, NBC's Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, VH-1 and the Sci-Fi Channel.
Like its predecessor, Wing Commander IV will incorporate several hours of live-action video and will feature many talented actors from the cast of Wing Commander III: Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations), Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and Tom Wilson (Back to the Future I, II and III). A seven-week shooting schedule is planned for Wing Commander IV at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood starting the end of May. Executive Producer Chris Roberts, the creator of the Wing Commander line, will be back in the director's chair.
The story, once again, comes from veteran Hollywood screenwriters Terry Borst and Frank DePalma, who wrote the script for Wing Commander III. In Wing Commander IV, you again play the role of Col. Christopher Blair (Hamill). The bloody war between the humans and the cat-like Kilrathi is over. But problems are beginning to crop up on a new front and this time it's in your own back yard. Civil wars and unrest have broken out in the Border Worlds. Blair is recalled to help the Terran government stamp out the growing fires. It won't be easy. Signs of decay are becoming impossible to ignore. The Confederation is beginning to splinter under the new pressures and you must determine how to save it_or if it should be saved at all.
Wing Commander IV will sport moving camera shots and real movie sets, giving a more authentic feel to the cinematics. The graphics will explode in Super VGA color and will be much improved with photo-realistic textures on fighters. Player interactivity will be enhanced both in and out of the cockpit with even greater control of missions and drama. And Wing Commander IV will feature a fully-digitized interactive musical score.
It's an ORIGIN Interactive Movie experience. Once again, the fate of the human race hangs in the balance, but remember, in this movie, you're making the calls.
ORIGIN, We create worlds, Wing Commander and Ultima are registered trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Origin Interactive Movie and Heart of the Tiger are trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Electronic Arts is a registered trademark of Electronic Arts. All other products and trademarks are property of their respective owners.
ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 45 titles, including the award-winning Ultima and Commander series of games. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS).
Here are a set of Wing Commander IV production sketches showing several set plans and the weapons used by the Border Worlds marines! Bet you didn't know they were actually meson guns.
Here are two high resolution Wing Commander IV magazine ads, re-rendered from their original source files thanks to our own PopsiclePete!
As with Wing Commander I and Wing Commander III, we are pleased to announced that an extremely kind former EA/Origin employee has provided a copy of the Wing Commander IV source code for our preservation efforts! We can't offer it for download at this time, but it is now preserved for future use.
Another Wing Commander IV screenshot? No! This is a high resolution render of one of the game's climactic moments. Makes a great Windows background...
Here are great Origin renders of Wing Commander IV's signature ships--including several never-before-seen 'head on' images!