At some point during the development of Wing Commander 2, someone at Origin ran a text file of all the game's ship stats through a dot matrix printer. From there they marked changes as the game was finished--what ships were cut, what changed roles and so on. Over the years that printout yellowed, the text faded, the edges tore and it slowly disappeared... until it was discovered and photographed for this post!
The Wing Commander 2 ship codex, available here (PDF), is the archeology world's most important look at the development of Wing Commander 2's ships. Here are just a few of the amazing facts it has revealed:
- The Kilrathi originally had a second transport named the LUMBAKH. Which solves an age-old question: what is the 'fatso' ship (pictured below)? It was found in Captain Johnny's 3DS collection with the other WC2 ships and labeled ANLUMBA.3DS. At the time we assumed it was an unused WC2 ship of unspecific class and had that name because it was then reused by Super Wing Commander (with different textures) for the Lumbari. We now know it was something else entirely!
- For years debate has raged over what the 'tube' at the front of the Rigakh cruiser was intended to be. A launch tube, a planetary missile launcher, an anti-matter gun? Shockingly, as the ship codex includes the in-game specifications for the Rigakh, we now know it was intended to be a Phase Transit Cannon!
- The Crossbow was originally a Confederation corvette! This explains why the original 3D model and the version in the Wing Commander Academy ship selection screen have Confed capship markings instead of the white and blue scheme seen in Special Operations 1. Also, why the Crossbow exists in the first place, seeing as it's incredibly similar to the Broadsword when used as a fighter. The corvette had two forward particle cannons and a pair of flak guns!
- The supply depot from Special Operations 1 was originally cut from Wing Commander 2.