Yesterday, Chris Roberts again stopped by Reddit to answer more questions about Star Citizen and anything else fans asked. Chris replied to questions over the course of almost eight hours and Wing Commander came up several times. Be sure to read over his replies at the Reddit overview page.
Here's a few highlights:
Greenbean9396: ...When I saw the trailer....my jaw dropped, speechless. I want to know, if possible if you could explain how campaign and sandbox and multiplayer will be structured...it wasnt quite clear...
CommanderRoberts: Single player / campaign will be structured like a wing commander in that's its a progression on branching missions - win you go on the good path, bad you go down the bad path - there's usually a few opportunities to recover from a bad path before its too late. This will be playable as simple player or with your friends in drop in / drop put co-op playing wingmen.
Sandbox / multiplayer puts you in a persistent universe with thousands of other players - the game intelligently manages temporary space instances to make sure players are matched up for combat and interaction but we can still keep the frame rate and server sane. But you should be always able to fly with your friends or seek then out if not with them
OneSourDude: Can you share any stories from the set of Wing Commander 3 and 4? The cast was full of awesome actors and I’m sure you have some great stories about them.
In reference to Star Citizen, what will the single player story line entail? Will it be closer to Freelancer (i.e single character exploring the galaxy) or closer to Wing Commander (ensemble cast of interesting characters)?
CommanderRoberts: We had a lot of fun filming the FMV scenes for WC3 , WC4 - all the actors were really great people - and people like Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys Davies, Tom Wilson and Mark Hamill had awesome tales from some making some of the biggest movies ever. A lot of it isn't really for public consumption - especially Malcolm's Caligula or Clockwork Orange stories! Malcolm did like to "punk" Mark by trying to get him to laugh when he was feeding him lines from off camera. And Tom Wilson is one seriously funny (and nice) guy!
The main narrative story will be the Squadron 32 one, so it will be more in the lines of Wing Commander. Once you've finished this and are out int he Star Citizen universe the story approach is a little different. There isn't going to be one over arching story - just a lot of micro stories / mission threads spread around the galaxy that you can engage in if you like. We'll be managing the bigger universe events as the galactic puppet masters.
In the future however there may be a non military style SP / MP co-op campaign...
pfelon: What are your overall thoughts on the Wing Commander movie (the Freddie Prinz Jr. one)? Were you forced to compromise too many things to get it done?
I enjoyed the movie, but it didn't feel like a "true" Wing Commander movie to me.
CommanderRoberts: The Wing Commander movie was not the movie I saw in my head when I developed it so it was disappointing as on my games I pretty much always manage to realize the picture in my head on the screen.
I think there was a combination factors that contributed to this 1) My inexperience as a film director. I had directed live action for WC3 and WC4 but a film is a whole other level of subtly and finesse.
2) I needed a producer that could do more than just do a good deal. I needed someone to help me on the set, to tell me hey Chris I know you want to do these 10 things but we only have money to do 5 things really well. So let's pick what they are and knock them out of the park and cut the others. This is what a strong creative producer does, and its what I've tried to do for other directors I've worked with over the last 10 years.
3) We had a ridiculously short pre-production timeline. The movie wasn't greenlit until December and we were in production towards the end of February - we basically had under 3 months of pre-production, which for a complicated sci-fi movie is way too short. Most films like this have 6 months, some much longer. Its why the Kilrathi and a lot of other stuff ended up being cut - we didn't get to test / work them out in pre-production, so we had to rely on what we got - and a lot of it just didn't work. Originally we had more time but when Fox signed the deal to distribute the next three Star Wars films from Lucas, they insisted that we deliver before SW Ep 1 so they could release before hand. So we were given a 1998 Dec delivery date. Given the time needed for the VFX we had to move up the shoot date.
4) I gave into some of the studio's casting choices. In the same situation I would not. They were very keen to bring in all the young horror fans that were seeing movies like Scream and I know what you did Last Summer - but that really wasn't the Wing Commander audience.
If I made the movie today it would be 10x better... I've learnt a lot over the last ten years and have matured as person / story teller. Having said that there are still some things in it that I'm quite proud of - there's some really great visual moments. But I would do a better job of the emotion and feeling if I was making it today.