Yesterday, we reported on footage of an early build of Wing Commander II digitized by the University of Texas. Today, we have a second treasure from a VHS provided by Origin producer Warren Spector: early footage of Super Wing Commander in action! The video clearly shows an early, unfinished build that has a more elaborate 'loading' screen for the VDUs (and is still using some Wing Commander I art as placeholders!) But look carefully, there's another surprise: during the course of the mission being demoed, the player faces several Salthi… and then starts to fire on a capital ship. But it's not a capital ship available in the final game!
But wait, you think, I've seen that silhouette before. You have: the ship in question was found in a file dump of 3D source assets from Origin alongside the other models from Super Wing Commander. The file labels it the Fralthi, but it is not the Fralthi which appears in the finished game. The model itself is an edited and retextured version of Wing Commander II's Sabre mesh, which may sound odd but was not an uncommon practice during the creation of Super WIng Commander's menagerie.
Adding to the mystery, no mission in Super Wing Commander has you fly a Hornet with Spirit as a wingman against Salthi and a Fralthi together. In fact, the only time Spirit, a Hornet and Salthi are present with a capital ship it's a Confederation Drayman in Enyo 2. Was this ship intended to be a Drayman or a Fralthi? Or something else entirely? (Interestingly, the Super Wing Commander intro incorrectly identifies a Snakeir as a "Fralthi target"... so there may have been quite a bit of confusion about Kilrah's cruiser.)