I'd like to welcome everyone to the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's sixth birthday celebration. It's really hard for me to believe that we've been doing this for more than half a decade... or that it's been so long since we were eagerly anticipating Secret Ops and the movie. It's even more amazing to me that after all these years we've managed to hold on to a community. Not just hold on to, but we've built a community that's better and stronger than it has ever been before.
I know a lot of people will tell you that Wing Commander is dead -- but look around. It's been six years since Secret Ops came out, and we still get as many visitors each day at the CIC as we did back then. We still get as many posts to the chat zone each day. We still get as many new users impressed with the games. EA might not realize it yet - it might be years before they really get it again - but Wing Commander won't die.
So, lets take a moment to recognize the people out there keeping Wing Commander and Wing Commander fandom alive. The CIC is just a small part of all this - we're a skeleton that helps keep this together, but we wouldn't be anything without the efforts of literally hundreds and hundreds of people around the world.
Certainly, nothing is higher profile than the big Wing Commander mods - Standoff, Saga, Reckoning, Unknown Enemy, Fleet Action and all the others. I'll tip my glass to any one of them - you're consumate, dedicated professionals with a damned noble goal. Hell, any group of people who can make Freespace look good deserves all the fame in the world.
And thanks to all the communities out there! The alt.games.wing-commander newsgroup, the Ace's Club, #Wing-Commander on the DALnet, WC Revival, WingCenter and the CIC's own Chat Zone. Nothing makes us remember Wing Commander like getting together and making real friends out of love and respect for the games. I've met my best friends in the world because of online Wing Commander groups.
And to some of the unsung heroes: the guys out there volunteering their free time running tech support at the forums and elsewhere. Helping people run the games in modern Windows and fix their Prophecy sound acceleration problems is a tireless, thankless job that only a handfull of people are smart enough to do... but in my mind it keeps the games alive and shows the spirit of the community better than anything else. I'm in awe of the effort you guys put in - thanks.
I know it's been a hard year - Origin's office in Austin was a big symbol to everyone that a new Wing Commander project could appear at any time. It was a big loss for us and for gaming and culture in general for EA to close it. I asked Chris Roberts to comment on the situation, and this is the response he sent me:
Its really sad, but the writing was on the wall once both Richard and I had left as there really weren't any strong creative wills left to drive the company or the worlds that Richard and I had created. It is doubly sad as I still love the Wing Commander world and on more than one occasion have told EA that I would be willing to shepherd / create another Wing Commander for EA - especially given what could be done with the state of the current technology - It has advanced significantly where I think I could really push the story telling and immersion into the world of the Confederation and the Kilrathi to a level never seen before... The sticking point has always been one of control... I'm not willing to be an in-house employee of EA in order to make another WC. I have offered to create the game with a team of free-lancers as an outside developer, but I think EA are a little worried about investing a large amount (which another WC would take) into an outside developer that they didn't have full control of. Who knows, EA may change their mind and I would be happy to put a team together to make one more WC for everybody, but in the meantime I'm pretty busy with all my film exploits that have being going pretty well.He's still out there - so are lots of other developers who love the series - and we're still here. Lets see what the next year brings.
Hope all is well with you and thanks again for everything you've (and your team at WCNEWS) have done for Wing Commander... It's very cool to see something that started out as a rough idea in my head at the end of 1988 / beginning of 1989 still stay with people 15 years later... Its why I started making games in the first place...
Anyway, stick around, we've got some pretty neat prizes to give out and some big updates to the CIC that I hope you'll all enjoy!