This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the table of contents:
CONCEPT: Magazines... have... tables of contents? There's nothing much to explain here, other than that the format for the listings (formal name/short description) is modeled after Claw Marks.
I would like to take a minute here to address a design decision that I thought would lead to a lot more criticism than it did, which is the choice to go with a 'small universe' set of references. Most Wing Commander background material does exactly the opposite, creating entirely new and sometimes seemingly contradictory background material. Since the object here was to tie Arena to the earlier games, we made a conscious choice to fill it with as many references as possible... which, as you know, turned out to be a lot of references. My thought was: if this is the last part of the Wing Commander canon ever published, what do I want to include? and it grew from there. We needed excuses to explain some questions about the old games and to show the fates of some characters... and I honestly believe it goes over the top in places, even in the context of Wing Commander's "pulp realism".
So far no one else has said so, though, so maybe I shouldn't mention it! If it bugs you, I apologize. If it doesn't, don't read what I just wrote.
- Letterhead Ships - the ships which appear here are the Midway-class heavy carrier (from Wing Commander Prophecy) and the Murphy-class destroyer (from Wing Commander Secret Ops.) The connection is that they famously have the same bridge design... and were both designed by former Origin artist Sean Murphy, who has always been extremely cool to the fan community! I had actually asked for just a Murphy-style bridge as the masthead, but the artist came up with this and it was too cool not to use.
- "From the Publishers of Sudden Death!" - since I stole the concept from Strike Commander, it only seemed reasonable to pay tribute to that wonderful manual. Even if you aren't an 'airplane' fan, check it out. It's Wing Commander-style fiction at its finest.
- "Volume XLVII" is 47, which - if my math is correct - means that the first issue of Star*Soldier would have been printed in 2654, the year the original Wing commander (and the TV show and the Secret Missions and the movie and the movie novels) take place.
- "Epsilon Sector" - I didn't choose the location, it was decided by the Wing Commander Arena team. They wanted a location on the Terran-Kilrathi border that would offer both an option to expand the fiction and that would host some familiar locales. Since Epsilon is an amalgamation of locations seen in The Secret Missions, Secret Missions 2, Special Operations 1, Wing Commander 3 and Wing Commander 4, it fit the bill! Also, the fact that it was home of the Firekkans offered the possibility of adding a third 'race'.
- "Antares Quadrant" - see above! The Antares Quadrant is all that remained of Secret Missions 2's Antares Sector after the Wing Commander Prophecy Universe Map got through with it. It was decided early on that Arena would take place here.
- The ship in the picture is the F-44 Rapier II Cavalier. I tried to suggest at a few points in the game that the Cavalier was the Rolls Royce of border-fighting mercenary ships.
- We'll touch on the various article titles on their respective pages.
- "The Antares quadrant has always been hotly contested" - from a line of dialogue in Wing Commander III's Locanda series: "Locanda's always been hotly contested."
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" - the style of email address is patterned after the ones seen in Victory Streak (I think it was based on Barbara Miles' address, but I don't have a copy on me to check. Her little note to Blair isn't in the Kilrathi Saga version! My guess without digging into the archive is that she's email@example.com.)
- "ReadyNet" - ReadyNet was yet another name for a Confederation computer system. It appears on one of the WCIV PSX booklet covers, with an image of Blair logging in to ReadyNet. I remember being very disappointed that that was the only piece of new continuity offered by the WC4 PSX materials after the Origin website had offered such a cool letter from Captain Eisen (I bought the game years before I actually had a PlayStation).
- "keyword" - remember when commercials used to include the 'AOL keyword' for finding something? "origin.ea.com or AOL keyword ORIGIN". This is a play on that.
- "hard copy, e-text and Kilrathi language" - the same formats as Claw Marks was offered in, plus Kilrathi for the more enlightened 28th century.
- "Terran News Channel" and "TNC" - this was 'CNN'-style news network seen in Wing Commander III. My thought here was that they represented a media conglomerate that includes space magazines and space TV channels and the like. And that conglomerate is...
- "The Rondell Corporation" - Rondell was the corporation whose agricultural planet was being blockaded by the Bronte Corporation in Privateer's Lynn Murphy series. Brownhair comes in, ruins his rep by shooting down a bunch of Demons and saves the day. I can't quite say how or why they went from being a farming concern to the News Corp of the future.
- Copyrights are still around in 2701? Sorry, Slashdot.