But Is It Ours?

The professional opinion seems to be that Wing Commander Arena is a fun game... but many hardcore Wing Commander fans are worried that it won't make proper use of the classic series' extensive continuity. Producer Sean Penney was kind enough to answer a few questions, giving us a glimpse at the kind of work and research Electronic Arts has put into making this a true 'Wing Commander' game. Watch for references to everything from Secret Missions 2 to Chris Roberts' Wing movie!
Q. Have you had previous experience with Wing Commander, either as a developer or as a gamer?
A. My previous experiences with Wing Commander were as a player and fan. Being part of the Star Wars generation (aren't we all, really?) I couldn't get enough sci-fi and the WC franchise was a long time companion. I played them and went through more than a few joysticks.

Q. How will Arena appeal to existing Wing Commander fans?
A. This was a question we asked ourselves a lot during development as we wanted to ensure we did the IP justice. We balanced that with a desire to introduce the WC universe to new players. We were careful in our selection of ships and queried the WC community on our choices. The ships we used are favorites from across the series, and they are true to the IP in more than just form - function and balance were important considerations. Our goal was to offer a fast-paced fun arcade space combat game to WC fans that would also have broad appeal. And being able to fly Kilrathi ships has me excited as a fan too. It's an Arcade title - so think of Wing Commander Arena as a slice of the Wing Commander experience.

Q. Will the game include any familiar Wing Commander elements -- ships, history or the like?
A. Oh yes of course - we've advanced the history in a minor way, and the ships are drawn from across the WC universe, and will be familiar to WC fans. We've updated some to fit in with the frontier-like atmosphere of Arena. For Example:

The A-17 Broadsword Executioner: The Broadsword was first constructed for planetary bombing raids during the Pilgrim War, and was soon adapted to carry torpedoes. Lightly armored but sporting heavy weapons and good missiles as well as a deployable turret and a tractor beam, this bomber is perfect for taking on small, quick fighters.

And

The Dralthi IX Rhino: By far the heaviest Dralthi ever constructed, the Rhino is the equal of the Vaktoth or the Hhriss. Heavily armored and armed, with moderate speed and maneuverability, the Rhino hits hard and keeps on hitting.

Q. When and where in the Wing Commander universe is the game set?
A. The Epsilon Sector, 2701. The Terran Confederation and the Kilrathi Assembly of Clans have beaten back the Nephilim hordes, but at a terrible cost. As the shattered governments focus on rebuilding the core worlds, the frontier has descended into lawlessness. Regional governors hold power through force of arms, as humans and Kilrathi alike fight amongst themselves using the weapons of the last war. Privateers, outlaws and worse take advantage of the situation, eager to make a quick credit in the galaxy's most volatile arena...

Q. Can we expect to see any promotional tie-ins with Arena... web presence, Gamer Pics, XBox themes, etc.?
A. All good ideas

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Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

Visual Reference: Wing Commander I Rooms
2017-04-25 -- Following our gallery of Wing Commander II backgrounds, here is a smaller selection of backgrounds from the original game. There weren't as many places to go on the Tiger's Claw, but it's interesting to note they didn't 'double up' on similar places--the Hangar Deck and the debriefing area have separate backgrounds.

Goofballs Battle for the Enigma Sector
2017-04-24 -- Last year, I was lucky enough to take part in a 25th Anniversary livestream of Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. Unfortunately, if you missed the live showing it has not been available... until now!

Wing Commander Makes History
2017-04-23 -- It's time for some serious history! The Digital Antiquarian has put together an excellent article titled From Squadron to Wingleader which follows the first half of the development of the original Wing Commander! It's a story hardcore fans are likely familiar with (much is sourced from Mike Harrison's Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide), but it has never been presented in so-compelling a form.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It!
2017-04-22 -- Happy Earth Day, everyone! There are certainly important issues facing the world today… but let’s take a moment to jump forward and see what disastrous await our home planet in the Wing Commander timeline! Soon Earth itself will be in our grasp...

Visual Reference: Special Operations 1 & 2 Rooms
2017-04-21 -- Earlier in the week, we collected all of the 'uncut' Wing Commander II 'sets.' Today we're following up that selection with the new rooms created for the Special Operations addon disks. A key consideration in that era of development was disk space; the mission disks could budget only a small amount of space to add new art content.

Got Any Brilliance?
2017-04-20 -- In honor of April 20th, here's a quick rundown on some of the recreational drugs of the Wing Commander universe! Blaze up some Arakh Leaves or swallow an Elysium capsule and let's get started...BrillianceBrilliance is probably the Wing Commander universe's signature drugs.

Visual Reference: Wing Commander II Rooms
2017-04-19 -- Wing Commander has, from the start, been called an interactive movie... and the team building the games embraced that in many aspects of the production process. For example, all of the 'talking head' scenes in Wing Commander, Wing Commander II and Privateer were constructed just like film shots, with different camera angles and purpose-built 3D environments (or sets!

Wing One Goes Mainstream
2017-04-18 -- Did you miss out on The Fatman's Wing Commander soundtrack, Wing One? Good news: it's now available via mainstream digital music storefronts including Amazon and iTunes. The 27-track album includes all of the music from the original Wing Commander recorded using a Roland MT-32 (plus a few surprises, including a lullaby version of one track and a live recording of the theme from CES!

Model Upgrade Pack Upgraded
2017-04-17 -- Good news for pilots who want to make their games especially pretty: DefianceIndustries has launched version 0.21 of his Wing Commander Prophecy Model Upgrade Pack. This is an unofficial update to the game that replaces the original 3D models with much higher quality, modern versions...

Wingmen Back from the Dead!
2017-04-16 -- Happy Easter, WingNuts! In honor of the holiday, we present a list of Wing Commander characters who (intentionally or--often--otherwise) came back from the dead! (Presented in the spirit of good humor rather than sacrilege.

Happy CIC Easter!
2017-04-16 -- Hope you all had an eggscellent Easter out there!

Japanese Translators Needed: Mega CD Manual
2017-04-15 -- Remember Lyle Starbuck? That's the name used for the player character in the Mega CD port of Wing Commander I's manual! It's one of at least three original Japanese-language Wing Commander publications that we'd love to explore further.

Pillow Talk
2017-04-14 -- One of my core philosophies is that you can always find a little bit of Wing Commander in the least expected places... and so I was not at all surprised when I happened across Raumstation Vokhila, a German-language blog that puts the author's DIY projects on display. It features what can only be described as a pretty cool pillow!

Classic Game Cover Arts Funding Imminent
2017-04-13 -- Mike Winterbauer's Classic Game Covers book Kickstarter has reached its funding goal and is rocketing (auto-piloting?) towards the finish line! The campaign ends in just four days...

Homeworld Mod Has Claws
2017-04-12 -- The Homeworld Remastered mod marches forward! L.I.

Dralthi Fun!
2017-04-11 -- Remember the TrainSim (aka Squadron)? The 'arcade game' in the Tiger's Claw was both your first step into the original Wing Commander and a fun way to learn to fight the Kilrathi. Under the hood, the game treats the TrainSim as its own series of four missions (in fact, this is likely why there are four 'slots' in each series for potential missions in the first two games.

Wing Commander Album Campaign Prep Continues
2017-04-10 -- There's music in the air... or, at least, we're getting closer! Wing Commander III, IV and Prophecy composed George Oldziey is continuing to make preparations for his next Wing Commander album crowdfunding project.

Privateer 101 Stream
2017-04-09 -- Welcome to the Gemini Sector! I was recently lucky enough to host another live 'RSI Museum' segment for Star Citizen's Happy Hour program... this time, talking about Privateer!

VG&CE Behind the Screens of Wing Commander
2017-04-08 -- Here's an especially interesting gaming magazine scan: a longer cover story from the October 1990 issue of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine. Published alongside the game's release, this may have been the first on-hands 'making of' article about the game.

Electronic Games Monthly Reviews Wing Commander
2017-04-07 -- If Computer Gaming World was the PC gaming magazine of record int he 1990s then Electronic Games Monthly (EGM) was how the other half lived. EGM covered console titles and featured more of an 'in-your-face' vibe. Reviews were generally limited to small capsules as part of a 'Review Crew' system where a selection of personalities each gave their thoughts on a game.

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