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

Game Guides: Secrets of the Wing Commander Universe
2014-09-20 -- While it's not an official publication, Mark Minasi's Secrets of the Wing Commander Universe is one of the better written game guides out there. This labor of love was published by Sybex around 1994 and its hefty 459 pages cover every game and add-on up to Privateer, excluding Righteous Fire. Special Operations 1 and 2 were not yet out when the official guide to WC1 & 2 was written, but this book has them covered.

RPG Expands Nostalgic Link to the Past
2014-09-19 -- capi's Wing Commander RPG has fought against the nice summer weather over the past month and found time to make steady progress on the game's next chapter. The first focus area has been the development of numerous additional character profiles. capi has also been reaching out to former members of the WC Aces club to incorporate some of their designs into the project.

Another Arrow Achieves Assembled Appearance
2014-09-18 -- Mlourenco has taken the first steps towards building one of the large 1/72 scale kit Arrows designed by Klavs. In order to keep the cost of 3D printing down, this design is manufactured in pieces and assembled as a kit. Putting it all together is the easy part - the real artistry comes during the paint process!

Huge Starship Comparison Upgrades Wing Commander Ships
2014-09-17 -- Death noticed that Dirk Loechel's massive sci-fi size comparison graphic has received a "final" update. Although it's possible that the project will never really be complete, the creator believes he's done his last major update for at least a long while. Compared with the last big revision, a number of the Wing Commander ships have been cleaned up with new art.

New Chris Roberts Bio Covers Decades of Creativity
2014-09-16 -- US Gamer has posted a lengthy profile on Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts. It begins by covering his early years learning to program and then details the growth of his expertise and fame at Origin. There's also a candid conversation about his decade in the movie business, including his thoughts on the development of the Wing Commander Movie.

Kilrathi Islands Location Pinpointed in Britannia
2014-09-15 -- The Ultima Codex has done some further investigation into Ultima Forever's Kilrathi Islands that we shared last month. Using clues from the images, they've located the specific area where this exists on the mega sized world map for the game. They have also provided some interesting back story about what that region was intended for and how there may not have been a way to visit directly.

Alternate 'Heart of the Tiger' Credits Revealed
2014-09-14 -- AD was spending some leisure time perusing the data tre files from Wing Commander 3 when he stumbled upon an interesting easter egg! His hacking revealed a set of alternate spoof credits for the game, and there's more in-jokes in there than you can shake a stick at. One famous example is the callsign of Prem "Wipeout" Krishnan who earned his name after inadvertently deleting Strike Commander's source code in progress!

Let's Play Wing Commander III and Standoff
2014-09-13 -- Some time ago Ilanin finished documenting his playthrough of Wing Commander 3 and Standoff, and the entire, massive thing has now been included in the Let's Play Archive for posterity. Each elaborate entry includes story commentary, screenshots, gameplay footage and background information on ships, characters and events. Check them out here!

EA Checks Up On WC3 Cast
2014-09-12 -- Electronic Arts has published a Where Are They Now? feature on the actors of Wing Commander 3. It doesn't actually give you as much information as simply browsing all of the actors' pages from IMDB would, but it's a little bit amazing that EA's Origin is publishing articles on The Heart of the Tiger in 2014.

Transverse Saga Continues To Unfold; Game Evolved From WC Online Pitch
2014-09-11 -- The launch of Piranha's Transverse space sim has been interesting, to say the least! There had been rumors for some months that the developer's next game would be a licensed Wing Commander title, so their countdown was being closely watched by some Wingnuts. When the game was revealed as a brand new property, it appeared that the speculation had been unfounded.

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