History of Privateer 3

YCDTD

Commodore
I hope LOAF sees this! 😀

Where can I find the best info on the history of Privateer 3s development and reasons for cancellation?
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I don't know if there's specifically a single source of information for all things related to P3, but there are some P3 documents in the archive.

Searching the news for Privateer 3 will also give a lot of results on when it was reported in the news over the years.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Hello! I'm sorry for the delayed response, I haven't been on the forums much lately. I'm always on Discord if you need me specificallyt hough!

There were two "serious" attempts to do Privateer 3 and they get a little confused.

The first started in 1995 as a planned followup to Wing Commander IV. It was called Privateer 2 at the time and would've been executive produced by Chris Roberts. There's very little information available about the project that has survived but it had a script written by Tracy Hickman and Origin also pitched it around Hollywood as a cross-media project that would've involved two yearly Privateers (2 and 3) with a season of television sandwhiched between them. The late, great Aaron Allston wrote the bible for that project and he once told me it actually did get some interest in Hollywood... but the TV producers quickly turned his Privateer pitch into something involving a planet of Amazon women :D When The Darkening became Privateer: The Darkening the explanation was that it'd be a side game because Chris Roberts was developing the direct Privateer sequel... and then when it became Privateer 2, the Hickman project became Privateer 3. But it was totally reliant on Chris Roberts and when he left Origin the project was scuttled.

The second Privateer 3 was assigned to the remnants of the Crusader: No Regret team after Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec left for Digital Anvil in 1997 and they'd killed potential Crusader followups. This is the one you've seen before, we have plenty of screenshots, script versions, design documents and so on relating to it preserved. It was to use Prophecy's Vision engine. And it hurts especially because it got a giant, drool-worthy cover feature Computer Games Strategy Plus just days before it was killed. As for the why, it's not very satisfying or dramatic... they basically hit an inflection point in the project where they were ready to go into production with the FMV. EA had a go/no-go on spending that money and they opted not to.

(Of course we all see things we love in what was released but to editorialize I do think this Privateer 3 probably would've disappointed people in the end... it had a much more 'sci fi' interpretation of the WC universe... the big bad was a Kilrathi warlord who was stealing a time machine to rebuild Kilrah... and the FMV would've been done in Austin instead of Los Angeles so think more Crusader quality than the Wing Commanders people were used to at the time.)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Hello! I'm sorry for the delayed response, I haven't been on the forums much lately. I'm always on Discord if you need me specificallyt hough!

There were two "serious" attempts to do Privateer 3 and they get a little confused.

The first started in 1995 as a planned followup to Wing Commander IV. It was called Privateer 2 at the time and would've been executive produced by Chris Roberts. There's very little information available about the project that has survived but it had a script written by Tracy Hickman and Origin also pitched it around Hollywood as a cross-media project that would've involved two yearly Privateers (2 and 3) with a season of television sandwhiched between them. The late, great Aaron Allston wrote the bible for that project and he once told me it actually did get some interest in Hollywood... but the TV producers quickly turned his Privateer pitch into something involving a planet of Amazon women :D When The Darkening became Privateer: The Darkening the explanation was that it'd be a side game because Chris Roberts was developing the direct Privateer sequel... and then when it became Privateer 2, the Hickman project became Privateer 3. But it was totally reliant on Chris Roberts and when he left Origin the project was scuttled.

The second Privateer 3 was assigned to the remnants of the Crusader: No Regret team after Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec left for Digital Anvil in 1997 and they'd killed potential Crusader followups. This is the one you've seen before, we have plenty of screenshots, script versions, design documents and so on relating to it preserved. It was to use Prophecy's Vision engine. And it hurts especially because it got a giant, drool-worthy cover feature Computer Games Strategy Plus just days before it was killed. As for the why, it's not very satisfying or dramatic... they basically hit an inflection point in the project where they were ready to go into production with the FMV. EA had a go/no-go on spending that money and they opted not to.

(Of course we all see things we love in what was released but to editorialize I do think this Privateer 3 probably would've disappointed people in the end... it had a much more 'sci fi' interpretation of the WC universe... the big bad was a Kilrathi warlord who was stealing a time machine to rebuild Kilrah... and the FMV would've been done in Austin instead of Los Angeles so think more Crusader quality than the Wing Commanders people were used to at the time.)
Paul Hughes once told me that the engine that eventually became Starlancer started off intended for use on a Privateer 3. I have no idea what version that would have been, and even if it was a P3 project I imagine it would have been so early in development that it really wouldn't count. If that was the case it probably would have been more in line with The Darkening in feel I imagine. As it is, the Star Lancer interface really does feel a lot like P2.
 

YCDTD

Commodore
Hello! I'm sorry for the delayed response, I haven't been on the forums much lately. I'm always on Discord if you need me specificallyt hough!

There were two "serious" attempts to do Privateer 3 and they get a little confused.

The first started in 1995 as a planned followup to Wing Commander IV. It was called Privateer 2 at the time and would've been executive produced by Chris Roberts. There's very little information available about the project that has survived but it had a script written by Tracy Hickman and Origin also pitched it around Hollywood as a cross-media project that would've involved two yearly Privateers (2 and 3) with a season of television sandwhiched between them. The late, great Aaron Allston wrote the bible for that project and he once told me it actually did get some interest in Hollywood... but the TV producers quickly turned his Privateer pitch into something involving a planet of Amazon women :D When The Darkening became Privateer: The Darkening the explanation was that it'd be a side game because Chris Roberts was developing the direct Privateer sequel... and then when it became Privateer 2, the Hickman project became Privateer 3. But it was totally reliant on Chris Roberts and when he left Origin the project was scuttled.

The second Privateer 3 was assigned to the remnants of the Crusader: No Regret team after Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec left for Digital Anvil in 1997 and they'd killed potential Crusader followups. This is the one you've seen before, we have plenty of screenshots, script versions, design documents and so on relating to it preserved. It was to use Prophecy's Vision engine. And it hurts especially because it got a giant, drool-worthy cover feature Computer Games Strategy Plus just days before it was killed. As for the why, it's not very satisfying or dramatic... they basically hit an inflection point in the project where they were ready to go into production with the FMV. EA had a go/no-go on spending that money and they opted not to.

(Of course we all see things we love in what was released but to editorialize I do think this Privateer 3 probably would've disappointed people in the end... it had a much more 'sci fi' interpretation of the WC universe... the big bad was a Kilrathi warlord who was stealing a time machine to rebuild Kilrah... and the FMV would've been done in Austin instead of Los Angeles so think more Crusader quality than the Wing Commanders people were used to at the time.)
Thanks Loaf. The late 90s were a strange time for gaming. I can't believe stuff like Warcraft and Starcraft took off and Space Sims went from the pinnacle of gaming to being non-mainstream within half a decade. It is strange too since FPS became and are still so popular and Space Sims are essentially FPS in a spacecraft.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Thanks Loaf. The late 90s were a strange time for gaming. I can't believe stuff like Warcraft and Starcraft took off and Space Sims went from the pinnacle of gaming to being non-mainstream within half a decade. It is strange too since FPS became and are still so popular and Space Sims are essentially FPS in a spacecraft.
Besides the control issue since space shooters seemed slow to get the hang of keyboard and mouse controls I think its the lack of variety in environments that did the trick. It's why I miss the asteroid fields and minefields in WC1 - dogfighting in those were a definite change even if you did have the frustrations of obstacles in the 2D engine. In WC2 and 3, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, all the big later shooters you only ever seem to fight in empty space.

Meanwhile in an FPS you can have drastically different environments that can really change how the game is played. My go-to example was the contrast between the big open fields and corridors in the Serious Sam games but I think you can see it everywhere.

Freespace 2 was the only exception to this that I can think of - there was one mission where you escort a convoy thru an asteroid field and have to blast 'roids while seeing off fighters. It's incredibly fun and frantic, but it's the only mission of that type in the campaign.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
Hello! I'm sorry for the delayed response, I haven't been on the forums much lately. I'm always on Discord if you need me specificallyt hough!

There were two "serious" attempts to do Privateer 3 and they get a little confused.

The first started in 1995 as a planned followup to Wing Commander IV. It was called Privateer 2 at the time and would've been executive produced by Chris Roberts. There's very little information available about the project that has survived but it had a script written by Tracy Hickman and Origin also pitched it around Hollywood as a cross-media project that would've involved two yearly Privateers (2 and 3) with a season of television sandwhiched between them. The late, great Aaron Allston wrote the bible for that project and he once told me it actually did get some interest in Hollywood... but the TV producers quickly turned his Privateer pitch into something involving a planet of Amazon women :D When The Darkening became Privateer: The Darkening the explanation was that it'd be a side game because Chris Roberts was developing the direct Privateer sequel... and then when it became Privateer 2, the Hickman project became Privateer 3. But it was totally reliant on Chris Roberts and when he left Origin the project was scuttled.

The second Privateer 3 was assigned to the remnants of the Crusader: No Regret team after Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec left for Digital Anvil in 1997 and they'd killed potential Crusader followups. This is the one you've seen before, we have plenty of screenshots, script versions, design documents and so on relating to it preserved. It was to use Prophecy's Vision engine. And it hurts especially because it got a giant, drool-worthy cover feature Computer Games Strategy Plus just days before it was killed. As for the why, it's not very satisfying or dramatic... they basically hit an inflection point in the project where they were ready to go into production with the FMV. EA had a go/no-go on spending that money and they opted not to.

(Of course we all see things we love in what was released but to editorialize I do think this Privateer 3 probably would've disappointed people in the end... it had a much more 'sci fi' interpretation of the WC universe... the big bad was a Kilrathi warlord who was stealing a time machine to rebuild Kilrah... and the FMV would've been done in Austin instead of Los Angeles so think more Crusader quality than the Wing Commanders people were used to at the time.)
Yeah that story doesn't sound so great - please tell me the Kilrathi warlord building the time machine was secretly Thrakhath's son as well :D

I thought the design doc had some pretty cool gameplay ideas though - particularly the different flight models.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
It is strange too since FPS became and are still so popular and Space Sims are essentially FPS in a spacecraft.
Disagree. I love space sims and some flight sims, but I truely HATE FPS games. I think there are actually quite some differences between the two genres.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
How so? No comparison is perfect I think but I'd say the two match pretty closely.

Control-wise the modern control scheme is to look with the mouse and move with the keyboard.

There's free movement, unencumbered by the environment unlike a flight sim, where you are fighting gravity, air resistance, wind, etc.

Your avatar is basically a perfect extension of the player - whatever you command it does. This is in contrast to a plane you fly in a flight simulator like the IL-2 games, where you have to manage the virtual plane's engine or optimize it to better handle different circumstances (ex. extending your flaps when landing). I don't have to do this with the starfighters in Wing Commander just like I don't have to eat or sleep in Call of Duty.

The problems you solve are basically all tactical problems - any given mission is some variation of "kill all hostiles in area X", "guard ship Y", or some such. The challenge comes from working constraints like time limits and learning to deal with different types and combinations of enemies.

Given the similarities, I don't think it's surprising at all that the one genre ended up almost completely replacing the other as the technology caught up and more complex 3D worlds could be created.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I may not be a game expert, but while there may be some similarities from a certain point of view, I think it's a stretch to say they are the same. There are a huge number of FPS games, and undoubtedly variations in between, but just for starters I'm thinking there's a lot of potential for tactics such as taking cover behind buildings, sniping from windows, close-quarters combat indoors or long range artillery, just for starters. A soldier/shooter may find him/herself in a static position or gunning on the run, or even take advantage of vehicles from motorcycles to tanks.

On the other hand, space combat is mostly, well, open-space. Navigating space stations and/or stellar objects and/or jump lanes, etc, is quite a different thing. Too, spacecraft are usually travelling at speed - the opposite of a foot-soldier in a FPS game. Objectives are different too, otherwise you'd argue something like Arena Commander and Star Citizen are the same thing in terms of game play.

If you think FPS and space combat are the same, then you may as well do away with game genres altogether.
 

MannerOfLoaf

Spaceman
I may not be a game expert, but while there may be some similarities from a certain point of view, I think it's a stretch to say they are the same. There are a huge number of FPS games, and undoubtedly variations in between, but just for starters I'm thinking there's a lot of potential for tactics such as taking cover behind buildings, sniping from windows, close-quarters combat indoors or long range artillery, just for starters. A soldier/shooter may find him/herself in a static position or gunning on the run, or even take advantage of vehicles from motorcycles to tanks.

I'm def not an expert either so prob take this with a grain of salt, but I think the two genres are very close because of how they challenge the player. That is, the challenge in both come primarily from the kinds of tactical problems you're describing.

Just like in an FPS different mission objectives will necessitate different approaches. If I'm defending a static position in Battlefield I can stay still and in cover but if I need to capture a position I'll need to learn how to run and gun. I'll be making similar decisions in a Wing Commander mission. For example, if I spot a group of Salthi in an asteroid field do I 'burn through the field and outrun them (yes if I'm trying to get to the next nav point quickly to save a cap ship under attack) or engage (if I only need to eliminate hostiles at every nav point).

How I engage the enemy is also dependent on what type of loadout I have. Let's say I run into a wing of Vaktoth: If I'm in an Arrow I'll keep my distance and snipe while sliding around to avoid the rear turret. If I'm in a T-Bolt though I might want to get in close to pound him with full guns.

This extends to selection of ordnance. Just like different weapons in an FPS, my tactics will change if I have a bank of Imrecs ("Now I can snipe the enemy at long range to even the odds!"), a bank of Dumbfires ("Bwahaha as soon as I get up close you're dead!"), or a bank of heatseekers ("Crap, I forgot to change my loadout - better restart the mission"). Its just as important as my decision to take a machinegun or a bazooka when I'm playing an FPS.

On the other hand, space combat is mostly, well, open-space. Navigating space stations and/or stellar objects and/or jump lanes, etc, is quite a different thing. Too, spacecraft are usually travelling at speed - the opposite of a foot-soldier in a FPS game. Objectives are different too, otherwise you'd argue something like Arena Commander and Star Citizen are the same thing in terms of game play.

On your navigation point - how involved is that in a space shooter? In my experience a waypoint is labelled on your screen and navigation is just a matter of pointing your ship and hitting the 'move forward' key, pretty much like an FPS, or at most selecting a path from a map of jump lanes like in 'Privateer'. It's not a source of challenges in either genre in my experience.

This is in contrast to a simulator like the IL-2 series where with full realism settings learning to navigate is a big part of the game. You'll be marking time, visually identifying landmarks, using the different tools available to each aircraft like radio direction finders and beacons, and adapting to environmental hazards like storms and darkness.

You bring up a good point about spacecraft usually travelling at speed as opposed to the movement of a foot soldier in an FPS, and that is a difference but I'd argue that it's a minor one because in both movement operates in just about the same way.

For example, if I want to move forward in an FPS I hold down the move forward button. Similarly in a space shooter I boost the throttle. If I want to go faster I run or afterburn. When I want to stop I release the move key or lower throttle and I instantly or near-instantly come to a complete stop. I've also pretty much got complete freedom of movement. I can move forwards and backwards or left or right in either game pretty much free from restriction. External forces like gravity or inertia don't play much of a role in either space shooters or FPSes, again as opposed to simulators.

So while the player will typically be moving faster more often in a space shooter, the way they move and how the player controls movement are very very similar.

You're right about how objectives in arena and star citizen work, but I also think they differ from the other big space shooters (I'm thinking of the other Wing Commander games, X-Wing/TIE Fighter, and Freespace), owing more to arcade shooters, team shooters like TF2, or even racing games in the case of one of the Star Citizen game types.

If you think FPS and space combat are the same, then you may as well do away with game genres altogether.

Not exactly the same, but incredibly close. Much like the two different death stars you blew up :D
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
As I said before, if you're going to stretch things that way, one could argue that there are similarities in all kinds of genres.
 
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