Wing Commander Rocked Before High Def (June 30, 2010)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator


B4HD has written a profile on the first two Wing Commander games and their impact on modern gaming. They recall how the ground breaking mix of action and storytelling set a standard that's still hard to beat. The author stops before the series reaches SVGA graphics and full motion video, and it's hard to believe that these "early years" of Wing Commander span just a little slice of time from late 1990 to mid 1992. There's a couple small technical errors too - even with the Speech Pack, Wing Commander 2 only had spoken audio in the intro and spaceflight, and it did so prior to a CD-ROM release, but this is a good stroll down memory lane. Check out the full article here.

The very first game in the series had some really excellent features that were miles ahead of their time. The most notable was the branching narrative. As you fight the Kilrathi, your victories and losses affect what system you will journey to next. Your conduct in space as well could mean the difference between whether your wing man lives or dies and you could face their funeral when you return if you perform badly enough. This meant, for the first time on a basic level, several players could play through the game and have different narrative experiences based on their abilities as pilots and their choices in the heat of battle.
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Wing Commander II is arguably Chris Robert’s finest work as he manages to put together an amazing storyline packed with twists and turns. The story puts much of the Star Wars series to shame and was definitely one of the defining moments of early ninties PC gaming.


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Original update published on June 30, 2010
 
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Prometheus

Spaceman
Wing Commander sure gets a boost in online popularity these days...
I always felt, WC was quite under-represented on the Internet, especially compared with how great a game it was...

Or it's just that I now see more of it since I visit the CIC on a daily basis and so always get the news :D


EDIT: Noticed a mistake in the article: They say, Wing Command II "came along on CD-ROM"... Well, I believe later they had a CD version, but at first it came on disks. If I recall correctly, only the intro had always speech (provided your computer was powerful enough to play them), while you had to buy an additional speech pack to get the inflight comms as well.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
EDIT: Noticed a mistake in the article: They say, Wing Command II "came along on CD-ROM"... Well, I believe later they had a CD version, but at first it came on disks. If I recall correctly, only the intro had always speech (provided your computer was powerful enough to play them), while you had to buy an additional speech pack to get the inflight comms as well.

That's exactly what I said in my update. :) "There's a couple small technical errors too - even with the Speech Pack, Wing Commander 2 only had spoken audio in the intro and spaceflight, and it did so prior to a CD-ROM release"
 

Highball

Spaceman
It was a nice read. The only other small detail I can see is the fact that the only deaths in WC2 are the scripted deaths. I think it was because of the whole series overflow from WC1 that WC2 just assumed that no one died unless it was called for specifically in the script.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
It was a nice read. The only other small detail I can see is the fact that the only deaths in WC2 are the scripted deaths. I think it was because of the whole series overflow from WC1 that WC2 just assumed that no one died unless it was called for specifically in the script.

You're looking at it from too much of a technical perspective. It's a storytelling thing. Let's say Jazz or Angel die on the first mission you have them. It uncomplicates things to remove the overly random factors from the game so then the developers can focus on bigger things, such as whether you actually completed your mission. It's similar to how WC2 went from WC1's big branching mission tree to simple winning and losing alternatives.
 
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