The release has already been announced at GameTap's reliable forums... but now there's no doubt - Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom is coming to the download service. Today's GameTap software update added a Wing Commander IV entry to the client's Coming Soon page, featuring a short description, some artwork and a screenshot. No date has been announced, but one theory is that they're planning to roll the game out in time for some cross-promotion with Wing Commander Arena.
Now that the war with the Kilrathi has ended, Christopher Blair is enjoying a little well-deserved R&R. At least, he is until he's called out of the Reserves thanks to a mysterious new group of fighters terrorizing the galaxy. Now, the hero of the Kilrathi war must return to the cockpit and unravel this deadly new mystery. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Some have already noted that the ESRB tag shows a 'T for Teen' rating instead of Wing Commander IV's 'M for Mature' symbol. This is apparently a simple error: we have it on good authority that GameTap will be offering the unaltered PC CD-ROM release. The service does not emulate Playstation games, the only version of WCIV with a T rating.
There's less than twenty four hours left to put in a bid on Wing Commander artist Sean Murphy's latest Wing Commander auction. It's for a vintage Wing Commander Prophecy "Diamondback Squadron" sticker, as produced for the game's FMV shoot. These stickers were placed on various helmets to show what squadron a particular filmed head belonged to. It may also give you access to more difficult slopes at various ski resorts (not a guarantee). Put your money down here.
But wait, there's more: hot on the heels of the Wing Commander IV announcement, GameTap has made Ultima VI: The False Prophet available! Like recently-added Wing Commander, Ultima VI was released in 1990 -- perhaps this means GameTap can now move on to the next generation of Origin games, including titles like Wing Commander 2, Ultima VII and Privateer. Your first month of the service costs only 99 cents... which, according to the Ultima VI/Wing Commander CD-ROM artwork below, means that you save $138.98. You can't beat that! Plus, GameTap even says Ultima VI owes something to Chris Roberts! From the game's 'Bonus Features' tab:
Ultima VI's radically different icon based game engine inspired by fellow Origin System's designer Chris Roberts' game, Times of Lore (1988). Chris Roberts went on to create another smash-hit series for Origin -- Wing Commander.