This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the news page:
CONCEPT: This is the 'comm relay' page from Claw Marks. It was actually developed as a filler page (... what wasn't?). When Electronic Arts decided to do a print run of the magazine we had to make sure the page number was divisible by four (I think). Every time I was asked to add something relating to Arena I got to/had to add three unrelated pages (most of which ended up being extra material for the timeline... but that's a story for another day)!
- Jump Gate Pictures - these were part of that last minute image pack from Gaia. At least I knew what they were... (by the way, they work like the larger 'jump gates' in Privateer 2... except with short range mini-jumps like those introduced in Secret Missions 2.)
- First Story - Here's the thing: I have never understood the fascination with the Border Worlds. I understand the importance of stopping Tolwyn's plot in Wing Commander IV... but I don't get the high that a lot of fans seem to by being presented with a slightly different version of the Confederation to fly for. You never get the spit-and-glue ships that the concept implies, you never get any sort of moral discussion about rebelling from the Confederation you fought for for three previous games... and their entire existence is a huge retcon in the first place (remember all those Confederation systems you defended in Wing Commander I? That was actually the super elite Border Worlds! And they're angry that nobody was... defending them... in Wing Commander I?). What's worse, so many fan projects turn the Border Worlds into an amazing superpower overnight - that's not good storytelling and it isn't interesting.
- (Continued) So, yes, I did sit down here to knock the Border Worlds down a peg. A full peg! In this little story, which is the start of the American Civil War with that thin veneer of allegory that Wing Commander adds to anything, I tried to make them a little more realistic and a little less like superheroes. The Union is fighting over its own borders in exactly the same way the Confederation was thirty years earlier! Things aren't just magically great, and there's real issues like taxes that are causing the problems instead of Space Nazis with crazy plots. So, if you love the Border Worlds-as-Supermen then I'm sorry... if not, I hope you can build something interesting from this tiny base.
- (Continued) ... but let me also note that I did this to dispell the opposite consideration of the Border Worlds, which came from a WCSO fiction reference. That interpretation claimed that they had no military at all and were simply still controlled by the Confederation. Not so!
- "Hellespont System" - the first (okay, technically second) series of Wing Commander IV. I've always wondered why it was called "the Hellespont" in Eisen's introduction.
- "Orestes" and "Peleus" - other Union star systems seen in Wing Commander IV.
- "Governor Hodge" - Okay, less vitriol, more obscurity: 'Governor Halas Hodge' was the head of the Border Worlds in the ill-fated Privateer TV show's pilot script.
- "Outerworlds Fleet" - this is the name for the Border Worlds' Navy given in the Wing Commander IV novelization.
- "star nation" - I stole this term from the Honor Harrington books. Sorry.
- "Second Fleet" - and look at this, I even gave some room for the people who want to write stories about a massive Border Worlds supernavy.
- Second Story - I think that, fundamentally, the point to make here is that Tungsten is really, really funny. You've got futuristic plasteel armor, futuristic durasteel armor, futuristic isometal armor... and ordinary tungsten! And tungsten isn't even the worst one! No, although that is true, the point to this story is to help explain why ships in Wing Commander Arena are slower and have more armor. The cream of the crop material is no longer available. The game's Producer learned about the different armor in Privateer early on and was very concerned about getting this message across.
- "Fiddler's Green System" - this was a Confederation colony referenced in Wing Commander 2. Angel lists a series of systems attacked by the Kilrathi and this is one... but it somehow didn't make it to the Wing Commander Universe map.
- "Scorpion" - not a reference!
- "InSys Outpost" - the 'Space Police' from Wing Commander 2 and Privateer. Tolwyn transfers Blair to InSys after the destruction of the Tiger's Claw.
- "Durasteel" - the standard armor against which all better armors are measured.
- Third Story - this was another setting piece. One thing we wanted to get across in Arena was that you were now in the 'wild west' of space... so here's a story with banditos, sheriffs and space train robberies. In looking back it's a lot more fun than I remembered. A platinum transport? Cool!
- "Jack 'Deadeye' McClellan" - comes from the fact that there's a TCS McClellan in the Wing Commander movie... which, in turn, was named after General George McClellan.
- "Vega System" - the 'Sector Star' from the original Claw Marks map.
- "Grey Town," "Rostov III," "Mopok survey group" - these are all from the Rostov series of Wing Commander I. Grey Towns were unofficial settlements and then Rostov III was the home of the Mopoks. I included this not to flex my trivia muscle but to sort of confirm that the Mopoks were still being studied and hadn't all been enslaved and eaten by the Kilrathi.
- Isn't this how Brisco County Junior caught his nemesis in that show? That was probably unintentional. Probably.