Back in the very early 2000s, activity at the CIC slowed somewhat after the cancellation of several official Wing Commander games. The product that breathed new life into the community and proved that there was a future after Origin was Wing Commander Prophecy for the Game Boy Advance. Today marks the 10th anniversary of the game's release!
The story of Prophecy Advance began for us in January 2002. It was originally reported that an Italian developer named Raylight was putting together a game called Star Giants. This game had a very Wing Commander feel to it with space fighters on screen that looked identical to Rapier and Dralthi that we're all familiar with. The project turned out to be a tech demo for their proprietary Blue Roses 3D space combat engine, and their goal was to strike a deal with EA to create a handheld Wing Commander game. This agreement came to be in May 2002, and WCP GBA subsequently made a big splash at E3 2002 where it won awards for its advanced tech engine.
Regular development took about a year, and what a year it was! As dedicated reporters of Wing Commander news, it's always a joy for us to show off screenshots and report new features of an upcoming WC product. The CIC Staff was also lucky enough to assist Raylight during the development process by sending copies of the PC game and official guide to Italy and providing guidance on how to trim the original script down to fit the talking head version of the story on the GBA.
Anticipation was high in the spring of 2003, and we were on pins and needles as the game shipped on May 28. Reviews were quite positive with sources like IGN, GameSpot and Game Informer all putting it in the 7-8 range. Its faithfully recreated 3D spaceflight engine got high marks, as did its brand new 4-player multiplayer mode. It was also great to see that Raylight recognized the community members who contributed with mentions in the game's credits.
The story doesn't end with the game's release though! The CIC eventually posted the game's built-in cheats after giving Wingnuts a few months to play the game the authentic way. We also pointed out some of the slight differences between the PC and GBA versions and provided fans tips on how to get the game running on the GameCube with a joystick. Raylight also continued to be an active community partner, and they even released a wallpaper for Christmas 2003. It was presented in an awesome ICIS interface that is still online today! We also provided comparisons between the game playing on a GBA SP and a Nintendo DS when the latter system came out in 2004 (graphics and sound were much improved!). The game continued to be reprinted through at least 2005, and there are quite a few units still out there. It was a hit at DragonCon when the CIC staff made appearances there, and it's also in heavy circulation today on the used market. Just last weekend we found a couple copies when spot checking stores around Austin, Texas!
Happy 10th Birthday Prophecy Advance! And a big thank you to Raylight for the decade of entertainment that they've delivered with this game.
Lastly, here's a little bit more about Raylight. They have many products in their portfolio today, but they still credit Wing Commander for helping them make it big!
Raylight S.r.l., an Italian videogames developer company based in the sunny Napoli, was established in 2000 by Francesco Paduano, Massimiliano Di Monda and Fausto Cardone.
The goal of the founders is to create a new reality for the creation and development of high quality videogames, a new reference point in the game industry.
In its early times, Raylight becames very quickly official Nintendo GameBoy Color developer, thanks to its Rally demo on the little console. The demo received good feedbacks from Namco Japan and Nintendo of Europe, but never went to retail.
On 12 april 2001, the application to became an official GameBoy Advance developer was accepted by Nintendo of America and Raylight started working on Wings Advance, its first success.
In recent years, Raylight’s reputation has soared thanks to the development of Blueroses engine and tools, who ended into the development of the highly acclaimed Wing Commander Prophecy on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance.
At present Raylight is a leading Italian videogames development studio with dozens of games released all over the world, for the most outstanding publishers and on different platforms.
Composed of experienced and qualified people, Raylight is now committed to the development of cutting edge solutions for Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and PC.