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Wing Commander (computer game)

Wing Commander is a series of space combat simulation computer games from Origin Systems, Inc. Created by Chris Roberts and first appearing in 1990, Wing Commander is most noted for its style of cinematic storytelling, which it pioneered in computer games.

Set in the 27th century, the games tell the story of humanity's war against the Kilrathi, a feline alien species. Humanity is organized in the Terran Confederation and the player is part of the Confederation's space forces. Launching from carrier ships, the player fulfills various missions in starfighters. The games were all notable for their storytelling through extensive cutscenes. Starting with Wing Commander III, all story scenes were done with live action filming, utilizing some major Hollywood actors.

In 1999, a movie based on the games was released. Directed by the game creator himself, Chris Roberts, the movie told a story set in the time period of the first Wing Commander game. As with most films based on games, it was both a critical and a financial failure.

Warning: Spoilers follow

Table of contents
1 Wing Commander
2 Wing Commander: Freedom Flight (novel)
3 Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi
4 Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
5 Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
6 Wing Commander: Prophecy
7 Other Wing Commander games
8 The Privateer series

Wing Commander

The player begins his tour of duty as a young officer on the carrier TCS Tiger's Claw. Through his heroic efforts the Confederation is able to destroy the Kilrathi's sector headquarters and drive them from the Vega sector. Through the course of the Vega campaign, the player can gain numerous promotions and medals and fly in various squadrons, each featuring a different fighter.

The Secret Missions

A new Kilrathi secret weapon destroys an entire human colony with only one blast. The Tiger's Claw must follow the Kilrathi deep into their own territory and destroy their new dreadnought.

Wing Commander: Freedom Flight (novel)

A novel describing the Firekka campaign of the Tiger's Claw's, featuring also the defection of lord Ralgha (known as Hobbes in Wing Commander II).

The Secret Missions 2: Crusade

When the Confederation is just celebrating a new alliance with the bird-like native species of the planet Firekka, they learn that entire fleets of Kilrathi ships are leaving from other sectors and heading towards the Firekka system. Puzzled, the Confederation ships must retreat, but they soon learn from a Kilrathi defector that Firekka has been chosen as the place for a holy Kilrathi ceremony. The Confederation soon develops a plan to disrupt that ceremony to deliver a blow to enemy morale and it's up to the Tiger's Claw's pilots to ensure the success of that plan.

Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi

Shortly after the Firekka campaign, the Tiger's Claw attempts to attack the Kilrathi headquarters in the Enigma sector, but is destroyed by new Kilrathi stealth fighters. No one but the player sees these fighters and soon he is blamed for the loss of the Claw, is demoted and transferred to a backwater space station. Ten years later, he is called back into action when he is able to save the Confederation's flagship, the TCS Concordia. Meeting many old friends there, he continues the fight against the Kilrathi, finally culminating in the destruction of their sector HQ, and also in clearing his name and finding the true traitor.

Special Operations 1

The player is transferred to the undercover Special Operations division, supporting Kilrathi colonies that are defecting from the Empire. But first he must solve the problem of a mutiny on a Confed cruiser.

Special Operations 2

Jazz, the traitor from Wing Commander II, has fled imprisonment and the Mandarin (the society of tratoirs) are also able to steal the latest starfighter from the Concordia. The player must hunt the Mandarin down and face Jazz in one final showdown.

Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

The war is going badly for the Confederation. Battles are lost on all fronts and the Concordia is destroyed. Colonel Christopher Blair (the player from the first games, now with a set name), is transferred to the TCS Victory, an old ship from the first days of the war. In a last-ditch attempt to win the war, Confed has designed the Behemoth, a doomsday weapon able to destroy an entire planet. It is Blair's mission to help end this war for good, by destroying the Kilrathi homeworld.

Starring in the video sequences are well-known actors like Mark Hamill (as Blair), John Rhys-Davies, Thomas F. Wilson and Malcolm McDowell.

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom

The war with the Kilrathi is over, but not all is well within in the Confederation. Skirmishes in the Border Worlds destroy ships regularly. Both Confed and the Union of Border Worlds assign blame to each other and the skirmishes threaten to lead to all-out war. Blair is recalled to active duty and sent to the Border Worlds to confirm Confed's determination. But he must soon find out that a conspiracy of war-mongers with members in the highest Confed circles are responsible for the attacks. Defecting to the Border Worlds, Blair must expose the conspiracy to help restore the peace.

Wing Commander: Prophecy

Peace has finally come to the Confederation, or so it seems. Still remaining vigilant, they commission the new megacarrier TCS Midway, which is soon needed when Kilrathi worlds are attacked by an enemy whose coming was foretold in ancient Kilrathi prophecies. The insectoid enemy, codenamed the Nephilim, soon begin attacking Confed space and the Midway is called in to stop their advance. As young hotshot pilot Lance Casey, the player must fight their organic ships to help destroy the wormhole they used to enter Kilrathi space, thereby halting the invasion, at least for a while.

Wing Commander: Secret Ops

The Nephilim return, this time much closer to Earth. Transferred to the cruiser TCS Cerberus, Casey and his wingmates must repel the invasion once again.

Secret Ops was an experiment in game distribution. It was at first only available as a free download. In regular intervals, new episodes were released, each featuring several new missions with the storyline told through in-game cutscenes. The game was later available in a collection together with Prophecy.

Other Wing Commander games

Wing Commander Academy

A game where the player could build his own missions using ships from Wing Commander II.

Wing Commander Armada

Armada featured both an action and a strategy game mode and several multiplayer options.

The Privateer series

Wing Commander: Privateer

Set in the border regions of Confederation space, the player takes control of a privateer on a mission to gain profit by trading, taking various missions or pirating. Meanwhile, an ancient alien spaceship has been awakened and is on the loose, attacking ships at random and the privateer may be Confed's only hope in defeating it.

Privateer 2: The Darkening

As Lev Arris, a man with amnesia, the player must take the life of a privateer in the Tri-System, finding out about his past along the way. Privateer 2 has no apparent relation the rest of the Wing Commander universe.