Wing Commander creator talks new project

Advancements in technology and a desire to champion PC as core gaming platform lure Chris Roberts back to industry; teaser trailer released ahead of unveil on October 10.

Over the past decade, Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has worked in the film business, serving as producer on movies like Lord of War and The Punisher. Now he has returned to the game industry with a new mystery project set for an unveiling on October 10. A teaser trailer was made available today, and is embedded below.

Roberts' new game will be unveiled October 10.

GameSpot caught up with Roberts today about his new game. (Though not confirmed, the project's website has strongly hinted at it being a space combat simulator) He said one component of his return to the game industry was a result of technology being capable enough to suit his creative and technological desires.

"A couple years ago, I came to the point where I was playing stuff and I was feeling like the technology was getting to the point where I could do some stuff that I was interested in again. The level of immersion and realism that you can do [today] is significantly higher," Roberts said.

Roberts said that the project's visuals may be slightly ahead of what next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony will offer, and this visual prowess has always been an aim for the developer.

"I want to get back to the roots of what I did in the old days with Wing Commander, which was, if you've got a really badass PC, this is going to show it off," he said.

One way in which Roberts' new game will leverage current technology is through its use of an online component. He said his new game will allow the community to connect in ways that Wing Commander or Freelancer players never could.

"In the old days of making games…you built everything, put it on discs; it went out and shipped to a store. You hoped people liked it. Then they played it for a month or a week and then you're off for another three years making a game. Right now is a really good time to re-enter because I feel like there's opportunity now that maybe there wasn't even a few years ago," he said.

Roberts' new project will also leverage its online presence to boost its story-telling. He explained that his new game will not mirror other online games in only offering one or two updates a year, but rather it will release a host of "micro-updates" on a frequent basis.

This effort has already begun through the project's teaser website and its Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Tumblr accounts. The social portals have poured out, in cryptic fashion, news about what the project may have in store for gamers.

Teaser art for Roberts' new project.

Though Roberts was out of the business for the past ten years, he says he's acutely aware of the changes that the industry has gone through, thanks to communication with friends, and tracking the business himself. One of the biggest differences he has taken notice of is the role of publishers.

"The appetite of the big publishers to take a chance…it's like the movie business…it's all about these huge, big events in the movie business. And it's all about these huge, big event games in the game business. They want to do fewer titles; they want to do [games] that cost a lot more; they want to have them all on very safe, existing brands. So it's great if you're doing another Call of Duty."

Roberts does not plan to have a publishing partnership with companies like Activision or Electronic Arts for his new game. Rather, the financing for the project has been arranged privately.

Another reason Roberts is keen on returning to games is that he sees it as an opportunity to champion the PC as a core gaming platform, as opposed to using the platform for social games.

"I don't want to do a mobile game. I don't want to do a social game. I'd shoot myself. And I know people are getting paid to do it, but I like to do these big splashy, jaw-to-the-ground…get-lost-in-the-fantasy-of-it-all [type of games]."

Regarding his future, Roberts did not rule out a return to the film business some day, but said right now games are more capable than ever as an entertainment medium.

"I can build and tell [a more interesting story] in a game world than I could do in a film. Like everything, never say never, but at the moment I am focused on coming back and doing some great stuff [with] games."

Roberts will unveil his new game in full on October 10 at the Game Developers Conference Online in Austin, Texas. GameSpot will live-stream the event.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

216 comments
Rovelius
Rovelius

Star Citizen : number one on my wishlist.

Protoford
Protoford

Hope it plays well, with good controls. I do not want a battle scene to become a movie.

MurphyNH
MurphyNH

I'm thinking Wing Commander 1 remake. Those fighters looked very similar to the Hornet, the light fighter you start off in in WC1.

Simplythebest12
Simplythebest12

I miss the old Space fighting games...X-Wing, Wing Commander, Freespace even Freelancer

sethfrost
sethfrost

GDC Live Streams on GS: thumbs up!

PhilipO45
PhilipO45

This is how much Chris Roberts had an impact on gaming for me:

 

In 1990, i was in JR music world(nyc) and saw Wing Commander 1 on the big screens, and was blown away.(remember this was when consoles[Nes/Genesis] had little Ram and could not do 3D).

 

During that week i spent $2300 on a 80486 that could run it well, as well as a new monitor.

 

I remember taking a cab back home(Bronx, nyc) and unpacking the pc solely for one reason Wing Commander I. 

 

I then did a 27 hr marathon session from start to finish, and still to this day, very few games had that type of impact on me.

 

A new Chirs Roberts game..and i'm buying a new motherbd and adding in a gtx 690(have a 670 now) or just adding in another 4GB GTX 670 instead. :)

Faks
Faks

Bring it On :D

DarckArchon
DarckArchon

If its Freelancer 2 or something like it, first day buy from me !

chechak7
chechak7

Hope it  succeed like _-- Home world--_   

arkadiyk
arkadiyk

cant wait i need to stress my gtx 690 @ 1150 mhz

arsefacey
arsefacey

wow, this brings me back to wing commander iv when i would run out of ammo and so i'd have to divert my shields to the front and kinda love tap the enemies to death haha. excited to see what he's been cookin all this time

shingui5
shingui5

"I don't want to do a mobile game. I don't want to do a social game. I'd shoot myself."

"I can build and tell [a more interesting story] in a game world than I could do in a film."

haha!

I like this guy :)

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Finally...something that will not only give my rig a good run, but look super awesome doing it. Whatever it is it's by the man himself who's responsible for one of the reasons I got into building PC's and gaming in the first place. Can't wait!!!

yoooomannnn
yoooomannnn

It's like Roberts is peering into my soul, telling me all the things I want to hear.  Space combat simulator?  Leverages the latest PC hardware rather than compromising for 7-year-old consoles?  "Big splashy, jaw-to-the-ground…get-lost-in-the-fantasy-of-it-all" type of game?

 

Yes, yes, yes please!

sweatmonicaIdo
sweatmonicaIdo

Chris Roberts... now that is a name I have not heard in a long time. A long time.

 

But I am daggum happy to hear it again!!! Welcome back, the Wing Commander himself!

Adam_GI
Adam_GI

Meh the irony is, this kind of game is why I love PC gaming and why I'm not a PC gamer.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

My computer probably won't be able to run this the way I want it. Kinda wished he'd port it over to consoles, but I'm EXTREMELY happy it's a space combat sim.  That genre (my second favorite genre) needs to make a comeback!  Chris Roberts is probably the only game designer that can make that happen.

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

I actually didnt mind the movie Wing Commander dont know if they ever did another one Freddie Prinz Jr was in it

KodiakCS
KodiakCS

Indulge me Chris! ;-)

 

I still remember when I destroyed a whole Kilrathi fleet with the lasers of my Hornet!

Those were the times :-)

lulababy
lulababy

The return of the Legend.

 

Welcome back Chris Roberts !!! you have been missed. 

 

Please make a game worth having 3 graphic cards together and liquid cooling system as my is getting wasted on console level graphics.

gamepsyched
gamepsyched

Did the guy from freelancer make this?!?!?!?! I used to rip freelancer it was well ahead of its time... If its anything like freelancer sign me up!

keyb0red
keyb0red

Awesome news. Played all the Wing Commanders, Privateer and even Strike Commander (was by the same guy right?)

 

I remembered when WC first came out, I couldnt believe the graphics -- a 3D flight combat sim!! with (the then) jaw dropping sprite based ships and some really cool explosions ... then the next WC came with SPEECH PACKS!!! All running on my 486 DX with a Math Coprocessor and a staggering 8 MB RAM rocking through a Soundblaster (or was that a Pentium PC that I had -- hmm a bit hazy now)

 

Anyways ........................enough reminisicng .... Welcome back Chris!!!!! Looking forward to what you got in store for us old f4rt gamers, and maybe show the young uns how great games are made :)

shantd
shantd

It's about time. Space Sims used to be as popular as FPS' are now and for some reason, they've died a slow, agonizing death. Freelancer was the last great one, and that was nearly a decade back. I've been worried that it would never make a comeback and die off for good, but if anyone can resurrect the genre it's Chris Roberts. Lets hope he does something truly astonishing. Couldn't have asked for better news than this.

Caitsith123
Caitsith123

PC's are best because they has better graphics. Everyone knows graphics > gameplay and they all want to be part of an elitist arrogant community. I play PC games, but the community just reeks of 'I'm better than you'. It's just childish fanboyism.

manio22
manio22

Does anyone suspect he will turn to kickstarter?

gp3tron
gp3tron

The only way for this to get better is the announcement of a new X-wing game, and of a new Homeworld game...

folj
folj

Could this possibly be a remake / reimagining of PRIVATEER??? I noticed the "merchants guild" and the hangers etc. For those younger than I, the next closest thing to Privateer was Freelancer. I"m on board if he is picking this up and all over it.

Kiigora_LoP
Kiigora_LoP

Another reason Roberts is keen on returning to games is that he sees it as an opportunity to champion the PC as a core gaming platform, as opposed to using the platform for social games.

 

This man is my hero. So long as this isn't a glorified MMO anyway.

suplax
suplax

The only part i didn't quite like was " ....if you've got a really badass PC, this is going to show it off. "

Problem is : to have a badass PC you must fully upgrade your current one from 6 in 6 months , to much money wasted in my opinion.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

I hope they will make Microsoft go "D'OH!" on October 10. It would serve them right after pulling the plug on Digital Anvil.

pogswarts
pogswarts

Oh Wing Commander, such a fantastic series.

 

Movie quality FMVs with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) as the main character.

 

Terrific space combat and an excellent story.... Now I want to replay them!! Good thing they are all on Good Old Games for dirt cheap.

gp3tron
gp3tron

"I don't want to do a mobile game. I don't want to do a social game. I'd shoot myself. And I know people are getting paid to do it, but I like to do these big splashy, jaw-to-the-ground…get-lost-in-the-fantasy-of-it-all [type of games]."

 

This comment alone makes this man one heck of a visionary/developer... You da man Chris!

 

I can´t wait to see how insanely awesome this game is gonna be...

SolidSnakeUS42
SolidSnakeUS42

Grew up playing Wing Commander and Privateer. Loved both of them to death. Can't wait to see more. Roberts, welcome back to the gaming world, the gaming world missed you dearly. Make a kick ass game!

HawkeDB
HawkeDB

Also: This year is seeing Sid bring back XCOM, Chris bringing back WC (In a different type of space MMO), lets hope that sometime in between his excursions to outer space, Richard brings back Ultima.

HawkeDB
HawkeDB

The Wing Commander games were awesome, even the live video cutscenes ones were awesome. I hope this is a new awesome game.

 

However I also hope he learned something from the movie (Chris mentions movies in this blog) because the Wing Commander movie was *the* worst movie I've ever seen in my life. To this day, my friends and I compare movies based on that piece of garbage. Rubber alien lizard suits, etc... Never want to waste an hour or so of my life on something like that again.

BongMonkey
BongMonkey

As long as it has good support for quality joysticks/hotas.  StilI very exciting news as the industry should be desperate for another Freespace or a Wing Commander type game that does the originals justice.  X3 just doesn't cut it and Eve is an MMO.  As long as it isn't another sell out freelancer type game with mouse controls and really getting back to the roots it should be awesome.  And kudos for going private, should allow him to do it his way.. so I'm very hopeful. 

kellqj
kellqj

Freelancer... Nice!

TheJamin
TheJamin

 @arkadiyk Can't wait to stress my GTX 670 @ 1360mhz >.>. Might have to get a second one for this. Dont you just love high end pc gaming!

KodiakCS
KodiakCS

 @lulababy

I wouldn't mind if two liquid cooled cards would suffice to get orgiastic pleasures from this game...

DrYnot
DrYnot

 @Caitsith123  I agree that the PC fanbase is the worst fanbase in existence (apart from the modern Nintendo fanbase, obviously, but that goes without saying), but there are things that can be done on PCs that simply CANNOT be done on consoles, and it's not just the graphics. Developers purposefully hamstringing their own games so they can run on seven year old hardware that was obsolete the day it was made is a millstone around the neck of PC gaming and it really needs to stop.

Kiigora_LoP
Kiigora_LoP

 @suplax RAM has a safety buffer right now, nothing needs 16 or 32GB. If you buy a high end CPU it'll last you a while, and they're designed with OC room in mind now. All you really might need to upgrade is the GPU and it's a yearly cycle.

 

I don't think the bleeding edge is the way to go but, I don't think it's as bad as it used to be.

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

 @suplax You can still play it with an average PC (which should still be more visually appealing then any console). It will just look far better on an awesome PC.

Estel78
Estel78

 @BongMonkey You can bet it's gonna have mouse control and it's gonna be the focus, to make good mouse controls. It may support joysticks but they ain't gonna make someone buy a peripheral to get the most out of the game. They want the game to succeed.

ender707
ender707

 @wezkilla  @shantd Novus is a strategy game, and it looks a lot like Sins of a Solar Empire at that.  Maybe if it was more like Homeworld...

 

Anyway, this is a supposed to be a space combat game, not strategy so I dont see how they relate.