Hardcore Gaming 101 has produced the third chapter in its in-depth exploration of the Wing Commander series. After diving into the history of WC1&2, this time they're focusing on 1992 when Strike Commander development was in high gear. Author AB Silvera describes Strike as a "missing link" that bridges the gap from WC2 to WC3, which is an interesting take. It pioneered the 3D RealSpace engine, which Heart of the Tiger pushed to the extreme (although Armada used it first!). If you haven't paid much mind to Strike Commander over the years because it wasn't quite a Wing Commander game, this is a good overview. At first I was going to call it a close cousin to the WC games, but a direct sibling is probably more accurate. You can check out the full article here, and if that's got you excited to give the game a go, you can pick it up on GOG.As mentioned earlier, Chris Roberts’s attention was elsewhere during the development of WCII and its expansion packs. His new permanent position as Director of New Technologies meant he had to pursue projects that pushed the envelope for, well, technology. Strike Commander was that project.
In Strike Commander, you take the role of another nameless pilot who is part of the mercenary Wildcats squadron. Taking place in the then-near-future year of 2011, the more realistic dogfights and fighter jets give texture to a vastly different political landscape. As well as succeeding in missions you’re hired for, you must also keep the books of the squadron balanced, so that weapons can be purchased and maintenance paid for. A failure to keep up with this part of the game can result in a Game Over, which contributes to Strike’s more realistic, present-day setting.