Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
Wing Commander III represented a major technological and cinematic leap for the Wing Commander series. The game made headlines with its multimillion dollar budget and all star cast lead by Mark Hamill, Tom Wilson, John Rhys-Davies, Ginger Lynn Allen, Malcolm McDowell and Jason Bernard. Some four hours of recorded video on green-screen sets conveyed the story in a true interactive movie fashion. The player could choose to make decisions about how conversations would play out, and this would affect the storyline and gameplay later on. Advanced animatronic puppet Kilrathi were used. WC3 featured top notch SVGA graphics and required a whopping 8 megabytes of RAM and CD-ROM drive. Wing Commander fans were warned with an advert included with Wing Commander Armada to bulk up their computers in time for WC3's release, and Origin partnered with local Austin companies to provide discounts to fans upgrading for their favorite franchise. Wing Commander III sold well over a million copies and was one of Electronic Arts' best selling PC games of the entire 1990s.
Professionally scripted and filmed in Hollywood, ORIGIN's multi-million dollar production combines the entertainment of film-making with the interactivity of computer gaming. The result is a spectacular spaceflight adventure.
Adrenline, romance, danger -- Wing Commander III has all this and more. This sequel completes the turbulent chronicles of the Terran-Kilrathi war. The final showdown takes place on one of the homeworlds -- Earth or Kilrah. But only you can write the ending...
Where to buy
The original can be found on various auction sites and works well in DOSBox. The easiest way to enjoy the game on a modern computer and operating system, is to buy it as a digital download from Origin or Good Old Games.
Playing the gameDon't know how to land your ship? Stuck on a particularly difficult mission? The following items may be of help:
Included game documentation
This manual gives you a personalized account of the Victory, its crew and the history of the Terran-Kilrathi conflict through e-mail, articles and general information pieces. more...
Warbirds Blueprints Poster
Quick Reference Card (3DO)
Patches, enhancements and tools
- DirectDraw Hack: Works with the Kilrathi Saga (Windows 95) edition of WC3. Adds bilinear smoothing and video deinterlacing.
- Wing Commander Movie Player: HCl's utility that lets you play any video from any PC Wing Commander game.
- Mission Editor: HCl's sample mission editor for the Kilrathi Saga edition of the game.
- XTRE Format: HCl's research on Wing Commander 3's XTRE file format.
- XTRE File Extractor: HCl's tool for extracting individual files from an XTRE archive.
- Movie Decoder Source Code: C++ source code of HCl's decompressor for Wing Commander 3's MVE movie format.
Cast & crew interviews
- Mark Hamill interview, Club Dorothée (France), 1995
- Set visit, Bad Influence
- Mark Day interview, Computer Chronicles, 1995 or 1996
- 3DO dev chat, America Online 3DO Conference Center, July 11, 1995?
- Mark Hamill chat, America Online, 1996
- George Oldziey interview, E-Boredome, 2004
- Ginger Lynn Allen Q&A, WCCIC, 2012
- Rob Irving interview, Matt Chatt, 2016
- Mark Hamill interview, Joystick issue 53 (France), October 1994
- Joystick issue 44, France, December 1993
- Joystick issue 51, France, July 1994
- PC Games Plus, Global, August 1994
- Visions Magazine issue 1, USA, Autumn 1995
- Gamemaster issue 25, USA, January 1995
- Preview for WC3 Saturn, France, Unknown
Behind the scenes
Detailed release information
MS-DOS PC Original
- Published by Electronic Arts
- Released 1994-12-08
The original release. There's a lot of video in Wing Commander III... but there could have been more! Several scenes were cut from the finished game to enable it to fit on smaller CD-ROMs--the first generation of CD 1x CD drives was unable to read the now-standard 72-minute CDs, forcing Origin to cut down WC3. Removed from the game were the famous 'Hobbes explanation' and a variety of 'infobursts,' short news segments where a reporter talked about the state of the war. Thanks to their inclusion on later console ports, you can access and download all the scenes here.
The Macintosh version is almost identical to the PC release. It was developed by Lion Entertainment in Austin, a group that worked closely with Origin.
Kilrathi Saga / Windows 95
The Windows 95 version of Wing Commander III was first included in 1997's The Kilrathi Saga package. The only major change in the release was a switch to digital music, which unlike the other Kilrathi Saga ports was not reorchestrated. In Japan, this version was sold separately.more...
The Playstation port tries to emulate the original release, with a great deal of success. Some cuts were necessary--including ground missions--but the larger size of the standard PSX discs did allow for more videos. Unfortunately, it has some difficulty running on modern iterations of the Playstation.
The 3DO version of Wing Commander III is one of the finest console ports ever created. Rather than tax the 3DO hardware trying to recreate the PC version of Wing Commander III, the 3DO version instead opts for a different experience--the graphics aren't as impressive, but the gameplay (including every mission) is redesigned for faster, more action-oriented gameplay. The result is an entirely new Wing Commander III experience.more...
A version for the M2, successor to the 3DO, died with the console itself.
Announced and actually shown at a trade show but later abandoned.more...
EA made a deal with Atari to port WC3 to the Jaguar in late '95. That makes three known canceled conversions along with versions for the Saturn and M2. Consoles were dying faster than games could be ported back then!more...