Wing Commander IV

The Kilrathi are back in Wing Commander IV, and so are those gorgeous graphics. Here, a Terran Confederation transport takes one in the side and explodes in a shower of sparks.

Last Christmas, Origin's Wing Commander III revolutionized the series, bringing movie-style production values, big-name actors, and some amazing graphics to PCs across the land. It was such an overwhelming advancement in technology and storytelling that even Wing Commander critics praised the accomplishment.

If you witnessed Wing Commander III's explosive ending, you might have thought the threat of Kilrathi attacks had been all but eliminated, leaving the Terran Confederation free to pursue more peaceful avenues. But the kitties are back, and they're a lot tougher than anyone ever thought.

For Wing Commander IV, creator Chris Roberts has brought back most of the stars from the first game, including Mark Hamill as Colonel Blair, Malcolm McDowell as Admiral Toiwin, and Tom Wilson as Maniac.

And they'll be starring in what is quite possibly the most expensive computer game ever produced (the budget has been reported to be something close to $7 million dollars - more than our team spends on beer in a whole year!).

Why the hefty price tag? For one thing, the video sequences that made up so much of Wing III's appeal have been shot on film this time, then digitized using new techniques that'll allow better playback quality on the PC. The game's star-fighting engine has also been streamlined to provide faster action and better graphics.