Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Elsewhere: Wing Commander IV TV Ad

In 1995, computer game publisher Origin ran an expensive (by industry standards at the time) TV ad campaign to market Chris Roberts' space combat title, Wing Commander IV.  Full-motion video has largely gone by the wayside as a major draw today, but the Wing Commander series was on the cusp of the CD-ROM revolution, and video footage was seen as the wave of the future. A lot of effort (reportedly $12 million worth) went into building sets and filming actors, and improving video capture and compression techniques, while 3-D graphics technology was only beginning to mature.

As a result, the story footage here looks crisp and smooth, while the spaceships still resemble gigantic origami projects.  And like the game itself, this ad features the non-interactive video segments, starring Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell, much more prominently than the gameplay footage. 

Here it is on YouTube, as captured by edgesmash:

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