When the Wing Commander series began, one of the most familiar visuals were the ships cockpits. You weren’t flying behind some third person shooter… you were right there, in the action, living in the game world. The ‘hand on the joystick’ that moved as you played the game became an oft-quoted example of the series’ dedication to interactivity.
As the series went on, though, cockpits earned their detractors: they covered much of the screen space, letting you see less of the action. They took up a lot of memory to load and they required a truly exception artist to get just right. Starting with Wing Commander Armada in 1994, cockpits became optional. When Wing Commander IV shipped in 1996 it included no cockpit art whatsoever. As went Wing Commander, so went the clones: games like Descent: FreeSpace and Tachyon: Beyond the Fringe quickly followed suit and went with ‘invisible cockpits.’
So: what do you think? Would you like to see a return to the cockpits of yesterday… or do you still turn them off when you go to play the classics? Sound off using the poll below: