I think they had a lot to work with built from the first three games keeping the Kilrathi as the main enemy. I didn't like the Bugs and I never got as hyped about whacking bags. Probably some of this is because I was older then, too. I don't know. I was disappointed. I would have preferred a sequel about the resurgence of the Kilrathi. What did you think?
And Wing Commander IV surprised me, too. Nothing in the first three games ever suggested to me that Confed was a democratic republic. I always had the impression from the first three games that Confed was a republic in the sense that the USSR or the Romans were a republic, but not a republic based on democratic ideals. I pictured Confed as a confederation of planets with disparate political systems. i would assume that most of these disparate political systems would e authoritarian because authoritarian governments are, even today in the "age of democracy", still the most common and plentiful. Particularly if you look at government throughout history. Even if Confed started with democratic ideals, I couldn't imagine a democratic society surviving 40 years of total war and maintaining their democratic ideals. What do you think?
Prophecy was a bit shallow compared to 3 and 4, sure, but the Kilrathi were no threat anymore, and after the issues in 4, the Border Worlds were pretty much quiet. Aside from fighting pirates, there would be no enemies. Introducing the Kna'thrak was an okay choice. It was Wing Commander, but hard to measure up to predecessors. It's like that with almost everything sequel.
I don't know. Wing Commander's sequels seemed to get better every time until 5. Despite my earlier criticism of IV, the game was substantially better than III.
And the Kilrathi ceased to be a threat in V because Origins decided the Kilrathi were no longer a threat. They could have made V about the rearming of the Kilrathi, or their superiority with cloaking technology, or anything they wanted. Germany was a greater threat than it had been originally 15 years after the first World War.
"Germany was a greater threat than it had been originally 15 years after the first World War."
Yes, but consider if Germany had been annihilated, as in hole in the ground down to the core. I doubt the Germans that were outside the country at the time would be much of a threat to anyone after that. There's a difference between being a beaten people and being a civilization that is nearly wiped out of existence.
Besides, in Prophecy's manual they mention that some of the clans that remain are still somewhat hostile and conduct raids. Again, that's just busy work for the newest "stand-alone carrier force". To have a good story, you need a good villain, and certainly the bugs were such.
All of the Wing Commander games have been a thinly-veiled cross between World War II (pacific theatre) and the movie Top Gun (the default callsign in WC1 was "Maverick" for crying out loud). The ships (e.g. number and types of missiles carried) are Top-Gun flavored, but the plots have always been based off of World War 2, probably because Top-Gun was set during the Cold War, which didn't provide enough dramatic military air missions.
The destruction of Kilrah is analagous to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan; it took the fight out of the Japanese initially, but they bounced back fairly quickly, all things considered. On the other hand, Japan has a pretty minimal military presence to this day as a result of the treaties signed at the end of the war, so maybe it's reasonable to think the Kilrathi wouldn't be much of a military threat.
In either case, destroying Kilrah would be more like turning Berlin into a hole in the ground than it would be all of Germany. The capitol is destroyed, but the rest of the "empire" is not. The defeat is more of a psychological one than it is a military one.
The situation was different between the two. The confederation was on it's last legs or not too far from it in 3. The Kilrathi even after the destruction of Kilrah still most likely had an equal military presence. With the assumed destruction of most of the forces orbiting Kilrah at the time. We know that the Hvar'kann itself had survived. How many other dreadnoughts had or were posted to other systems? They were 22km long! It was only the Kilrathi culture that helped stop them form wiping the Humans from the universe (the death of the emperor I assume). Any one could look at Kilrah after the T-bomb was delivered and guess what was used to make it happen just by the state of the planet itself as evidenced in 5 (yes I know in 3 you couldn't see the planet after the "shockwave"). I personally don't know how many planets the Kilrathi had "colonized" but a good deal of the population had to have survived. The a-bomb strikes were only effective I believe because the Japanese government didn't know that we didn't have more. We'd already shown that we were quite willing to murder innocents in the tens of thousands to win. If the Japanese government had known we'd only had the two bombs left to use after the tests they could have used that to light a fire under the people. Imagine instead of burning the "White" House to the ground in the War of 1812 They'd murdered the entire city, It would be different being the capitol but that's where the differences end. The US has a good deal of genocide under it's belt as well. Or have we forgotten the people who "owned" the land we live on now before it was "taken" from them (and then what happened in the 60's). TPAJAX Project anyone? That could've ended much worse. This is just one example. The Kilrathi, if it wasn't for their culture, could've analyzed the data from the destruction of Kilrah and correctly assumed it couldn't have been done anywhere else. The war could've turned much worse. Especially had Thrakhath survived.
The issue with Prophecy was that it really didnt have a chance to develop. it was obviously planned as the start of a new era of WC games. but origin backed off and started entering the MMO marketspace and we're then eventually bought out. Chris Roberts then went on to hollywood to make movies, plus the two lead developers went on to start up a military training program and got out of gaming alltogether. It may have been better given the context (and content) that was planned for it rather than just fizzling out.