This Brutal Star Wars: X-Wing Mission Made One Player Cut Up His Discs And Mail Them To LucasArts 1
Image: LucasArts

1993's Star Wars: X-Wing is arguably one of the best adaptions of George Lucas' famous sci-fi series. Using what were then considered to be cutting-edge 3D visuals, it placed the player in the cockpit of the iconic T-65B space fighter and tasked them with taking down the Empire's forces in an epic battle for survival.

Speaking in a retrospective at the Game Developers Conference last week (thanks, PC Gamer), David Wessman – who acted as a mission designer on the game, as well as its direct sequels – spoke a little about the team's approach to authenticity and what made the series so special:

The X-Wing series chose a serious approach to being space combat simulators. I'm sort of a nerd. While other games offered the fantasy of being a star fighter pilot, they were really action games with a space combat theme. The X-Wing games required players to develop the skills a real combat pilot needed: energy management, situational awareness.

However, even Wessman is prepared to admit that the developers sometimes got it wrong when it came to balancing difficulty, and recalls a mission from the 1993 game which attracted some rather irate fan correspondence:

It was too hard. Really hard. We made the classic rookie mistake of tuning the difficulty to our own skill level, and we were really good at the game. Because there were no cheats, no get out of jail free cards, you either beat the mission or you were done. Unfortunately mission four, Protect Medical Frigate—that's one of mine—we got a lot of angry letters [about that one]. One guy got so mad, he took it to the next level: he chopped the floppies up into little pieces. Ouch.

X-Wing would be followed by TIE Fighter (1994), X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (1997) and X-Wing Alliance (1999).