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On the fringe of Human space, near the Kilrathi border, the industrial machine is running full-tilt to feed the war effort, and there is a lot of shipping - but also a lot of pirates, Retros (religious fanatics who want to destroy technology), military, militia, merchants, mercenaries, and privateers. In the darkness, a battle between ships has woken up something ancient, powerful, and deadly.

Wing Commander: Privateer is a space trading and combat simulation. The player assumes the role of a privateer. Start with the lowly scout, and upgrade to one of the three other superior ships: Galaxy (superior cargo space), Orion (superior protection), or Centurion (superior offense). Buy optional equipment such as armor, engines, shields, weapons, launchers for torpedoes/missiles, and more. Take on missions (multiple sources, from the cheapest mission computer, to fixers who has the toughest but most rewarding missions) and earn money for upgrades. Use spare cargo room to trade commodities to further add to the account. Missions can vary from search and destroy to Fedex (i.e. delivery) to bounty hunting, and more.

The game is set in the Wing Commander universe, but is more of a free-form game similar to Elite. While there is a central plot, the player can deviate from it somewhat and can continue playing the game after completing the main story missions.


Wing Commander: Privateer DOS Enter name and callsign
Wing Commander: Privateer DOS Heading to an agricultural planet
Wing Commander: Privateer DOS The mission terminal
Wing Commander: Privateer DOS Commodity exchange to buy/sell goods

Promo Images

Wing Commander: Privateer Screenshot
Wing Commander: Privateer Screenshot
Wing Commander: Privateer Magazine Advertisement Part 1
Wing Commander: Privateer Magazine Advertisement


Alternate Titles

  • "Trade Commander" -- working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Despite some mild flaws, an absolutely superb game that everyone should try dogwank (5) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
The definitive space mercenary experience.... man, I LOVE this game! Zovni (10627) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
Total Freedom! Choose your career. Make your own destiny. Jesse French (2) unrated
A fine "Elite" derivative, with all the WC flavor intact Kasey Chang (4608) unrated
I'll slow roast your (g)uts! Shiek of Geek (30) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
Best game I've ever played, period. Cyric (50) unrated
One wonders why Privateer 2 was a step backward from this classic. Chockydonutman (5) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
Over all the game rocks Lord Dragon (3) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
General Review Chad Henshaw (32) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
A must-see game Patrick McCarron (6) unrated

Critic Reviews

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Oct, 1993 11 out of 12 92
Play Time Nov, 1993 91 out of 100 91
PC Player (Germany) Apr, 1995 85 out of 100 85
Play Time 1993 85 out of 100 85
The Good Old Days (Staff Reviews only) Nov 08, 2006 5 out of 6 83
Power Play Oct, 1993 81 out of 100 81
GameAspect.com Nov 02, 2011 8 out of 10 80
WIZ Dec, 1993 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
PC Format (UK) Dec, 1995 79 out of 100 79
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Dec, 1993 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
disk 5 1 John Sheehy
Dec 17, 2007



When you finish the game, your character was having a conversation with the admiral... Then all of a sudden they started talking back and forth about the game and its creators!

Hidden game

There is a hidden text adventure. Information on how to access it can be found in the hint section.


Although Privateer's player's guide was quite run-of-the-mill compared to other Origin game manuals it did come with a short story. The Frontiersman: Interview With A Privateer was the account of an interview conducted to our very own Brownhair (with all names changed to protect the innocent, of course) and which told us his story to the point were he sets sail to the Gemini sector. The story also explains his relationship with the Retros and adds a more somber tone to the game, particularly to it's add-on, Righteous Fire.

Player character

According to an early Origin press release the player character (brownhair)'s name is Grayson Burrows.

System requirements

On the box of the German disk version of privateer there was as hardware minimum requirements announced a 386 DX with 25 MHz. But on the first pages of the manual suddenly they wrote that the minimum is a 386 DX with 33 MHz. From nowadays viewpoint, when clock speed is counted at hundreds, nothing important, but in 1993 this was rather annoying when you just owned a 25 MHz machine.


  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #59 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
Information also contributed by Benjamin Dunham, Kasey Chang, xcorn1602 and Zovni

Related Web Sites

  • Privateer entry on Old Skool PC - Classics Reunited (Nifty site with lots of info on Wing Commander: Privateer. Game details, overview of all the ships in the game, stats on everything from weapons to commodities, the NavMap, list of planets and bases, mission walkthrough, desktop themes... even some soundtrack files. Also has some links to patches and editors. )
IJan (1990) added Wing Commander: Privateer (DOS) on Dec 22, 1999