Battletech: a name synonymous with giant mechs shooting other giant mechs. No close combat weapons, no silly fast jumping and dodging, just building sized robotic suits shooting huge guns and lasers at each other. This is a series that has stood the test of time, from their beginnings in 1984 as a table top miniatures game akin to Games Workshop’s Epic (which came out 4 years afterwards), all the way up to its current incarnation of MechWarrior Online (MWO).
This iteration takes us back to the games tactical roots, a far cry from the more recent offerings of the franchise as first person shooter games. These were some of the games that hooked me on computer gaming. One of my fondest memories was a day almost 18 years ago, where I spent a birthday with friends at Wizards of the Coast while they were headquartered near GameWorks in downtown Seattle. They had their Battle Pods, physical enclosures with all the controls, including knobs, switches and sticks, where you piloted a mech against your friends who were in similar pods. Suffice to say it is a franchise near and dear to my heart, and to see it return to its roots is melting my nostalgia feelers.
So who is making this new iteration of Battletech you ask? Well, the original creator Jordan Weisman is on board with the men and women of Harebrained Schemes, the same folks who brought you the Shadowrun Returns series of games in recent years, which have been considerable hits despite their deep indie roots. It is safe to say that they know how to deliver an immersive and rewarding tactical game experience.
The game itself will be a top down/isometric battle map with either hexagonal or square tile based movement (these details have not been released yet). You will control a single mercenary lance (4 Mechs). Without the help of Kickstarter they planned on making a simple skirmish game fully funded in house, but with the help of Kickstarter they hope to move the scope up by creating a strong single player campaign based around the Third Succession War; this is roughly 24 years before the Clan invasion ladies and gentlemen, so no Mad Cats, or Dire Wolfs. This is the Inner Sphere in all its futuristic feudal glory. Their end goal is to create a PVP multiplayer game where you can go head to head in ranked games against your friends and random people on the internet. The game will be built in the Unity 5 engine, so expect the detail to be pretty good, and the physics simulation to be quite excellent as well.
The Kickstarter only launched today and hit its funding goal of $250,000 in less than an hour (53 minutes to be exact) and has already skyrocketed in to stretch goal territory. The goals are reasonable and measured with some insanely awesome swag to be had for early backers, including dog tags, Velcro badges, hats, and even a flight jacked at the $275 level (with space to put your house badge).