BattleTech should hold near and dear to the hearts of everyone who loves big fighting robots. While I like the designs of Japanese mecha I far prefer the grinding, hulking beasts of metal that roam the intellectual property domains of the West, and there can be no finer example than this.
Chances are everyone who’s interested already knows about Harebrained Schemes’ Kickstarter campaign. Well, this is a reminder that the countdown ends today so if you were planning on backing it this is your last chance. For everyone else, let’s see if this game pushes the right buttons for you.
Turn-based tactical ‘Mech combat set in the classic 3025 era of the BattleTech Universe. From the creators of the Shadowrun Series!
First things first, let me clarify that the MechWarrior and BattleTech universes are one and the same. The former began as an RPG and focuses on being the pilot, while the latter is a tabletop wargame with enough lore to swallow Warhammer 40,000 whole.
In fact, Harebrained Schemes (HBS) have done a fantastic job introducing the series’ background as well as the game’s setting in their Kickstarter video, so go load your visual receptors with it.
Here’s the fun part: All four crowdfunding stages are now confirmed as the Kickstarter explodes beyond its $250,000 goal and now stands at over $2.5 million. That means we’re getting both a single-player campaign and PvP multiplayer, with all extra funds going towards polish and post-launch support.
A lot of that backer confidence can be traced to the developer’s past efforts. The crowdfunded Shadowrun videogames have turned out critically successful, and those that didn’t eventually got better thanks to HBS’ constant support. It probably helps that the studio’s founder, Jordan Weismann, also happens to be the creator of Shadowrun and BattleTech in the first place. In other words, this is as safe as it gets for a videogame Kickstarter project.
If big mechs turning each other into smoldering scrap isn’t quite your thing then perhaps the story might interest you. The massive lore mentioned earlier spans centuries of political conflict. Groups form and dissolve, temporary alliances are forged and broken, “space Mongols” come and go – honestly I don’t even know where to begin without inflating the word count past a thousand (I tried). There’s just… plenty of war going on and not a single alien is involved.
The overall story may not be all that great but with its RPG and tabletop roots, you can be sure that things get highly immersive from time to time. There’s a reason why we’re all still pining for a MechWarrior 5.
A digital copy of the game (Windows, Mac, or Linux) via Steam, GOG, or Humble can be yours for US$25, and at US$35 you’d be getting a digital soundtrack and artbook to go along with it. Estimated release date is May 2017.
In the meantime you could always try out the older MechCommander games as the next best thing, or MechWarrior Online (they have a Singapore server!) to see battle through a cockpit.
Update • 04 November 2015, 15:59
The Kickstarter has concluded! HBS, being crowdfunding veterans at this point, have already set-up a page for those who were either late to the party or are looking to increase their pledges. You can take a look here. Time to practice some heavy self-restraint here… deep breaths…