The rumors are true: There's a new Mechwarrior game coming and these are your daddy's mechs.
A nine-second teaser that surfaced on July 7 was the first hint that a new Mechwarrior game might be in the works but it didn't take long for confirmation to follow: As rumored, Piranha Games is working on the new title in conjunction with Smith & Tinker, the company founded by Jordan Weisman, the man behind original Battletech creator FASA. And it may just be the answer to many an old-time mech pilot's prayers.
The new game will not be Mechwarrior 5 but will instead simply be Mechwarrior, a "reboot" of the classic gaming series that takes place in the closing years of the Third Succession War. In the year 3015, the forces of the Draconis Combine launch a massive assault against the planet Deshler, killing the family of slacker nobleman Adrian Khol; as Khol, players must take up the mantle of a mechwarrior, battling the Kuritan forces to free his planet and avenge his family.
Okay, it might not be the most original story ever conceived, but this is the Third Succession War, the classic pre-Clans Battletech era in which the five Great Houses happily beat each other into the stone age, struggling not just for territory but for salvage, for equipment and technology they desperately needed but could no longer produce themselves. Just as exciting is the apparent return of mechs appropriate for the era: The new and much longer promotional video features a Jenner, a Warhammer and a big, bad Atlas.
Speaking to IGN, Weisman and Piranha Games President Russ Bullock said they want to take advantage of current computing technology to properly simulate large, dynamic battlefields crawling with giant robots. In the same vein, they also want to incorporate roles for every class of mech rather than simply making it a race to the heaviest hitters in the game as previous titles tended to be. Players who stick with a single model of mech will gain experience and become increasingly proficient with it; the game will be winnable with any class of mech and will change based on the class chosen, encouraging multiple play-throughs.
Which mechs will be included in the game has not yet been revealed and no release schedule has been set, but the game is currently being developed for the PC and Xbox 360. You better believe we'll be keeping our eyes on this one.
UPDATE: It just keeps getting better. While we wait for Mechwarrior, Smith & Tinker has decided to mark the 25th anniversary of Battletech by giving away Mechwarrior 4 and its expansions. The free game package will be available for download soon at MekTek.net and Battletech.com.
Thanks to Ralackk for the heads-up.