One of the old-school games from back in the day that hasn't been shown a lot of love is Battletech. Well, that was until recently when Harebrained Schemes announced that they would be reviving the old turn-based mech sim for today's generation of gamer.
Over on the official Battletech website Harebrained Schemes has announced that they will be resurrecting the series for the crowd-funding era. It will appear on Kickstarter later this fall, this follows close on the heels of Harebrained Schemes' recent crowd-funding project, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, which was quite successful in racking in a pretty penny.
The Battletech website doesn't offer a whole lot of details, but they do explain that the game will focus on returning to its roots as a tactical strategy game...
Jordan Weisman, the creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is back with the first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades. Steeped in the feudal political intrigue of the BattleTech universe, the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Battletech started as a tabletop game and evolved over time. It laid the foundations for MechWarrior, which eventually became the more popular of the two.
The difference is that Battletech is all about the strategic battlefield skirmishes between the mechs, where-as MechWarrior is about the actual combat simulation. Battletech games were usually turn-based, tactical military style games where players would have a series of mechs under their command, along with various other militarized units, and they would fight to control the battlefield. The games were oftentimes played on maps using hexagonal spaces and players could customize and outfit their mechs with a vast array of weapons, armament and upgrades.
You could basically think of the relationship between Battletech and MechWarrior games on the same lines of Firaxis' XCom compared to Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines. They're both alien-hunting games but done in very different ways, although there have been some strategy-oriented MechWarrior games such as MechCommander but they still weren't quite as detail-oriented as the old Battletech games.
During the height of the brand's popularity in the early 1990s there was even a 3D television show based on Battletech but it never really got off the ground like some of the other sci-fi series back then. As MechWarrior grew in popularity, Battletech faded away... until now.
With Harebrained Schemes at the helm of the series, and creator Jordan Weisman guiding the team, I can only imagine what kind of game they have in store for fans. I do wonder if they'll be reviving the old hexagon maps and customizable mech micromanagement that made the older games so popular?
I always envisioned Battletech as the American version of Front Mission. Both series have departed from their origins a great deal but Harebrained seems to want to give the brand a shot in the arm in the same way that they did with Shadowrun Returns.
We'll likely get more details about the revival of the franchise as the Kickstarter phase begins to ramp up and the campaign eventually gets underway. For now I imagine a lot of gamers will be pestering Harebrained Schemes with a lot of questions formed from an insatiable amount of curiosity.