MechWarrior Reboot to Feature Four-Player Co-op Lances

Atlas vs. Warhammer. This must be heaven.

Atlas vs. Warhammer. This must be heaven.

MechWarrior will return to PCs and show up on the Xbox 360 someday soon, and BattleTech co-creator Jordan Weisman is at the helm once again. Are we ready for an intense tactical mech war game in destructible urban environments, with three of your friends joining your assault lance? Yes. Yes we are.

IGN has a lengthy interview with Mr. Weisman and Russ Bullock of Piranha games. Weisman’s newest company, Smith & Tinker, has teamed with Piranha to develop a prototype of this new MechWarrior game. There’s no release date in sight becase the game still needs a publisher. Once it gets one, there will still be a full development period. But once the game finally comes out, it looks like it will be made of weapons-grade awesome.

For starters, watch this prototype trailer (I know it breaks the frame, but it’s worth it to see it in widescreen).

To summarize what we know at this point: the game is a reboot, not a sequal. It takes place at the beginning of the Fourth Succession War. Multi-player is a major priority, and they really want to have a four-player co-op mode so you can team up with your friends and form a full lance. Better video game technology will make the game more tactically rich, and improve the feel of “piloting a giant war machine” rather than “being a giant robot.” Players will have to use different types of mechs to accomplish various battlefield goals – tactical information will be crucial, so scout mechs will have a vital role even at higher levels of gameplay. No more “lock on, fire and forget.” You’ll have to actively acquire and maintain targets, and the dense urban environments (which appear to blow up nicely) make for great hit and run tactics.

A few months back, I speculated that Smith & Tinker’s purchase of the MechWarrior license from Microsoft was a portent of something truly amazing coming down the line. This is it. If they can find the right publisher and get the budget to make the game that Weisman and Bullock are envisioning, this could be one of those games that gets people to buy an Xbox just so they can play it.

13 Responses to MechWarrior Reboot to Feature Four-Player Co-op Lances

  1. I think he wants to have a game that follows Battletech Classic rules so he can track 500,000 stats, and not go with the simpler Mechwarrior where the computer does the math. I think that’s insane, but I’m not a big fan of the classic Battletech game. Mechwarrior is quite simply the best way to Pilot a Mech. Besides, I think I speak for everyone when I say: At least it’s not Mechassault. hmm, speaking of classic games online, I remember hearing rumors of an actual Warhammer computer game that followed the actual tabletop rules. Is that real?

  2. I remember finding the original mechwarrior in the bargain bin for 12 bucks at the Radio Shack, and playing that game to death on my 386. Judging from this demo, the latest incarnation could be completely kick-ass. Still, knowing the video game industry, nothing is certain–even if they do find a publisher. I certainly hope this one comes to fruition. I don’t play a lot of digital games anymore, but I’d buy this.

  3. No I meant a game where it’s not just mechs but where you’d also have the options to fly around in a helicopter or a fighter, or maybe even as ground units or something like that.

    It probably isn’t really feasible because they are basically cannon fodder in the games but if there is a full co-op campaign and “tactical information will be crucial” like it says, then why not give the option to scout around in a faster vehicle like a helicopter?

  4. Ah. Well, in the interview, they’re very clear about “the mechs being the stars.” Which I am personally ok with – I like using other units in a tabletop game where I want to explore all kinds of combined arms tactics, but in a video game? Just give me giant robots stomping around in cities.

  5. That looks freakin’ AWESOME. I always preferred the 4th Succession War to the clan invasion. There was just as grittier feel to that conflict. It was cool how the Successor States had to scramble to put together large forces of Mechs to hit a target and that a whole planet might be protected by a lance of mercenaries, or less. Granted there were local conventional forces, but the BattleMechs were so very powerful and nearly unique.

  6. Stridem, the tried to do that in Mechassault 2, but then you only used the other vehicles to get close enough to a mech to steal it. That kinda bugged me because it meant there was no reason not to start off with a mech, and because programming a mech to accept another pilot is supposed to be too complicated a process to do mid firefight.

  7. I cannot say how excited I am for this. I care not that it is still in development, or that they still need a publisher; I care only that they recognize the fanbase and demand for a new MechWarrior game, and are trying to do something about it. (MechAssault can eat it compared to the MechWarrior games.)

    I grew up on the Clan Invasion, so 4th Succession War might be a nice change. I like the direction Weisman and the guy from Piranha talked about in the interview: experience levels in ‘Mech classes, importance of different ‘Mech classes, co-op, more tactical nature, the feel of the game.

    “…this could be one of those games that gets people to buy an Xbox just so they can play it.” This is the game for which I would buy a new computer/upgrade my current one. I am currently using 5-7 year old parts on a 5+ year old computer.

  8. @ silentstriderm: Have you seen the full Crysis conversion Living Legends? I don’t know about helicopters, but you get aerospace and ground forces in addition to ‘Mechs.

  9. @bulllifter

    I hadn’t seen that, but it looks pretty sweet! Too bad that my computer doesn’t even have the power to take out Crysis’s garbage…

    Waiting for Diablo 3 to build a new computer which, hopefully, will be in the next couple of years…. Please Blizzard?!

  10. Hehe. I know the feeling. Diablo 3 is/was also what I am waiting for to rebuild my PC. With Ed’s review up on LotR and AoC, I wonder if he played Diablo II, and his feelings on the upcoming D3.

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