If you or someone you know is afflicted with an irrationally strong love of large bipedal robots, turn-based strategy video games, and crowdfunding, Harebrained Schemes has the cure: a brand new kickstarter for a future BattleTech Game. Adhering to the classic 3025 storyline of the BattleTech universe, Harebrained Schemes is creating a brand new entry to the very, very large world of BattleTech in the form of a modern turn based strategy game.
The Kickstarter campaign reached its $250,000 goal in just about an hour. This is due in no small part to the company promoting the game, streaming on Twitch, and asking fans to “Alpha Strike” their Kickstarter — meaning to fund the game in a very large burst up front, similar to the term’s use in gaming, meaning exhausting every attack option in one go in order to catch an opponent off-guard or outright destroy them.
Now that the Kickstarter has begun, we can follow up with more specifics. As we reported on earlier, the game will be an open-ended turn-based strategy game following a mercenary unit set in the year 3025, near the conclusion of the Third Succession War. BattleTech will be a fully 3D title developed in Unity 5 using already developed models that will maintain a cohesive theme across the franchise’s PC titles. Should the game be fully funded at a not-insignificant $2,500,000 dollars in the next month and some change days, there will be an “enhanced” single-player story campaign and a Player-vs-Player multiplayer mode.
The basic single-player story campaign is, at the time of writing, locked away behind a $1,000,000 reach goal. The single-player game will put you in charge of a mercenary outfit, rather than being involved directly with the Great Houses. You will be thrust into commanding during combat, and balancing the checkbook between the missions. Salvaging parts from destroyed enemy mechs, upgrading and maintaining current mechs, and paying the MechWarrior’s wages are staples of BattleTech, and will all be part of this basic package.
At $1,850,000 raised, the open-ended aspect of the game is unlocked, allowing the player to charter their own transportation to anywhere in the Inner Sphere or Periphery, partake in alliances and contracts, and hopefully build a reputation as a powerful mercenary. Lastly, the PvP mode will unlock at the 2.5 million mark, allowing players to battle it out in casual or ranked matchmaker matches on the game world of Solaris VII, with promises of ranked leagues and tournaments to come. There will also be sub-goals announced for each major stage as the funding grows.
Setting the game in 3025 is perhaps a curious move on Harebrained Schemes part. At this point in the story there has been no Clan Invasion, so some of the most iconic Mechs of the franchise (such as the Mad Cat/Timber Wolf on the box of many MechWarrior games) will be absent. Instead, the game will focus on the few ‘Mechs of the Great Houses, such as the Catapult, a fire support ‘mech, the Atlas, and the (perhaps infamous) UrbanMech. This may leave some fans wanting more. To that end, the developers stated in the F.A.Q. at the bottom that should the game be successful, they plan to continue developing the game and progressing the storyline through the hundreds of years of BattleTech history. It is not hard to imagine that it would follow a similar pattern as the Shadowrun Returns series.
A MechWarrior enjoying a smoke astride her Catapult.
By now, the prospect of a crowdfunded or pre-ordered BattleTech-based video game may cause a dangerously severe ocular roll from veterans of the science fiction scene. However, this is hardly a fly-by-night operation. This will be Harebrained Schemes’ fourth kickstarter-funded video game, and their second adaptation of a tabletop game. Their first, Shadowrun Returns, has been met with strong reviews from critics and fans alike.
This is due in no small part to co-founders Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman. Jordan Weisman has helped shape the world of Shadowrun and BattleTech since the 80s, co-creating the original tabletop games for both series. Mitch Gitelman, though not one of the original authors like Jordan, has had extensive experience with the BattleTech universe through the MechCommander series. If that is not enough to quell the doubters, the developers have already funded the very first stage of the game, meaning even if they had not raised a penny, there would be a base skirmish game to be enjoyed by fans.
With very experienced creators at the helm, it should not be a surprise that Harebrained Schemes is also getting support from the companies that are currently making BattleTech products: Piranha Games and Catalyst Game Labs. Piranha Games will be porting MechWarrior Online assets, helping lend that continuity to the universe. Catalyst Game Labs, the publisher of the BattleTech tabletop games, will also be helping keep the story canon and authentic.
NOD TO THE PAST
No official release date has been set, though Hairbrained Schemes estimates delivery on May 2017. This is significantly a longer stretch of time than their last KickStarter project, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, which had an eight month development cycle. This time disparity should come as no shock considering the pre-existing content for Hong Kong, and the switch to 3D on BattleTech. 18 months is still a very short development, time even with the use of models from MechWarrior Online.
As with any KickStarter, there is a not-insignificant risk in giving money to a developer. There are no laws or contracts dictating timeframes, mandating quality, or protecting backers of crowdfunded games, and this is certainly no exception. Be that as it may, ten thousand backers have already pledged in excess of $800,000 to a company that has a proven track record with KickStarter, video games, and adaptations of beloved tabletop gaming universes. If turn-based games are your thing, or you have to have everything MechWarrior and BattleTech, this may be the game you have been waiting 30 years for.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Set’s Chaos.