While Hawken has captured our attention of late, it isn’t the only mech game on the horizon. Although the (proper) MechWarrior series hasn’t seen an update since 2000 – or 2002 if you count the expansions to MechWarrior 4 – MechWarrior Online is in development by Piranha Games. While this title will deviate quite a bit from prior incarnations, Piranha promises plenty of multiplayer Mech sim action, and that’s hard to argue with. Massively recently uncovered some interesting tidbits while out at GDC this year.
MechWarrior is based on the BattleTech universe that spans various gaming franchises, novels, and tabletop roleplaying and war games. The team has stated that the game will take place in 3049 and time will progress in a 1:1 ratio with the real world. As events happen in the game’s story, they’ll be reflected in the game in real-time.
From the sound of the article, MechWarrior Online will be a pretty different beast from the aforementioned Hawken. While that game seems to be very focused on high-speed action, MechWarrior Online seems to want to stay more true to the original concept of the series. That is to say, MechWarrior games are fundamentally simulations and aren’t always frantic. Perhaps in a lightly armed and armored 20-ton mech you’ll be dodging around the battlefield at high speeds, but in a 100-ton monster loaded down with weapon systems and armor, you’re probably not going to be lightly dancing about the fields of battle. You’ll be melting them with giant lasers and missiles instead.
The big giant mechs aren’t necessarily the best ones. While they can lay down the hurt and take some serious damage, smaller ones will be able to scout the battlefield, perform hit-and-run tactics better, and other useful support roles. Different mechs are broken down into different types: “light, medium, heavy, and assault ‘Mechs,” which can perform in “Scout, Striker, and Commander roles.” It sounds like a team should, ideally, have a good mix of mechs.
Weapons can be divided up into three different groups, and weapons attached to a mech’s arms and torsos can target different enemies simultaneously. That last bit is a big part of what suggests to us that they’ll be keeping the pacing of the older titles.