BattleTech is among the pantheon of tabletop wargaming franchises that successfully made the leap to video games in various forms. The property’s fortunes have waned over the years, but co-creator Jordan Weisman and indie developer Harebrained Schemes are reviving BattleTech with a turn-based tactical ‘Mech game for the PC with a Kickstarter campaign that quickly surpassed its initial goals.
This is Harebrained Schemes’ second revival project. The small studio’s first experiment was with Shadowrun Returns, which revitalized the moribund cyber-punk role-playing game into a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 and produced a well-received game that eventually spawned an expansion set in Hong Kong.
Just as they did with Shadowrun, Harebrained is looking to return to the roots of the BattleTech universe while bringing in modern game design elements. The Kickstarter campaign has already funded the first stage of the game whose goal is to nail the mechanics behind a turn-based Mech combat game in the Unity 5 game engine.
The following stages is where the BattleTech campaign becomes more ambitious. The $1 million goal allows for the creation of a full single-player story campaign set in the complex universe that’s been developed over the past 30 years. The campaign will put players in control of a mercenary outfit hired to do battle for the various ruling Houses of the Inner Sphere. Players will need to manage individual Mechs, pilots, loadouts, modifications, skills, and even finances.
Confused? Here’s the official blurb on the BattleTech story.
“BATTLETECH is set in a universe at perpetual war, fought by militarized factions utilizing huge, mechanized combat vehicles called BattleMechs.”
“Following centuries of space colonization and the rise of six Great Noble Houses, treachery undermined the Star League and toppled its First Lord. The rulers of the five remaining Houses each proclaimed themselves the new First Lord, and so the Succession Wars began – hundreds of years of mechanized armies, scavenged technology, and political machinations.”
“Now, in 3025, each faction is near its breaking point. An uneasy stalemate sets in as the Houses scrape to rebuild their holdings, reinforce their worlds, and restock their ‘Mech armies. But the conflict continues as the nobility drives their agendas forward covertly through the use of mercenaries.”
The third stage of funding opens up at $1.85 million and changes the single-player story campaign from a linear experience to an open world experience. Players will be able to choose contracts from various Houses and factions. The result of those contracts will determine the mercenary squad’s reputation and what kind of contracts will be offered in the future.
The ability to compete in PVP multiplayer unlocks with the fourth and final stage at $2.5 million. Players will be able to battle against others in casual matches or through matchmaking. Tournament and Leagues will be available as well with the promise of “various prizes.”
There are of course various funding tiers from $1 all the way to $10,000 with varying amounts of goodies and access. For example, the $50 tier gives access to the beta while the first physical rewards don’t appear until the $125 tier. Sorry, the $10,000 tier with the chance to visit Harebrained and play BattleTech is already sold out.
BattleTech is already in pre-production, which means plenty of lovely-looking concept art images have already been developed. For those wary of Kickstarter-funded games, the good news is that Harebrained Schemes does have a track record of success thanks to Shadowrun Returns. In fact, the Creative Director from that game will join Weisman and MechCommander producer Mitch Gitelman as the leaders of this new BattleTech title.
Are you excited to see the return of a classic BattleTech? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Harebrained Schemes]