Free-to-play MechWarrior Online announced, coming next year

Back in 2009, developer Piranha Games announced by way of IGN that a new MechWarrior game was in the works. Little was shared about the title, but it was said to be planned for a PC and Xbox 360 release, and multiplatform play was a “priority”.

Since the announcement, however, Piranha Games went radio silent on MechWarrior – until today. This time by way of PC Gamer, Piranha announced today that a new MechWarrior is still in the works, but it won’t be done as originally planned.

Instead of launching on both Xbox 360 and PC, the new MechWarrior will be released exclusively on the PC. More than that, it’s not going to be your standard retail product – MechWarrior Online, as it’s called, will be a free-to-play mech sim.

Like with past MechWarrior titles, players can expect a significant amount of customization options for their mech, allowing them to gear up to suit their playstyle or the mission at hand. Don’t let the “free-to-play” part fool you, though – Piranha says MechWarrior Online will be a true MechWarrior title through and through.

“I think it’s really the MechWarrior you know,” Bullock says. “It’s fully first-person. It’s not a new interpretation. We’re modernizing things a little bit, I think we’ll get to those questions, but certainly it’s MechWarrior.”

In an interview with PC Gamer, Piranha Games head honcho Russ Bullock explained why we haven’t heard from MechWarrior for so long, saying:

“So we went to all those meetings, the reaction was very strong from the publishers. But, in the end, the icing on top of it all was the fact that we were sitting in the middle of 2009, which was one of the worst economic downturns in a long time, especially in the gaming industry. So when it came down to it, with that restriction, here we were shopping the game to 3rd-party publishers, telling em it could only be a 360 / PC game, and ultimately it was a brand they were not going to be able to own. So as much as they wanted to make it, and many of them did, they just couldn’t justify spending the kind of money it takes these days to make a great product in the console world, and not be able to own that brand or ship it one those consoles.”

For more on the MechWarrior Online announcement, head over to PC Gamer at this link. For the interview with Russ Bullock, see this link.