MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, being developed by Piranha Games, is set to be the first standalone MechWarrior game in over 15 years. Piranha officially announced MechWarrior’s release window and showed off a hands-on preview during 2017’s MechCon in Vancouver, Canada, this Saturday, and those on-hand to preview the title say that in spite of “weak AI,” the game is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the MechWarrior series.
The announcement came as something of a surprise, as Piranha are also the developers and publishers of MechWarrior Online, a multiplayer-only match-based MechWarrior “freemium” title – one that is either loved or hated depending upon whom one asks. When Piranha first acquired the rights to the MechWarrior franchise, many fans, expecting a new single-player MechWarrior title, were very disappointed with the MWO release in 2013.
According to Polygon, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will be set in the series’ year 3015 and stretch out over 35 years; there’s no word yet on whether that will be in the original timeline or another alternate timeline (Piranha made the decision to place MechWarrior Online in a slightly-altered universe), but according to BattleTech canon, this places the beginning of the game near the end of the Third Succession War, which definitely means not only no Clans (except, perhaps, toward the very end of the game,) but truly old-school Inner Sphere Mechs — a move Piranha has only recently been able to make after the legal battles surrounding the “Unseen Mechs” have ended, freeing up many classic designs to be used in new titles.
According to ComicBook, players will be able to decide which Great Houses they will be working with as a mercenary over the course of the game; long-time fans can play loyal to their favorite faction or jump around, influencing the events of the Inner Sphere’s most iconic period of history. The game itself will also feature four-player co-op multiplayer and will launch with full mod support and Steam Workshop integration.
Piranha says that they intend to make every aspect of the game customizable through modding, from missions and contracts to custom planetary systems, biomes, and more.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will also feature an underlying story, but players will be free to act as they choose at all times.
“You’ll be free to go and fight anywhere and with anyone in the Inner Sphere,” said Piranha president Russ Bullock.
It remains to be seen, four years after MechWarrior Online’s release, whether Piranha Games can successfully revive the classic series, but Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries sounds like a step in the right direction.