BattleTech Interviews

Harebrained Schemes might be enjoying a phenomenal funding run for BattleTech, but that doesn't mean that they don't have time available to promote the upcoming sci-fi RPG. And part of that promotion process is doing a round of interviews, which they have been busy with over the past few days, starting with a Q&A with Jordan Weisman on HardcoreGamer:

[Hardcore Gamer] What era in the lore is being explored in this entry? Will the campaign be focused on clan vs clan, clan vs Inner Sphere, or both?

[Jordan Weisman] We selected the 3025-era of the BattleTech timeline for our game because it's such a fun period of of deadly feudal politics between the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere. With their armies exhausted after 200 years of Succession Wars, they begin using mercenary outfits to continue their plays for the throne of the First Lord in a more clandestine, deniable manner.

How much control over mech load outs will be available to the players? Will it be completely free- barring the heat/weight limit of the frame and sinks, or is the plan to include more story scripted missions?

Our vision is for players to be able to load out their '˜Mechs in fantastic detail and not just weapons, ammo, armor, and heat sinks. We want them to be able to dive deeper and modify engines, gyros, actuators, and even shock absorbers to change the performance of the '˜Mech, if they wish.

Then we move to an article-style interview on USGamer, also with Mr. Weisman:

The team at Harebrained will be led by Weisman, who's joined by MechCommander and MechAssault producer Mitch Gitelman and Shadowrun series creative director Mike McCain. That means the team is calling on strong veterans to craft a new experience in the BattleTech universe.

"I haven't made a mech game in 19 years and I made a lot of mech games over a lot of years," said Weisman. "Actually, I think the distance has really helped. As much as I love the universe, after making a lot of games, I needed some time away, to come back to it with the enthusiasm I have now."

"It's really fun to team up with Mike and Mitch on it, he added. "Mitch, like me, has made a lot of mech games. Our first game together was MechCommander, then he went on to do MechCommander Gold and MechCommander 2. With Mike, what's great is MechWarrior 2 was Mike's first PC game as a kid. It's fun because it's a good combination of old blood and new blood."

Before stopping by another article-style interview with a handful of developers on GameInformer:

There are a number of smaller steps like this on the way to the three big phases that the studio is planning to implement to grow the game. At the $1 million level, Harebrained Schemes will add a single-player campaign. At $1.85 million, the solo play will become more open-ended with side missions and procedural generation. The final stage kicks in at $2.5 million with player-versus-player multiplayer.

This staged approach worked well for the Shadowrun: Hong Kong campaign, which raised $1.2 million. That game was delivered on time in August of this year. Unlike that campaign though, Battletech is a completely new endeavor on a new engine (Unity 5) with systems that evoke the the tabletop game without mimicking it.

(It's a new set of mechanics, but the goal is to model it heavily on the spirit of the tabletop,) Weisman explains. Feel is more important than strict adherence to what already exists. (I designed those mechanics 31 years and not for use by computer. In some respect, we can get closer to the spirit of the tabletop without using those mechanics.)

(It's gotta feel like Battletech,) Gitelman says. While the team is still prototyping systems, they are pushing towards movement and risk/reward that mirrors what players experience while gathered around the tabletop with friends. Part of that is allowing a more methodical approach to combat.

And, finally, we head over to NoGutsNoGalaxyTV for a two-part audio interview (here and here) that spans a variety of people from HBS.