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MMORPG.com has penned an editorial entitled "BattleTech: Reactors Online", in which the author takes a closer look at the history that has led us to Harebrained Schemes' crowd-funded RPG, how the developer has earned a reputation of integrity with their earlier projects, and what we should expect from the game in comparison to the team's earlier Shadowrun titles. An excerpt:
BATTLETECH is being developed by a team with integrity, a proven record of delivering, and who's shown they have a great deal of respect for backer money. That doesn't tell you if you'll like the game, though. Now, we're hitting the good stuff and I finally get to be a little bit critical. sort of.
I think the beauty of the previous two Shadowrun games is the simplicity of the architecture. While the colors and art is superb in both games, they still run well on my travel laptop. It seems to me that taking that approach made them more accessible, and frankly allowed more effort to be put into the story and game mechanics, which is what matters more to me with these nostalgic games, in any event.
BATTLETECH looks to be a little different, though. For one, the team will be using Unity5 as the engine of choice, and from what they've released, it sounds like a lot more attention will be devoted to making a more modern-looking game with much better graphics than you might have expected.
My problem is that I know a couple other studios using Unity 5, and while it'll be great eventually, it's a bit buggy right now. Plus, it takes a lot more effort to put together appropriate shaders and textures when you switch to a more realistic rendering style. These guys are professionals and I'm sure have accounted for that, but I'm still a little leery. Especially when they have a track record of delivering the finished game so quickly, and I'd rather not see that sandbagged due to engine choice.
I know Unity receives great support and that there are truckloads of fantastic tools for working in the engine, so I don't think this is a major mistake in any way. It's not really a mistake at all, but more something that caused me to raise my eyebrows a bit, so I felt obligated to at least mention it.
Architecture aside, another concern I have is the in-game time-period being before the Clans invade. Personally, I love it. Realistically, I'm a little worried that it might limit the audience a bit. Most people playing games from the MechWarrior universe have become accustomed to Omni-Mechs and are going to want the flexibility those more advanced mechs offer. At the risk of pulling from the typical (kids these days) speech, I do worry a little that gamers who grew up in the digital age may be turned off by the lower-tech mechs of the Succession Wars time period.