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As Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech RPG continues to move in a forward direction with its Kickstarter campaign, the team has cranked out both a ninth and a tenth update to keep us informed about their progress, introduce us to more of the team, and share more details on the now-unlocked Expanded Mercenary Campaign. This is all in addition to the AMA that creative director Mike McCain hosted on Friday, so there's quite a bit to catch up on:
I met Jordan almost a decade ago now, when I was still in school at UW. I just happened to run into a friend in the hall after a class, and we started talking about what we'd be up to after graduation. (Me? No clue.) He mentioned a class he'd just finished taking where Jordan had been a guest lecturer and offered to pass my art portfolio on to him. I'm still pretty amazed that Jordan saw something in that portfolio (it's making me cringe a bit to remember it) but he contracted me for some concept work and that was my first real (in) to the game industry. It's pretty crazy to think if I hadn't run into my friend in the hall that day, the arc of my career might've been completely different!
In the years since, I've worked on and contracted for a variety of game projects as an artist and graphic designer. In both areas I'm pretty much self-taught, and if there's one core lesson about art that I've learned in my career so far it's that you can never stop learning. Outside of art, I've always been drawn to games, particularly RPGs and immersive story/world experiences. (Here's my Gamer Motivation Profile. Some of my favorite games of all time include Deus Ex, Mass Effect 1, XCOM:EU, Gone Home, and Planescape: Torment). I've always been really interested in game-making at the (big picture) level - trying to figure out how the art I was making fit into the design and experience of a game as a whole, and how I could find visual solutions to make games both look and play great.
Harebrained Schemes has been my creative home for over 4 years now. It's really been a fantastic experience collaborating with Jordan and Mitch, and growing alongside the rest of the studio ever since our origin story working on Crimson: Steam Pirates together. I've had a great time making Shadowrun games - and Dragonfall will always have a special place for me as my first tour of duty as Game Director - but I'm also extremely excited to take everything that I'˜ve learned over the course of Shadowrun development and apply it to a brand new project. I want BATTLETECH to be another big step in the evolution of our games here at HBS. (And, while we're on that topic, a big thank you for your support towards making that possible!)
As you probably saw in our Kickstarter video, MechWarrior 2 and Ghost Bear's Legacy were among the first PC games I played as a kid. The thing I remember most about those games isn't the '˜Mechs themselves, or even the gameplay (though I'll always have a soft spot for the Joystick-era of gaming.) It's how real and layered and complex the *setting* felt at the time. The comm chatter during missions. The bits of lore and glimpses of the larger happenings of the universe I'd glean from mission briefings. And, of course, the cutscenes with all the detailed information about '˜Mechs and '˜Mech components exposed in the '˜Mech lab.
Unlike the other games I'd played at the time, MechWarrior 2 made me feel like I was participating in a far broader world. It wasn't a setting that had been built around ME for the purposes of a game - it felt like a setting that would exist long before and long after, and I was just playing a part in it for a time. So that's one of the things I'm most excited about bringing to BATTLETECH - that sense of setting and that breadth of worldbuilding. Doing everything we can across our art, design, and storytelling in the game to make this feel like a grounded, living, breathing, grimey, fallen, human world that you're experiencing.
Now, MechWarriors, it's ONWARD towards our next major objective: STAGE 4 - PVP Multiplayer!
HBS Command has identified two high-value targets on our march to STAGE 4.
$2,000,000 - Customizable Home Base: As part of the ongoing campaign, you'll acquire a home base (likely in the form of a derelict DropShip) for your mercenary outfit to call home. At this funding level we'll also allow you to adjust its appearance, repair and upgrade its functionality, and grow and evolve your base as your outfit grows and evolves.
$2,150,000 - Legendary 'Mech & MechWarriors: In addition to the game's standard 'Mechs and customizable, procedurally-generated MechWarriors, we'll include rare legendary 'Mechs to find, and rare hero MechWarriors to hire - including some famous characters from BattleTech history. Such legends may not stick around for long, but will be well worth hiring if you can afford them.