How BattleTech Hopes To Do Giant Mechs Justice

With the game successfully Kickstarted and all but guaranteed to have a permanent placement on our hard drives when it releases in 2017, Rock, Paper, Shotgun chatted up Harebrained's Jordan Weisman about the history of BattleTech/MechWarrior titles on the PC and how this next game will break the mold set by its predecessors.  A little something to whet your appetite:

(What we're taking away from it isn't the mechanics, but the gameplay loop,) said Mike McCain, creative director. (Most missions take 30 minutes, give or take, and you're always having that nice loop between being on the battlefield and going back and managing.)

Weisman added, (There is the relationship between tactical micromanagement of units on the battlefield and the meta-management of a military force altogether. So the way we're doing that is: you've got a military outfit that you're managing, from salaries, to what gets repaired and what doesn't, and the skill growth of all the MechWarriors under your command as long as you keep them alive.)

That split focus between battlefield combat and a longer campaign also brings the astonishingly detailed fictional military history of the BattleTech universe into play. Mitch Getelman, co-founder of Harebrained and the producer on the original MechCommander tactical game, pointed out that BattleTech was always more than just a wargame about mechs.

(The other thing, beyond the tabletop and the rules is the IP and the strength of the setting. Jordan's always been really great at honing in on the core fantasy fulfillment of a world and an experience, and I think that's one of the big reasons why BattleTech and MechWarrior has persisted in such a big way.)

He pointed out that BattleTech didn't just spawn a lot of tabletop and video games. It also developed an intensely devoted audience of readers who followed the evolving future-history of BattleTech via a long and successful series of licensed novels. They told stories that stretched from the Machiavellian politics of the Great Houses who dominated the galaxy to the small dramas that unfolded on distant frontier outposts. And within that universe, few types of stories were as popular as the ones about mercenaries.