MechWarrior (SNES)

Emblem-important.svg Apocryphal Product
Although it is an official BattleTech product, the subject of this article does not meet the current criteria for Canon for the BattleTech universe.
See the article's section on Canonicity for details.


MW1CoverSNES.jpg
MechWarrior
Product information
Type Computer game
Development Beam Software
Publication information
Publisher Activision
First published 1993
MSRP  ?
Content
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 3027
Series MechWarrior computer games
Followed by MechWarrior 3050

The MechWarrior video game, known in Japan as Battletech, was developed for the Super NES. Its plot and gameplay is based upon the PC MechWarrior game, but the storyline was altered significantly.

The game uses the tools available on the Super NES (Mode 7 graphics and sprites) for the first-person mission portions of the game. It was developed by Beam Software and published by Activision in the US and Europe, and by Victor Interactive Software in Japan.

Story[edit]

(Transcript)

The player takes on the role of a MechWarrior named Herras Ragen, the son of Colonel Joseph T. Ragen. Colonel Ragen was a soldier in the AFFS whose mission was to infiltrate and destroy the renegade mercenaries called the Dark Wing Lance. In 3017 the Dark Wing attacked Colonel Ragen's home on Redondo in retaliation, killing him and most of his family. Herras survived and in 3027, at the age of 22, he set out on a quest of revenge to hunt down the Dark Wing Lance. Herras acts as a mercenary, selling his services as he uses contacts to gather information on the Dark Wing Lance until he can avenge his family.

Herras tracks down and kills three of the Dark Wing Lance members: Wolf Glupper, Zach Slasher, and Duff Skully. During his search, Herras encounters multiple references to a mercenary underground engaged in criminal and terrorist attacks (guerrilla warfare to disrupt planetary governments, bombings, theft of secret documents, raids, planetary assaults, etc.). After Herras kills Duff Skully, Yerg Gantor offers to hire Herras for missions, offering the location of the head of the Dark Wing as a bonus. Unfortunately for Herras, Yerg himself is the head of the Dark Wing, and has tricked Herras into carrying out missions for the mercenary underground. Herras eventually faces off against Gantor in personal combat and kills him, achieving vengeance and stopping the Dark Wing's mercenary underground.

This is a significant alteration from the backstory of the original PC game; the player character has a different identity and backstory. It should be noted though that the two backstories and storylines do not rule each other out and could technically both be "true". (See also Canonicity section below.)

Gameplay[edit]

BattleMechs[edit]

Unlike the BattleMechs in the game's PC version, the BattleMechs in the SNES version of MechWarrior were developed specifically for the game. There are eight 'Mechs in all. Four of them are light 'Mechs, two are medium 'Mechs, one is a heavy 'Mech, and the last is an assault 'Mech. Several of the BattleMechs share similarities to each other (the Nexus series of Mechs especially) and the Grand Crusader is a very similar design to the unseen design of the same name. The name "Ragnarok" is shared with a BattleMech from the MechAssault game, but the two designs are very different.

Weapons[edit]

Much like the later MechWarrior PC games, the player can heavily customize BattleMechs. The armor, engine, and weaponry can all be changed between missions. This even includes changing the number of heat sinks or jump jets on the 'Mech.

Featured Characters[edit]

Canonicity[edit]

Video games do not fall under the current definition of Canon. Although it is an official BattleTech product, MechWarrior (SNES) can therefore be considered apocryphal at best.

It has been confirmed by the Line Developer that the storylines and backstories of video game can be assumed to be part of the shared universe at least in broad strokes where they "make sense" and do not violate other canon. In this sense, the game's backstory is acceptable but the 'Mech designs are not.

Areas where the SNES MechWarrior game does not meet this standard include:

Setting

While Galatea and Solaris are canonical settings, most missions in the game take you to the non-canon worlds of Zacapa, Kagran, Rostov, Zhada, Quillon, Puxi, Galeton, Drena, Escalon, Dalview, Cawdor, Qutang, and Jelenia.

Timeline

Every mission undertaken by the player advances the game's timeline by three days. Canonically, Galatea's standard transit time from orbit to a zenith or nadir jump point is 12 days. Even if all the non-canon target worlds were within one jump, 30 days would be more realistic than 3, given the way BattleTech's interstellar transit functions.

Equipment

Canonically, the Grand Crusader was created in 3052, while the Nexus and Raijin debuted in 3055, so none should be appearing on the battlefield in 3027. An argument can be made that the title character could be piloting a Jackrabbit left over from the Star League Civil War (the Jackrabbit was the model for the later Nexus), but neither the game documentation nor any other canon material give any indications of that being the case.

Development[edit]

Developer Tom Sloper answered some questions regarding the development process in response to a June 12, 2018 posting on his bulletin board ([1]):

1. How much coordination did your team have with FASA Corporation (the originators of the series, and owners of the IP at the time) regarding the storyline and game aesthetic?

TS: Quite a bit.

2. Was the original intent to simply adapt Activision's MechWarrior game for the SNES, or to create a new storyline?

TS: Pretty sure it was the former - to adapt the 1989 game from Dynamix to the SNES. I wasn't present at the license signing, so I can't say for certain.

3. There are clear tie-ins to the events in Michael Stackpole's "Warrior: En Garde" novel in the first half of the game, establishing the timeline for the game's events, but the references to official storyline events end with Melissa Steiner's rescue (at the end of En Garde). Was the sequel, "Warrior: Riposte," not available at the time of development?

TS: I have no idea. I did read one novel while I was involved in the project, but I don't remember its title. And I was not embedded with the development team in Australia (I was working from the Activision office in L.A.). This was the early nineties, and communications were mostly done by fax and phone.

4. Why (aside from Galatea and Solaris) were new world names created, instead of using the ones from FASA's maps?

TS: I can't speak to planet names. I suppose it might be a consequence of the need to use different mechs, to satisfy the tastes of the Japanese audience. The deal was structured in a way Activision did things at the time; Activision held a license from FASA, and sublicensed the video game rights to a couple of Japanese companies. The sublicensees paid for development of the Japanese versions*, and then the work was done to localize the game in English. The Japanese market already had a popular universe of warring mechs, called Gundam. The BattleTech/MechWarrior mechs presented a problem in that marketplace - but my memory is a little hazy as to whether it was that the IP owner of Gundam might sue over the great similarity between their looks, or that the FASA mechs didn't look right for the Japanese market. A whole storyline had to be created to make the new and different-looking Japanese mechs fit within the FASA universe. But for the Western market, the game used the FASA mechs instead. Maybe the planet names were created to go along with the storyline around the Japanese mechs, and simply weren't changed when the game was localized for the West.

TS: * I think there is a mistake in the table of Video games at [2] - I think the Sharp X68000 version may have been part of the 1993 deal, rather than one of the 1989 platforms. As I recall, MechWarrior was sublicensed (in the early nineties, after 1990) for not only the SNES but also another platform, a Japan-only platform (like the Sharp computer). In the table, either the Sharp is in the wrong place, or there's a platform missing from 1993.

5. What were the technical limitations you faced on the SNES vs. what Activision was able to do with their original version of MechWarrior for the PC?

TS: I didn't work on the 1989 version with Dynamix - and I never played it. And I don't know a lot about DOS video game technology, but I know that DOS computers were not natively capable of 3D graphics**. And the SNES wasn't, either. But the SNES did have one quasi-3D trick, called Mode 7. Mode 7 allowed creation of a graphic plane that could be rotated in a way that looked sort of 3D. I believe Beam Software (the developer of the SNES game) used Mode 7 for the terrain.

TS: ** Wolfenstein 3-D introduced 3D to DOS computers in 1992 or thereabouts. This was after the MechWarrior game made by Dynamix, and before the MechWarrior game made by Beam for the SNES (and for the Japan-only platform).

Images[edit]

See also: Game Genie Codes

External links[edit]