BattleTech Dev Reveals Future Of The Game

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech is a hit. We know that for certain because a Harebrained Schemes developer did an AMA on the BattleTech subreddit. He was also kind enough to give us an inside look at what’s in store for the future of the best-darned BattleTech game to hit our collective hard drives since MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries.

Your favorite BattleTech game might be different than mine, but remember: you’re wrong. 

The AMA was hosted by Tyler Carpenter, an HBS game designer and writer that had a huge hand in the making of BattleTech as well as a bunch of other Harebrained titles. Among the hundreds of questions answered quite a few of them were pertinent to just where HBS plans on taking BattleTech in the future and keep this still very young game alive for a very long time.

First off, HBS is going to be holding meetings soon to discuss internally what kind of expansions BattleTech will get. When I say the word “expansions” I’m talking about both paid and free DLC. What that’ll look like is still anybody’s guess, but marching the timeline forward into the 3030’s era and the Fourth Succession War would make a lot of sense to me.             

Or, y’know, we could just hike it all the way to the 3040s and do the Clan Invasion. I’m sure nobody would complain about that.

As for free DLC, Tyler mentioned they’re looking into expanding the types of missions you’ll find as random contracts to better include different encounter types. There will also be an additional emphasis on non-combat roles so that light and medium ‘Mechs might have more usefulness into the late game.

Another addition discussed would involve “broader systemic gameplay, recurring enemies with grudges, contracts that aren’t what they seem, and ‘unexpected events’ in battles” to make the world seem even more alive and fluctuating than it already is. This also includes more random ship events to keep things interesting on the long transits between contracts.

Technical improvements are at the top of the list for Harebrained in terms of game development. Things have gotten a lot better since release day, but there are definite performance gains to be had, especially on older systems. Ultra-widescreen compatibility issues are also at the top of the list as the technology becomes more widespread.

Although I personally enjoy it every time my ‘Mechs slowly marches forward with guns blazing, I admit that it may eventually become tiresome. For that day, Tyler said that HBS is working on general ways of speeding up the game so that we don’t have to wait for the animations to complete every single time.

Greater control of the game’s variables is also being looked into in the form of a giant menu that will allow the player to fiddle with the game’s mechanics. Imagine a bigger early-game ‘Mech selection or a much more frequent incidence of random encounters. Or just the ability to dial the difficulty of the game up to eleven. The replay value here is enormous.

Of course, we can expect more ‘Mechs to get into the game, but he was mum as to just which ones are in development.

There are a few more specific game mechanics that are being looked into, such as the Juggernaut skill being a little too powerful, and the Lostech weapons are likely to get more powerful after a weapons balance pass. Additional technical aspects, such as Linux support and localization for sale in other countries are also being looked into.

There’s tons more that Tyler also discussed, and you can get a good prospectus from a handy post that summarized the whole thing (thanks Aries37!). The one thing that we can take away here is that BattleTech is a solid success and that Harebrained has made sure their baby can crawl, but pretty soon she’s going to run.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

17 thoughts on “BattleTech Dev Reveals Future Of The Game

  1. Bishop Steiner

    Actually, a lot of folk would complain about matching straight to the Clan Invasion. We’ve had morning but that SINCE MW2 Mercs. Every paise to wonder why the two titles you close to proclaim above all others stand out? Part of it is precisely because there are no Clans, or broken CrutchTech.

    We will get there eventually, and I trust HBS to do it right when they do. But we’ve had 20 yrs of Clans. Now they can wait their turn a few expansions, and let those of us who don’t live and breath all things Clans to enjoy our time in the sandbox for a little while, eh?

    Other than that, nice write up. Cheers!

    1. Bishop Steiner

      *marching straight to the Clan INvasion. We’ve had nothing but Clans since MW2 Mercs.

      *sigh* hate it when the phone auto”corrects” stuff.

    2. LeoCeballos

      I don’t disagree with the idea of savoring the pre-clan era of Battletech a bit longer before moving the clock to the 3050s, but I have to make a slight correction – the second half of MW2: Mercs did very much deal with the Clan Invasion, and the player was able to salvage and then buy clan weapons and Omnimechs, and 19 different clan chasis were available in multiplayer and skirmish from the beginning. The ending cutscene is a then-mindblowing CG scene of the Com Guards stomping clanners at Tukayyid.

      Whatever reasons Sean may have had for enjoying MW2 Mercs the most, lack of clan tech was definitely not it – unless you stick to only the very first few chapters of the campaign.

  2. TZH

    A Hatchetman, a few more designs, combined arms, more mission variety that dosent force you to use your biggest snd meanest, more mechs to control than a lance, and all that good stuff mentioned earlier would be gsming heaven. 71 hours in. Having a blast! :-)

  3. James McCrea

    Or, y’know, we could just hike it all the way to the 3040s and do the Clan Invasion. I’m sure nobody would complain about that.

    Yeah… a lot will complain about jumping to the clan invasion.

    I want to see the two decades between 3030 and 3050 REALLY fleshed out.
    I want to play the game YEAR BY YEAR and experience things being released as they become available after the HMC is distributed. Having to literally target the nations or work with the nations that first reintroduce the tech when it becomes available in order to get an early sniff. I want to feel the years go by and witness the release and spreading of restored tech.

    I want to feel like I am living through the decades of the setting. Not skipped from one to another arbitrarily.

    I want the same for M5 too.

  4. Rob C.

    Different Yokes for different folks. That’s what i say.

    There going be alot players who want stay in Succession Wars era level of weapons / armor / mechs.

    Some people want the ultra cunchyiness and clan mentality of the Clan Invasion era.

    There going be people want both and beyond to the Jihad and Dark Age.

    The game is diverse, it’s not impossible to choose expansion to play.
    Forcing people play stay in one era of game play is stupid, but they should give other players more options who don’t want keep doing same damn thing so it becomes static to them.

    1. Troubled Tiger

      And know there will be No Clan content for a very long time as far as the devs are concerned.

  5. Jonathan T

    id personally would like to see more then a lance be able to be played at one time.
    But im currently in college in Florida for video game design so im learning all of what these guys are going through and its nuts, i would hate to have to break down in c# what missiles are doing lol

    as for the Clans, i love the Clans, but i also want a chance to battle in some of the rich history before the clans.
    Ronin Wars,
    Battle of Misery,
    Death of Patrick Kell,
    Death of Joshua Wolf, and the forging by Fire of the 1st Lady of Death, the Black Widow, Natasha.

    as of right now i love this game, but im also
    max exp on 10 pilots,
    20 mil creds and 6 100 ton mechs and pretty much roll over any mission now lol

    “Down with ComStar!!!!”


  6. MadCat221

    “such as the Juggernaut skill being a little too powerful”

    Uhhhh, what? The common consensus I’ve heard (and agree with) is that it’s nigh-useiess. Assault mechs can’t be knocked down an init peg since they’re at the bottom already (and they become more and more pervasive late-game) and it is antagonistic with the other Guts perk since you have to move to point-blank to punch (as opposed to synergistic like Gunnery’s where you can Breach three targets in a single sweep), and is circumstantial to getting to melee range.

    There have been suggestions to make Juggernaut worthwhile along the lines of punching while sprinting, or going into Guard after punching, or making an Init 0 so assault mechs can be punched into next week still (and also suffer other forms of init loss).

    1. Random

      I’m not sure if the author misunderstood, or just wrote the wrong thing. Tyler’s comment on Juggernauts is that he wants to address it because it isn’t effective.

  7. Jon Mattison

    I don’t want to call myself “old school” or “purist” but I did start in Battletech in the late 80’s with the tabletop miniature game and Mechwarrior RPG. Years later I enjoyed the introduction of the Clan wars in the novels I read.

    That said, I feel that they messed up their game through the 90’s etc by releasing too many source books too fast. Tech Readouts/Technology bumps, etc.

    Certainly there is a lot of rich history in Battletech over the decades and plenty of other Battletech games (MWO etc) that already include Clan technology. However, I’d really like to see HBS slow play this, as the article above says: keep improving the game, deepen the mission options, random travel events. And specifically, differentiate the missions in a way that we’re encouraged, if not required to keep multiple playable lances built and ready. Missions with parameters that require the speed of Light and Medium mechs. I’m at a point now where I’m rocking around with 3 Orions and 1 Highlander and 3 of 4 starting characters maxed out with EXP. I have no desire to get different or better mechs.

    I feel that the global mission difficulty has risen so I can’t even choose to hire 4 new recruits, put them in Lights and “start over” somewhere and just play these rookies up.

    Off topic: What’s the farthest any of you have Jumped from ‘Reach? How do you gain access to Davion, Liao space? I’m still stuck with travel restrictions, despite being Friends or Allies with them in ‘Reach and Taurian space…

    1. Jon Mattison

      So I submitted my comment too quickly…

      Back to “slow playing this” I would like to see HBS release future story line Campaigns like this Arano one. Like was said before, there’s a lot of history in Battletech and it feel it would be in HBS’ best interest to release it slowly over time and not just fast forward to Clans or post-Clans.

    2. Paul Overend

      Once you finish the campaign all travel restrictions are removed and you can go to any territory and build up reputation with the House.

  8. David Ritterskamp

    Jesus, just write up storylines that follow the novels. All of them. Be a nameless MechWarrior in Gray Death. In the early years of Wolf’s Dragoons. In the Kell Hounds. Since the game won’t let you be anything higher than a lance leader right now, that would be PERFECT. You could crank out a decade’s worth of storyline just off that.


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