Category Archives: News

Fan-Made MechAssault Game, Wolves, Releases Demo

Cougar

Courtesy of New Day Fiction

Okay, I know I’ve pooped on MechAssault before as not a real ‘Mech game, but I’m going to eat my own words for a little bit to talk about Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game.

First, you might be wondering how this hasn’t already been sued into the ground, what with BattleTech’s somewhat litigious history. For that, you can turn to Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage” rules, which essentially allows developer New Day Fiction to recreate MechAssault ‘Mech models to make their own fan game with a few provisos–first and foremost is that they can’t charge money for their game.

That makes Wolves a completely free fan-made project that recreates the third-person ‘Mech combat of MechAssault pretty much perfectly. And now you can get your hands on it thanks to a newly released demo.

I’ve downloaded the demo and I have to say, I’m genuinely impressed. Although there were a few graphical glitches, the core gameplay is fast, smooth, and easy to pick up with mouse and keyboard. It’s still MechAssault, which means you’re spending a lot of time managing health and ammo by picking up power-ups, but some folks like that sort of classic arcade-style gameplay rather than the more simulator-style gameplay you get from traditional MechWarrior games.

So far, the Wolves demo is just three ‘Mechs (Cougar, Blood Adder, and Arctic Wolf), one map, and one single-player game mode that is essentially just you surviving against an endless wave of enemies. There’s not a lot to it, but you can definitely get used to the game’s combat fairly quickly.

The devs also have big plans for Wolves. They eventually plan to include over 25 ‘Mechs, both single-player and multiplayer game modes, new and old weapons from the original MechAssault game, and a new soundtrack composed by Elijah Compton and Jonty Freack.

You can get the full low-down on Wolves on the Sarna page, or you can go to the official Wolves website. There’s also a Wolves Twitter page, subreddit, and of course, Discord.

If you were ever into MechAssault, Wolves will definitely bring back those memories. You can download the Wolves demo here.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Community Outreach – The Robert N. Charrette Collection

If you’re new to BattleTech, you might not know much about Robert N. Charrette. I hesitate to call him one of the founding fathers of BattleTech as that makes it seem like there’s some sort of sacred text out there, but maybe “formative” father would do just as well. Robert penned some of the earliest BattleTech fiction, including Wolves on the Border, Wolf Pack, and Heir to the Dragon, and he was perhaps the third BattleTech author I’d ever read. All those stories introduced iconic characters that would define an era in BattleTech history.

But turns out that fiction isn’t even half Charrette’s contribution to BattleTech. 

So this sort of just fell into my lap, and I have to first off thank Michael “Sigil” Todd for tossing it my way. You might remember Michael from his work on the unofficial BattleTech CCG expansion as well as the equally unofficial TRO: 3028. Michael also did a huge amount of work creating the BattleTech retrospective Unseen: A History of FASA, Battledroids and BattleTech, which if you haven’t seen you should really give a look as it might just be THE historical account of BattleTech. 

During his endeavor to get to the heart of the Unseen era of FASA history, Michael met Robert and struck up a friendship. Then when Robert needed to downsize his enormous BattleTech collection, Michael reached out to me to get the word out.

That’s when I found out that Robert is the guy who made the vast majority of the original sculpts for the BattleTech (or Battledroids, as it was called back then) tabletop game. Those ancient metal minis? Robert’s the guy who made them. 

Well, maybe not all of them, but most of them. And certainly some of the more iconic ‘Mechs such as the Phoenix Hawk, Warhammer, Rifleman, Marauder, Archer, Locust, Catapult, and even the now-legendary Urbanmech. Yes, we can thank Charrette for the first three-dimensional representation of the walking trash can. 

Robert’s collection has gotten to the point where it needs to shrink a bit, so he’s looking to off-load some of his more interesting artifacts. I was able to briefly chat about what’s being called the “Charrette Collection” and what Robert’s contribution to BattleTech in general. Enjoy. 

Battledroids Lance

via Robert N Charette


Sarna (Sean): Well, first of all, what’s this I hear about you off-loading all your BattleTech stuff? Are you abandoning BattleTech and all of its big-stompy-robot glory?

Robert N. Charrette: Not all, just most. My personal gaming interests have drifted away and I haven’t played with them in years, but BattleTech will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sarna: You’ve been a huge part of the BattleTech universe for decades. I personally have read all of your stories, but I’ve only just recently discovered that you’re the one responsible for most of BattleTech’s first-edition metal miniatures. What’s the story there? 

“BattleTech will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Robert: I believe Michael Todd covered that story in his history of BattleTech. In short, Ral Partha pitched doing miniatures to FASA when BattleDroids was released. There was some reluctance to have Ral Partha do them since they were not a specialized producer of mechanical miniatures, so a “proof of capability” model was to be produced and I got the assignment, being the most enthusiastic sculptor regarding – I believe the term of art is – big stompy robots.

Sarna: How does one get the job of creating miniatures for a nascent tabletop game?

Robert: Being in the right place at the right time and having the ability to do the work.

Sarna: Are there any particular favorites from that first set of minis you produced?

Robert: The BattleDroids? Has to be the Wasp/Stinger/Phoenix Hawk family as they all were derived from the “proof of concept” model.

Sarna: But back to the “Charrette Collection,” as it’s being called. What exactly are you offering?

via Robert N.Charette

Robert: Michael has kindly offered to help with the “downsizing” of my gaming collection. Naturally, with his interest in BT, we started there. The first offerings are a mix of items from my gaming collection, which I painted and based myself, and other, now vintage, BattleTech items that I had a hand in or managed to collect in those early days. I’m still looking for that box of BattleTech sourcebooks and such.

Sarna: How can people get in touch to put in a bid or offer for these items?

Robert: https://charrettecollection.square.site/

Sarna:  What are you up to these days? Anything else you’d like to share?

Robert:  Mostly non-gaming things. 

For about 15 years I have been heavily focused on studying Armizare, a resurrected medieval martial art written down in the early 15th century by Fiore Dei Liberi. I wrote a book on the pedagogy of the manuscript I study, give presentations on it to academics and taught classes on it at seminars across the country and in Canada, and have been slowly, laboriously progressing on a series of books relating to the understanding and practical practice of Armizare, in and out of armor.

I am also back at the modern version of what I started out doing before I took up sculpting: graphic layout work. Computers make it both easier and harder than the exacto knives and rubber cement I started with.

via Robert N. Charrette

You can check out The Charrette Collection over on his site here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of BattleTech history, and the miniatures are all beautifully painted too. I totally recommend you check it out.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

New Heavy Metal Trailer For HBS’ BattleTech Reveals New ‘Mech: The Bull Shark

BattleTech’s Heavy Metal expansion arrives on November 21st, and it is bringing 470 metric tons of new weapons and ‘Mechs. 

We got a lot of exciting ground to cover here, so we’re just going to dive right in. The new trailer for BattleTech’s upcoming Heavy Metal expansion just dropped and brought with it the juiciest of new info, starting with a brand new, never-before-seen BattleMech, the Bull Shark.

From the trailer, the Bull Shark is a 95-ton assault ‘Mech armed with a Thumper artillery cannon. That’s all we got. Judging by this beast’s appearance, it seems armed with autocannons above machine guns in the arms, as well as a quartet of lasers mounted across its two burly shoulders.

I’m just speculating here, but judging by the name, we could be looking at a design from the old Rim Worlds Republic. History students will remember that as the home nation of Stefan Amaris, better known as Amaris the Usurper. So that’s pretty cool.

Bullshark

As with MechWarrior Online, this new design’s canonicity is going to be a matter for debate for some time. I dunno how much Catalyst was involved in the Bull Shark’s making or if it will eventually get their seal of approval. 

The remaining seven designs will be something we’re all familiar with. Starting from the small, Heavy Metal brings us the Flea, Assassin, Vulcan, Phoenix Hawk, Rifleman, Archer, and Annihilator. All of these appear to be models taken from MechWarrior Online, with many being classic designs that are fan favorites.

Some of you might be wondering about the Warhammer and Marauder, two classic heavy ‘Mechs that were long rumored to be coming in Heavy Metal. They are not part of the expansion. Instead, they’ll be given to everyone FOR FREE as part of the 1.8 update, no Heavy Metal required.

New ‘Mechs leads us to new weapons. As shown briefly in the trailer just before we’re showcased the Bull Shark, a screen tells us each of the new weapons systems that will be added in Heavy Metal. A lot of these technologies normally wouldn’t be seen in the Inner Sphere until well after that Clan Invasion, so we’re playing a bit loose with the timeline here. One wonders just how Harebrained is going to explain their presence in the pre-Fourth Succession War era.

Anywhoodle, we’ll all recognize Inferno Missiles, TAG, NARC Beacons, and Ultra and LBX Autocannons, and yes, they’ll come in the full range of 2/5/10/20 and not just the Ultra AC/5 and LB 10-X as they first appeared in the Clan Invasion era. Snub PPCs are also coming, which is a Second Star League-era technology from the Draconis Combine and definitely not something we heard about before then.

A new ‘Mech-sized mortar will almost certainly be the Thumper Artillery System. Although normally mounted on vehicles, ‘Mech-mounted Thumpers weren’t entirely unheard of.

Finally, COIL Lasers are described by Polygon as having a “charge-up” function. The more you move before firing, the more damage they deal. Their exact function is unknown at this time as they don’t seem to have any classic BattleTech analog.

These weapon additions are really throwing the timeline for a loop and I do not know how to feel about them. One thing I will definitely appreciate is the new Flashpoint mini-campaign that will be added with Heavy Metal. It will feature Wolf’s Dragoons, Natasha Kerensky, The Bounty Hunter, and a mysterious derelict spacecraft. We can likely assume there’s going to be some of this amazing tech on that spaceship, so maybe that will be out explanation.

I also see mentioned on the Paradox forums post that there will be official mod support added for the first time, so everyone playing with RogueTech installed is going to be super excited about that. I can’t find a better source for that though, so this might just be wishful thinking.

Heavy Metal arrives on November 21st for $19.99, or nothing if you already purchased the Season Pass. And remember: you get the Marauder and Warhammer for free even if you don’t buy Heavy Metal, but you should totally buy Heavy Metal. It looks like it’ll be the best expansion for BattleTech yet.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

You Can Now Play MechWarrior 2 And MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries On Your Browser… Sort Of

MW2 Mercs

Great news! You can play MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries through your browser thanks to the Internet Archive.

First, a big thanks to Reddit user a_false_vacuum who posted over on r/OutreachHPG that this thing exists. Kudos to you! For the rest of us, gaze in wonder at what is probably the easiest way to play older MechWarrior games. 

Well, sort of. We’ll get to the big caveats in a sec. First, how does this whole thing work? Basically, the Internet Archive has an image of the CDs and an applet that runs a DOS emulator through your browser. You download the emulator and the CD, which means a 740 MB download. That might take a few minutes, depending on your internet speed.

After that, the whole freakin’ think loads in your PC’s RAM and runs from there. This has a few problems, most notably that you can’t save your game; as soon as the browser closes, everything gets wiped and you have to re-download the game all over again. You CAN save your game in a far less meaningful way by simply returning to the title screen, but once you close the window it’s game over for good.

Another problem is that since everything is done through the browser it’s a bit of a resource hog. And by hog I mean a voracious CPU-eating apocalypse. The menus and intro videos play just fine, but when you actually get into a ‘Mech the whole thing slows to a crawl.

I got about 1 frame every 2 seconds on my laptop. Things didn’t improve much when I moved to my desktop, and my desktop PC is a fairly beefy machine running most games on high graphical settings. But then again, I was using Google Chrome. Perhaps a slimmer, more streamlined browser will actually be able to get this game to run a bit better.

MW2

It’s a real shame too since I’d love to have an easier way to play some of these older games. Browser-based ‘Mech-bashing just sounds super cool and perfect for the 21st century. If someone could get this to work and tell me how you did it, I’d be awfully grateful.

I’m told thanks to the Reddit comments that the MechWarrior 2 version of the game actually allows you to download the ROM, so in theory, you can just download your own DOS emulator to play it that way instead. That’s one step more than being a browser-based game and is thus inferior, but would likely provide a far superior gameplay experience in being able to actually save your progress.

For those unfamiliar with MechWarrior 2, I did a pretty big write-up on it a little while ago. We’ll get to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries in due time. 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Clan Invasion Approaches $2 Million Stretch Goal, Teases UrbanMech Plushie

 

UrbanMech

So the Clan Invasion is barreling towards the $2 million milestone with about $50,000 to go as of the time of this writing (it will almost certainly be higher by the time this gets published, and hopefully be over the $2 million threshold). 

I think it’s safe to safe to say that this Kickstarter has been far more successful than anyone could have hoped. But in the waning hours of this crowdsourcing project, I come to you with a final desperate plea: we have to get over the $2 million mark.

Why? Two words: Plush. UrbanMechs.

In the utterly insane pace that this Kickstarter has been climbing, Catalyst has been adding more and more stretch goals. When it passed $1,500,000, backers unlocked the coveted Double Forces Rapid Redeployment, which allowed them to select what Star/Lance/Level II pack they’d prefer to receive rather than merely doubling whatever Star/Lance/Level II was unlocked at their backer level.

Then at $1,875,000, backers unlocked the “Beard-Off Rematch” which will see bearded Catalyst and Harebrained Schemes team members compete in a live-streamed tabletop game of BattleTech where the losers will ceremoniously remove their beards.

But the $2,000,000 mark is the true prize. The creme de la creme, the piece de resistance, the other-French-words-that-have-great-meaning-but-I-forget, is the UrbanMech plush toy.

I want it. I wasn’t going to back this Kickstarter. Even though I love BattleTech and certainly love the new designs that Catalyst has put out, I don’t really do much tabletop gaming. Worse, I don’t really have a whole lot of shelf space to display miniatures on, as pretty as they may be. 

But I don’t care. I will make space for an UrbanMech plush toy. I will store everything else in a box if I can cuddle an UrbanMech to sleep at night. I WILL REMOVE EVERY ANCILLARY PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY CONNECTED TO MY COMPUTER IN ORDER TO MAKE SPACE ON MY DESK IN ORDER TO BASK IN THE GLORY OF A PLUSH URBANMECH.

I have backed the Clan Invasion Kickstarter at the $75 USD level (which works out to something like $15,000 Canadian) in order to make this dream come true. I implore you all to do the same. If you have donated, up your donation. Convince your friends to donate, even if they’re not BattleTech fans. We have just two days left. Together, we can make the plush UrbanMech a reality.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

MechWarrior 5 Confirmed As Epic Games Store Exclusive

Enforcer

Courtesy of PGI

So. MechWarrior 5 is going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive title after all. It’s also been slightly delayed, now releasing on December 10th instead of September 10th as previously hoped.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The writing was on the wall, which you can read all about in Sarna’s previous coverage on the matter. Suffice to say, what was once mere rumor has now become reality, with PGI making the official announcement on the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries website on July 25th.

What does being an Epic Games Store exclusive mean? Well, it means that MechWarrior 5 will be available only to those willing to download the Epic Games Store launcher. It will remain there as an exclusive title for one year, and then hopefully release on Steam, GOG, and other game stores on December 10th, 2020.

As for the delay, that’s covered in the updated FAQ page on the MechWarrior 5 website. The extra few months will give PGI more time to complete localization for a few different languages and also provide time for some additional marketing before release—both of which are Very Good Things™.

An AMA held on July 25th with PGI President Russ Bullock also mentioned not wanting to compete with the release of Borderlands 3, which is set to release September 13th on the Epic Games Store. No surprise there–Borderlands is expected to be a pretty big deal. 

“Our partnership with Epic Games store allows us the opportunity to make sure MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries meets our internal goal of creating the best MechWarrior game possible,” PGI wrote on their FAQ page. And while few would have been upset with a 3-month delay in MechWarrior 5’s release, there are quite a few more MechWarriors absolutely livid at the fact that MechWarrior 5 will now be releasing on the EGS after promising since the game was first announced that it would release on Steam.

And it’s resulted in many pre-order holders demanding a refund. To PGI’s credit, they’re offering a no-hassle, no-questions-asked refund to anyone who wants one, even if those pre-order buyers already used their community bonuses that were tied to MechWarrior Online. PGI also pointed out in their development update that those Community Pre-Order bonuses represent $100, $180, or $300-worth of MechWarrior Online goodies (depending on the level you pre-ordered MechWarrior 5) which they are now giving away essentially for free.

That said, many view the sudden swap to Epic as a betrayal even with the refund policy. There are also some open questions on just when PGI decided to sign a deal with Epic. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was still selling pre-orders up until May, and Bullock was even fielding concerns of Epic exclusivity in AMAs as late as April 10th, saying that the game would release on Steam and GOG as planned and they had no intent to release on Epic.

Catapult

In the July 25th AMA, Bullock stated there may have even been “a couple of days crossover” between when PGI signed their Epic exclusive deal but were still selling community pre-orders promising a Steam release.

PGi didn’t exactly have the greatest reputation to begin with, but this bait-and-switch with Epic has truly pissed-off a lot of folks. The various MechWarrior and BattleTech-related subreddits are abuzz with people expressing their outrage and that they will make full use of PGI’s offer of a full refund. 

I don’t have numbers, but we know from the previous MW5 AMA that the game received roughly 20,000 pre-orders. You gotta think that a significant quantity of those pre-orders has been refunded by now.

To get your refund, email support@mw5mercs.com. All refund requests have to be in by Septembers 1st, and please give PGI 10 business days to process your refund. They’re probably dealing with a lot of angry people, so patience will be a virtue.

Battlemaster

What will this mean for MechWarrior 5 and the future of the MechWarrior franchise? It’s hard to say. Whatever deal they’ve signed with Epic has almost certainly secured PGI’s financials for the time being, and Bullock said in the July 25th AMA that Epic provided enough data to convince him that MechWarrior 5 will still sell as well—if not better—on the Epic Games Store than on Steam.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe Epic’s smaller, more carefully curated game store will give MechWarrior 5 the sort of visibility that would have been impossible on Steam. Maybe this will result in that injection of fresh fans that an old franchise like MechWarrior desperately needs. There are certainly more than a few people that think MW5 going Epic is the right call.

It’s just a shame it had to come at the expense of so many old-school MechWarrior fans who are now angrily demanding refunds. 

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Clan Invasion Boxed Set Funded In 7 Freakin’ Minutes, Catalyst Frantically Throwing Up Stretch Goals

Grendel

Catalyst’s Clan Invasion Kickstarter was fully funded in 7 freakin’ minutes. That’s pretty amazing. Then they hit all their stretch goals in just 20 minutes, resulting in Catalyst’s top brass frantically trying to create stretch goals to keep the momentum going. That momentum seems to show no sign of slowing down, even after having reached their stretch goal of $1 million on July 24th.

Currently, the Clan Invasion Kickstarter is sitting at $1.134 million as of the time of this writing, but that number is climbing so fast that I’m certain it will be out of date by the time this story gets printed.

The benefit of all this incredible support is an ever-expanding list of new ‘Mechs being added to other both Clan and Inner Sphere ‘Mech packs. You’ll have to go to the Kickstarter for the full listing, but a few standouts include a new Clan Fire Star pack with a Kit Fox, Cougar, Fire Moth, Nova Cat, and Warhawk. These, like every ‘Mech to be released here, are all brand new sculpts with Catalyst teasing their updated designs on both the Kickstarter page as well as their Twitter account. 

There’s also an Inner Sphere Direct Fire lance which includes an Atlas, Marauder II, Orion, and Crusader. Just before hitting the $1 million mark, a few unlocked stretch goals brought a pair of ComStar Level IIs, the first of which brings a King Crab, Highlander, Black Knight, Exterminator, Hermes, and Mercury, while the second contains a Crockett, Flashman, Guillotine, Lancelot, Crab, and Mongoose

If you didn’t read your favorite ‘Mech in the above paragraphs, don’t fret–it’s probably somewhere in the ever-expanding list of stretch goals. Head to the Kickstarter page to see what else might be in store and maybe make a pledge of your own to grab your ride in miniature form.

With 19 days left to go, the $1.5 million stretch goal seems totally doable, and $2 million isn’t outside the realm of possibility. There’s some really need stuff left to unlock, including a charity event stream of MechWarrior 5 and the potential to choose two different ‘Mech packs instead of just getting one for eligible backers. 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

(UPDATE: Apparently a lot of these stretch goal ‘Mech packs have already changed. This Kickstarter is a very living project. The latest changes have been summarized on this Reddit thread courtesy of Cataphract40, but they could change even more over the next 2-and-a-half weeks.)

stay syrupy

 

Is MechWarrior 5 About To Go Epic Exclusive?

So MechWarrior 5 might become the next Epic Games Store exclusive title. Maybe.

Before anyone starts shouting, there has been no official confirmation from either Epic or PGI (the makers of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and MechWarrior Online). What we have is some troubling changes to the MechWarrior 5 website and PGI President Russ Bullock saying they’re just due to a harmless website update.

First, a shout out to Reddit user Ironshards for making the original post, as well as user Vektorweg for making a comparison between the old MechWarrior 5 FAQ page and the new one

One thing that you’ll immediately notice is that the new MW5 FAQ is much smaller than the old one. You’ll also notice that there is no longer any mention of getting a Steam key from pre-orders that recently wrapped up and that any mention of Steam has in fact been totally removed. The pre-order beta has also been removed.

Getting rid of the pre-order info makes sense since you can’t pre-order MechWarrior 5 any longer (although they might have another pre-order closer to release). But removing all mention of Steam–ostensibly the platform that the game will release on–seems a little strange. Suspicious even.

In case you’re not up on the latest brawl to hit the digital gaming market, Epic Games is the maker of Fortnite (that battle royale game you see the kids playing these days), Unreal Engine 4 (which is the same game engine that MW5 uses–more on that later), and also a brand new digital storefront called the Epic Games Store.

The Epic Games Store works just like every other digital storefront, but with a big incentive for game developers. Rather than the customary 70/30 revenue split, Epic gives studios more of the gaming pie to the tune of 88/12 (that’s 88% revenue to the developer, in case that wasn’t clear). All of this is done under the guise of breaking the virtual monopoly that Steam holds on the PC gaming market.

However, the Epic Games Store doesn’t have anywhere near the same features as Steam, GOG, Discord, or other game stores have. They don’t have cloud save file storage, user reviews, wish lists, news feeds, or bundled prices that reflect already-installed DLC. They also don’t have multi-language support or support for payment in any currency other than US dollars.

To be fair to Epic, they plan to implement all these features within the next 6 months, but when it launched, the Epic Games Store was a barren wasteland compared to Steam. 

So to get people onto their store, Epic has adopted an aggressive strategy of gobbling up PC games as exclusive titles. They also don’t care if that game promised its Kickstarter backers or pre-order buyers a release on Steam. Just look at the debacles of Shenmue III and Metro Exodus for proof if this.

MW5 Screens

Here’s where I’m going to diverge from the facts for a second to insert some personal opinion, which I mention specifically because this is a very heated topic with a lot of misinformation floating around.

It seems clear to me that Epic’s plan is to replace Steam as the de-facto PC gaming platform. Steam makes TONS of money–enough that Valve hasn’t really released a real game in years (Artifact doesn’t count)–and Epic wants that bank all to themselves.

But to get it, Epic is spending a ludicrous amount of cash essentially guaranteeing the developer a reasonable amount of sales. This is based off a tweet from June whereby a Korean games community discussed how SNK was offered “hundreds of thousands” of pre-orders for Samurai Showdown to become an exclusive title.

The only games store looking for exclusive titles is Epic, so put two-and-two together and you get Epic’s gameplan.

Initially, there were some unsavory rumors that Epic was full of spyware and was actually a front for the Chinese government. So far, that’s all turned out to be bunk, but there was an element of truth to it. Epic is 40% owned by Tencent, a huge Chinese entertainment and media company, and I think it’s Tencent that is funding Epic with gobs of cash to throw at any and every game they can turn into an exclusive title all with the intention of eventually becoming the big kahuna of PC gaming. 

Anyway, opinion over, and now back to speculating on MechWarrior 5.

We already knew from last month that PGI was hurting for cash. New ‘Mech Packs being sold in MechWarrior Online had stopped being profitable, and Bullock basically admitted that the studio was going all-in on MechWarrior 5. If the game flopped, then PGI would be in serious trouble financially, to the point where the likeliest outcome would be the cessation of operations.

But if MechWarrior 5 went Epic Games Store exclusive and PGI got a cash infusion from Epic, they wouldn’t have to worry. Epic guarantees their sales to the point where they could at least continue as a business. On top of that, MechWarrior 5 already uses the Unreal 4 engine, making even more sense for an exclusive deal.

If this all turns out to be true, I can’t blame PGI for taking the money. Games development is a risky business and most studios are one bad game from going bankrupt. That said, they promised a Steam release with their pre-order, and judging by the MechWarrior subreddit, people would be mighty upset if MechWarrior 5 were to suddenly become an Epic exclusive.

Twitch Streamer Nuttyrat asked Bullock on Twitter about the changes in MechWarrior 5’s FAQ, with Bullock responding that they’re just the result of the community pre-order being over so there’s no need to have information about it on the site.

But again, it seems odd to remove all mention of Steam at the same time as removing the pre-order info.

Personally, I don’t have nearly as much hate for Epic as a lot of rabid Steam fans do, and if Epic is able to eventually provide the same sort of services that Steam does I’d have no problem with switching sides. However, the use of exclusives to get users is pretty anti-competitive and puts a sour taste on things, especially when those games already promised to release on Steam and other platforms.

We won’t know for sure one way or another until Russ or PGI make an announcement. Which will probably come at the upcoming MechWarrior 5 Developer Update and AMA scheduled for this Friday at 6 PM PST (UPDATE: Looks like the AMA was delayed to next week, according to MW5’s most recent tweet).

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Clan Invasion Boxed Set Kickstarter Is Live!

courtesy of Catalyst Game Labs

Hey everyone! The Clan Invasion boxed set Kickstarter is live. Looks like it’s already well past its funding goal and Catalyst is busy making up stretch goals like a bunch of madmen. You should head on over there and show your support if you haven’t already.

We’ll have more coverage on this madness after the dust clears a bit. Promise.

Clan Invasion Box Set ‘Mechs Revealed!

You’re gonna love the news here, folks! Catalyst has revealed the ‘Mechs to be included in the upcoming BattleTech: Clan Invasion boxed set Kickstarter, and we’ve got a good spread on our hands.

The news comes from a recent update on the Catalyst website that gave us a sneak peek on what to expect. In addition to the box and rulebook art (which we saw in the earlier Kickstarter announcement), Catalyst has given us the five ‘Mechs to be included in the box set, and a few of them are personal favorites.

Starting with the Nova (or Blackhawk, to you Spheroids in the audience). I’ve loved the Nova since the early days for its pug-nosed and fireplug stance. The lack of torso to twist was never really a big deal, especially when considering the Prime configuration has enough firepower to core an assault ‘Mech in a single blast.

But more than that, the Nova appeals to my love of workhorse line ‘Mechs. The Nova was cheap (at least, cheap in terms of Clan OmniMechs) and fielded by almost every Clan in the Kerensky Cluster. It could fulfill almost any role and was never looked down upon by Clan warriors.

Next we have the Grundel–sorry, I mean the Grendel. This is perhaps my favorite Clan ‘Mech. As with the Nova, it’s a workhorse design fielded by many Clans, but unlike the Nova, it was a late addition to the Clan Invasion of the Inner Sphere.

The Grendel was created by Clan Diamond Shark and sold directly to other Clans looking to refill their touman before the Battle of Tukayyid. It was more common to find in Clan Smoke Jaguar, which had lost more machines in its drive to Terra than competing invading Clans due to their straight-forward and unwavering combat style.

Clan-Invasion-Star-All-Five - via Catalyst

What I love most about the Grendel is that it’s fast, powerful, and incredibly maneuverable. Seven jump jets let it jump over almost any obstacle, while its various loadouts allow it to strike hard at any range. If I had to pick any Clan ‘Mech of the 3050-era as my favorite, it would be the Grendel.

Frankly, it’s a little surprising for the Grendel to be included over something like the Ice Ferret or Viper. The Grendel didn’t take part in the initial invasion and really didn’t show up until Tukayyid. As much as I love the design and think it could beat a Ferret or Viper any day of the week, it seems inappropriate to include in a box set themed for the Clan Invasion.

Then again, there are still more than a few ‘Mechs left unaccounted for, so perhaps the Ice Ferret and Viper will still make an appearance.

Anyway, next up is the Adder, another surprise that I totally forgot about when the Clan Invasion was first announced. Twin ER PPCs make it quite the potent little ‘Mech and it’s definitely tougher than the Kit Fox, which was another common light design.

Next is the Timber Wolf, the quintessential Clan ‘Mech and poster child for Clan tech ever since the original TRO: 3050 dropped. And then there was MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 3 which again used the Timber Wolf for their marketing.

I get that it’s a favorite design for a lot of folks out there, but to me, the Timby is just totally overused. Give me the Summoner, the Hellbringer, or even the Linebacker over the Timber Wolf. But I can’t fault Catalyst for giving the fans what they want, and there’s no denying the Timber Wolf is a strong machine.

Clan Invasion

Finally, the Executioner. I’m not a fan of assault ‘Mechs in general, but I respect the Executioner for its speed and jump capacity. It’s out-gunned by many designs of equal weight, but nothing is able to withstand a blow and keep on coming than an Executioner. Perhaps best of all, it can keep up with the rush of smaller, faster designs thanks to its MASC. At least, for a little while anyway.

Catalyst has a full list of what you get with the Clan Invasion boxed set, including the 15-page Clan Primer, all-new 24-page novella, and Alpha Strike cards for the give designs mentioned. We also have a start date for the Kickstarter, which goes live on Wednesday, July 17th at 1 PM EST.

Head on over to the Catalyst site for the full deets. And maybe one of them can ship me the Grendel model before anyone else gets one. I’ve got a brother who would love to get his hands on one of these to paint ‘em up, and maybe do one for me too.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy