Category Archives: Video Games

Your BattleTech News Roundup For September, 2022

It’s September, and thanks to hurricane Fiona, an unusually wet and dismal one. I’ve also recently moved, and that wet and wild weather is making it exceptionally difficult to convince myself that I should fill my new fridge with foodstuffs. If there’s no October news blast, you’ll know I’ve starved.

But at least we’re never starving for BattleTech news here at Sarna. Here’s what I’ve managed to rustle up for September. Hope you’ve brought your appetite because this month is a doozy.

Dall-E Makes MechWarriors

Dall-E BattleTech

Courtesy of Reddit user JoseLunaArts

A lot of you have probably already heard about Dall-E, the artificial intelligence that can take text prompts and turn them into actual pictures. Depending on the prompt they can look more than a little janky, but some prompts have generated some really beautiful images. Take anything from the DnD Dall-E Twitter account and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Dall-E 2 is currently in an invite-only beta, so not everyone will have access to this AI, but Reddit user JoseLunaArts used their access to generate some BattleTech-themed images. And apparently, one of their text prompts was “Sandra Bullock as a MechWarrior,” because that’s the first of nineteen images that Dall-E 2 spat out. There’s also a lot of Milla Jovovich doing her best Natasha Kerensky impression. 

As cool as I think this technology is, it probably won’t have a lot of application in BattleTech--at least, for the time being. Dall-E needs a large database of images to draw from in order to create its pictures, and while there’s a lot of BattleTech art out there, it’s nothing compared to the vast quantity of photos of Sandra Bullock. On top of that, BattleTech‘s ‘Mechs are extremely nuanced, and Dall-E doesn’t do particularly well with fine details. Just look at the picture above to get a sense of the mishmash of machines Dall-E comes up with.

However, there are a lot of concept artists out there concerned that something like Dall-E is going to put them out of work. It’s not hard to see why; if I can just ask Dall-E to generate convincing fantasy pictures for a D&D setting, then I don’t have to pay someone to draw art for my homebrew expansion. Maybe one day it’ll do the same for ‘Mechs. 

In World Where BattleTech Was Sold At Walmart

Detocroix, who knows exactly how to get my attention, created this fan mockup of a BattleMech singles box while I was away on vacation. Apologies for not getting to this until September’s news blast!

You know how a lot of D&D, Star Wars, and various other game minis can come in little single packs? Well, what if Catalyst did the same thing, but for ‘Mechs? And what if those packs also contained other components so that you technically got four ‘Mechs in one plastic package? Sounds like a fun idea, although I know a few plasti-crack heads who would probably go bankrupt if they had to pay for each ‘Mech individually like this. So long as you can still buy box sets in bulk, I’m all for this idea. Bonus points for using Eldon’s Urbex design on the packaging.

This Is Exactly What The MechWarrior 3 Into Looked Like And You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise

Punakettu MechWarrior 3

Courtesy of Punakettu

Speaking of images that Dall-E can’t generate, this image inspired by MechWarrior 3 was recently posted to the BattleTech subreddit by Travis of the Gallery 3025 Patreon (which you should subscribe to). It was done by Punakettu, and it’s definitely how I remember the intro of MechWarrior 3. Nevermind the fact there’s another image of the true  MechWarrior 3 intro in the gallery; that second image is a fake. Punakettu’s pic is just how I remember it. 

Space Port City Biome Mod Now In Beta For MechWarrior 5

Quick MW5 Mod News Update: vonBiomes SpacePortCity! Polishing the new biome & getting things ready!
Watch this video on YouTube.

As far as I know, there’s no new content on the way for MechWarrior 5. At least, not from official sources. The good news is that means there’s plenty of opportunity for modders to expand on the latest MechWarrior title with their own little spin.

One of those modders is vonSeiten, the guy behind the vonBiomes series of mods as well as the vonHUD mod. His latest mod is Space Port City, a massive biome that turns MechWarrior 5‘s procedurally-generated maps into an enormous urban environment filled with glass-covered skyscrapers and towering satellite dishes. According to vonSeiten’s latest video, there are over 90 randomized tiles in Space Port City, which can make procedural generation difficult. That said, things seem to be coming along pretty well, with DropShips coming and going in the background. 

You can request access to the beta test of Space Port City by heading to vonSeiten’s Discord. The beta is expected to run until sometime next month before it goes live on vonSeiten’s mod page.

The Vindicator Is A Fantabulous Beginner ‘Mech

Catalyst announced the new BattleTech Beginner Box Vindicator Edition earlier this month, largely because it contains the new Vindicator miniature. For some reason, Catalyst decided to pair the Vindicator against the Griffin, which doesn’t seem like a particularly fair fight. The Griffin has the mobility advantage while the two are largely matched for armor and firepower. Hopefully, the Vindicator‘s pilot skills equalize things.

The new Beginner Box set includes a simplified 12-page rulebook, eight erasable Record Sheets, four pilot cards, one double-sided map, two plastic minis, and a 24-page novella. You can order the new box set on Catalyst’s site for $24.99.

Shrapnel issue 10 is also out, which I don’t normally consider newsworthy, but I’m making an exception here. First, it’s twice as big as usual, so if you’re looking for good value, this is the issue worth snagging. And also, there’s a certain new mini design on the front cover that happens to be a personal favorite of mine.

Clan Protectorate Heckin’ Protecc

Latest commission from u/Amenton37 finished. Sea Fox and Spirit Cat Protectorate mechs at their mountain stronghold. from battletech

SU-SMD’s latest commission (courtesy of Reddit user Amenton37) is from an era and faction we don’t normally see a lot of. Here we have a Sea Fox Regent alongside a Spirit Cat Protectorate Amarok out on maneuvers at a mountain stronghold. I was devastated to hear that the Nova Cats had been wiped out in the Dark Age, but it warms me to know that at least some of these Clanner hippies have survived to go on spirit quests in the ilClan era.

Natasha Sleeps With An Uzi Confirmed

Eldonious, our lovely resident artist who does the covers of each and every Bad ‘Mechs article, also takes commissions. One of his more recent pieces was for @AdventuringZone over on Twitter. It showcases Natasha Kerensky at two points in her career, first as the commander of the Black Window Company, and second as Khan of Clan Wolf.

I don’t know a whole lot about Clan Wolf ceremonial garb, so I can’t really comment on whether Natasha’s scantily-clad barbarian huntress look is accurate. However, I’m pretty sure that young Natasha is holding an Uzi in her left hand, which is an Israeli submachine gun that’s about as bonkers as most weapons Israel has ever produced. So now I have to look up whether the Uzi survived into the 31st century or if Natasha just had a penchant for antique firearms. 

Introducing Mech Ball. It’s like Football, But Bigger And Only Slightly Less Violent.

Mech Ball

Courtesy of Slartibrtfast

Reddit user Slartibrtfast shared several images of a custom map they’ve described as ‘Mech Ball. The map looks suspiciously like a football field, only scaled up to ‘Mech size and covered in hexagons. Slartibrtfast describes the game as two teams trying of ‘Mechs that each has their own ball and are trying to deposit it at the opponent’s goal. The first to do so wins.

Is ‘Mech Ball limited to just physical combat or are weapons allowed? Are there weight restrictions so a star of Fire Moths can’t just zip to the endzone in two turns? Can you mine your end of the field so that crossing into the goal results in the loss of a leg? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do know that Slartibrtfast is debating selling this map on their Etsy store page. Please do message them for additional info, and then tell me what you find out since this could be the next big thing in BattleTech.

GridlockCosplay Destroys Halloween For Every ‘Mech Dad, Ever

Battlemech/Mechwarrior Mk2, Extreme Cosplay Costume
Watch this video on YouTube.

A couple of years ago, some of you might have seen this video rolling around the internet of the world’s best dad. That’s because he’d created a ‘Mech costume where he’d carry around his daughter in a strap-on seat while he played the role of a walking death machine. The suit had a working cockpit door, a rotating radar array, a buzzing Gatling gun, and a yoke that could order daddy to pick up the pace in order to acquire Halloween candy faster. 

Now, Jack “@GridlockCosplay” Thomson is back with his ultimate creation: a fully-functional Catapult cosplay

This thing is incredible. First, it’s got a powered cockpit hatch and motorized torso allowing the Catapult a full 360 degrees of motion (far more than the actual Catapult is capable of). It also has articulated arms allowing the wearer/pilot to aim their payload with deadly precision. The legs aren’t articulated in the same way as the Catapult, but that’d be hard to do when the ‘Mech’s locomotion is entirely human-powered.

According to Thomson himself, this behemoth took two years to create and $1,000 CAD in materials. It even includes multiple two-way cameras so the wearer can actually see where they’re going. This thing is almost as high-tech as a real ‘Mech.

I have yet to ascertain whether or not you can actually put a small child in the cockpit seat. I’ll be sure to report back after I’ve found out. This thing has clearly nuked every other ‘Mech cosplay from orbit, and I’m excited to see what happens when this thing strolls down the street for Halloween.

A Marauder And A Raven Set Forth At Dawn

Dawn Patrol from battletech

1001WingedHussars gives us this painted piece featuring a Marauder and a Raven going on a “Dawn Patrol.” It looks like the Raven has gotten a head start, which is just typical of those little scout ‘Mechs. Always running off and getting into trouble. 

KerenskyCon II Teases New Minis, Vehicles, And A Strategic BattleTech Board Game

KerenskyCon II recently wrapped and we have a lot to discuss. First, hats off to the BattleTech Community Twitter account for throwing a whole bunch of pictures together from various sources to showcase what we missed.

First, there’s a BattleTech strategy game. I see cards, colored plastic minis, and boards with faces likely representing various personalities from the Inner Sphere around the year 3025. I also see a whole bunch of d12s and counters ranging from poker chips to clear plastic cubes. My guess? BattleTech Risk, but better because it’s in the future. 

Moving on, we’ve got alternate mini configurations for the UrbanMech, the ‘Mech that’s quickly becoming BattleTech‘s mascot. Next we got the BattleTech Mercenaries box sets that have already been previewed a few months ago, but I will never get tired of seeing the Nightsky, Gunslinger, Penetrator, and Sagittaire.

Elsewhere we get to see the various ‘Mech packs, such as the Inner sphere Pursuit Lance (comprised of the Cicada, Hermes II, Clint, and Dervish), the Inner Sphere Recon Lance (Firestarter, Spider, Javelin, and what could be a Spector but I’m honestly not sure), and the Inner Sphere Security Lance which consists solely of Scorpions.

I kid. There will probably be three additional ‘Mechs planned for the Security Lance, but they likely haven’t been made/decided yet (really hoping to see the new Assassin in here). Ditto the Inner Sphere Battle Armor Lance. 

Last, there’s something called BattleTech Command, which also looks like a strategic BattleTech board game, only much smaller in scale. I suspect this is going to be a unit-based strategy game, but I’m just speculating here.

All these are coming with the Mercenaries Kickstarter, which is expected to launch any day now. A good thing too as I’m pretty sure I saw a Quickdraw in there, and I needs me my favorite bad ‘Mech.

And that’ll do for September! Join us next time as we discover what fresh hell awaits us in October.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For August, 2022

August has been blissfully warm. Which is nice, since renovations have been a months-long string of disasters that have left me a husk of a man. The situation has convinced that perhaps the best life path for me is to actually quit writing entirely to focus on learning how to build kitchen cabinets and standing showers without having to pay anyone else.

While I contemplate the many wrong life choices that have brought me here, I will at least provide you all with your BattleTech news for August.

Catalyst Cuts Ties With Long-Time Author, Blaine Lee Pardoe

This technically happened at the end of July but it was basically right after we’d already published last month’s roundup. And man, this blew up my timeline along with everyone else’s. 

We’ll start with Catalyst’s statement, which simply stated it had “suspended publishing new works by long-time BattleTech author Blaine Lee Pardoe, primarily due to Mr. Pardoe’s online activities which do not align with Catalyst’s publishing vision.” Those of you who don’t follow Pardoe’s Twitter account might wonder just what those “online activities” might be and how they could be so bad as to cause a rift in a business relationship that had lasted 36 years. 

BlainePardoe

For an explanation, we’ll turn to Blaine Lee Pardoe himself, who published his side of the story in American Greatness, a news site that even its own Twitter account describes as “a hotbed of far-right Trumpist nationalism.” Blaine provides his account of what happened in an article titled “My Publisher Canceled Me in Favor of an Activist Who Threatened My Life,” where he accused Catalyst and BattleTech license holder Fanatic of caving to the demands of a “woke mob” that increasingly saw Pardoe’s political discussions online as… concerning.

I’m not even going to get into the bizarre odyssey of Pardoe’s alleged stalker, mostly because it seems like a he-said she-said that Pardoe plays up to rile his conservative supporters. 

Pardoe then posts an update to his personal blog where he goes into the call he received from Catalyst president Loren Coleman (another longtime author of the BattleTech franchise) as well as an email where executive editor John Helfers called Pardoe’s non-BattleTech work “drivel.” In case you were wondering, that “drivel” was book two of Pardoe’s Blue Dawn series of novels that describe an alternate reality where neoliberals overthrow the American government and replace it with a progressive/socialist one. 

Some of you might think that sounds great, but the blurb really makes it clear that the novel is targeting the kind of conservative audience who confuse “socialism” with “bad.” 

Helfers later apologized for what was apparently an accidental email CC, but it’s clear here that Catalyst had a real problem with Pardoe’s non-BattleTech career. Statements from both Catalyst and Coleman confirmed that this separation has nothing to do with Pardoe’s BattleTech works or novels, many of which remain the universe’s narrative cornerstones

There’s been a ton of community drama, some siding with Pardoe, some with Catalyst, but all of it just highlights how American politics has become so pervasively polarized. And that’s coming from a Canadian, a country which desperately tries to keep its nose out of American politics (barring softwood lumber or electric cars). 

Also, kudos to Insaniac99 on the BattleTech Reddit for providing links to those Facebook blurbs, since I have a general policy of staying away from Facebook as much as possible even without a category four shitstorm raging. 

Tex Talks About The Inner Sphere’s Great Houses

BattleTech 101: The Great Houses of the Inner Sphere
Watch this video on YouTube.

Another quick hit for July that I totally missed because YouTube’s algorithm is garbage. Tex and the Black Pants Legion did a new video describing the major Houses of the Inner Sphere. It’s a much quicker hit that Tex’s usual Tex Talks BattleTech fair, and is a great primer for anyone looking for a relatively quick explanation of the BattleTech universe. There’s also some new art in here too, so I’m even going to encourage BattleTech veterans to check it out. 

MechAssault 2 Mod Adds Wave Survival Mode

MechAssault 2 | Grinder Enhanced 2 (Dev Update) | Last Resort
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ll admit it, I’ve never played MechAssault 2. But from the looks of this mod (and Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game) I missed out on something pretty cool. But if you own a copy of MechAssault 2, you don’t have to miss out on what looks like a pretty cool mod.

Grinder Enhanced 2 comes courtesy of EliteAssault over on YouTube. It adds a new survival-based map where you get to take on waves of Word of Blake ‘Mechs using your choice of BattleMech and with the help of a few friends. Things keep getting progressively more difficult, with more enemy ‘Mechs dropping in until finally the player is overwhelmed. The objective is to last as long as possible and rack up as many kills before your reactor goes nova.

Check out EliteAssault’s Discord for directions on where to download the mod.

Catalyst Brings A Massive UrbanMech To Gen Con (And Previews Some New Stuff Too)

GenCon 2022: Catalyst Game Labs Battletech Alpha Strike
Watch this video on YouTube.

Finally getting to true August news, Catalyst was in full force at Gen Con 2022. And to prove it, they even brought a life-size UrbanMech with them. Sadly, it’s not a real UrbanMech, but a mere inflatable copy. Still, this is the closest we’ve come yet to seeing a real-life BattleMech walking around. Or waving its inflatable autocannon at us. 

Inside Gen Con, Catalyst showed off a bunch of new products, starting with the new Alpha Strike Box Set. Inside you’ll find a quick rules book, a bunch of Alpha Strike cards, some pilot cards, and 13 ‘Mechs, several of which have brand-new designs. There’s the Pouncer, a ‘Mech that proves all you need is Clan tech to make a 40-ton chassis workable, and the Wraith, a 55-ton Inner Sphere ‘Mech that proves all you need are pulse lasers and jump jets to take on almost anything. 

There were also copies of Empire Alone on sale, as well as the BattleTech Beginner Box set, a new T-shirt with a Banshee on it, and a selection of BattleTech‘s latest novels including A Question of Survival by Bryan Young and Land of Dreams by Randall N. Bills.

Elsewhere at Gen Con, Catalyst treated to a bunch of teasers for even more new models. Courtesy of the BattleTech Community Twitter account, we got to see teasers for some new sculpts. I spot a Javelin, a Clint, a Dervish, and a Scorpion, as well as Warrior VTOL and what might be the Behemoth tank. I’m sure there’s way more that I’ve missed, so please do share your best Gen Con reveals in the comments below. 

The Urbie Has The Spirit

Besides getting to see his beautiful UrbanMech design immortalized as an inflatable, Bishop Steiner also gave us… this. I’m not exactly sure what denomination this UrbanMech belongs to, but I understand that communication is the key to a successful religion, and it looks like this UrbanMech understands that too.

What If The King Crab Was In MechWarrior 3?

King crab in style of Mechwarrior 3 from mechwarrior

Honestly, this model seems like it could be good enough for MechWarrior 4. Thankfully, we never had to deal with the twin AC/20s hidden inside the King Crab‘s claws in either game, but TedwinK66’s animation does make you wonder. 

BattleMech Plush Prototypes Spotted

Archer Atlas Plushies

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the teaser of those BattleMech plushies, so it’s about time we checked in. And guess what? We got a set of pics for each of the new plushies coming. 

Courtesy of Reddit user Beskaryc117, who grabbed these pics off Twitter, we get to see what we’re in for. In the first image, we have two Archers and an Atlas. And in the second, a Phoenix Hawk. It doesn’t look like the Hatchetman is part of this set, which is a shame, but you can’t expect Catalyst to bring an entire roster of iconic ‘Mechs in a single go.

But a Hatchetman would have been nice. Outside of a Whitworth of course. 

No New ‘Mechs Planed For MechWarrior Online, But Updates Continue

Podcast 229 - Developer Chat - Q3 - 2022 Roadmap - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

And now we move on to MechWarrior Online news. And the news for MechWarrior Online is there is no news. Or there’s at least very little news. 

A new interview with No Guts No Galaxy’s Sean Lang and Matt and Daeron at PGI revealed there’s not a whole lot is going on with MechWarrior Online. New mapmaker Francois has left the company and the MWO team doesn’t have the resources to create new ‘Mechs or maps. Hence why the roadmap has been updated to not include any map after the Terra Therma rework which is still scheduled for October, and why there are no new ‘Mechs on the horizon.

Which is a shame, since apparently, the Crusader was both successful financially for PGI and a big hit with fans. The Crusader was one of the few remaining Unseen ‘Mechs that have never really been in a MechWarrior game, and it’s so nice to see that old battlewagon make its virtual debut. 

That’s not to say that things will remain this way forever. Matt and Daeron are still negotiating with the higher-ups at PGI to get the staff they need for new content whenever they become available. It might just take a little while. And we should keep in mind that staff not working on MechWarrior Online means they’re working on something else. Wonder what that might be?

Support for MechWarrior Online continues with balance updates and bug fixes. The Commando and the Cougar are the big winners in this month’s quirk pass, but there was also some fine-tuning performed on some Phoenix Hawk, Warhammer IIC, and Marauder II variants. Light machine guns were buffed, and Snub PPCs--which have dominated the meta ever since their buff in July--have been nerfed with additional heat and heat scaling. Whether that’ll be enough to stop the Snub-pocalypse in MechWarrior Online remains to be seen, but I’m at least confident that the Cauldron is keeping an eye on things and will take even more drastic steps if necessary.

And that’s it for August! Join me next time where I’ll hopefully have moved successfully and it will still be warm enough for me to call it summer in September.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For July 2022

Where British Columbia and Europe both suffer record high temperatures, it’s been uncharacteristically cool in Southern Ontario, and I feel like I’m being cheated out of my hot-hot summer. I haven’t needed to turn on the air conditioning, and I’ve even been writing these articles in sweatpants when I should be down to my skivvies. That’s just in case you were wondering what “business casual” is around here.

As always, we’ve got a Leopard DropShip’s-worth of news, so we don’t have time for me to complain about global warming tacitly avoiding my hometown just to force me to wear more clothes that I’d expect in July. Here’s what’s going on in the BattleTech world for July, 2022.

Catalyst Releases Third Founding Of The Clan Novels And Announces Store Credit For Missing Kickstarter Dice And Decks

Apparently Catalyst has had some trouble with the Clan Invasion Kickstarter’s insignia dice and pilot decks. For some backers, the dice weren’t of the expected quality while others were outright missing decks of pilots. Catalyst did say that they had a 96% successful fulfillment rate, which is pretty great considering this all happened during the whirlwind of the pandemic, but the company wants to make sure every backer is a satisfied customer.

Land of Dreams

To that end, Catalyst is now offering store credit for backers who pledged for either dice or decks. Those who had pledge rewards including insignia dice will receive at least $5 credit at the Catalyst store per pair of dice, and an additional $5 per order for the conversion to store credit. For missing decks, CGL has created the “Heroes of the Inner Sphere” deck, which will be received in addition to $15 store credit per missing deck. Those credits will be mailed out in the next few weeks. Give it a bit of time as there are 12,000 credits to be sent.

Catalyst also had some trouble getting the third Founding of the Clans book to backers as well. You can read the update on Kickstarter for the full story, but the climax is a Dropbox link that will provide backers with Land of Dreams and Jaguar’s Leap by Reed Bishop. I gotta say, putting the Starslayer on the cover of a BattleTech book is a gutsy move, but I’m all for it. 

Something Weird Is Going On With Everything BattleTech

Something is up with the Everything BattleTech group. Folks might have noticed an abrupt rebranding to “Everything Sci-Fi,” followed by this statement from Catalyst Games earlier this month. It seems that the BattleTech license holder, Fanatic (which acquired Topps earlier this year), had issues “regarding potential violations of the BattleTech rights and license.” Catalyst was contacted to discuss those issues with Everything BattleTech founder David Vivas, sending Line Developer Ray Arrastia to spearhead a “series of dialogues” with Vivas as well as other BattleTech communities.

Apparently things didn’t go well. Vivas rebranded the Everything BattleTech Facebook page to “Everything Sci-fi” and then again to just “EBT.” The Everything BattleTech Discord is currently voting on a more permanent solution, which includes fantastic suggestions like “OnlyMechs,” “Mecha Fight Club,” and “Republic of Mechs.” I’m a fan of OnlyMechs, personally.

Everything BattleTech

Catalyst’s statement doesn’t go into details, but it seems like the issue was largely surrounding the use of the name BattleTech specifically, especially on what was formerly known as the Everything BattleTech Patreon (which has now been renamed the David Vivas Patreon). The Everything BattleTech Discord server seems mostly unchanged outside of a few new channels that are helping with the rebranding effort.

The statement went on to explain Ray never made “any requirement for a comprehensive rebranding or retreat from the BattleTech fan space,” and the sudden rebranding came as a complete surprise. I reached out to Vivas for his side of the story, but he declined to comment. 

BattleTech has a long and complicated history when it comes to fan works and fan communities. Without knowing both sides of this story I won’t say whether this is just another case of an overly aggressive copyright holder or a group trying to cash in on the resurgence BattleTech has enjoyed over the past few years. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Empire Alone Reveals First Conflicts Of The ilClan Era

In somewhat more exciting news from Catalyst, we’ve got a new sourcebook to talk about. Empire Alone is the second sourcebook of the ilClan era, telling the tale of what happens in the Wolf Empire while Alaric Ward is off conquering Terra and the year following his victory. The Free Worlds League sees an opportunity to recapture worlds lost to the Wolves, which risks putting Nikol Marik in a war against Clan Wolf and potentially every Clan that acknowledges Alaric as the leader of a new Star League. And then there’s Wolf’s Dragoons, weakened after assisting Clan Wolf in defeating the Jade Falcons and then snubbed by the new ilKhan. They might be licking their wounds, but an opportunity for revenge can’t be ignored.

Empire Alone runs from the year 3151 to mid-3152 and centers around the major events between the Free Worlds League and the Wolf Empire. It’s available now at retailers and on Catalyst’s store along with the new CountersPack: BattleForce, the perfect solution to large-scale engagements.

And finally, there’s a new mini. The Timber Wolf TC (“temporary configuration”) was designed to counter ComStar ambushes during the Battle of Tukayyid. It comes armed with two large pulse lasers, two ER medium lasers, two Streak SRM-6s, and a smaller ER laser in the left torso. It also has five jump jets to escape whatever trap ComStar lays. It worked pretty well, and the mini is now available on the Catalyst web store.

Oh, and I almost forgot: there’s a new novel out for you fiction lovers. A Question of Survival reveals how Clan Jade Falcon plans to repopulate its depleted warrior caste following their defeat at the hands of Clan Wolf. The Rasalhague Dominion falls squarely in the sights of Jiyi Chistu‘s forces, and several sibkos may suddenly find themselves growing up Falcons rather than as proud Ghost Bears

An Outdoor Market For The Best Cheapest ‘Mechs In The Inner sphere

Speaking of Empire Alone, our very own Eldoniousrex created some cool-ass art for the sourcebook. Not only did he do the cover, but he also did this great landscape of a Clan Sea Fox market. Note the Griffin IIC, a ‘Mech that proves the Clans can make a better Griffin that’s lighter, faster, more powerful, and even cheaper than the original. Now that’s a ‘Mech that’s worth every C-bill. He also has an absolutely incredible new t-shirt design that y’all should definitely buy.

The Perfect ‘Mech Might Just Be The Whitworth

Whitworth via fed0tich

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t discussed the Whitworth in a Bad ‘Mechs article. That’s because I don’t think the Whitworth is actually bad. Sure it’s a little slow for a 40-ton ‘Mech, but it can still keep up with most regiments and fulfill its role as a rapid response fire support ‘Mech. It can help lay ambushes and leap away before the enemy can return fire. And when it gets caught by faster light ‘Mechs, its heavier armor and three medium lasers are just enough to defend itself. It’s actually really good.

So it warms my heart to see someone giving the Whitworth the attention it deserves with art courtesy of fed0tich. Catalyst still hasn’t deigned to officially redesign the Whitworth, but when they do, I sincerely hope it looks something like this. 

July’s MechWarrior Online Patch Adjusts Armor Skills And Enforces Group Maximums In Quick Play

MWO July 2022 Patch Notes

A small patch for MechWarrior Online in July. No big new map or new ‘Mechs, but there’s another quirk pass, some adjustments to skill nods, and a fix for the group play restrictions in Quick Play.

Let’s talk ‘Mechs. Wolfhounds, Javelins, Hunchbacks, and King Crabs have all had their quirks adjusted, with a few tweaks made to specific variants of the Jenner IIC, Phoenix Hawk, Trebuchet, Vapor Eagle, Mad Dog, Banshee, and Sun Spider. Inner Sphere Gauss Rifles have also had their cooldown reduced to make them a little more competitive against their Clan counterparts.

Several skills have been adjusted. Hill Climb skills now actually work and make it easier to climb hills (whereas before this skill did absolutely nothing). Reinforced Casing, Torso Pitch, and Torso Yaw have all been increased, and both Armor Hardening and Skeletal Density skill nodes have been buffed across the board for ‘Mechs larger than 60 tons. There’s a specific chart in the patch notes that describes how each node changes depending on your ‘Mech’s tonnage.

Another big fix deals with Quick Play, by far the most common way to play MechWarrior Online. Group maximums have once again been brought back, meaning no team can have more than a single four-stack or a two-stack and three-stack. Previously, games were a little wonky as solo players were being matched against multiple teams, which often resulted in some terribly one-sided matches. Hopefully your matches will fare a little better.

There’s still a free giveaway going on in MechWarrior Online where you can grab a free Hero ‘Mech for earning 250 loot bags. You can easily get 10-12 loot bags in a single match, so it’s not too hard to get a free Hero ‘Mech, plus all the ‘Mech credits, C-bills, consumables, skill points, and more being given away in each loot bag. The loot bag event is on until August 4.

MechWarrior 5 Makes It Easier To Find A Yen Lo Wang

Yen-Lo-Wang MW5

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has also received a new patch. This one is mostly game fixes, but there’s at least an adjustment being made to the spawn rates of the CN9-YLW2 Yen-Lo-Wang and BL-P-KNT2 Black Knight to make them a little more commonplace in your next playthrough. There’s also memory optimizations for both Xbox and PlayStation, and some helpful mod updates for tagging assets and tweaking player aim assist. You can check out the patch notes here to see what annoying bug you hated most just got squashed.

Explain To Me How This Even Works

Boombox Atlas via HighlighterFTW

Nevermind all the incredible talent that goes into creating a kitbash like this--I just wanna know how the hell an Atlas is supposed to fire what appears to be the LRM-15 packs of a Catapult that were unceremoniously ripped from the 65-ton ‘Mech’s body and are now being used as a giant external launcher. Does it press a ‘Mech-sized button on the side that says “FIRE ZE MISSILES” or does it just kick out the jams and beatbox its way to a swarm of fiery death? Explain this to me, Reddit user HighlighterFTW. I’m dying to know.

Renegade HPG Talks To Bruce Patnaude

Comic Artist BRUCE PATNAUDE Talks BattleTech | Gallery 3025 LIVE Q&A
Watch this video on YouTube.

Those who follow Gallery 3025 on Patreon (and you really should be) might have noticed a few recent pieces courtesy of Bruce Patnaude, a comic artist with a style very reminiscent of some of BattleTech’s earliest source books. You can see all of Patnaude’s pieces over on Gallery 3025, but we showcased two of them in last month’s news roundup.

To get an idea for Patnaude’s creative process, Renegade HPG’s Travis Gardner (who also runs Gallery 3025) sat down with him to talk about some of the fine work he’s been doing for the gallery. You should definitely check out the video above, and we hope to see more of Patnaude’s fabulous work in the future.

And that’s it for July! Join us again next month where Sarna provides you with all the BattleTech news that’s safe for human consumption.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For June, 2022

June is the best month. The start of summer brings the heat, while the month of Pride brings back the festival atmosphere that has been missing from Toronto for the past two years. Not that I’m willing to bake myself in the sun for hours just to watch a bunch of scantily-clad dudes walk down Yonge Street, but it’s still a nice return to normalcy.

Speaking of normalcy, it’s the end of the month, and that means it’s time for your regularly schedule BattleTech update! Let’s get started!

Call To Arms Hits MechWarrior 5 Like A Hatchet

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries DLC 3 Call to Arms Launch Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ll start off with something that you likely already know from our previous reporting, but MechWarrior 5‘s third (and possibly last) DLC is available now. Building on the melee combat added in Legend of the Kestrel Lancers, Call to Arms adds a whole armory’s worth of melee weapons to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Quickdraws are a lot scarier when they’re comin’ at you with a giant sword instead of an LRM-10.

In addition, Call to Arms adds several new biomes, 23 new “weapon-focused” ‘Mech variants, five new weapon-focused Hero ‘Mechs, and a small quest to retrieve the Hatchetman on behalf of some Lyran rebels. Contract tonnage is also a lot more flexible, and dying will just mean swapping to another MechWarrior in your lance. 

As for what’s coming next, I have no idea and everything is pure speculation at this point. But if this is truly the last MechWarrior 5 expansion, the modders are finally free to go buckwild with this game, and that’s pretty exciting on its own. 

Someone Is Making A BattleTech Player-Finder App

BattleSpots

As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, people are naturally looking to be more social. And what better way to be more social than to find a bunch of like-minded BattleTech fans to play the hit tabletop game? I’ve been seeing a lot of folks posting pictures of all those fancy new minis and complaining about not having anyone to play with, but a new app might soon eliminate that problem.

Reddit user vonseiten posted to the BattleTech subreddit their idea for a BattleTech Player-Finder and Battlereport app. Called “BattleSpots,” the app seems to be powered by another app called Spotteron, which basically just lets you geolocate other people using the app under certain categories. There’s a Discord up for those lookin’ to sign up, provide feedback, or to answer any questions you have with how the whole thing works. 

BattleSpots is available now on Google and iOS. The official site will link you to the Google Play and App Store pages.

Myomer Muscles Inch Closer To Reality

Myomer

We’ve seen a few stories about technological breakthroughs in material science that made Myomer Muscle-like fibers, but this most recent paper published in Nature Nano seems the closest yet to commercial applications. 

Researchers at Texas U. at Austin and Penn State University have created a block copolymer (fiber material) that assembles itself in water, making it easier to create than previous fibers. These fibers are also 75% more efficient than current electrical actuators, and up to 900% tougher too. Best of all, the fibers are recyclable, meaning it’s easy to reverse their water-born assembly to be used in other applications. Apparently, the researchers were initially looking for a new material to make water filtration membranes, but instead they discovered a material that could have massive applications in both robotics and medicine. 

As usual, this is all still in the research stages and hasn’t actually seen any real-world applications. But I’m hopeful for some cool bionics by the time I need my hip replaced. You can read more about these fibers over at the University of Texas’s website.

Aerospace Hangar Bay By Bruce Patnaude

Aerospace Hangar Bay By Bruce Patnaude

We’ve got two pieces from Gallery 3025 to share this month, and both of them are by artist Bruce Patnaude. The first, shown above, depicts a busy hangar bay full of Aerospace pilots undergoing preflight checks. These fighters appear to be Sholagars, but my knowledge of Drac spacers is not particularly extensive. Correct me on this one if I’m wrong. 

If you want to see more, be sure to visit the Gallery 3025 Patreon and sign up for as little as $2 a month. 

DOS Game Club Dives Deep Into MechWarrior 2 In Latest Podcast

mechwarrior_2_cover

Emil from The Art of BattleTech recently guest starred on the DOS Game Club podcast where the subject of the episode was MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. The game that truly catapulted the series to its legendary status and cemented ‘Mech combat as its own video game genre, DOS Game Club spent just over three hours discussing the development, gameplay, and legacy of MechWarrior 2. It also started with the audio of the intro cinematic, which brings back so many memories even without the visuals. 

I knew quite a bit of the development of MechWarrior 2 from a deep dive into the 1995 classic from a few years ago, some of which was discussed during the podcast, but a lot of it was MechWarrior 2’s overall gameplay and its contribution to gaming history. No spoilers, just listen to the podcast. And of course, check out The Art of BattleTech on Twitter for even more tidbits (and some great art) from your favorite BattleTech games.

More LAMs For The LAM God

Phoenix Hawk LAM commission from battletech

We recently discussed the Phoenix Hawk LAM in a recent Bad ‘Mechs article, although the Phoenix Hawk was probably the best LAM ever produced. It never quite looked as well as it performed, which is why we can thank Reddit user fedOtich for giving the Phoenix Hawk LAM a well-deserved makeover.

Despite the quality of the image, it doesn’t seem to have created any LAM converts, judging by the comments. I’m still of the mind that LAMs should stick with their anime roots, but maybe if they had designs like this one I’d change my mind. 

UrbanMech, UrbanMech, Doing Exactly What An UrbanMech Does

UrbanMech Thumper Gallery 3025

Our second Bruce Patnaude piece showcases the venerable UrbanMech in its natural environment. It occurs to me we still haven’t discussed the severe restrictions placed on the UrbanMech due to its awful performance in several key BattleMech metrics, but I’m sure we’ll get to it eventually. It’s gotta be special for this little trashcan. 

MechWarrior Online Adds The Crusader In Latest Update

MechWarrior Online Crusader

Ever since the Unseen drama ended with the designs returning to BattleTech, fans have asked for the Crusader to be added to MechWarrior Online almost as much as they did the Rifleman, Marauder, and Warhammer. For some reason, those requests were… I don’t want to say “ignored,” but definitely filed for later consideration, which has taken years for those requests to finally be considered. And now, the Crusader is finally in MechWarrior Online.

Added in the latest patch, the Crusader comes in four different variants (the CRD-3R, 5K, 5M, and 7L) as well as the “Crael” Hero variant. All variants get +10 armor to the torso and legs as well as +15 armor for each arm, bringing it to rough parity with other Inner Sphere heavy ‘Mechs in terms of toughness. I’m no ‘Mech guru so I couldn’t tell you what the meta variants will be, but I’m lookin’ at the 3R for that extra top speed. 

June’s update also brings an all-new map to MechWarrior Online. Vitric Station is based on the Vitric Forge Faction Play map, which is a high-tech installation located on a red planet. High ground snipe lines are interrupted by larger structures in the middle along with ramps to bridges that will provide light ‘Mechs with quick access to enemy positions. It looks like teams will spawn on either end of the map and then clash in either the dense urban environment of the upper section or fire across chasms in the lower area. The shimmering blue sun is a nice touch. 

Snub Nose PPCs, Heavy Gauss Rifles, and Light Machine Guns have all been buffed, while ER PPCs have been nerfed. For the rest of the balance changes and the few ‘Mechs that have received slight quirk adjustments, check out the patch notes here

Zeus. Just Zeus.

One more before bed. Here is a Zeus. from battletech

I love the Zeus. It’s not not quite a bad ‘Mech, but having that AC/5 on the 6S model gives it a hint of that bad ‘Mech flavor. But the design just oozes charm, from those massive shoulders to the distinctive cockpit to that iconic arm-mounted missile launcher. There’s a reason why the Zeus is a classic that’s withstood the test of time. 

Here’s a Zeus courtesy of meltdonw14 on the BattleTech subreddit. It gives me the vibe of something you’d see in the middle pages of one of the earlier BattleTech novels back when they still had a few illustrations in them.

Lego Cicada Go Brrrr

Just a personal render this time, for one of the heroes in my Current Battletech (2018) run, so here, enjoy my best Melee/Flank alpha striker. The Cicada :D from battletech

We haven’t heard from the Lego BattleTech fans in a little while, so here’s a Lego Cicada from Shotgunfrenzy. The Cicada is just one of those ‘Mechs that can’t stay down despite being an objectively terrible design. I’m not sure why I haven’t covered it in a Bad ‘Mechs piece, but I’m sure the Cicada‘s day is coming. 

But you can’t deny that the Cicada is a ‘Mech with an unmistakable style. You know when you’re fighting a Cicada that it’s probably just going to run away until it can lull you into a false sense of security and then stab you in the back with it’s two medium lasers. Plus, you can never really tell if the lasers are coming from the arms or the side torsos. A mysterious ‘Mech, the Cicada.

Gaming Jay’s Crescent Hawk’s-Inspired Retro BattleTech Game Is Now Available For Download

Battle Mercs Public Alpha Release Stream – Crescent Hawks Fan Game
Watch this video on YouTube.

Earlier this month, we sat down with Gaming Jay to discuss his personal fan project creating a new version of the classic Crescent Hawk’s games. Called Battle Mercs, the game combines the metagame features of the Crescent Hawk’s games with an updated real-time combat engine that’s been compared favorably to Faster Than Light’s. Gaming Jay had been looking for private alpha testers earlier in the month, but now he’ll be looking to gather more data thanks to Battle Merc’s first public release. 

Head on over to Gaming Jay’s Google Drive to pick up your free public alpha. Keep in mind that this is still an alpha version of Battle Mercs, so it likely won’t be entirely feature complete and there might be a few bugs to contend with. Jay is looking for feedback, so be sure to join the Battle Mercs Discord to discuss the game.

Well-Equipped Mercenaries Choose The Bombardier For All Their Fire Support Needs

Double Trouble from battletech

I mostly wanted to bring attention to this piece by SU-SMD of Reddit user SupriseFormer’s merc company due to the Bombardier in the background. In an era where Archers are literally a dime a dozen, it’s nice to see the Bombardier strut its stuff. There’s also a Valkyrie, a ‘Mech that deserves more credit than it’s given, and a Marauder but for me, it’s the Bombardier the show. 

Yes, This Is A Hammerhead Miniature You Need To Buy 

Hammerhead Model

And just in the nick of time, Catalyst comes in with some great new products for June. The Hammerhead just got its first ever miniature design and that’s something worth celebrating. A 45-ton ‘Mech made by Clan Sea Fox during the Dark Age, the Hammerhead was a workhorse design that was sold far and wide. It’s Hardened Armor made it tougher than any sub-50-ton design ought to be, and its spread of energy weapons and Streak SRMs made it a threat to nearly anything at long range.

All profit from Hammerhead sales are being directed to cover the healthcare costs of one of the owners of Iron Wind Metals who has sadly been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Catalyst has also brought back the Warrior Trilogy in both hardcover and leatherback cover forms, and there’s a new novel from Bryan Young on the horizon. A Question of Survival will focus on Clan Jade Falcon’s efforts to rebuild after their loss on Terra, with the easiest way to replacing dead MechWarriors is to simply take them from a neighboring Clan. Expect A Question of Survival to receive a release date soon.

And that’s it for June! Join us next month for all the BattleTech news that’s fit for human consumption (and some that’s only been rated for dogs and cats).

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Community Outreach – Gaming Jay And His Crescent Hawk’s Style Remake

Battle Mercs Green world

Welcome back to Community Outreach, the ongoing series where Sarna reaches out to the BattleTech community to see what makes it such a vibrant and evolving place. Last month, I found out about Gaming Jay’s personal project to remake The Crescent Hawks’ games for modern audiences, so I decided to sit down with Gaming Jay to find out more about Battle Mercs and what fans can expect from this retro-inspired BattleTech game. Enjoy. 

Sarna (Sean): I’ve played Crescent Hawks’ Inception, so I know a bit about what this game is likely about. What made you want to make a Crescent Hawks’-style game? And just how much is it like Crescent Hawks’ Inception/Revenge in terms of gameplay?

Gaming Jay: So the Crescent Hawks’ Inception was my first exposure to BattleTech as a kid. When I was little my uncle had a computer in the basement with a tray of disks and I would just leaf through and try random games. One day, I discovered The Crescent Hawks’ Inception and I was blown away. I loved the mix of RPG and tactical elements, the graphics were amazing for the time, and there was so much to explore. For years I played the game and wished, just wished that there was a sequel. A few years later I was on vacation with my parents and I walked into a random computer store and on the shelf, I saw something called the BattleTech Powerhits. I picked up the box and was shocked to find there was a sequel: The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge (also MechWarrior 1). I begged my parents to buy the game for me and they did. I spent the rest of that vacation reading the instruction manuals and plotting how I was going to actually install the game on my computer when I got home since it came on CD and I didn’t own a CD drive. Anyway, The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge quickly became one of my all-time favorite games. I played it over and over and especially loved the free battle Training Field they give you at the end of the game. My only gripe was that I wish the open gameplay at the end allowed different maps and maybe incorporated some of the mercenary system from MechWarrior 1 (which I also played to death).

Years and years later, my love for these three games never went away, and I always dreamed that a sequel existed to Crescent Hawks’ Inception that combined the best elements of CHR and MW1. In high school, I actually did program a game that played a lot like CHR, however, I never fully finished it. A while ago I found the old game and showed it on my YouTube channel and people really were blown away at the time. The bug got planted in my mind after that, and shortly thereafter I started work on a prototype. That prototype became a CHR combat engine. I expanded that with a CHI RPG engine, and then eventually a MW1 style contract and Inner-Sphere-travel system, and before you knew it, I had started to make my dream game.

Battle Mercs Beach Fight

In terms of how much CHI is in the game; a lot! The game recreates everything from CHI except for the RPG combat (although that may come down the line). But yes, people can design full RPG adventures, create interesting scenarios or unique planets or environments, and using some basic .json scripts just go nuts in creating whatever they want. Once you jump into actual ‘Mech combat the game plays like an updated version of CHR. It is a real-time combat game but you’re supposed to pause frequently and micro-manage (think Faster Than Light). Lastly, you can travel the Inner Sphere, and take contracts from any major house, live through years 3025 to 3050, fight the Clans, find Star League ‘Mechs, and even fight in arenas on Solaris VII or less reputable arenas on Dustball or other planets.

The other cool thing about the game is that it’s fully customizable. The game is intentionally designed such that all the gameplay mechanics draw from .json files. People can make their own campaigns with their own .json files that can change everything from what kinds of weapons are in the game, to what kinds of units to how the RPG segments work, to what options you get when you select units in combat, to what planets or factions are available. Even though I wanted to make my dream game, I wanted my game to be something people could change and mod, and make their own unique visions within.

Sarna: So this is all pretty amazing. Is this a home-built engine, or is it based on some other game engine? The FTL enhancements are a great touch to bring this game up to more modern standards, and I love the 3025-3050 era personally. 

Battle Mercs Black Market

Gaming Jay: The engine is 100% home-built. It’s written in PyGame, which is a game add-on library for Python. And yes, FTL is one of my favorite modern games. I really love how that game handles combat. It’s all real-time but you can still micro-manage everything very well, yet it still feels frantic when a lot is happening. I have tried to bring other small improvements to the game to help it feel more modern in control yet retain its obvious retro charm.

Sarna: Are you planning to create your own campaign, or are you just going to throw this out into the world to let people build off of?

Gaming Jay: So what I’d like to do for the game is to produce a fairly elaborate campaign as a bit of a showcase, to both give the game a good starting campaign and also show off what the scripts are capable of doing. In this way, people can look at my scripts if they want to know how I made a certain special mission, and then use them as an example to build their own campaigns and ideas. As for the campaign I want to include, I’d like it to be a reimagining of the Crescent Hawks’ story, essentially retelling their tale in this modern engine

Sarna: With the 3050-era available, you could replace the Draconis Combine attack with a Clan invasion. This way you’d also give players access to Clan tech. Speakin’ of tech, how many ‘Mechs have you got in this game so far, and how many do you ultimately plan on having? 

Gaming Jay: So long story short, yes the Clan invasion is a playable part of the game even right now. It’s not very detailed at the moment but could easily become more detailed. 

As for mechs in the game, pretty much every Inner Sphere mech from 3025 and 3050 is in the game. The 2750 Star League era mechs are also in the game (though hidden right now since only ComStar has access to them). The Clan OmniMechs and IIC variants from the 3050 invasion are all also in the game. At the moment I probably am not planning to add any more myself, but as I mentioned, the game is moddable so other adventurous BattleTech fans could add more mechs themselves (and more eras!)

Battle Mercs Country Fight

Sarna: Did you take assets from the original game or did you recreate all these pixel images yourself? 

Gaming Jay: Currently the assets in the game are mostly from the Crescent Hawks’ games, yes. Though the mech models came from a free set I found online, a really amazing set actually. They are several years old and the creator encouraged people to use them in games. I tried to reach out to him to get in contact but all his contact info (at least that I could find) seemed to be out of date, so I wasn’t able to track him down. The in-game ‘Mech units are about half from The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge and half my creations based on CHR. I’m not a great pixel artist mind you, so they look a little rough and cobbled together. One thing I would love to happen at some point is to get a pixel artist (or a few) to help give the game a fresh graphical makeover. I don’t want to fully change the look of it or anything (I love the retro, pixelated charm of the graphics currently), but it would be nice if the game’s graphics were more original than just lifted from the CH games.

Sarna: And using something that’s not lifted from a super old game would be better for copyright issues, although Crescent Hawks’ Inception is so old that it might be public domain at this point. 

So there’s still the Clan Invasion campaign and MechWarrior campaign to finish, what else is still needed to get this game to what you’d consider a finished state?

Battle Mercs Ice World

Gaming Jay: Haha totally agree. That’s one reason why I still consider it an alpha, since it has so many graphics that I really think of as just stand-in. I mean truthfully BattleTech itself is owned by someone who’s not me so even with unique sprites there are still copyright issues! :)

Anyway, I’ve been working with a dedicated gang of testers to root out as many bugs as possible. So it’s reaching a stable point. At that point, the only major thing left would be to add in mission varieties. Right now it’s all search and destroy but I’d like guard missions, attack missions, recon missions, raid missions, the whole gamut. It shouldn’t always just be “go have a slugfest!”

At that point, I just need to finish the campaign so there’s at least one stock campaign with the game and it would be ready I think. I’m sure there may be more small changes along the way and even after this seeming final stage, but that’s always the way

I’d also like to establish some kind of wiki or make a few tutorials on things like making maps and making campaign levels, editing units or factions, or making star maps. As I’ve said, I want this to be something other people can add to with their own campaigns and stories and mods, so that would be one of the final steps. In my mind that would be the point where I’m giving the game over to the community to develop to their hearts’ content. I would look forward to sort of stepping back from the game a bit and just trying other people’s campaigns and maps at that point.

Sarna: What’s your favorite ‘Mech and why? The all-important question of course.

Battle Mercs Mech Market

Gaming Jay: Favorite ‘Mech is the Marauder. From the first time I saw it in a technical manual I just loved the look and load out of it. As a kid, I thought PPCs were just the ultimate weapon and this beast was rocking 2 with a totally unique frame and look. How can you go wrong?

Sarna: Have you played any other BattleTech games? And if so, would perhaps any of them be a good fit for a Crescent Hawks’-style translation into your project?

Gaming Jay:  And yes I played almost everything BattleTech I could get my hands on when I was younger. MechWarrior 1 and 2 (including all the add-ons like Ghost Bear’s Legacy and Mercs), MechCommander, and even the Xbox MechWarrior games which I’m blanking on the name of. Truthfully though, although I loved MechWarrior 1 and 2, I never loved that franchise as much as the tactical games. Since the gaming industry went heavily in the MechWarrior direction I stopped keeping up with BattleTech games after a while. That is until Harebrained Schemes launched their turn-based BATTLETECH game. I was a Kickstarter backer on that and boy, that game did not disappoint. I believe that game is probably the ultimate BattleTech game and when it launched I actually spent 36 hours straight playing it. I kept saying, one more mission, one more mission, until eventually night became morning and I could hear the birds outside. 

As for whether any of these past games could get a reimagining as a campaign in Battle Mercs, I suppose any could, but of course, something like MechCommander or MechWarrior 2 would be a bit of a demake. MechWarrior 1 could be possible, though it would shift genres from a first-person game into a tactical game in the process. So I’m not sure. The Crescent Hawks‘ games are the most obvious ones to translate. I’m sure others could be done, but no real plans to do any others for the time being.

Sarna: Anything else you’d like to add? Feel free to get shamelessly self-promoty. 

Gaming Jay: I don’t currently have a website for it but I run a YouTube channel and, though the main focus isn’t on game development, I will be doing a few videos on the game eventually over there. So folks can always connect with me that way. I’m hopeful that this summer I’ll be able to put out a public alpha on the BattleTech subreddit as well as on my channel. So yeah, those are the two best ways for folks to find me or see the project when it’s ready. I have a Discord for the alpha right now which I’ll probably make public when the public alpha does launch but I’ll mention that when the alpha does come out.

Battle Mercs Unit Setup

Thank you, Gaming Jay! I’ll be keeping an eye out for that public alpha when Battle Mercs goes live.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Roundup For May, 2022

May showers have brought both flowers and flies, which for some reason have all come out and are buzzing around in my room as I write this. I’d be upset if I didn’t consider this to be the sound of summer.

As always, we got a ton of BattleTech news to get through, so let’s dive right in before this fly finds my beer. Ah, fuck, he’s already in there! Stupid flies…

MechWarrior 5 DLC Call To Arms Gets Pricing And Release Date

Last month, we found out MechWarrior 5‘s third DLC will be called Call to Arms, mostly because it adds an arsenal of melee weapons as well as the iconic Hatchetman medium ‘Mech. We didn’t know when or how much Call to Arms would cost, but we do now

Unlike the Legend of the Kestrel Lancers and Heroes of the Inner Sphere, which debuted at $20, Call to Arms will be priced at $14.99 USD when it launches on June 8. Regional pricing means that’ll vary by platform and country, but US residents should expect to pay fifteen bucks. Canucks such as myself will have to pay something like $22.50. 

Being five dollars cheaper than the previous two DLC might be indicating that Call to Arms will be somewhat lighter in content than the previous expansions. Although Call to Arms will add 28 new ‘Mech variants, five Hero ‘Mechs, nine melee weapons, and three new biomes, there’s no mention of any new story-based campaigns or scripted missions that’ll be coming with Call to Arms [Ed. My bad! There’s actually going to be a five-mission campaign where players snag the Hatchetman from the Isle of Skye]

I do get the sense that this is MechWarrior 5’s swan song, a little parting gift as PGI gets started on its next project. Whatever that is, hopefully it’ll include melee weapons at launch rather than as paid DLC later on. Then we can pay for something else, like, oh I dunno, Aerospace assets?

Redemption Rites Continues The Story Of Wolf’s Dragoons In The IlClan Era

Redemption Rites

So, spoiler alert, but it’s been a few months since the release of Hour of the Wolf, so I think it’s fine for us to drop a few plot points for the current era of BattleTech. After Clan Wolf takes Terra and rises to the heady rank of ilClan, ilKhan Alric Ward makes perhaps the biggest mistake of his career. He snubs Wolf’s Dragoons after they made a terrible sacrifice to stop Malvina and Clan Jade Falcon. Even an ilClan isn’t invulnerable and even mauled, Wolf’s Dragoons is a terrible foe.

Jason Schmetzer tells the story of Wolf’s Dragoons in ilClan era, and it’s a story of revenge. Redemption Rites is available now on Amazon or wherever you buy books.

Water, Earth, Fire, Air

Salamander Sylth Gnome Undine from mechwarrior

Once, the four elements lived in harmony. But all that changed when the fire nation attacked. Or the Salamander, I guess.

Avatar references aside, it never really made a whole lot of sense to me why Elementals were called “elementals” without having any association to the actual elements. Well, now they do, and geergutz does a great job of showcasing all for Elemental variant armors. These include the Salamander, the Sylph, the Gnome, and the Undine. The Gnome is a bit of a stretch for earth, but it is probably the most earth-bound of the Elementals that I know of.

Evolution Of MechWarrior’s Mechs In One Image

It’s sometimes hard to remember how far MechWarrior has come, but this picture from Adam Kusiak puts the game’s evolution into stark relief. I still love MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, but damn, I don’t remember the Commando being quite so goofy lookin. The Atlas too looks ridiculously blocky, but I guess we gotta give Activision some credit for getting more man-shaped ‘Mechs into the series using such primitive hardware. It really makes you wonder where MechWarrior will be in another 23 years.

Shrapnel’s Road To Tukayyid Anthology Now Available On Anchor.fm

Road to Tukayyid Shrapnel

If you’re not subscribed to Shrapnel, the monthly BattleTech magazine, then you’ve been missing out on the fantastic Road to Tukayyid anthology. However, now you can at least listen to these short stories over on Anchor.fm. This isn’t just some guy speaking text aloud either--there are some exciting music and sound effects in there too. Definitely something to snag for your next road trip or to take with you to the gym. 

Warhammer Or Cat Girl, Decisions Decisions… 

You’ve certainly seen Tex’s talk on the Warhammer by now (you’ve had a month, so there’s no excuse), and now it’s time for merch. Eldonious is promising an art pack containing many of the images seen in the Tex Talks BattleTech episode, including this one here. It’s great, Eldonious is great, and when the Warhammer pack eventually launches, I’m sure it’ll be great too.

And if you absolutely can’t wait, Eldonious already has a few of the Warhammer designs available on t-shirts. I’m not a huge Warhammer fan, but there are a bunch of other designs available too. I’m very much considering the Canopian Cat Girl Cataphract giveaway. For the ‘Mech, not the cat girl. Well, maybe a little for the cat girl. 

Mark Nicholson Leaves MechWarrior 5 Developer PGI

Mark Nicholson - PGI 3D Artist Exits - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

Mark Nicholson has left PGI, makers of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and MechWarrior Online. We spoke to Mark not too long ago where he offered some insight into how new ‘Mechs are designed and the incredible talent required to bring these giant walking death machines to life. PGI has sadly lost a fantastic artist. We wish Mark well in whatever comes next. 

PGI Is Not Working On Lord Of The Rings Online

Piranha Games isn't helping with Lord of the Rings Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

Another quick news bite courtesy of No Guts No Galaxy. It seems that PGI isn’t supporting Lord of the Rings Online after all. That comes directly from PGI’s Daeron Katz, so it’s most likely legit. 

PGI getting taken off of the MechWarrior license to work as a support studio was one of the more depressing rumors that sprung up following the studio’s sale to EG7. With this rumor laid to rest, we now have absolutely no idea what PGI is working on aside from support for MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 5. Silence could mean MechWarrior 6 is on the table, but we’ll have to wait and see if either PGI or EG7 makes an announcement.

MW5 Mod Imports MechAssault 2’s Atlas And Timber Wolf

Serious Sam Fusion: NEW Mechassault 2 Atlas and Mad Cat Enemy Resource Showcase
Watch this video on YouTube.

Do you like MechAssault? Then you should check out Wolves, the free MechAssault fan game that’s getting better and better every day. But if you also happen to own Serious Sam Fusion, then you should check out this new mod courtesy of Andreiki. The mod adds both the Mad Cat and Atlas models from MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf. As you’d probably expect given Serious Sam is a game where you run around on foot with a machine gun, Andreiki is recommending that anyone who wants to use these models make them the boss of whatever custom map you’re trying to create.

Major BioMech, who first alerted me to this mod, has created a lovely video showcasing the Mad Cat and Atlas in action. Because it’s Serious Sam, you can equip yourself with a laser blaster and eventually take down this 75-ton monster, but BioMech wasn’t quite able to take down both a Mad Cat and an Atlas on the first try.

Retro BattleTech Fan Game Is Looking For Alpha Testers

Retro battletech game looking for a few more alpha testers — or interested map makers from battletech

A while back, I dove into The Crescent Hawk’s Inception, the world’s first BattleTech video game. Originally released in 1988, the game was largely a text-based adventure game with some turn-based combat that vaguely resembled the tabletop rules. It had not aged well, to put it mildly, but if I’m honest, few BattleTech games have. And if I’m further honest, that hasn’t stopped me from reminiscing about MechWarrior 2, so I can’t judge anyone for doing the same about Crescent Hawk’s Inception.

The only difference between me and GamingJay is that I don’t go ahead and remake MechWarrior 2 from scratch in my spare time. Which is exactly what Reddit user GamingJay has done with the old Crescent Hawk’s game.

GamingJay is already so far along with their personal project that they’re even asking for alpha testers. You can shoot ’em a message on Reddit to ask for an alpha build of GamingJay’s retro BattleTech game and then offer your feedback for future development.

I’ve actually reached out to GamingJay and was able to briefly play a bit of alpha. It’s certainly an upgrade over the original, which now has a sort of real-time combat system reminiscent of Faster Than Light‘s. It goes a long way to making this game more interactive than the original Crescent Hawk’s games, and I think there are a lot of folks out there that might be very interested to give this home-brewed Crescent Hawk’s remake a try.

Give Me More Flashman Art, Dammit!

New here! Just thought I would introduce myself! I’m a old battletech fan falling in love with it again because of the recent renaissance from battletech

The Flashman is a ‘Mech that doesn’t get nearly enough credit from BattleTech fans. I loved the Flashman back in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and I lament how the Black Knight seems to have taken the Flashman‘s place as the 75-ton all-energy Inner Sphere heavy ‘Mech. Give me my pop-can laser boat or give me death.

Thankfully, Reddit user Scouttherangerdog shares my love for the Flashman, so I get to live for another day. Be sure to welcome Scouttherangerdog back with open arms and leave a like on this fantastic piece.

How To Carry Around A Company Of Mechs In A Leopard

Mechwarrior 5 is a totally accurate Succession Wars game where you really have to scrounge for equipment, every mission is make-or-break from battletech

It always did bother me how a Leopard-class DropShip, which in the lore can only carry a single lance of ‘Mechs, somehow managed to carry an entire company’s worth plus however many I wanted in cold storage in MechWarrior 5. The answer is obvious when you think about it, but it took BipBeepBop123’s diagram for me to finally figure it out for myself. 

MechWarrior Online Ditches That Terrible Skill Tree In Latest Patch

Top 5 Things You should know about Skill Tree reconfigured
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The latest MechWarrior Online patch, which actually topped a gigabyte, is easily the biggest to hit the game in years. That’s because one of the core systems in MechWarrior Online has finally been overhauled after years of complaints from all walks of MWO players. Casuals hated it because it was expensive and confusing, and pros hated how long it took to unlock the tree and how many builds wasted skill points due to the tree’s design.

Well, no more. The old skill trees are gone and now you can pick and choose what skills you want and click and drag to unlock as many as you can. It’s a lot simpler, faster, and cheaper than the old tree, and there’s no need for everyone to be refunded their skill points because they’re all still present in the new skill tree. All the same, PGI has gifted players five free skill points for every ‘Mech they own so MechWarriors can further customize their rides.

Besides that, the Rouchneck got a full quirk pass while the Flea and Timber Wolf had their quirks adjusted alongside several other designs. Clan ER Large Lasers had their duration extended to combat the blue line meta, and machine guns had their crit damage multipliers reduced to make light ‘Mechs slightly less deadly. Strangely enough, SRMs all had their heat reduced, so expect to see a lot of brawling splat-Cats in the very near future. There’s also a new Platinum Collection pack that includes variants of the Spider, Cicada, JagerMech, King Crab, Incubus, Vapor Eagle, Hellfire, and Kodiak.

And that’s it for May! Join us in June when I’ll have become a year older and the rest of you will be the exact same age. Unless your birthday is also in June, in which case, happy birthday!

And as always, MechWarriors, Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For April, 2022

Taxes. I still need to do mine, and that’s why this intro is going to be extremely short. BattleTech news for April, go!

PseudoTech: Arcade Operations Released For April Fools Day

Eldonious is the fantastic artist who does the cover images for the Bad ‘Mechs series, so of course, I’m going to plug his recent work for Catalyst’s 2022 April Fools product, PseudoTech: Arcade Operations. It’s a tongue-in-cheek sourcebook that offers alternative styles of combat in Solaris with a classic arcade flavor. Think power-ups, boss fights, and even a Tetris mode, which is both confusing and concerning. You can pick up the PDF for three bucks over on Catalyst’s website.

Wolves Previews Puma As Part Of Wave 3’s Planned Multiplayer Update

Mechassault Fangame - Wolves Wave 3 Puma Showcase
Watch this video on YouTube.

Wolves, the MechAssault fan game that’s promising to bring MechAssault kicking and screaming into the future, is gearing up for its Wave 3 update. We’ve seen the folks over at New Day Fiction make significant progress on their passion project over the years, and now they’re gearing up for the release of a new wave of ‘Mechs to be added to Wolves’ roster.

One of those ‘Mechs just happens to be the Puma (or Adder, if you’re nasty). New Day Fiction’s Pajama Boy joined texture artist Knightly Doggo to showcase the Puma in a seven-minute video posted to the MechAssaultReborn YouTube channel. Doggo confirmed a few of the features coming to Wolves, including a planned multiplayer mode that will let players browse and join servers hosted by other players. Waves 3 will contain four ‘Mechs, one for each weight class, with the Puma being the light ‘Mech and the Timber Wolf as its heavy. Best of all, that multiplayer mode will arrive with Wave 3’s launch. 

The only bad news here is that there’s no concrete launch date for Wave 3. Wolves is a fan game, so these folks all have day jobs to attend to first. We’ll hopefully get that launch date in the coming weeks. 

MechWarrior Online Dev Blog Reveals Revamped Skill Tree

MechWarrior Online May Features Update
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Some time ago, MechWarrior Online introduced its worst feature, the skill tree. Requiring 92 clicks to complete and so confusing that you needed a degree in brain rocket surgery to understand, the skill tree was roundly criticized by the community at the time, and it hasn’t changed much since then. In my experience, what sucks the most about the skill tree is while it can offer substantial buffs to your ‘Mech’s performance, it becomes mandatory to take a fully-skilled ‘Mech onto the field the further up the MechWarrior Online skill rankings you are. Taking an unskilled ‘Mech into a tier-one match feels like taking a recently-be-shat baby into a sumo wrestling match. 

Thankfully, I have some good news. Developer PGI’s recent development vlog has revealed significant changes coming to MWO’s skill tree. The skill tree will become far easier to understand by breaking up trees into related groups, while the number of clicks will be reduced by letting the player just click once to unlock all skills in a node. 

What’s so amazing about this change is that you’ll finally be able to get the skills you want without being forced to pick skills you don’t want. Getting armor nodes won’t require getting skeletal density nodes, and getting the laser durations nodes won’t require getting every single other node in the firepower tree. Everything will have its own itty bitty tree so you’ll finally be able to customize your ‘Mech the way you want it.

With a few exceptions. Seismic is still locked behind at least four targeting nodes, and a fully-powered ECM is locked behind eight sensor nodes. Consumable slot upgrades are also locked behind several other nodes so perhaps MechWarrior Online will become less Airstrike Warrior Online in the near future.

Best of all is that no refunds will be necessary when the new skill tree rolls out and unlocking new skills will be a lot cheaper than before. This might even encourage new players to stick around for more than a few quick play matches. 

Matt Newman also mentions a few other upgrades coming in future patches, including a specific event queue that might arrive alongside the revamped skill tree. Both are tentatively planned for the May 24 update, according to the recently updated 2022 roadmap, so cross your fingers it all goes according to plan. 

In the meantime, there are two new Platinum ‘Mech Packs for both Inner Sphere and the Clans if you like your ‘Mechs looking like flat chrome, a few adjustments to weapon health, and several more ‘Mechs got a quirk pass in April’s patch. These include the Huntsman, Wolverine, Black Lanner, and Archer, alongside some more adjustments to the Rifleman, Hellbringer, and Dire Wolf. You can check ‘em all out in the patch notes here.

Renegade HPG Posts Remaster Of Remastered BattleTech Animated Series

Watch this video on YouTube.

Renegade HPG and The Art of BattleTech did us all a public service by using modern technology to remaster the ’90s BattleTech cartoon last year. Unfortunately, some of the episodes were still of very low quality simply due to the degradation of the source material. However, Renegade HPG has recently sourced better versions of a few of the episodes that weren’t quite up to par in his initial remaster project and he’ll be replacing those episodes over the coming weeks.

All this is to say that BattleTech: The Animated Series is back and better than ever. Check it out over on Renegade HPG’s YouTube channel if you haven’t already. Or if you just wanna binge the whole series again.

MechWarrior 5 Announces Third DLC, “Call To Arms”

Call to Arms Key Art

Last month, we found out that the Hatchetman would make its MechWarrior debut, and that it’d bring its iconic hatchet with it. Now in April, we’re finding out that the third DLC is called Call to Arms, probably because it’s bringing a full suite of melee weapons to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Besides the Hatchetman‘s hatchet, Call to Arms is bringing eight other melee weapons, including Battleaxes, Claymores, Katanas, regular Axes, Trench Blades, Long Swords, Claws, and Maces. For some reason, these weapons are broken down into Assault, Heavy, and Medium categories, and it’s not entirely clear why. This might indicate that only Assault ‘Mechs can wield Battleaxes, or it might just be a handy short-hand for identifying the weight of the weapon itself. I certainly hope light ‘Mechs can still wield melee weapons since the Mjolnir seems to wield a mace just fine at 25 tons.

In addition to the melee weapons themselves, Call to Arms brings 23 new melee-focused ‘Mech variants, five more Hero ‘Mechs that are also wielding melee weapons, and an all-new animated Stormsurge skin. It certainly looks cool, but I don’t BattleMech technicians wasting optic camouflage tech on a paint job, so this skin seems a little out of place. We’ll also get three new biomes in Call to Arms to give players a little more variety in where they engage in giant robot mayhem.

Call to Arms will also launch alongside a free update that adds several new features to the game, including a flexible mission tonnage system that’ll let you take ‘Mechs way over the tonnage limit into missions at the cost of some C-bills. If I recall, there’s already a mod that basically eliminates the weight limit for no penalty, but I can see why it’d be a slightly more interesting game mechanic to sacrifice C-bills for bringing the Steiner Scout Lance on patrol. There are also a few updates to the star map and contracts screens, and a new mechanic that lets you switch to a lancemate’s ‘Mech if yours gets taken down.

And of course, there’s a five-mission questline that’ll take you to the Isle of Skye to capture a brand new Hatchetman. So you’ll at least be able to field the Hatchetman almost immediately upon getting the DLC.

So, when is Call to Arms coming out? That we don’t know. The official site says “coming soon,” so my guess is sometime this summer. After that, I suspect that’ll be a wrap for MechWarrior 5, and then hopefully onto MechWarrior 6. Fingers crossed on a Clan Invasion-themed game.

Don’t Piss Off A Wolverine

A painting of that one time my Wolverine pilot soloed a lance of light mechs and won. from battletech

Could a Wolverine solo a lance of light ‘Mechs and win? The answer to this question is apparently “yes” since that’s what happened to Reddit user 1001WingedHussars. They also immortalized the occasion in this fantastic piece showcasing the hero Wolverine charging a Wasp before blasting it in the back with a Gauss Rifle slug. Thanks for sharing, 1001WingedHussars, if you’re curious, you can get the full story straight from the source here.

Catalyst Announced New ‘Mech Packs And Mercenaries Kickstarter

Hansen's Roughriders

Catalyst just made a slew of announcements, which you can view on the official site here. Easily the biggest is Mercenaries Kickstarter, which will attempt to replicate the success of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter with 50 new plastic minis that range from both before and after the Clan Invasion. Examples include the Firestarter, Griffin IIC, Ostroc, and Kraken, but also several tanks such as the Galleon Light Tank, SRM/LRM Carrier, and Demolisher Heavy Tank. “A variety of mercenary-themed stretch goals will also be included,” Catalyst notes. If this is even half as successful as the Clan Invasion Kickstarter, I suspect we’ll see a bunch of those stretch goals become reality.

KS-Mercenaries

There are also several new ‘Mech Packs coming in autumn that might give us a taste of what’s to come in the Mercenaries Kickstarter. The Eridani Light Horse Hunter Lance includes the Sagittaire, Banshee, Cyclops, and Thunderbolt, while the Hansen’s Roughriders Battle Lance includes an Enforcer, Atlas (which is in a new pose), Hatchetman, and Penetrator. The Northwind Highlanders Command Lance includes a Highlander (of course), a Grasshopper, a Warhammer, and a Gunslinger (although the non-final example box has an Atlas), and the Kell Hounds Striker Lance includes a new Wolfhound, a Nightsky, a Griffin, and a Crusader. Later in 2023, the Gray Death Legion will bring a new variant of the Gargoyle (the C variant, from the looks of it), an all-new Regent, a Shadow Hawk, and a Catapult-K2.

New ‘Mech minis aren’t the half of what Catalyst has announced. In July, the first ilClan-era sourcebook arrives in Empire Alone, alongside two updated Tactical Operations Advanced Rules and Units with full errata. The third quarter of this year brings Technical Readout: Dark Age, which will combine ‘Mechs previously featured in Technical Readout: 3075, Technical Readout: 3085 (and Supplemental), Technical Readout: 3145, Technical Readout: Irregulars, Technical Readout: Prototypes, “and more.” Michael Ciaravella’s new novel, The Damocles Sanction, also comes out third-quarter this year, and Bryan Young’s new novel, A Question of Survival, comes out later this summer. And in the winter months, Dominions Divided tells us what’s going on between the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine, as well as how the Rashlhague Dominion is taking the news of Clan Wolf’s victory on Terra, and finally, a new BattleTech Universe primer will do its best to summarize all the important plot beats of BattleTech between now and the year 3150.

That’s not everything, of course, so check out Catalyst’s news update to get the full rundown of products coming.

Atlantic City To Host Classic BattleTech Tournament

Atlantic City Open

The Everything BattleTech Facebook page recently shared this link to what is being billed as a Classic BattleTech Championship in Atlantic City. The tournament is being hosted by Frontline Gaming Community, is being held at Harrah’s Resort, and will run the weekend of June 10. Sign-ups are available now.

I’m not a huge tabletop guy, but the rules sound pretty standard. No force may exceed a total Battle Value of 6,000, no Aerospace units are allowed, and ‘Mechs can be chosen from the BattleTech Force Packs Record Sheets Wave One, Wave Two, and Wolf’s Dragoons. Elemental battle armor is allowed if you’re going for a combined-arms Clan army. Older miniatures are allowed, but tournament organizers are encouraging at least 80% of fielded forces to use minis currently available from Catalyst and Iron Wind Metals. 3D-printed minis are banned.

Apparently, this tournament isn’t just going to be a free-for-all, and specific mission objectives will be announced in the coming days. This could greatly influence your unit composition, so check those objectives before you get your heart set.

Well, That’s A Lot Of Collateral Damage, But I Guess The Contract Has Been Satisfied…

Contract Complete from battletech

Sneaking this one just under the deadline is Reddit user yi-ngo, who posted this amazing piece to the BattleTech subreddit. It depicts the pained expression of a Davion liason seeing just what sort of mayhem this mercenary lance got up to in the service of the Prince. Or at least, that’s how I imagine it.

Tex Talks BattleTech Talks About The Warhammer

Tex Talks Battletech : The Warhammer
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It has been almost a full year since Tex Talks BattleTech brought us the Marauder. Now, Tex is back with the Warhammer, and as always, it was well worth the wait. This is an even longer video than the Marauder, as Tex and the Black Pants Legion seem to have no concept of the term “mission creep.” As in previous videos, Tex starts off with an interesting subject that seemingly has little relation to the Warhammer before bringing things full circle with an insightful and detailed dive into the Warhammer’s history, and also a rundown of the most popular Warhammer variants (although, not all of them, because there are a lot of Warhammer variants). There’s also a crapton of new art from various BattleTech artists, an all-new animation from D.C Bruins featuring Randolph P. Checkers, and a full 20 minutes of goofy bullshit at the end. And yes, drunken Duncan Fisher once again makes an appearance.

There are a lot of great BattleTech fan videos out there, but it’s hard to compare them with the monumental amount of effort that the Black Pants Legion put into this one. Watch it.

And that’s it for April! Join us next time as we dive deep into another Bad ‘Mechs ahead of everything that’s happened in May.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Roundup For March, 2022

Well hey, we’re not all dead! That’s a fancy turn of events that I was totally not expecting. Perhaps it’s the spring weather that’s finally got me in a cheerful mood. Or maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t all been vaporized in nuclear fire. Either way, I’m happy for March, and I’m sure you’ll be happy for all the news coming straight to your eyeholes through my fingertips. 

That sounds weird. Let’s just get to your BattleTech news for March while I go wash my hands. 

Renegade HPG Talks To BattleTech Animated Writer Robert Skir

Making BattleTech The Animated Series | with Writer Robert Skir
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Continuing last January’s interview with BattleTech: The Animated Series producer Kurt Weldon, Renegade HPG is back to talk with series writer Robert Skir. Perhaps better known for classic ’90s cartoons including X-Men, Batman, and Gargoyles, Robert still had plenty of fond memories to share with Travis. And perhaps surprisingly for people that are brought into the BattleTech universe, Robert did quite a bit of research on the universe before writing the series. Although not particularly interested in “space tanks” as he called them, Robert came to the understanding that BattleMechs are really an integral part of both the characters and the stories they’re trying to tell, making the series into as much a drama as it was a means to sell toys (which it generally failed to do, which perhaps explains with the show was canceled). 

If you want the lowdown on how a ‘90s cartoon gets written and very specific details on BattleTech: The Animated Series, this is the interview you need to see. 

MechWarrior Online’s Roadmap Was A Whole Lot Of Nothing

Mechwarrior Online - Roadmap 2022
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This technically came about in February, but it was a little late to hit that month’s news blast so we’re pushing it into March. We’re well into 2022 and well into MechWarrior Online‘s renaissance with multiple patches, multiple map revamps, and even a brand new map. It’s time for fans to get a roadmap, and what PGI delivered was a whole lotta nothin’.

To be fair to PGI, they’ve been bitten before by overpromising and underdelivering, so the 2022 roadmap was couched in language that made everyone aware that it was very much a work in progress. But with most of the year filled with “TBD” placeholders, the roadmap really didn’t reveal a whole lot to MechWarrior fans. 

A follow-up post from live ops manager Matt Newman clarified a few points on the roadmap. He said there’d be more ‘Mech variants coming in the year, but the exact number and delivery dates are up in the air. PGI is also committed to four brand new maps--the first of which arrives this month--but specific timetables are still unknown. The Cauldron is continuing its work on quirks and game balance and there will be more events and sales as the year goes on. 

So stuff is coming (as we’ll see more later in this very article), but there are not a lot of hard dates that can be set at the moment. Perhaps a roadmap was a bad idea and instead a more general post on future plans might have been sufficient. I’ll be the first to admit it’s tough to keep MechWarriors happy. 

MWO Supports Ukraine With Free ‘Mech (And Also Patch Notes And Limited-Time Events)

Uziel Free Mech

As with each month, there’s a new free ‘Mech being given away in MechWarrior Online. The Uziel UZP-6P is a decent medium energy boat, and this particular Uziel can come with a blue and yellow paint job--the same colors as the Ukrainian flag. There’s also a peace symbol on the right torso. It’s not quite an explicit political statement, but it’s close, and an interesting choice given the number of Russian players in MechWarrior Online.

Getting that Uziel only requires a combined match score of 8,000 rather than the 10,000 required for previous free ‘Mech giveaways. That might be due to another big change that happened over the March 12 weekend which was 8v8 quickplay matches. The official line was testing for the coming events queue, but it also provided an excellent opportunity for PGI to see if 8v8 games might make the wait time between matches somewhat shorter. I’ve played a few games and they certainly did arrive faster, but it seems the matchmaker had some difficulty ensuring a fair balance of ‘Mech classes and pilots on both sides. 

If you didn’t like 8v8, the good news is that things are back to the usual 12v12 matches now. The rest of the month is celebrating St. Patrick’s day by hosting the Lucky Charms lootbox event. Tons of free credits and skill points are being given away alongside several cockpit cosmetics that fit the Irish theme. 

And now let’s talk about that patch. Only a few ‘Mechs getting new quirks, including the Catapult, Charger, Bushwacker, Night Gyr, and Warhammer IIC, but there’s a litany of smaller tweaks being made to various ‘Mechs that have already received their quirk passes. It seems the Cauldron is slowing down a bit on the quirk passes to fine-tune some previously quirked ‘Mechs.

But the biggest news is two new ‘Mech variants coming, including the Kit Fox-P and the Summoner-G, as well as a brand new map. Emerald Valley brings beautiful, verdant highlands with plenty of rocky outcrops and buildings to take cover behind. Like MechWarrior Online‘s other new map, Emerald Vale looks pretty big, so hopefully that 8v8 change isn’t coming back anytime soon. Otherwise, folks will have trouble finding each other in this mountainous maze.

Don’t Forget BattleTech Fans In Ukraine

I know I said we weren’t going to get political, but this one was pretty heartbreaking. Kyiv still stands bravely in the face of Russian aggression (and if recent reports are to be believed, have even pushed Russian forces back), but it’s still a humanitarian crisis of a scale that Europe hasn’t seen since World War 2. Please give to Ukrainian charities if you have the means.

This Is What Happens To LRM-Boats Who Get Noticed

Notice me step-boat <3 from OutreachHPG

This one’s a bit MechWarrior Online-specific given the Flea poking a Nova Cat-B in the butt, but I felt it was relevant enough to BattleTech fans everywhere that it should be celebrated in the news. Credit to Reddit user acreamysquid for the pic and for noticing senpai.

Catalyst Returns To Conventions And Announces A New Tech Readout

With Covid on the wane (at least for now), it’s time to get back to the business, and that means conventions for Catalyst Game Labs. Adepticon just ended in Illinois where Catalyst revealed a brand-new product: Technical Readout: Dark Age.

A compilation of the most common ‘Mechs found in Technical Readout: 3067, Technical Readout: 3075, Technical Readout: 3085, Technical Readout: 3145, Technical Readout: 3150, Technical Readout: Irregulars, and Technical Readout: Prototypes, Technical Readout: Dark Age was available in limited quantities at Adepticon and will see a wider release at a later date. 

Catalyst also announced a new cover reprint for Surrender Your Dreams as well as the print-on-demand version of No Substitute for Victory, both of which are available now. Head to Catalyst’s website or follow these links to buy ’em.

The Great UrbanMech Uprising Is Why You Should Buy Shrapnel #8

Hello for the people that don’t know I’m an artist working on the Shrapnel magazine. And as some of you have already seen here #8 is out and I wanted to hear what your guys thoughts are on my latest work. This piece is for the story "The Great Urbanmech Uprising". from battletech

I don’t have Shrapnel issue 8, but this art is basically compelling me to purchase it. Reddit user meltdonw14, who has shared quite a bit of amazing art on the social media site, had his work featured in Shrapnel for the story “The Great UrbanMech Uprising.” Do you want to know how the UrbanMechs rose up to throw off the shackles of their oppressors? I know I sure do. Plus the story confirms the canonicity of a UrbanMech duelist association called the “Urbie Durbie.” That’s how you move magazines, people.

MechWarrior 5 Is Not Dead Yet

A little while ago, I talked about the future of MechWarrior 5, which wasn’t looking super great after publisher EG7 released a report saying MechWarrior 5‘s production was winding down. No Guts No Galaxy’s Sean Lang postulated that MechWarrior 5 was likely to see at least one more expansion for MW5, but that would likely be the end before PGI moves on to bigger and better things (like possibly MechWarrior 6). 

On March 22, PGI president Russ Bullock answered No Guts No Galaxy to reveal “significant amounts of development going on for both MechWarrior products,” which include MechWarrior 5 and MechWarrior Online. More info is promised in the coming “days or weeks” and “not months.” 

In fact, we’ve already seen the first ‘Mech that’ll be coming in MechWarrior 5‘s third DLC. More details on that later on.

MechWarrior Living Legends Is Revamping Its VTOL Flight Model

Dev Preview: VTOL Flight Model Rework!
Watch this video on YouTube.

It’s been a while since we heard from MechWarrior: Living Legends, the stand-alone Crysis mod that is the absolute best way to play a PC-based BattleTech game for zero dollars (or Euros or Pesos or whatever other currency you’ve got jangling around in your digital pocketbook). It’s also the only BattleTech video game that offers combined arms combat--you can roll around in a tank, jet around as an Elemental, or fly around in an Aerospace fighter.

Or you can zip around in any of BattleTech’s many conventional VTOL aircraft, which range from the Hawk Moth for the Inner Sphere faction to the Clan’s Donar. Choppers are a great way of providing stable fire support or a fast defensive response, and although they’re vulnerable to fire from… well, pretty much everything (just like real-life choppers), there are some MWLL fans that swear by these zippy little monsters.

And now they’re getting a flight model revamp. In their current form, VTOLs can be quite difficult to get the hang of. You can’t move backward or sideways as most modern helicopters can, and you can’t pitch your VTOL in order to engage targets that are significantly above or below your flight path. All that’s changing in the upcoming VTOL flight model rework, along with several other new features that will make VTOLs more realistic. 

The latest trailer showcasing the flight model rework promises these changes will hit MWLL “soon,” so stay tuned. And as always, give MechWarrior: Living Legends a try if you’re tired of the more modern MechWarrior games.

MechWarrior Online Is Teasing A New ‘Mech And I’m Pretty Sure It’s The Crusader

This is a big deal. The Crusader has been one of the most requested Unseen ‘Mechs since MechWarrior Online got started way back in 2012, and with all the other Unseen ‘Mechs lumbering around (including the Shadow Hawk, Phoenix Hawk, Locust, Griffin, Warhammer, Marauder, and many more), the Crusader has been a conspicuous absence.

But that might soon change. The MechWarrior Online Twitter account appears to be teasing a brand new ‘Mech, and from what folks far more observant than I can tell, it appears to be the vaunted Crusader. Fans point to the feet and vents on the legs as telltale signs that the Crusader will soon arrive in MWO.

That said, we’ve yet to receive all the teaser images for anyone to put ‘em all together to create a conclusive, singular image. I’ll be following this Twitter thread to find out though. [Edit: It’s confirmed]

I don’t think the Crusader will upset the MWO meta all that much. Most missile boats are either Supernovas or Nova Cats, with the occasional Huntsman thrown in for funsies. I think I have a friend who loves his Stalker missilier, but Archers and Catapults aren’t particularly common. On the other hand, the Crusader offers an interesting mix of missile, energy, and ballistic hardpoints, so it’s possible that the Crusader could surprise me with a competitive build that’s very different from its stock loadout. 

…And The Hatchetman In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Same deal as above, but instead of MechWarrior Online (which doesn’t have melee combat options and likely never will) it’s MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (which does have melee combat options, but so far limited to just punches). Hatchets (and axes and swords) can do a LOT of damage in the tabletop, so here’s hoping Mr. Hatchetman is as baller in MechWarrior 5. This basically confirms MechWarrior 5‘s third DLC, which will be officially announced in early April.

This UrbanMech Plush Is Really Going Places

You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf. Let me present Urbie on a Journey! from battletech

I just liked the idea of replacing the Travelocity gnome with an UrbanMech plush. Kudos to ZookeeperD for this delightful arrangement of Urbie photos. 

Operation Lancaster Explores Jihad-Era With Over 500 Pages Of Stories, Art, Record Sheets, And More

Operation Lancaster: A BattleTech Fan Project led by Devin Ramsey (Launch Video)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Almost two years ago, Michael at Metal Core Collectibles informed me of an upcoming fan project called Operation Lancaster. What started as a fan-made TRO project has since ballooned into an absolutely massive tabletop expansion, complete with art, character profiles, record sheets, and even a fancy launch trailer. It even has MegaMekLab files if you prefer to play your BattleTech tabletop games digitally.

Operation Lancaster primarily tells the story of several mercenary units fighting against the Word of Blake during the Jihad. You’ll be able to get caught up thanks to several short stories included in the 500-plus page PDF file that you can find in the video description.

This project is a huge love letter to BattleTech. It’s also telling a story that most of the community has either glossed over or ignored--including Catalyst itself. The Jihad is a great opportunity to tell compelling stories during what is likely BattleTech‘s darkest hours, and it’s fun to see fans diving into this sera with such gusto.

And that’s it! I’m in the middle of buying and also renovating a new home, so I apologize for being a little light on content. I promise the next Bad ‘Mechs will be out soon™.

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For February, 2022

Hah! Just when you thought that Sarna’s monthly news reports were going to start off a little more cheerily with the waning pandemic, HERE COMES RUSSIA WITH A STEEL CHAIR!

But seriously, this whole Russian invasion of Ukraine is terrifying and I find little (read, no) humor in it. To everyone suffering in Ukraine, I hope this all ends soon with a minimum loss of life. To everyone outside of Ukraine, here’s how you can help.

And now, onto the news. 

Can I Interest You In Life Insurance With Kerensky Mutual? 

Elementals wrecking havoc on you Mercenary unit? Try Battle-Armor insurance! from battletech

We begin with something that just missed the cutoff for the January news blast. I’m all about the BattleTech memes, and this one from Agressive_Loafing is premium dank meme material. All they had to do was add a top hat and a briefcase and suddenly this Elemental is far less of a threat to this Zeus. Although, depending on the deductible, still a potential threat. 

The Savage Wolf Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Savage Wolf MechWarrior 5

So, remember that time a modder added the Timber Wolf to MechWarrior 5? Well, now we’ve got the Mad Cat Mk IV, better known as the Savage Wolf

Normally, this ‘Mech doesn’t show up in the Inner Sphere until the year 3136, but in this MechWarrior 5 mod, it’ll start appearing in 3058, albeit extremely rarely. Instructions on how to use a save editor to acquire the Savage Wolf immediately are listed at the bottom of the mod page.

According to the mod description by gomgom50, the Savage Wolf requires at least the Heroes of the Inner Sphere expansion and maybe the Legendo of the Kestrel Lancers, too. There’s also a version of the mod that works in conjunction with the YAML Mechlab and YAMC Clan Weapon mods. 

You might note there is a slight difference between the canon Savage Wolf and the version displayed in the mod, specifically where it comes to the placement of the Streak SRM-6s. The rear-facing launchers have been swapped to the front, making this basically the same as the Timber Wolf Alt. Config D. I think gomgom50 has done a decent job of retaining the Savage Wolf’s distinctive looks while modifying the weapons to work in MW5.

This may be the first and only time we see a Republic-era ‘Mech in MechWarrior, so be sure to give this one a try.

Renegade HPG Talks to Former FASA President Sam Lewis

Sam Lewis Talks BattleTech
Watch this video on YouTube.

Renegade HPG has once again proven in a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn more about BattleTech’s past. This time, Travis has snagged Sam Lewis, BattleTech line developer and later FASA president between the years of 1987 to 1995. Travis went through Sam’s entire career with FASA and especially the formative years of BattleTech’s lore where Sam worked with the authors like Michael Stackpole and Anthony Pryor. He also had a hand in creating the BattleTech Animated Series, which given how much digging Renegade HPG has done on that topic, explains how Sam Lewis came to be on the opposite end of a Zoom call.

It’s a long interview that spans many topics, so be sure to set aside some time. But if you kinda already know Sam’s history and just want a bit of fun, Renegade HPG did a follow-up interview with Sam and DC Bruins where the three of them watched some recent BattleTech fan films. Sam’s delight is infectious and a real treat. Give ‘em both a watch.

Wait A Minute, It’s Not Halloween Yet!

The Black Marauder from OutreachHPG

Tychorion is an artist you should be following on Twitter. A true BattleTech fan, Tychorion shares a lot of great ‘Mech art, and I wanted to showcase one piece that recently popped up on Reddit that made me once again dive into Sarna’s vast data repository.

This is the Black Marauder, a ‘Mech that really oughtta be shared closer to Halloween. As noted in Sarna’s entry, “In some instances the ‘Mech was—always inconclusively—described to move in ways that are impossible for a Marauder (or any ‘Mech), including one tale where it was said to have turned its ‘head’ by bending its long snout just forward of the arm joints and revealed a maw with rows of serrated teeth.” 

What’s even spookier is that the ‘Mech seems to grow stronger when you line its armor with carcasses or how it turns its pilots into bloodthirsty demons. Tales of the Black Marauder started during the Fourth Succession War and extended all the way to the early Republic era. Either way, if you see a grinning Marauder turn without torso twisting, it’s time to run.

Hey Kid, Wanna Buy A Gauss Rifle? 

ArcFlash Labs' GR-1 Anvil Portable Gauss Rifle
Watch this video on YouTube.

Forgotten Weapons, a YouTuber who specializes in reviewing and dissecting firearms from throughout history both modern and ancient, recently decided to showcase something that’s on the bleeding edge of gun science. I present to you, the Arcflash Labs GR-1 Anvil; the world’s first commercially available Gauss Rifle.

Just like in BattleTech, the GR-1 uses a battery to charge a bank of capacitors that power a string of coils that magnetically accelerate a metal slug down and out the barrel. As Forgotten Weapons notes, the GR-1 is wildly impractical, not the least of which because it weighs over 20 pounds, will fry your cell phone if it’s still in your pocket when you pull the trigger and fires a small metal slug at roughly 230 feet per second. To put that into perspective, that’s basically a gun that weighs as much as two bowling balls firing a little metal pellet at about the same speed as a paintball gun. It’s enough to leave a pretty nasty bruise, but it’s not likely to penetrate the skin unless it’s fired at extremely close range. You can actually see the metal slugs drop significantly soon after leaving the barrel during the firing tests. 

Forgotten Weapons notes that the GR-1 is still in a technical alpha stage and isn’t being mass produced just yet, so we can forgive its lackluster performance. Getting one involves printing the parts via a 3D printer and then sourcing all the electrical bits yourself. And also machining the barrel and however many metal slugs you want. 

The GR-1 Anvil is a far cry from the Gauss Rifles of BattleTech which fires nickel-ferrous slugs at hypersonic speeds, but who cares? The technology is here, so you can check off Gauss Rifles from your BattleTech future bingo card.

Catalyst Announces New Wolfhound IIC Mini

Wolfhound IIC Grinner

When Phelan Kell was captured by Clan Wolf, then Khan Ulric ordered his prized Wolfhound be rebuilt from the ground up using Clan technology. This meant a brand-new XL engine, an Endo Steel chassis, Ferro-Fibrous armor, and a brand new weapons complement of one ER Large Laser, three Medium Pulse Lasers, a rear-firing ER Medium Laser, and an ECM Suite. An already capable Inner Sphere design suddenly became a powerhouse able to punch well above its 35 tons. Strangely, Clan Wolf didn’t decide to mass-produce the Wolfhound IIC, but Catalyst Game Labs isn’t making the same mistake.

The Wolfhound IIC is now available on Catalyst’s website for $14.99. Yes, that’s more than you’d typically pay per mini in other boxes, but you do get some extra goodies with the Grinner, including three different pairs of legs and four different arms to let you pose Grinner however you’d like. 

Catalyst expects the Wolfhound IIC to be a popular item, so sales are limited to two per person for the first week. They also promise that the Wolfhound IIC will be reprinted so even if they run out they’ll get more stock in future print runs.

On top of that, Catalyst is also making more Salvage Boxes available, but this time containing all 93 designs seen in the Clan Invasion Kickstarter campaign. These Salvage Boxes are fun little ways to augment your arsenal since you never know what you’re going to get. The new Salvage Boxes are available now at Barnes and Noble and Catalyst’s online storefront and will be available soon at your local game shop.

New BattleTech Plushies Have Leaked

The urbanmech is lonely no longer . . . New plushies leaked from battletech

First we got the UrbanMech, a choice that I will hardly fault Catalyst for because if any of BattleTech‘s many ‘Mechs should be turned into a plushie, it’s the Urbie. But it’s not my favorite ‘Mech by a wide margin, and I’d very much prefer something else instead. Thankfully, I might soon be able to purchase a replacement.

This photo got shared on the BattleTech subreddit. I don’t know where it originally came from (some are saying it was posted on Loren Coleman’s Facebook, but the post is gone now) and I don’t know what context this photo was taken under, but I find it difficult to believe someone would go to the trouble of photoshopping a bunch of fake ‘Mech plushies underneath the one real plushie we know about.

From what I can see, there’s a Phoenix Hawk at the bottom, an Archer on the right, an Atlas on the left beside the Urbie‘s left foot, and some strange blue ‘Mech just behind it that I absolutely cannot identify. It sort of looks like a Hatchetman, but without the right-arm hatchet. I’m sure someone will correct me, as I am also sure someone will alert me when these new ‘Mech plushies are officially announced.

New Hired Steel Episode Is Out Now!

Hired Steel: A Mech Machinima – Episode Two
Watch this video on YouTube.

Eldonious Rex, the superb artist who does the art for Sarna’s Bad ‘Mechs series, recently shared a poster done for the folks making Hired Steel, the equally superb fan-made MechWarrior video series. Hired Steel is probably the highest-quality and most intricate animation I’ve ever seen outside of a video game, so I highly encourage you to watch the latest episode which is now available on YouTube

Let’s Talk About Canopian Cat Girls

https://twitter.com/lewdwildcat144/status/1495494181757796358

So. We need to talk about Canopian Catgirls because I hear them mentioned quite a bit, and I don’t get it. I know that the Magistracy of Canopus has an exceptionally liberal and even wildly hedonistic society, which I can definitely get behind. The Magistracy even has a well-regulated sex industry where everyone is protected so long as there’s consent. Honestly, sounds like a great place compared to the rest of the Inner Sphere.

But Sarna doesn’t have an entry on Canopian Catgirls, and I can’t find anything that even mentions the possibility of ladies of the night with cat ears. My understanding here is that some of the Japanese origins of BattleTech got caught up in certain anime tropes which is how catgirls managed to make their way into the established canon. If anyone can help me sleuth this catgirl stuff out, that’d be swell. 

Something Big Is Coming From The Writer Of Star Wars: Rogue One

You might remember Gary Whitta as the screenwriter who wrote Rogue One, The Book of Eli, The Walking Dead, Star Wars Rebels, and a whole bunch of other stuff. He also hosted Animal Talking when that was a thing, and also created the pervy Wordle spinoff, Lewdle

The point is, the guy is connected in Hollywood, and now he’s teasing something big. Something with mechs.

We should note that the word “‘Mech” wasn’t used anywhere, so it seems whatever giant robot action flick Whitta is teasing won’t be a Hollywood adaptation of our beloved BattleTech. But I’m a fan of giant robots of all sorts and stripes, and I know a lot of you folks are too. I’ll stay tuned to this developing story.

Alright, that’s it for February! I seriously hope we stop living in interesting times very soon, except when it comes to BattleTech of course. Because “interesting” in a world context means “bad,” but in a BattleTech context means “cool.” 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

The Future Of MechWarrior

By now, you’ve probably heard about Microsoft’s intent to purchase Activision Blizzard, the massive publisher slash developer which produced the first MechWarrior games. This will bring the entire MechWarrior IP back under a single roof for the first time, and it’s gotten some of our hopes up for the possibility of a re-release or even a full-blown remake of MechWarrior 2. Combined with some of the other momentous news beats I’ve heard, I think it’s time we take a critical look at the future of MechWarrior.

And that future should first start with the present, which is MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. As you know, MechWarrior 5 developer Piranha Games (PGI) was purchased by Swedish games publisher EG7 in late 2020. Since then, MechWarrior 5 has been released on Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation and received two expansions in Heroes of the Inner Sphere and Legend of the Kestrel Lancers

All told, it’s been a pretty good run for MechWarrior 5, but it’s starting to sound like that run is coming to an end. In its most recent financial report (as noted by No Guts No Galaxy‘s Sean Lang), production on MechWarrior 5 is ramping down. 

“Although the community reception [of PlayStation MW5 launch] was very positive, the overall sales on PlayStation had low impact, resulting in an operating loss for the quarter,” wrote EG7. “Piranha has largely finished its development on MechWarrior 5 with limited residual effort for future maintenance. In Q4 2021, as the team further ramps down on MechWarrior 5, the plan is to fully utilize Piranha’s talented team to staff various key projects for the group such as the Lord of the Rings Online update.”

Mechwarrior 5 Dead? We don't know!
Watch this video on YouTube.

It seems pretty clear that MechWarrior 5 is staring at the end. However, all hope is not yet lost. Lang mentions in his video that he’d at least heard of a third expansion that was in development at PGI and it seemed relatively close to being released. While production might be winding down, that doesn’t mean it’s completely ceased, and this unnamed expansion might yet see the light of day. 

After that though is a big question mark. PGI still has the MechWarrior license from Microsoft until 2025, and it seems like a giant waste for a company that has spent almost a decade working on MechWarrior to suddenly drop the IP and just become a support studio for Lord of the Rings. 

At the same time, we know PGI has been hiring and there are still a few positions available on the company’s career page. It’s possible that part of PGI will be supporting LotR Online while another part continues to support the MechWarrior license. That’ll mean continued updates for MechWarrior Online and maybe--just maybe--work will begin on MechWarrior 6

One could argue that some tentative work has already begun on MechWarrior 6. As The Art of BattleTech recently reminded me, the Warden Pack for MechWarrior Online included several new cosmetics, including Elemental armored suits. Those Elemental battle armor models would be awfully handy in a future MechWarrior game about the Clans, not to mention MechWarrior Online’s vast library of Clan ‘Mechs. 

Warden Pack MWO

If there is a MechWarrior 6 coming--and this is entirely unfounded speculation, so don’t go saying this is some sort of revelation--my hope is that it features a somewhat more curated campaign. Randomized missions are all well and good and I think MechWarrior 5 has great procedurally generated maps, but what I really remember from the first two Mercenaries games was how even side missions felt like their own memorable stories. 

PGI has a lot of experience with MechWarrior and it’d be foolish to throw away the MechWarrior license without using it at least one more time before 2025. 

But What About MechWarrior Remakes? 

Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, the deal between Microsoft and Activision isn’t a sure thing. The FTC has already announced plans to review the merger and FTC chair Lina Khan has expressed growing concern about consolidation in big tech. That deal is by no means a guarantee. 

But let’s assume that the FTC doesn’t block the deal. We’ll likely see the acquisition finalize around next summer. Then, Microsoft will own every MechWarrior game produced except for PGI’s games (MechWarrior 5 and MechWarrior Online). This significantly simplifies the legal complications that are inherent in the BattleTech franchise and opens the possibility for those older MechWarrior titles to be released or even entirely remade. 

MechWarrior 2, GBL, MW2:Mercs

In January’s news report I might have made it seem like Activision was the big barrier to getting MechWarrior 2 released on something like GOG, but it’s come to my attention that’s probably not accurate. 

Activision has actually been historically more inclined to release their back catalog on services like GOG, whereas Microsoft has been reluctant to do the same because of GOG’s anti-DRM policies. That’s why you’ll see games like Dark Reign, Interstate 76, and Diablo on GOG, but you won’t find many (or any) Microsoft games. 

So why didn’t Activision release MechWarrior 2 on GOG? It’s certainly not for a lack of demand, what with MechWarrior being the second most requested franchise for the platform. I asked Trevor Longino, former head of PR and marketing at GOG, what kept the two apart. “While I was definitely an internal champion for [bringing MechWarrior to GOG], the legal problems were insurmountable,” he told me over Twitter. 

Those legal problems were likely licensing issues. Activision owned the game, sure, but Microsoft owned the MechWarrior license, and getting MechWarrior 2 rereleased would have meant royalty payments to Microsoft. That could have all been hashed out by lawyers, but in the end, the market potential for a MechWarrior 2 rerelease was probably too small for either side to bother paying lawyers to duke it out in a boardroom. 

But with Microsoft owning Activision, there’d be no need for lawyers to get involved. They’d own the license and the games--all they’d have to do is update it to work on modern hardware. 

“There are still a lot of legal hurdles remaining,” Trevor added, “but I admit if I were at GOG these days I’d be agitating for us to bring it up to our legal contacts there.”

MechWarrior 2

Here’s where we run into the second major issue with a MechWarrior remaster. Yes, Microsoft is an immensely powerful company that certainly has the resources to update its back catalog (just look at Halo and the Master Chief Collection for proof of that), but it comes down to whether or not MechWarrior would be profitable enough to bother. There’s also a technical element involved where some games are cheaper and easier to update than others. For example, MechAssault still hasn’t been updated to work on Game Pass reportedly due to some issues with getting the game engine to work on a modern Xbox

If there were a third-party developer that specialized in updating old games and was willing to assume the financial risks of doing so, then maybe we’d see those old MechWarrior games return. There are a few game studios out there that specialize in this sort of thing, but one of them stands out in my mind, and that’s Nightdive Studios.

In case you’ve never heard of them, Nightdive has made a name for bringing old but not-quote-forgotten games back from the dead. Games like System Shock, Doom 64, Turok, Powerslave, Darklands, Metal Fatigue, and Strife. Thanks to Nightdive’s proprietary tech, they’ve figured out a way to bring back these old games in a way that’s profitable. 

“We’d love to see the classic catalog make a return,” Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick told me after I reached out on Twitter. “It’s long overdue.”

But will Nightdive me the ones to do it? Kick wasn’t able to make any promises just yet. “All I can say is that with the acquisition the chances of anything happening are greatly improved.”

Still, the possibility is there. For the first time, the biggest barriers to bringing those old MechWarrior games back from the dead are gone. All it took was $70 billion and the biggest merger in video game history, but nobody said BattleTech was a cheap franchise.

Remember to keep your fingers crossed, folks. We could be heading into one of the more exciting times to be a MechWarrior fan.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy