MekTek Is Back

via MekTek Studios

So MekTek is back, apparently.

I should back up a bit. For those who weren’t as big into MechWarrior 4 as I was, MekTek is a collective of MechWarrior fans that got together to make their own development studio.

Their first great accomplishment was the MekPaks, a series of unofficial expansion to MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. These greatly expanded the number of ‘Mechs you could pilot in the game, and some of my fondest memories in MechWarrior 4‘s Solaris matches was me running around in a Tenchi. I loved that thing, even if it wasn’t a “cannon” design.

Their second great accomplishment was acquiring the rights to MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries and then freely distributing it on their website. For a time, anyway. You can’t download it for free now, and even if you could, getting it to work on a modern PC is a bit of a technical nightmare.

After MechWarrior 4 had run its course, MekTek moved away from the BattleTech franchise to make a stand-alone game using the Heavy Gear license. Called Heavy Gear Assault, the game was released on Steam Early Access way back in February of 2017. I’ve never played it, but the Steam reviews are mostly negative saying that the game’s servers have shut down and you can’t actually log in or create an account.

Heavy Gear Assault stopped receiving updates in August of 2017. Since then, nothing. Not a word on the MekTek Facebook, LinkedIn, or official website.

But now, all of a sudden, MekTek has returned.

About a month ago, a Reddit post announced the return of the MekTek Discord server. I’ve been lurking there for a little while trying to see what’s going on, and from what I can tell, MekTek has big plans. The scuttlebutt is that they plan on bringing MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries back from the dead, updating it to work on modern hardware, and re-establishing MekMatch to give the game multiplayer capabilities.

Just a few days ago, another post on Reddit (and in the MekTek Discord) announced the return of MekMatch. Now if you’ve got a working copy of MechWarrior 4: Mercs you can take your big stompy robots into battle online once again.

My sources (and by that I mean me lurking in Discord) tells me that MekTek even plans for yet another MekPak expansion for MW4: Mercs. MekPak 5 is due sometime later this year.

Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries - The Mechs of Mektek Part I
Watch this video on YouTube.

And that’s all I know. I’ve been trying to reach out to the studio heads to see if I can get more, but they’re all too hard at work to answer my messages. I don’t blame them, but I certainly would love to know when I can re-install MechWarrior 4 without needing a degree in computer science.

Might MekTek also tackle MechWarrior 5 and its nascent mod editor? Maybe. I haven’t heard anything about that, but it certainly seems within their capabilities.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to continue my lurking and will report more on this exciting development as I learn more.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

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

36 thoughts on “MekTek Is Back

  1. Chris S.

    After they took a buncha money for Heavy Gear Assault and then squandered it on apparently nothing (judging by the last iteration of the “game”), MekTek can go kick rocks.

    Reply
    1. Will9761

      You can blame BlocPlay for that. They bought out Stompy Bot Productions and fired everyone who was working on the game. Even the MekTek guys.

      Reply
    2. R4

      You forgot to mention that not only that but they are holding Heavy Gear Assault as their card for ransom against Mektek, so if they ever want to continue working on it again they will have to pay a hefty fee and due to the whole situation they only made a net loss over HGA. Which basically ended all projects.

      Reply
  2. Steve B

    I would like to see them take their talents and put them to use in improving and modding Mechwarrior 5 instead of an ancient game like MW4.

    Reply
    1. Kdogprime

      I must disagree. I’d rather see more content for MW4, which is still a fun game to play, rather than MW5, which is hot garbage.

      Reply
        1. Kdogprime

          Because PGI is a bad dev, that’s why.

          I’m not so attached to any IP that I’ll support its products regardless of how terrible they are.

          Reply
          1. Penguini

            I’m sorry but calling a game that otherwise has good reviews “hotgarbage” just makes you look like a complete idiot.

          2. Kdogprime

            In reply to Penguini…

            You want to rephrase your statement?

            https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/mechwarrior-5-mercenaries

            5.1 rated user reviews, and nearly double the amount of negative reviews as positive one, and just as as many negative reviews and positive and mediocre combined is not what I would call “otherwise good”.

            MW5 has a litany of known issues. Bad NPC spawns; terrible AI; paper-mache environments with no real sense of proper scale; no radar; no ability to command your squadmates in any useful way; a UI that is a step backwards from MWO; improperly balanced weapons (spitball ACs, I’m looking at you), repetitive missions; bad voice acting; a forgettable campaign; and grind, grind, grind.

            Shall I go on? MW5 is an objective loser of a game. Way more negatives than positives. The only thing that going to make that game even tolerable by the time it’s released on Steam is the modding community, because PGI has taken their last kick at the can and whiffed…badly. Now it falls to the community to fix what PGI couldn’t be bothered not to make properly in the first place.

            If you can’t accept that reality, that’s your problem, and slinging around insults doesn’t put a dent in anything I’ve written so far.

    2. KzrKp

      I’d rather PGI rot in shit for killing off battletech fan games and modding. and that “ancient game” has a better feature set, which is pathetic.

      Reply
  3. wolfbane2004

    Well, they might have to rename the MekTek Tenshi since there’s now a canonical 95 ton OmniMech of the same name. >.>

    Reply
  4. Will9761

    MekTek isn’t completely to blame for HGA’s death. A company called BlocPlay bought out Stompy Bot Productions and fired everyone who was working on the game, even the MekTek guys. I feel bad for the Gearheads who were waiting for a return to Heavy Gear on the PC.

    Reply
  5. Bogus

    Nice to see them back in the game–I always thought it was a raw deal that MekTek did a bunch of great work on MW4 and then just faded into the ether, seemingly taking the game with them.

    Reply
  6. BLR-IIC

    I was a MekTek beta tester up until the release of MekPak 3.1. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to test out MekPak 4, but I knew some awesome stuff was coming. I think MP4 petered out after some personal emergencies occurred within the development team, IIRC. While I’d like to see MP4 and MP5 come to fruition, I’d rather see work focused on modding MechWarrior 5.

    While I spent many hours having a good time playing MW4 and its MekPaks, I really like how much more true to BattleTech MWO and MW5 are in their mechanics than MW4.

    Reply
    1. Magna Aranea

      MP4 is not an interest to the mektek team, particularly one of the key programmers (who refuses to touch it). The team lead, however, has expressed interest. Consider it a possibility some of the members might look at 5, but unlikely to carry the brand of mektek itself.

      Mektek’s purpose is and has been to advance the vision of Mechwarrior 4 as a game, never to try and play close to canon.

      Yes, two personal disasters contributed to the MW4 group falling apart. Good news is, they’re back and the medical issues are resolved.

      Reply
  7. pht

    I’m not sure if the guys ever actually “had the rights” in the usual sense one thinks of when they hear that phrase. They did distribute the game legit and sans the DRM. Mekpak 5 would be a rather odd way to version name, the last one I recall testing on was mekpak 4 and it never saw the light of day release wise. That said, I wonder who will be bringing the site up and if they’re going to be doing coding/etc I have to wonder who’ll be doing it. Jehosephat2k from what I knew did the lion’s share, and I have heard he had a stroke, but I have no knowledge about how he is after that?… as if losing his family dog and computer to a house fire started by a stupid dryer wasn’t bad enough) … Also, if it really is the old team, they’ve got some cleanup to do regarding a certain section of moddb dumping the tools out as public downloads.

    Be neat to have the old stomping grounds back up, even better if the forum archives were restored.

    P.S.
    Hi solarmech, if you’re still out there 9and all the rest of the crew) … I can play nice and not poke the bear as long as you can refrain from jabbing me in the eye with a stick. ;)

    Reply
    1. Magna Aranea

      They have the rights in the sense of Microsoft approval in addition to other companies giving them a pass at their negotiation/request, such as Harmony Gold. They did, and continue to have full right to distribute the game, according to the lead programmer (information which can be found in the chat log on the discord server). MP5 is a typo, it was never mentioned that they are working on something different from an updated version of MP4, which is an initiative that actually focuses on electronic warfare and additional mechs in the first place. Technical compatibility and networking are more recent priorities, in addition to merging the MP4 branch with the latest on MP3.

      Good news, the stroke was not fatal, and the team is back in business. Silver lining.

      The fellow dumping the tools out is in the same discord as the team itself, who have expressed no problem with him. If anything, he’s encouraged, and additionally there has been musing about releasing more tools/info from the team itself.

      VAM is in business and, iirc, the main face behind restoring the website. Right now they’re getting it back as it was, but I believe updating the site is also a priority.

      Solar’s in there. I invite you to check out the linked discord. It’s fairly active and the team occasionally steps in to have a chat, even if the top faces have been a little silent lately.

      Reply
      1. Pht

        Good to hear jeho is still kicking, the moddb toolsdump apparently isn’t off the farm (the first time was bad enough… ergh) and some if not most of the old faces showing back up.

        People are going to extrude sidewalk sized bricks from their posteriors when they see all the toys in MP4. :D

        Reply
  8. James

    Actually I’ve seen/played these mechs at a place called MechCorps in Houston, TX. The Behemoth is one vicious killing machine.

    Reply
  9. NoSpam

    “You can’t download it for free now, and even if you could, getting it to work on a modern PC is a bit of a technical nightmare.”

    Runs straight out the folder for me, and this was the case when I copied to Win 7 the 10. Same thing with AT1:BT.

    The only “difficult” part is opening ports for mulitplayer.

    Reply
  10. WiCceD

    I’d love to see MW4 return. The gameplay was solid, the lacking part was the bad scaling of terrain. Bit of brush up with new age tech and MW5 would be dead by comparison. I think the epic failure of 5 is probably what inspired this to try and happen. I mean PGI took a 10 year old game and actually made it worse, MWO by them was horrid also. Now we just need the old MWL site back with forums. All the players will be a decade older but itd be nice to own some kids that do nothing but play all day without jobs.

    Reply
  11. nano

    Hi Pht. Good to see you are still around.

    I had assumed the discord guys were imposters, but maybe I am wrong.

    Reply
  12. HRM

    I too would love to see MW4 return. MW5 is a fail left to the modding community to do for free what PGI should have done before the release. I have enjoyed MW4 for years and recently reinstalled MP3.1 on Win10 w/o issue. It’s awesome to play on 55″screen now!
    How do we support MekTek devs in this ? Thoughts?

    Reply
  13. C337Skymaster

    I’d love an updated version of MW4 for Win 10. I have their version up through 3.1 (3.2?), but while I can get it to install on Win 10, it won’t run. I’d love updates for Vengeance and Black Knight, as well. :)

    When they’re done with that, I’d LOVE it if someone wanted to update MW2 and MW3 to run on Win 10. :D Literally all I want is compatibility coding, but I suspect whoever takes on that project won’t be able to resist the temptation to update the graphics while they’re in there. :) I personally feel as though making those two games available on Win 10 will go a LONG way towards boosting the population in the overall Battletech community. It feels like 90% of the fans either played TT in the 80’s, or MW2 in the 90’s, and there haven’t been many new recruits since. (I’m a MW2 recruit, hence my passion for raising it from the dead).

    Reply
    1. Pittiplatsch

      Mw4 runs well under win10. first you have to right click on the starticon. then select windows xp + service pack 3 in compatibility mode and run as administrator below.
      Next you have to rename or delete the file imagehlp.dll in your Mw4 directory \ assets \ binaries.
      Because of this file, mw4 does not start under win 10.
      Finally you have to download the Zoneswitcher (33KB). start the program and select Davion. Then start mw4 and you will see some servers (from the clan SoE or Cmeg (CYT) etc.).
      I hope to see some more soon ^^
      Sorry about my english, i am from germany and english is not my strong point.

      Reply
      1. Pittiplatsch

        Ahh ….. completely forgotten … If you get an error message when joining a game server, you must activate port forwarding on your router. 2 Ports:
        1. TCP 2300-2400 and
        2. UDP 2300-2400.
        Now that’s really all ^^

        Reply
        1. C337Skymaster

          Heh, I never even played MW4 multiplayer. :) I played the hell out of the Campaign, though. :D Actually, around the time MekTek was disappearing, and PGI was forcing MWLL to close up shop, I didn’t have a new enough computer to run Crysis, so I was playing all of the Mechwarrior and MechCommander campaigns in sequential chronological order:

          MW2: Mercenaries
          MW2
          MW2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy
          MechCommander
          MechCommander Gold
          MW3
          MW3 Pirate’s Moon
          MechCommander 2
          MW4: Vengeance
          MW4: Black Knight
          MW4: Mercenaries

          I really need to dust off my old Win XP laptop and take another spin through those games. I haven’t played them since I finally got a computer that could play MWO.

          Reply
  14. C337Skymaster

    Heh, I never even played MW4 multiplayer. :) I played the hell out of the Campaign, though. :D Actually, around the time MekTek was disappearing, and PGI was forcing MWLL to close up shop, I didn’t have a new enough computer to run Crysis, so I was playing all of the Mechwarrior and MechCommander campaigns in sequential chronological order:

    MW2: Mercenaries
    MW2
    MW2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy
    MechCommander
    MechCommander Gold
    MW3
    MW3 Pirate’s Moon
    MechCommander 2
    MW4: Vengeance
    MW4: Black Knight
    MW4: Mercenaries

    I really need to dust off my old Win XP laptop and take another spin through those games. I haven’t played them since I finally got a computer that could play MWO.

    Reply

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