BattleTech (Video Game)
|First published||24 April 2018|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
It was announced on 29 July 2015 that a new BattleTech-themed game was going to be made, with additional crowdfunding via Kickstarter. The Backer Beta was released via Steam on 01 June 2017; the finished game was first released on 24 April 2018. Multiple updates would be released over the following two years that would add new 'Mechs and story content.
- 1 Canonicity
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Plot Synopsis
- 4 Featured BattleTech
- 5 Featured Characters
- 6 BattleTech: Flashpoint Expansion Pack
- 7 BattleTech: Urban Warfare Expansion Pack
- 8 BattleTech: Heavy Metal Expansion Pack
- 9 Resources
- 10 Art
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 External Links
Jordan Weisman of FASA fame, often called the "creator of BattleTech", was involved in the making of this game but it was technically produced under the offshoot license for BattleTech computer games that has been a separate intellectual property from the original tabletop BattleTech game, sourcebook and novel line ever since FASA's Virtual World Entertainment Group (and the computer game rights with it) was sold to Microsoft in 1999.
However, there was some cooperation between Catalyst Game Labs and HBS regarding this game. CGL Line Developer Randall N. Bills explicitly stated that it was intended for the game's storyline to be fully canonical. While the game as such was not declared canonical, CGL have since published a sourcebook–House Arano (The Aurigan Coalition)–that was written by HBS's Andrew McIntosh and Kiva Maginn. This sourcebook canonized the key worlds, characters and events from the game (but not the game as such).
|“||Steeped in the feudal political intrigue of the BattleTech universe, the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics.||”|
The game features turn-based 'Mech combat scenarios at its core, where the player gets to control up to four 'Mechs. Game rules and unit stats were altered significantly compared to standard "classic BattleTech" tabletop play, though some basic statistics and mechanics can be 'translated' or 'converted' between the underlying systems without too much difficulty (e.g. multiply all tabletop damage values by 5 to get rough equivalence with BattleTech's).
Mission objectives vary, and while most missions are procedurally generated there are also a number of pregenerated missions that serve to narrate the storyline (see Plot Synopsis below). Both procedural and storyline missions may present complications such as limited drop weight, poor intelligence (the actual difficulty of the mission may be higher than displayed), allied units helping out, enemy reinforcements arriving, artillery barrages presenting dangerous areas, and so on.
In addition, there is a metagame with economic and role-playing elements where the player gets to run his or her own mercenary unit (default name "<Character Name>'s Marauders", though the player is free to give it any other name thereafter) and manage their assets including MechWarrior characters between missions. The player will also have to manage relations with various political factions (Successor States, but also groups like pirates and local governments) and negotiate for cash, salvage, or goodwill from these factions when conducting missions depending on their particular needs or goals. Periodically the player may have to resolve random events during travel, such as disagreements between their pilots, mishaps, and so on. These events have multiple choice outcomes, many of which may be unlocked or modified by the characters involved possessing certain traits or modifiers, or other statuses like the player having high reputation with a faction involved in the event.
Aside from the main Campaign mode the game also features a Career mode, where the goal is to simply attain the highest possible score the player can within 1,200 days of in-game time; there are no mandatory story missions involved, though Flashpoints may appear if the appropriate DLC is installed. Scoring categories include unique 'Mechs and variants collected, 'Mech weight class collections completed (i.e. collecting every Heavy 'Mech in the game rewards a significant point bonus), missions completed, C-Bills earned, Argo upgrades installed, non-Commander pilots levelled up, total systems visited, and more. There are also Skirmish and Multiplayer modes, where players can go head to head against the AI or other human players to prove their skill in battle on various battlefields with hand-picked Lance setups.
Finally, as of the last major update, the game itself is also highly modifiable with an integrated mod launcher and official support for modding game assets. It is fully possible for users to add their own 'Mechs (canon or otherwise), 'Mech variants, vehicles, vehicle variants, weapons, mission types, and much more. The underlying gameplay systems themselves can also be modified and expanded to, for example, increase the complexity of the various systems to something more closely resembling classic BattleTech tabletop rules for those so inclined.
The game is set in the Aurigan Reach region in the rimward periphery, beyond the Free Worlds League, the Capellan Confederation and the Federated Suns and between the Taurian Concordat and the Magistracy of Canopus.
The Aurigan Reach was created for this game, including many of its named worlds that had not been mentioned in canon before, by fleshing out what had mostly been a blank slate in previous BattleTech canon. Given that many named worlds will belong to one of the other, larger powers on canonical star maps set later in the timeline, it is understood that the Aurigan Reach and the realms therein are struggling minor periphery powers barely considered noteworthy by the Inner Sphere.
The game is (mostly) set around the year 3025, near the end the Third Succession War. Its optional storyline, narrated via a "breadcrumbs" trail of storyline missions that the player may follow or ignore, is broadly concerned with the Arano Restoration:
In 2910, after the major factions abandoned the area for more than a hundred years, a new state—the Aurigan Coalition—sprang up, centered around the noble families of the trade worlds Coromodir, Guldra and Tyrlon. Coromodir was chosen as the capital and the noble House Arano and House Espinosa became the leaders when the Arano family displaced the figurehead governor the Taurians had left behind in 2820. In 3025 border tensions with the Taurian Concordat rose to a point where war was inevitable, as the Taurians laid claims to border worlds like Qalzi. At the same time, the Capellan Confederation is claiming former Confederate worlds on the other side of the Aurigan Coalition. After High Lord Tamati Arano II died in a space travel accident, the rule of his daughter and heir, Lady Kamea Arano, is usurped by House Espinosa. With the help of a mercenary unit—the player unit—she sets out to restore her rule over the Aurigan Coalition.
- Hatchetman *
- Crab *
- Shadow Hawk
- Assassin *
- Vulcan *
- Phoenix Hawk *
- Black Knight
- Archer *
- Warhammer **
- Marauder **
- Rifleman *
- Cyclops *
- Atlas II
- King Crab
- Annihilator *
- Bull Shark *
Asterisk * - Denotes a Download Content-Only Mech. Note that while the UrbanMech made an appearance during the tutorial of the game, it did not appear under the control of the AI in single-player until the Urban Warfare DLC.
Also note that Warhammer and Marauder (denoted with double asterisk **) are added with free game update associated with Heavy Metal DLC.
- Ammunition Transporter
- LRM Carrier
- Mobile HQ
- Mobile Long Tom (model used as scenery only)
- Schrek PPC Carrier
- Sleipnir APC
- SRM Carrier
- Swift Wind
- Vargr APC
- Wheeled APC
- Zephyr (as SLDF Medium Drone and SLDF Heavy Drone)
- Gallant *
- Packrat *
- Rotunda *
Asterisk * - Denotes a Download Content-Only Vehicle
- Argo (Argo)
- Fortress (Iberia)
- Leopard (Delfinas, Hysteria)
- Union (Newgrange)
- ADV Coranach, DropShip of unspecified type
Magistracy of Canopus
The player character's mercenary unit, the "Marauders" (the name may be changed by the player at any time), consists of the Commander themselves, three non-player characters serving in noncombat roles, plus four initial playable MechWarriors.
Over the course of the game there is a wide range of further possible recruits for the unit, both in the form of "Ronin" backers and randomly-generated pilots.
BattleTech: Flashpoint Expansion Pack
Announced on 21st August 2018 was the game's first expansion pack, dubbed Flashpoint, which released on 27th November 2018. The expansion includes a new challenging mission type "Target Acquisition" which is focused on territory control best suited to light and medium 'Mechs, new tropical biome and three new 'Mechs including the Crab, Cyclops, and Hatchetman - the first 'Mech not taken from MechWarrior Online.
The expansion's key feature is the inclusion of seventeen "Flashpoint" missions, high-stakes branching short stories which are comprised of nonprocedural missions linked together by new crew conversations and special events. To ramp up the intensity, some Flashpoint stories feature "Consecutive Deployments" in which players will not be able to repair their 'Mechs between missions.
BattleTech: Urban Warfare Expansion Pack
The second expansion pack, Urban Warfare, was announced 18th October 2018 as part of the promotional materials for the game's season pass. Urban Warfare was released on 4th June 2019.
As its name implies, the pack's focus is the introduction of urban environments to the game with tall fully destructible buildings hindering line of site offering a new challenge. The Urban Warfare pack also adds ten new Flashpoints and a host of new equipment including ECM and Active Probes, three new vehicles - the Gallant Urban Assault Tank, the Packrat and Rotunda - and two new BattleMechs, the Raven and Javelin.
BattleTech: Heavy Metal Expansion Pack
The name of the game's third planned expansion pack Heavy Metal was announced at the same time the Urban Warfare release date was announced. The pack was released on November 21st 2019.
It was announced at Mech Con 2018 that the Unseen were intended to be included in Urban Warfare. PDXCon 2019 revealed that the expansion would include eight new 'Mechs - the Flea, Assassin, Phoenix Hawk, Vulcan, Archer, Rifleman, Annihilator and a unique new original 'Mech developed by HBS, the Bull Shark. Each 'Mech included a unique feature, with eight new weapon systems including 'Mech Mortars and Inferno Missiles were included. The expansion also includes a new Flashpoint that includes an encounter with Wolf's Dragoons, Natasha Kerensky and the Bounty Hunter. It was released alongside a major free update that introduced the Marauder and Warhammer, and also added official mod support.
- BattleMechs in BattleTech Video Game
- Characters in BattleTech Video Game
- Equipment in BattleTech Video Game
- Planets in BattleTech Video Game
- Vehicles in BattleTech Video Game
- Flashpoint Missions in BattleTech Video Game
- In this forum thread on the game's homepage:
Q: "[D]oes your work on MWO and HBS-BT mean the Hero 'Mech fluff in the former and the campaign storyline in the latter are canonical for the core (CGL) BatteTech lore?"
A (by Randall Bills): "For the Hero 'Mechs, absolutely. And that is the intention with the HBS campaign storyline as well."
- Harebrained Schemes LLC: Kickstarter Update #28: "History of the Aurigan Reach"
- Harebrained Schemes LLC: Kickstarter Update #48: "Battle Stations! This is not a drill!"