Back in the 1980s, FASA’s BattleTech tabletop war games were immensely popular, spawning a host of spin-offs, and videogames. The most popular of these was MechWarrior videogame franchise, placing gamers in the cockpits of giant mechanized robots used to wage wars in the far future. As computer technology developed so did the follow-ups, adding greater detail and further enhancing the simulation aspects that players loved. Unfortunately, the market moved towards quick thrills in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, resulting in a move away from the established formula, and though each title fared well with critics and fans, the franchise eventually went on hiatus.
Believing the franchise to still be popular if marketed correctly, Piranha Games Inc. reacquired the rights to MechWarrior and began work on a multiplatform title that reemerged recently as a PC-exclusive. Known simply as MechWarrior Online, the free-to-play online title focusses the action squarely on the thing MechWarrior fans like most: blowing opposition mechs into a million pieces through the use of superior tactics.
Developed using Crytek’s CryEngine 3, MechWarrior Online brings the franchise’s fabled gameplay to life like never before, rendering mechs, destruction, and battlefields in unprecedented detail, drawing players into the action; making them feel as if they truly are sat in a giant bipedal mech equipped with highly destructive, futuristic weapons. And as you might expect from a CryEngine 3 title there are all manner of DirectX 11 effects, though at this time we cannot confirm which due to the game’s ongoing development.
3D Vision users, meanwhile, can leverage the technology to play MechWarrior Online in immersive stereoscopic 3D, which will further heighten the feeling of being sat in a physical mech cockpit. As with other 3D Vision titles, screen elements will be individually layered, and incoming enemy weapons fire will look as if it’s coming out of the screen, directly at you.
As mentioned earlier, MechWarrior Online is a free-to-play title, meaning you need never spend a penny to progress, though the option is of course available. For those wishing to invest in the game to support the developers, the Founder’s Program is currently available, which rewards said investors with the game’s mechs and a fistful of in-game currency ahead of launch, giving them a head start on the progression curve. For further details, head here
From what we’ve seen, MechWarrior Online appears to be a return to form for the franchise, refocusing on the aspects fans loved to create the ultimate online MechWarrior, player versus player experience. To sign-up for the ongoing beta, click here