MechWarrior Online Wants You To Meet The Centurion

By Nathan Grayson on July 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Here, we see the Centurion in its natural forest habitat, eagerly awaiting the season's first school of migratory salmon.

In case you were worried, MechWarrior Online does, in fact, have giant robots after all. I know, I know: I didn’t believe it either. Now, though, there’s honest-to-Godzilla-sized-robo-behemoth proof in the form of a fully automated video reel. Will wonders never cease? It introduces the well-rounded, generally reliable Centurion and details two specialized variants: one that’s best from a distance and another that loves nothing more than to move in close for its particular brand of rock ‘em sock ‘em robots. It can do this because it has 11 tons of armor. I did not know things could have that much armor. I imagine its hobbies include long walks on the beach, heavy metal music, and fashioning your home into a festive hat. So, with pleasant introductions out of the way, let’s see it in action.

My experience with MechWarrior is sadly limited, but I once played it in life-sized cockpit-simulating pods at a friend’s birthday party, and I was definitely the guy who just ran face-first into everyone else while unloading all possible ordinances at my disposal. It was a shockingly effective strategy, if only because I think the sheer “Wait, is he actually doing this”-ness of it all left people momentarily dumbfounded in the same way they might be if they witnessed a deer charging an oncoming 18-wheeler. Long story short: that heavily armored CN9-AL variant sounds right up my vaguely suicidal alley.

This all looks very nice, though – very nice indeed. Between this, Hawken, and Strike Suit Zero, it looks like we’ll have almost every mech-based base covered in the near future. I mean, we’re looking at slow-and-realistic-ish, sublimely speedy, and space, respectively. On top of that, there’s also MechWarrior Tactics on the way if you’d rather not directly control a mobile mountain of guns, steel, and more guns. I feel, though, that my Bull Charge Gambit may not be quite as effective in a turn-based setting. But it’s like Sun Tzu said: If at first you don’t succeed, keep running at the red thing until it dies.

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36 Comments »

  1. mistwolf says:

    Warhammer or bust!

    (And I don’t mean that silly miniature game! I mean THIS silly miniature game! Only, y’know, not so miniature!)

  2. wodin says:

    The first F2P game I’ve ever been interested in. I’ve been looking at lots of walkersmechs and the like on the net mainly of the steampunk variety aswell as the ones from Secrets of the Reich and Dust tactics. Some amazing designs out there. Even if mechswalkers don’t appeal normally once you start see some great artwork or models you soon change your mind.
    MechCommander was the first game I played online in a kind of RPG league,. I can’t remember the house I was in now. Though I do remember one of the lads in the States wrote Battletech books.

  3. DogKiller says:

    Hey, that doesn’t look like the Centurion that I remember. Which, as it happens, used to be my favourite mech when I was into Battletech. I don’t want to be too much of a negative Nancy, but its original version looked much better. The game does look cool, though.

  4. Premium User Badge Riaktion says:

    Although I am pleased that Mechwarrior is getting some love right now, with Mechwarrior online and Mechwarrior tactics… I can’t help but think the franchise has so much untapped potential other than two multi player focused battle games.

    For example no Mechwarrior game has really done the Stenier – Davion war and all the tales and heroes that exist in that story arc. Mechwarrior 4 touched on it, and Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries had a pointless “pick what side you’re on” via side missions kind of thing, but the politics, the overall war, the assassination attempts, the opportunistic invasions by other factions, the main characters like Victor Davion, Archer Christifori, Katherine Steiner, Adam Steiner, Clan wolf in Exile,
    Khan Phelan Kell, Morgan Kell leader of the famous mercenary band the Kell Wolves, Comstar and the Com Guard.. get into how they try to remain neutral.. kind of.. ..there are just so many things in this one story arc that covers a certain period of Battletech history in the Battletech universe that you could almost make some kind of RPG.. or a total war style thing.. or a Mechwarrior game like we have here, only with a proper campaign with a real narrative that puts your actions in context of the wider picture, or has you fighting as part of an actual army with infantry, air assets etc. In the books Battle mechs tend to operate in Battalion size not one or two lances of mechs going up against each other. The lighter Mechs actually take up scouting roles and the artillery mechs like the Catapult (which is just a walking missle launcher) sit in the back field shelling the hell out of enemy per their design and the pilots that pilot them have this down to a fine art.. just like all soldiers operating in a certain combat role.

    I dunno.. I just think a lot of the Battletech universe and what makes it a vibrant and engaging place to escape to gets missed in these games.. and for me that is a shame.

    Maybe if these games are successful someone can spend some money on a fully realised Battletech game that gets across the war element of the universe, and the characters within it.. which has loss, pain, sacrifice, hard choices and hard won victories, rather than the one aspect of big shooty robots blowing each other up.

    • DogKiller says:

      I’ve never really followed the Battletech universe extremely closely, as I’ve never had people to play the tabletop game with or anything like that, but I have read some of the books, and of course played the computer games, and I hear what you’re saying. I think they probably see more commercial success in sticking with the Mechwarrior style as opposed to a strategy game, as most gamers will find some appeal in smashing the circuits out of other robots with lasers and missiles.

      Have you tried the Mechcommander games? They might be a little more up your street. The first ever Battletech computer game happened to be an RPG, but it’s like twenty years old now or something. Another Battletech computer RPG would be excellent, but I think it’d be a cold day in hell before we ever saw something like that.

      • Premium User Badge Riaktion says:

        Yeah I have played the Mech commander series and they have come closest to capturing an actual campaign.. the first one certainly.

        Mechwarrior 3 did a pretty good job of this also…. the others have been stompy robot shoot em ups.. set in the universe, which is fine.. I enjoyed MW4 for example.. I just wish they would stop scratching the surface.. :)

    • Lord Byte says:

      There’s actually a Battletech pen and paper RPG, which was called Mechwarrior (which is the dude inside) and was also about things outside of the mech. The entire reason we call it mechwarrior is indeed because Mechwarrior 1 was an RPG, and the sequel was the much more popular “Mech-sim”.

      If you really want to play in the world, find a group that runs it and join in, it truly is an awesome world!

    • wodin says:

      I do too. Infact I think PC games along the lines of many tabletop games out there is a huge untapped market. Give them the same experience but with animations and AISingle player aswell as of course multiplay. Would be huge.

      Hopefully someone will start to develop games along those lines. I’m not talking RTS style either, Maybe WEGO or turn based.

      Gibe them a great RPG aspect, the tools to “paint” their own armies etc. Even customise their armies weapons and vehicle designs etc.

      The reason they wont make them is because it would eat into the boardgametabletop profits no doubt or thats what there worried about. i think it would bring more people into the tabletop hobby aswell.

      Anyway some needs to create something along similar lines but a new IP.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      It’s true that the focus on big stomping mech action produces games lacking the most interesting ideas from the Battletech universe.

      Based on this gameplay video, MWO is effectively just another FPS with heat instead of some other limiting mechanic like energy. There are even chest-high walls, they just happen to be buildings and you can’t stick to them by pressing the “action” key. I don’t see any mechanics that reflect the concerns and details unique to the setting, from the politics to the extreme environments to the melancholy certainty that humanity is in decline. Further, the combat on display doesn’t mesh at all with the fact that these mechs are monumentally valuable, many representing the last of their kind; treasures that are only put into harms way in the most dire of circumstances.

      I’m not saying to never make a mass market action game in the Mechwarrior universe. Clearly a lot of people want that and will enjoy it. But what’s the harm in making a niche strategyRPG with cheap 2D graphics for the rest of us? Or at least an action game which is more carefully considered maneuvering and less chaotic melee…

      Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised by actual gameplay; obviously in a trailer of this length they will highlight “action packed” footage for the zero-attention-span crowd.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Be sure to check out an emulated ancient piece of goodness in BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception.

        This is the kind of thing I would love to see done with modern day tech, but same / more involvement in making the text hit home.

        I don’t know why, but back then the writing just seemed to have so much more impact. Cutting someone up with a vibroblade in a textbox, with grisly description, just felt so much more right than some modern day CGI cutscene of it.

  5. Dozer says:

    If I can use PJRC Teensy++ USB interface boards to build my own cockpit very cheaply, then I will be all over this!

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      And then post pictures, as that would be awesome! DIY destructo-cockpit

    • grundus says:

      Can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to, apart from cost maybe… Nice buttons and switches are so damn expensive when you need more than a few of them.

  6. John Connor says:

    Wait, you can’t customise your mech? You have to use preset “variants”? That’s lame.

    I’ll play Hawken instead.

    • kraken says:

      You can actually, they have shown the customizing in other videos.
      They are just presenting the base available variants here.

    • Thesper says:

      Each variant of a mech has a different hardpoint loadout (e.g. the standard Catapult has missile hardpoints in the “arms”, a variant has energy hardpoints there instead), what you put on those hardpoints is up to you. You can add or remove armor, heatsinks etc. but you can’t put a laser on a missile slot or a missile launcher where an autocannon was. You could however swap out a Catapult’s LRMs for SRMs or for the energy variant choose whether to mount lasers or PPCs.

    • Matryc says:

      And what customization options are in Hawken exactly?

      • Muzman says:

        Pretty much the same preset style ones (I know that was the point).
        It does seem odd for a combat MMO though (if it’s a toss up between this and Hawken, you’re probably not looking for an MMO in the first place, just a stompy thing addict),

        • Vorphalack says:

          Addictive stompy thing, right? The stompy thing addict is the guy doing the addictive stomping, and frankly we ain’t looking for him.

  7. hello_mr.Trout says:

    in the grimdark future when giant mechs fight for domination, there will be 80′s backing theme music

  8. mckertis says:

    Have you ever seen a realistic mech design that would be able to turn around ? THat is, have legs that would visibly have the potential to move in more than one axis ? Supposedly all mechs ever have this “vague and invisible hips ball joints” somewhere, but i dont think i’ve ever seen it incorporated into actual design. Did you ?

    • Brian_black says:

      I always thought they pivoted at the ankle, rather than the hip.

      • mckertis says:

        I spent 20 seconds trying to imagine how that would possibly work, and gave up. I got nothing.

      • Premium User Badge Riaktion says:

        Whhaaa… do you mean.. I.. I don’t know what you mean.

    • Some Guy says:

      I’m trying to visualize what yer’ getting at, I assumed on like for a madcat for example the torso rotated the same way a tank cannon does (on a circular track) and the legs controlled similarly to a tank-though I guess maybe you could have a setup sort of like the mechanics of a joystick except powered if you needed it to have more mobility? I dunno

    • Axess Denyd says:

      One of the more recent Mechwarrior games addressed this in development, actually. I don’t remember if it was an Activision-developed game or Microsoft, but they were working with FASA and said something like “Hey, there aren’t enough joints here to actually let this robot turn. Can we add some?”

  9. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I AM CENTURION.

    And THIS is my Autocannon/10.

  10. nanowired says:

    But this game has too much technobabble!

    • Premium User Badge Riaktion says:

      Not if you are trained in the ways of Battletech. BEGIN YOUR TRAINING!

      http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Main_Page

      • mckertis says:

        That’s one of the biggest negative points of Battletech : too much useless stuff to chew through. There are too many people on the, pretty much every single forum ever, who, when the topic gets to Battletech, start slinging around all the terms and which house warred with Kellhounds in which year, and what is the maximum temperature of the UAC/35 after 5 shots, and why Catapult-srmety646zzz wasnt equipped with fibro-mega-super-duper-steel portable toilets in 21st of january 3057.

        I dont give a crap about any of that !
        I’ve never played tabletop game !
        I just liked the battletech videogames, i dont want to become one of those people !
        Leave me alooooone !!
        Thats why long-running comic books get “reset” every once in a while. Its good to have a history. But you CAN have TOO MUCH history.

  11. Stiletto says:

    The Centurion is quite a solid, well balanced and versatile Medium Mech. I see that they changed it’s shape a bit from the original design, but it’s not a problem.

    ‘Tis my second favourite Medium Mech as the Uziel is always my first choice. I mean, gotta love strapping on two PPCs into the arm slots and then snipe Atlas’ cockpits and watch them rage. >:D

  12. Impy says:

    >It can do this because it has 11 tons of armor. I did not know things could have that much armor.

    The main battle tank of the American Army the M1A1 has MUCH more than 11tons of armor. I can’t find an exact number, but the total weight is 60tons and the majority of that weight is armor.