Rebooting: Hawken Revived By APB Reloaded Devs

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Hawken [official site] was clearly in trouble. Bugs had gone unfixed, patches ceased to flow, its forums went down, and developers Adhesive Games remained silent. Yep, it was in a pickle all right. But huzzah, things are looking up for the free-to-play multiplayer mech FPS.

Reloaded Games, the company who took over APB after creators Realtime Worlds closed, have announced they now own Hawken and are planning a new fixes and updates.

“I’m pretty excited to *now* be able to announce that Reloaded Games is the new owner of Hawken,” new producer Joshua Clausen said in a Facebook post over the weekend. “It’s a seriously great honor to be a part of the Hawken story, and I want to see it thrive. Once the forums are up we will post more information (they’ve been taking a lot longer than I was hoping).”

He also dropped a list of what they plan to work on, including fixing bugs and backend systems, and future updates and changes. Y’know, usual game-reviving stuff.

If you want to know more, it all, everything, everything ever, Clausen spoke about plans for Hawken in a livestream (archived in two parts). In short, it’ll take them a few months to get rolling, they’ll have a crack at tweaking balance, and they’re planning to go lighter on microtransactions than APB Reloaded.

59 Comments

  1. Hunchback says:

    There was so much hype with this game, it’s normal that people felt let-down and quickly backed away from it. It’s (was) actually quite mediocre at launch, nothing really special that other online shooters don’t already provide.

    In the end, a games fate is decided by how much fun it is, not by visuals or other things (c.f. TF2), and without meaning ill, Hawken just wasn’t all that fun to play.

    • dorobo says:

      Oh I would argue that it is unique and different from other shooters it just takes more time and effort to get to that understanding and it can be really frustrating at times for a new player Im sure and it can be a great fun too.

    • derbefrier says:

      Pretty much this. I was pretty hyped for this game as it was graphically very cool looking and it had mechs! Sadly the gameplay wasn’t all that interesting so I lost interest pretty quickly after it released.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I think they were a bit overly ambitious with it. I was perfectly willing to pay a budget price for a neat little shooter with a lonely vibe, but being sold on the long grind is a different matter entirely.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      It was fun to play. Then it hit the “how do we get people hooked into f2p mechanics!!!” problem. When it was aiming for a purchase game, with purchase length fun, with purchase length player progression, it was really fun.

      When they extended the progression tree to encourage purchases of booster packs to fun it… it got less fun, and more “grind”. I still enjoyed it, but the real charm and excitement had gone.

      Though it did have one or two root problems, such as the heavy mechs being rather hard to balance/make useful.

    • Vin_Howard says:

      I LOVE the mechanics of Hawken; how you control the mechs and how they fought with eachother.

      Actually game-modes and gameplay, however, didn’t utilize any of this and boiled down to a shallow team-deathmatch of kill-die-respawn-repeat

    • Liandri_Angel says:

      Er, no? There’s a class-based twitchiness that isn’t found in TF2 or Quake CTF, and the way the mechs handle is different from a typical twitch shooter.

  2. c-Row says:

    Unless Reloaded adds a single player campaign I am still not interested.

  3. Razumen says:

    I feel like Hawken awkwardly tried to court two different crowds, the twitch based arena FPS and the slower, more methodical mech crowd. Last time I played it FPS was wainning out, which is a shame as it could have been an awesome mech game.

    • dorobo says:

      And it still can be that as we see from this article…

      • Razumen says:

        Maybe, but I doubt it. They said they’re going to ix the game, not go off in an entirely new direction.

    • KDR_11k says:

      For me it didn’t feel too different from regular FPSes and had too much of an attrition focus. When I think mech combat I think something a bit more complex than just point-and-shoot plus dodge boosts. Recent Armored Core games aren’t slow and stompy either but they do feel more mechy than Hawken because there are more complex systems at work and you pick more than just a pre-defined loadout.

      • dorobo says:

        Point and shoot plus dodge boost. Sounds like the default mech. Have you tried all the mechs with all the weapons that have different mechanics? Items like shield or blockade? Air dodge? Predator mech etc.? Armored core seems to me is clearly this anime style game and hawken is neither that nor mechwarrior. Maybe making it it’s own thing stylistically was just too much for some.

        • KDR_11k says:

          I tried a few, some were a bit more interesting than others but overall it still felt very much like a class based shooter (e.g. Monday Night Combat had similar lockdown-to-fire or cloaking abilities). Not that all mech games are different from FPSes, e.g. the last first person Gundam game I played was pretty much a regular FPS with boost mechanics.

          • Razumen says:

            That’s the same feeling I got from Hawken, it felt like Quake with a mech skin slapped on top. Not that that it is bad thing per se, but it lacked a lot of the typical things I’d expect from a mech game; more skill in regards to piloting, more weapon management/mech customization, location based damage, etc.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Yeah, I felt similarly. It was fun, and it certainly looked the part, but it never felt like I was controlling a robot shooting other robots – I was just a camera-gun like in any other shooter, aiming a cursor at floating health boxes until they ran out. Replace the robots with humans and it’d make no difference.

        • MrUnimport says:

          For me the UI tied to the lovingly detailed cockpit overlay and the muffled sound design really sold it. But it got a whole lot less immersive when I realized I could adjust the FOV to more standard shooter levels. Oh well.

  4. Cytrom says:

    Hawken? Meh…
    They should buy Tribes Ascend too. I miss that game. Best ctf gameplay ever.

    • Razumen says:

      Agggggh, Tribes 2, sooo good, damn you for activating my nostalgia response. :P

    • El_Emmental says:

      I doubt it will happen, they would have to:

      – rework the whole UI (especially the HUD/ingame indicators) to make it much more intuitive to play a specific role (HoF, disrupt, etc), because nearly all casual players were just skiing into the middle of the map to get some frags. Also, a better menu UI to direct casual players into a true TDM (not one with a flag, like the current TDM) game mode first.

      – rework chasing, again. It’s still broken and is not satisfying for both casual and competitive play: if the flag carrier is at full speed (we’re talking about 250+ for casual, 300+ for comp; both minimum values) in back-to-front (or side route), the enemy team can’t chase: they can only rely on the sniper to land the next 1-2 shots (on an extremely fast-moving target), or hope they control the enemy flag in the next 10 sec to deny the capture.

      Chasing only works if :
      – the flag carrier is a beginner grabbing and skiing at around 200 sanics : beyond that there’s only the sniper class left.
      /or/
      – the capper’s team doesn’t have any flag base harasser so a single Doombringer can put his shield/mines all over the place.

      = basically, it only works when both teams are populated by beginners. A bit of a problem for such a niche game.

  5. qeloqoo says:

    Hawken would be awesome if it went good old way with buying game once instead of f2p milking. When I realized there’s grind to play mech type I liked – I passed on the game. Which is sad. Make a good game and people will buy it, half year/year later put it on sales and you’ll get extra crop which might even outweight your initial sales. F2P with cashshop in every other game is cancer, plague, ebola :(

  6. Voqar says:

    I enjoyed Hawken and found the PvP more tollerable than a lot of PvP due to fast matches and the interesting system of keeping players together over time (unless they wanted to break the cycle themselves).

    F2P makes me want to hurl but I’m not sure I’d actually buy a game like Hawken if it was $60 since I’m not into either mechs or online FPS enough, so I’m not sure what they could’ve done differently.

    So many players seem to want everything for nothing. They cry about costs, cry about F2P, and just want everything for nothing. I thought the F2P in Hawken was fine for F2P.

  7. Christo4 says:

    I did play hawken for a bit and while it was kinda fun, it got boring pretty fast.
    I don’t really know why either. It had pretty much the standard classes and a few new things, it also had an interesting repair system (much better than regenerating health, gives it a FPS and Mech gameplay).
    But i guess the gameplay felt a bit lackluster, as there weren’t that many things to do perhaps, or because it was mostly the same principles as any other class based shooter and i think people were getting tired of it.
    IMO, they should have made the game more exagerated, to really stand out. Like, you could jump a lot of feet into the air instead of having a jetpack, or you could move really fast but not dodge so you can do hit and run, or i dunno other stuff, more options to have.

    Alas, i’m having quite a good time with robocraft atm. You have pretty good diversity, even if a bit low weapon numbers (i hate railguns). And you can build your own bots :D yey

  8. Muzman says:

    Always seems something of a loss to spend art like that on solely a MP game. They shoulda been turning it into something narrative driven all this while.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I’ve never really understood that logic. Surely all games of every stripe deserve to have high-quality art.

    • rollermint says:

      Don’t get the logic too.

      Only single player/narrative driven games deserve good gfx and art?
      Some of the best looking AND successful games out there are solely multiplayer or driven by multiplayer scene.

      • Muzman says:

        How did what I said imply only single player games deserve good graphics and art? And ‘deserve’ as well. Curiously severe word choice. Obviously visuals are a selling point so people are going to put whatever design effort they feel they need or can into games they make.

        If I see particularly immersive and evocative art style and setting like this it does seem like a waste for it to just a be window dressing for shooter arenas. There is no escaping that. They’re ultimately designed for a specific task . Some games to try to layer on the fiction, but mostly it’s just more obvious that it’s pure artifice in this sort of gameplay style (ie Brink). About the only thing I can think of that married story and design in MP was something like Left For Dead and that’s at least partly because it’s a progressive co-op game.
        Going to the bother of creating this great looking world with all sorts of implied stories, possibilities and so forth and then you can only play Team DM and CTF etc, is always going to be enormously frustrating to me. To the point that it actively hurts the game, in fact.

        • MrUnimport says:

          “it does seem like a waste”

          There it is again. You’re implying quality art styles are wasted on MP shooters. Those manshoot peasants don’t deserve any more than brown and bloom and the Middle East, obviously.

          • Muzman says:

            “don’t deserve”

            There it is again! Everyone with a viewpoint that differs from yours is clearly trying to reshape all artistic energies to deprive you.

          • MrUnimport says:

            If that isn’t your angle, then why mention it? Sometimes people make beautiful RPGs. Sometimes people make beautiful shooters. It’s not a “waste” to make the latter.

          • Muzman says:

            Well it’s clearly not my angle if you actually read what I wrote. How you get from the word ‘waste’ that MP games can’t therefore have nice design, like there’s some zero sum game at work where you either do one or the other, defies all reason.

            How’s this grab you? All thoroughly designed and artistically accomplished MP game settings and fictions have great potential to be explored in other forms. It is literally a waste of that potential to not do so (ignoring time, money etc). Some of them might even be better suited for that and some people might prefer them in some other form.

            It might be hard to grasp but there’s no implication that spending good art on an MP game is artistically or economically invalid in there. If you find it it’s entirely down to you.

  9. Gap Gen says:

    I like that there’s a company whose remit is rescuing troubled online games.

  10. markcocjin says:

    Hawken is a great purchase for its new developers simply because there is a new gaming renaissance in the horizon that Hawken is tailored for.

    Steam VR.

    Forget being a mech shooter. You have virtual presence in a mech cockpit. You are going to experience what’s it like in a walking tank as your controls spark and smoke while you take damage from something on your blindside.

  11. noizy says:

    I personally really liked Hawken and played a fair amount of it. The longer TTK compared to twitchy shooters made created more strategic encounters. Being outnumbered is way more punishing as you can’t easily out-twitch multiple opponents and prevail. As a result, teams tends to stick together more, and more strategic plays like flanking and suppressing fire become viable. I hope they reboot and are successful.

  12. cylentstorm says:

    Okay–I’m glad that someone cared enough about the cool-looking me-too shooter to revive it, but if the state of APB Reloaded is any indication, then they should just give this undead game the ol’ double-tap to the brain.

  13. EkoAzarak says:

    Hawken is a fantastic mech FPS. But its limited in game type and i wasnt thrilled with the revenue model. It is still on my radar and I continue to support it and look forward to expanding it into a bigger IP.

  14. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I liked Hawken. It was limited, but enjoyable. Not sure if this defib attempt will do anything, but better than what was going on previously (which was a whole flock of nothing).

    Sidenote: Alice is back! Yay!

  15. airmikee says:

    I was looking forward to Hawken, but initially it just felt like CoD:Battlearmor. MWO had the look and feel of piloting a giant robot down. But both games suffered from greedy devs that weren’t interested in making a game, but rather just trying to line their pockets with cash as quickly as they could.

    I love giant stompy robot games, but I’m not going to play another one until a dev actually takes the time to make a single player campaign, and then adds on the multiplayer crap afterward.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I think that’s a little cynical. Sometimes it’s a matter of resources, not morality. A single-player adventure gets much less mileage out of its level design than a multiplayer game.

      I always find it a little curious that people say that MWO “feels” like piloting a humanoid robot when it has literal tank controls, and that FPS controls (used in many games to control humans) are inappropriate for controlling a machine whose main feature is that it moves like a human.

      • Razumen says:

        That’s the thing though, mechs (western ones at least) are walking battle tanks, not super agile arena fighters. Of course it’s all up to preference (see gundam, etc). but standard FPS controls take away the nuance of the piloting experience.

      • airmikee says:

        Meh, it is a matter of opinion, and we can agree to disagree. As a fan of the entire Mechwarrior series, going back to the Crescent Hawk Battletech games, and even played paper and dice Battletech, I accidentally let myself build up some expectations of what was supposed to be a reboot of the Mechwarrior series. I was hopeful even after joining the beta, and stayed hopeful until the launch of Community Warfare (almost two years after “launch”) which finally gave some meaning to the endless stream of deathmatches. Now I’m hopeful for a real giant stompy robot game that isn’t going to ask me to grind out weeks of time or fork over real world money every few months for new mechs. But all of this really boils down to another matter of opinion, the free to play model, which after sitting on the fence for a while now I’ve finally begun to detest. So maybe you’re right, maybe I’m being cynical, but in the cases of Hawken and MWO, I don’t mind because it’s well deserved.

        A giant stompy robot would be more like a tank, and should be controlled as such, compared to a person. A medium sized mech is the same thing as an M1-Abrams tank (which weighs 54 tons) made out of futuristic materials, standing upright instead of horizontal along the ground. It’s the difference in the feeling of driving a McLaren F1 (which weights 1.25 tons) down the freeway at maximum speed and driving that Abrams tank down the same freeway while it tears up the asphalt and leaves carnage behind just from its very presence and sheer mass. The difference in weapons should also be felt, most military issue rounds weigh in at 20 per pound, roughly 40,000 rounds. The lightest ballistic weapon in MWO is 2000 per ton, making each individual shot 200 times heavier than a round a person could fire. The ammo for an Autocannon 20 is 7 shots per ton, meaning each slug is more than 5000 times heavier than what a person can fire.

        Mechs were a combination of the technologies of tanks and the Elemental suits, basically Heinlein’s power suits, which move and operate like a person would because they’re tiny, not much bigger than car up on its end. In game most Mechwarrior cockpits are shown being controlled by two joysticks and dozens of buttons and levers surrounding those joysticks, showing even more than it should be maneuvered like a tank. It’s how the Steel Battalion controller for the first Xbox was set up as well.

        It’s just an expectation of the difference in size and scale of being in a giant stompy robot compared to being in a much smaller vessel. Racing games should feel like you’re actually racing around a track at 200mph+, flying games should include the sense that you’re actually flying, farming simulators should have the feeling of actually farming. That’s why a giant stompy robot game should feel like one is piloting a giant stompy robot. In a world of fictional machines as big as buildings, weighing tens of thousands of pounds, firing slugs the size of a live tuna fish, a little realism for moving such a monstrosity of destruction and war is appreciated and expected.

        • MrUnimport says:

          But there is no such thing as a giant stompy robot to mimick. Verisimilitude is all we can get, not realism. It’s my understanding as well that in the fluff, Battlemechs move with neuro-controlled human-like gaits, not awkward forward-and-back-swing-the-torso vertical tank controls. If you really want to talk realism, there’s nothing realistic about building something that moves like a tank but is designed with legs, arms, and tons of superfluous torso.

          And in Hawken the robots are much smaller, about the size of a bus with rocket boosters attached. There’s no reason for them NOT to be agile.

          • Razumen says:

            Mechs in the BT universe weren’t controlled directly by the pilot’s minds, they did indeed wear neurohelmets that assisted their piloting by conveying their own sense of balance to the computer, while in more advanced versions the helmets also conveyed back to the pilot some kinesthetic sense (how the mech limbs were positioned, for example) as well as allowing for some finer tuning of their rudimentary inputs.

            But besides that, Mechs were still controlled through standard sticks, throttles and pedals. Also torso twisting is 100% canon to how Mechs behaved. I would say that future titles could improve upon the movement somewhat by allowing some more nuanced lateral strafing, but the fact it’s rather rigid makes sense considering movement is largely controlled by an onboard computer that has to deal with the logistics of moving around a huge multi-ton bipedal tank.

  16. Baines says:

    Did Reloaded Games ever do much of anything with APB, other than to keep it running? Or did it turn out like the revival of Hellgate London, which went seemingly nowhere until it was shut down again?

    • cshralla says:

      They didn’t do anything with it at all, just kept it running like you said. The game is still hugely broken, p2w, with memory leaks and poor performance.

    • Asser says:

      Umm… well I guess they somehow managed to keep the game alive.

      They took a lot of the free customization content away from the freemium users and re-sold it in the cash shop “Armas”. The pay 2 win claims are bullshit though. You pay for customization and permanent weapons. Yes, they have the notion of “Joker boxes” where you, using real money, have a chance of winning a legendary weapon (legendary = unique, not good or OP. Most are garbage) they can, and are, however being sold in the in game marketplace for in game cash.
      They also keep releasing remeshed guns or new (horribly unbalanced – but not in a OP way – mostly) weapons). Also prices are stupidly high. An account bound weapon goes for around 30 USD and upwards. Same for new vehicles.

      But besides that the thing they deliver the most are broken promises. Two years ago EU players were promised new servers. During those two years we were told they had “logistical issues” with shipping. Now it turns out they ditched those plans, now we’re being fed something about they trying out a hybrid cloud provider. We apparently had some test districts in game. They appear to be gone now.

      Whenever they release something they break the game one way or another. They are unable to fix what they break as well. A tiny patch removed bullet tracers unintentionally more than a year ago. They have been unable to bring them back – leaving an entire group of weapons and mods (silencers) purposeless. Same with the leaderboards, one of the first things that disappeared after it broke. They also have a tendency at releasing game breaking stuff. Car surfing with rocket launchers and other anti vehicle weapons are a common sight among endgame players. Lower ranked players have no real means of countering it. And yes, low ranks come up against high ranks because of the poor matchmaking.

      They also revamped the spawn system. Before – under the best circumstances – you would spawn somewhere around the objective. Now you can select your spawn. Causing your enemies to spawn together within line of sight of the objective. If they have snipers (which they usually do, you’re gonna have a bad time because of the spawn protection) Also we now have a mobile spawn mod for our vehicles so you can park your car on the objective and let your teammates spawn there, or you can spawn in a moving vehicle going towards the next objective. If more of your teammates die at roughly the same time and you pick the same spawn you will spawn together.

      We were told that we would hate them for all the communication they would do. We hate them for their lack of communication. The forums uproar from time to time because we actually care about the game and want to know what the hell is going on. Once we hit critical mass they release a vague blog post or irrelevant answers to an Q&A session they posted a month ago (we should get the answers “one of the following days”). In some instances maybe an online sale.

      Besides this we are being promised an unreal engine upgrade. I think that promise is about a year old. The only update we have had on this are three screenshots. two from the first announcement, one from a few months ago showing the game as it looks today but now also with “god rays” Woop woop. I know an engine upgrade is not an easy task, but we have no idea what stage they are in. They claimed they had an internal QA release about a year ago.

      Also they told us they were redoing the in game UI and migrating to Scaleform. They admitted it was a red herring to keep the people “content”. We didn’t get a new UI.

      Also the performance seems to be getting worse by the patch. The game looked good and performed fine when I started late 2011. I got a stable 120 FPS constantly. Now I struggle to get even 60 fps on that very same rig. No major changes have been made graphics wise that would cause this (and don’t blame my rig. Check the forums. Everyone has this issue). Also kiss your FPS goodbye whenever someone throws a nade or rocket your way or someone fires an automatic shotgun. The particles eats your FPS, causing you to lagg and eventually die.

      Also here is GamersFirst/Reloaded Games sense of time:
      Within a few days -> + 1 month.
      Within a month: +3 months.
      Soon: 6 months going towards infinity.

      Also this is not a rant from one single butthurt player. Take a look at the apb social district on the gamersfirst forums. I am much less butthurt than most people there.

      Yet somehow I still play this game daily and throw money at them. So they are doing something right. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  17. cshralla says:

    Imagine making a living off of redoing other people’s work.

  18. Spluff says:

    I played Hawken when it first came out, and the problem for me was that it felt like a mech reskin of a generic FPS shooter. It wasn’t really a mech game, and as an FPS, it was outclassed by many of the other FPS’s out there.

  19. haradaya says:

    It’s such a shame it didn’t take off. It’s got everything down but the actual game balance. Matches always turn out with one side dominating the other.

  20. Tayh says:

    Are they going to fuck it up and turn it into a cash shop game like they did with APB?