BattleTech Returns: Shadowrun Studio Preparing Mech Combat Kickstarter

Shadowrun has enjoyed a triumphant return and after the superb Dragonfall, I’m as excited about the the upcoming trip to Hong Kong as I am about almost any other game coming up in the second half of the year. Harebrained Schemes love a good return though and now they’re preparing to help another series step back into the limelight.

BattleTech is back. Or at least it will be if an upcoming Kickstarter is successful. Details below.

Harebrained Schemes is pleased to announce their return to Kickstarter this Fall to partner with backers in co-funding the creation of BATTLETECH. Jordan Weisman, the creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is back with the first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades. 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 original creator is onboard, its going to be turn-based and this is a very exciting announcement indeed. Even the campaign structure sounds exactly as I imagine these things in my dreams – “an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics”. YES.

It’s probably best not to get too giddy and, hey, let’s see wait see and how Shadowrun: Hong Kong works out. Oh, and there’s Necropolis, Harebrained’s other game.

If you’re lucky enough to attend Gen Con over the next few days, you’ll be able to try Necropolis and take an early peek at a BattleTech asset. Maybe more. Given that the Kickstarter hasn’t even launched yet, I doubt there’s much to see.

67 Comments

  1. draglikepull says:

    We’ve now hit the point where we’re getting teasers for *future* Kickstarter campaigns? Good grief.

    • ran93r says:

      I find it infuriating. I heard about the new Bards Tale kickstarter in a teaser for the campaign but then didn’t get wind of the campaign itself until they were funded.

    • dontnormally says:

      It’s a teaser for the trailer for the crowdfunding pitch which will be updated to include a second teaser for the stretch goals which will feature in a post-release update that will have it’s very own trailer!

      • dontnormally says:

        Still though, I’ll be happy to play this when it’s out. I’m just not getting any crazy ideas, like “it’s worth it to start feeling any hype at all right now”.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Kickstarter campaigns can live and die on their first day. What’s better? To let people know one is upcoming, so that when it arrives, everyone’s already clamouring to give their pledge at the first opportunity, giving them a huge first day (and the momentum that carries with it) or announcing it immediately and having that lump spread over several days, with less momentum. You might not enjoy it, but can you blame them for wanting to maximise their odds of success?

      I’m not sure. Certainly I have no problem being cynical when WB or ubi announces announcements of announcements, but people running kickstarters? I feel less comfortable blaming them for not taking risks with their own success.

      • draglikepull says:

        It may be useful for a developer (Though even that’s unclear. It may be harder to get coverage for the actual launch and people may lose interest in the meantime. There’s a reason developers want reviews published on launch day rather than a couple weeks ahead of time.), but I see no reason why it’s interesting or useful to me as a gamer. I’m not any more likely to back the KS because I heard about it months beforehand, and it’s not like they’ve even shown off any gameplay here or anything for me to actually get interested in. All I know is that at some unannounced future point they’ll have an idea about a game for me to know more about.

        • gwathdring says:

          It’s not useful because you’re more likely to back it than otherwise.

          It’s useful because you’re more likely to have heard of it than otherwise

          You can’t back it if you don’t know it exists.

    • Jerricho says:

      I can only support a team making proper preparation for a kickstarter campaign. At least they will have something to show. How many times have we seen campaigns trading entirely on nostalgia or some ephemeral goal?

    • dorobo says:

      Right.. Who gives a fuck about a game that MAY become a reality at least in two years. Very likely it will take even more time.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I realize this is anecdotal data, but – I give a fuck.

      • Paroxysm says:

        We talk about games that far from release all the time. Plus it’s coming from a team with an excellent current level of quality based on a property with a lot of fans. Really it would seem pretty clear than many people would care.

  2. Tyrmot says:

    This could be glorious! I think they will probably kickstart some money out of me for this one. That they did such a satisfactory job with SRR is promising.

  3. SaintAn says:

    I just want a new MechAssault game, or the first two ported to PC. Never played anything else in that series.

  4. Riaktion says:

    Wowzer, as a big Battletech fan this is great news, looking forward to seeing what the Kickstarter looks like. Obviously need to strap myself in and ensure I manage my own expectations (i.e. not likely to see a finished game for upwards of 18 months) but a Battletech title is very much my thing. Excellent news, albeit with the caveat of not actually seeing what they have planned.

  5. Xizore says:

    I was an early supporter of Mechwarrior Online. The combat was fantastic, but the game lacked support, structure and narrative and amounted to arena style deathmatches. How will this game succeed where MWO dropped the ball?

    • felis says:

      Well, it is a completely different kind of game. The failure of MW:Tactics is more worrying, but then again, f2p MP is a wholly different ship.
      The good news is that HBS will work with PGI (MWO) to reach an consistent art-style between both games.

      On a side note: I really enjoy MWO nowadays, it is certainly now in it’s best state ever and provides me with much entertainment.

    • wraithgr says:

      A better analogy would be the (equally ill-fated) mechwarrior tactics…

      We can but hope that, because this time the devwloper actually has experience delivering a good gaming experience in general, they will also be able to deliver a good battletech gaming experience.

      Personally I might take a punt on the KS but I refuse to be excited by the announcement of the upcoming beginning of the funding phase of the kickstarter….

    • Matter says:

      MWO dropped the ball in a number of other ways, but my biggest problem with it was their business model and the resulting grind. Game was enjoyable but not a long-term entertainment (for me at least).

      This looks like more like a Tactics game, and given their work on the SR games they can handle that, and their business model will likely be more palatable given their history, but we’ll see when the KS comes out.

  6. Anthile says:

    This could be good or bad.

  7. Mr Bismarck says:

    If they get close to the experiences I had with the pen and paper Mechwarrior RPG of my youth, I may need someone to drop by the house and make sure I’m still eating.

    Even this early-pre-notyetapitch-pitch is practically an invitation to my wallet.

    Of course, if they mess this up the way the mechwarrior online people have done, I may need restraining.

  8. Alecthar says:



    …I’ll be in my bunk.

  9. jgf1123 says:

    Is this normal for a studio the size of Harebrained Schemes, to have two unreleased games (fair dues, Shadowrun Hong Kong can borrow a lot from previous Shadowrun games) and then announce a third?

    • martyr1777 says:

      This is a fair point… that is a bit concerning, but they’ve been successful with SRR so maybe they expanded some.

    • Chuckaluphagus says:

      inXile made a statement about this same sort of situation when they pitched the new Torment while already working on Wasteland 2. In short, game development works in stages, with various groups (design/writing, programming, sound/art) doing the bulk of their work on a project at different points. Having multiple games in production, but at different stages of completion, allows a studio to keep as many employees as possible continuously employed at all times. There’s a balance to be maintained between “keeping the pipeline full” and “biting off more than you can chew”, but it makes sense to me.

    • Janichsan says:

      SR Hongkong is almost finished and Necropolis is (as far as I remember) a different team, so I guess they have the resources very soon to work on the next game.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Both of those games are well development. No reason the artists etc can’t start working on the core stuff.

  10. martyr1777 says:

    Awesome… Thank you for wanting to revive the games I love Hairbrained.

    However the big question will be what time period will they base the game in… I hope 3025-3050 at most, none of that later crap.

    And I think it’s completely reasonable to let people know of a kickstarter in the works. Maybe someone would like to donate but would need to save up first. Now they know to start saving and see if it’s worth donating.

    • MrPyro says:

      I’d really like it to start around 3048-49; have some intro stuff with feuding Successor States and then kick off the Clan invasion. That’s how Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries went and I really enjoyed the plot of that game.

    • MrPyro says:

      Also, 3025 tech is just so clunky.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Let’s not forget what happened to poor Mechwarrior Tactics (no involvement of Harebrained, but similar idea).

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  12. Sonny Bonds - Lytton PD says:

    Finally the remake of the crescent hawks inception we’ve been waiting 20+ years for

    • martyr1777 says:

      lol, oh easily 25+ years…. ugh so old.

      Loved that game and the old novels.

      • Arasaka says:

        Exciting news indeed. Have been wanting a BT RPG for a long time.

  13. namad says:

    please take mechanical inspiration from titans of steel but writing and ui direction from your fabulous shadowrun work

    @harebrained

  14. bad guy says:

    The “A” in Battletech reminds me of Mechcommander 1+2.

  15. Kaeoschassis says:

    Oh good lord yes.

    I mean I’d love a new Mechwarrior, don’t get me wrong, but… yes. Yes.

    Please let this be as amazing as my imagination is making it right now.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Also heartening that there’s at least one scout ‘mech in that splash art (the one in the back is an Osiris, I think?). One of the things I loved so much about the Mechcommander games was how vital your recon units were, when compared to the Mechwarrior series, were bigger mechs were just universally better in nearly every mission.

      • SCC says:

        I think it’s a Locust rather than an Osiris.

        I’d peg the four Mechs as Locust, Griffin, Catapult and Atlas based on MWO’s art style. All of them are in MWO and all of them are staples of the BT universe too.

    • vorador says:

      MechWarrior 5 VR edition? One can dream.

  16. vorador says:

    Moderately hopeful. The franchise has been mistreated long enough, and Harebrained has a good track record.

  17. TWChristine says:

    If I’m not mistaken (which I certainly could be..), don’t they still need permission from Microsoft? Although I see in the Wikipedia about FASA, that Smith & Tinker licensed the rights to both Mechwarrior and Shadowrun, how does that help Harebrained?

    • Kharn says:

      Battletech/Mechwarrior rights are “rented” from Microsoft by Piranha until 2020, so they need to make a deal with PGI. Something they clearly did, as they are even using the wonderful mech designs from Mechwarrior Online.

  18. XhomeB says:

    They had me at “turn based”. No RTS “reimagining” of “adaptation” or “a bold new real time vision”, phew.

    • rabbit says:

      Did you not like Mech Commander? I never played number 2 but fucking loved #1 back in the day. Hard as nails though.
      Speaking of which …. could someone please give Gangsters: Organized Crime a deserving spiritual successor? Please? That game coulda been so incredible but was let down by a few v fixable problems (bit more control in the working week, smarter AI, more transparent UI + systems, decent tutorial, done.) and I’ve been piiiiiiiiiining ever since for somebody actually to do it ‘right’. Isometric and 2d would be just fine by me but just CMON GUYS

      I think it might be time to revisit that game. I could never make it beyond about 40% control of the city iirc, just got crushed by people hustlin my neighbourhoods and then unmanageable violence breaking out whenever I would defend myself, within six weeks or so of my first defending my borders.

      Anyone remember the game well enough to remember what they did about that?

  19. MrPyro says:

    I want this.

    That is all.

  20. Philopoemen says:

    Official MegaMek makes me happy.

    I can see the 3rd Succession War as the setting, with the Clan Invasion available for expansion/Directors Cut ala Dragonfall.

    As a former BattleTech contributor, my credit card is already dreading how much it will be abused by forthcoming Kickstarter.

    • Philopoemen says:

      Most importantly, I want that RPG element of the universe to stay intact – same as CHI, or MechCommander; about your crew skills growing, scavenging and repairing, and saving up to buy a DropShip or new unit

      • MrPyro says:

        What I’d basically like is the strategy layer/plotline from Mechwarrior 2:Mercenaries (with some kind of skill advancement added as I don’t think it had one) but with the combat being turn-based rather than FPS style.

  21. notenome says:

    New Battlete-

    SOLD!

    I mean, I like Shadowrun, (and I’ve been a very happy backer) but Battletech? Oh yes, oh fuck yes.

  22. Henas says:

    Critical Hit…
    Wallet.
    Powering down…

  23. AJ says:

    I played the hell out of – BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception – in the 80s. Damn such good memories. Reboot that kk thanks!

  24. STARFIGHTER says:

    Maybe they can spend some of the crowdfunding on better kerning.

  25. Borodin says:

    Meanwhile, does anyone know of an engaging first-person mech game that runs on Windows 7/8/10 so that I can sate my renewed hunger for such things?

  26. IronArthur says:

    I´ crying right now..

  27. Premium User Badge

    Damien Stark says:

    If I see the phrase “single player” appear in big bold letters, I will back this immediately.

  28. peterako1989 says:

    “the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign”

    YES!!! YES!!! Screw your multiplayer, free to play nonsense. Gimme more’o’this!

  29. axiomatic says:

    I am looking forward to this! I worked on Mechwarrior 2 and one of the expansions in my youth. I am still a fan of Battletech to this day!