Heavy Gear Assault Stomps Into Early Access

Not pictured: stomping.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the game was free-to-play, following outdated information on the game’s site. No, it won’t be free-to-play, but it will sell instant unlocks for folks who want them.

When Activision lost the BattleTech rights to make MechWarrior games, they turned to a Heavy Gear license to fill the ‘stompy murderbot combat’ hole in their lineup. Well, MechWarrior games returned in the ongoing nostalg-o-rama, and Heavy Gear’s back too.

Stompy Bot Productions and MekTek (those folks behind the revamped free re-release of MechWarrior 4) failed to Kickstart Heavy Gear Assault [official site] in 2013, but they kept on toiling and tinkering anyway. Now they’ve turned to that other modern funding novelty – early access – to let folks in and start playing as they finish it up for a 2016 launch.

Buying in now for $40 (£26) upwards will get you early access, instant unlocks for two mechs and some weapons, and in-game cash to buy some more. More expensive packages offer more.

The game’s not simply MechWarrior, mind. Heavy Gear does MechWarrior-ish things, but gears are a lot zippier than mechs.

Heavy Gear Assault is due to properly launch on Windows and Linux in 2016. Here’s an “early alpha” gameplay trailer from December 2014; I don’t know why they don’t have a proper new trailer showing off how the game looks now:

54 Comments

  1. EOT says:

    What happened to the tracked feet so many Heavy Gear units used to have? What’s with all the jumping about?

    • vamman says:

      Tracked feet are on the way. All of the Gears in the game right now have wheels in lore. We have a different foot with tracks for the tracked Gears. Gears can jump and have jets in Heavy Gear. The video linked on this article is about 6 months old before we added limitations to jumping.

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      Don Reba says:

      They’re short on gears and are using springs for now.

  2. Reivles says:

    I’ve been a massive fan of the Heavy Gear setting and its respective games since the video games came out, and I discovered there was a whole world behind it. The ‘realistic mech’ approach of the setting caught my eye, and eventually my heart. (For those uninitiated, the idea is that unlike, eg, Mechwarrior, Gears are no match for a tank in a frontal battle – but they rely on their mobility in their rugged home planet to get the edge as a form of super-size infantry. It’s a clever conceit, and results in gears clambering around, lying prone, and acting as artillery spotters a whole lot.) I’ve followed every game and release they’ve come up with for years, even the slightly wonky ones.

    I’ve always wanted another campaign-based Heavy Gear game, possibly with a little bit of a strategy layer.

    But this? A free-to-play, esport-intended arena dueling game?

    No. Not like this.

    • vamman says:

      The game is not F2P. We have asked the editor to correct this. The game has a multiplayer and single player mode planned. The multiplayer mode is focused on pilot skill with tournamnents and ladders.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        Hi vamman, sorry, I haven’t received any e-mail you’ve sent me yet. Apologies for the confusion but I don’t see how your ‘free-to-choose’ isn’t free-to-play: link to heavygear.com

        “Heavy Gear Assault players can choose to download a minimum product and start playing for free immediately or purchase premium content and components using either points earned in-game or through a micropayment system.”

        That’s free-to-play.

        • Werewolf486 says:

          That’s an OLD page that needs to be taken down as they are in the process of redoing the site…it is not, nor will it be Free to play. Please make the correction.

        • vamman says:

          Looks like this was server cached page that came back to life. Thanks for sniffing it out! We have since abandoned anything and everything F2P for this product. The page is no longer reachable.

          • Awesomeclaw says:

            Honestly, it looks like the only free to play thing you’ve abandoned is the buy-in price.

  3. emotionengine says:

    I was about to get all excited about this, especially considering the (to me, at least) disappointment that is MechWarrior Online, but then I reached the bit about how the game’s going to follow the free to play model and my heart sank. I understand that that’s just the way the cookie crumbles these days but I can’t help but feeling saddened by it.

    Well, at least there’s HBS’ Battletech to look forward to.

    • bad guy says:

      And there is MWLL too.

    • Supes says:

      Thais is most definitely not free to play. You’re not buying early access, you’re buying a game. Single player campaigns are also planned.

    • Werewolf486 says:

      Not Free to play! This was a misunderstanding brought on by an old page on the website that needs to be removed and MekTek is in the process of doing so. Again NOT FREE TO PLAY.

      • Reivles says:

        Serious questions:Do the comments about the buy-in price being for X mechs and Y in-game currency stand?

        Which is to say, is there a grind to unlock your stuff, and is there a limit to how long/many rounds you can play at a time before needing to wait for timers and/or more ‘money’ spent?

        Once you buy the game, is it possible/useful to spend additional money for in-game acceleration of play-time or unlock availability?

        esports tend to let people practice as long as they want in back-to-back games. Free-to-play style games tend to limit play without expenditure.

        • Werewolf486 says:

          “Do the comments about the buy-in price being for X mechs and Y in-game currency stand?” – The costs listed in the store now will be the costs at time of launch and after as far as has been stated. There are no plans to raise prices or lower them on the current game packs.

          “Which is to say, is there a grind to unlock your stuff, and is there a limit to how long/many rounds you can play at a time before needing to wait for timers and/or more ‘money’ spent?” – At launch to earn in game money you will have to work the economy and you will have to earn money through various means like winning competitions or battles and by producing and selling items from the blue prints you own, like crafting in other games. There will be no forced wait timer limiting the amount of matches you get and you will be able to challenge players.

          “Once you buy the game, is it possible/useful to spend additional money for in-game acceleration of play-time or unlock availability?” – Only in the fact that you may want to buy a weapon and it’s blue prints quicker with real money but it’s not necessary. Every store item is available to purchase when the game launches. The only items that won’t be in store are special rewards for doing well in the tournaments like a cool decal or skin that shows you came in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a tournament.

          “esports tend to let people practice as long as they want in back-to-back games. Free-to-play style games tend to limit play without expenditure.” – You’ll be able to play as much as you want and even jump into private servers with others who have the Server Pack.

          If you have any more questions please join the forums and ask them. http://www.heavygear.com

          • Reivles says:

            Well, thank you for the explanation. Unfortunately, the whole pay-to-do-stuff-faster inside a game is one of the biggest hallmarks of a free-to-play short of actively exclusive content.

            So this pretty much sounds like a moderately less obnoxious free-to-play game, but that you have to pay real money to sign up for at all; the worst of both worlds, and probably one you’re stuck with given you’ve got preorders and kickstarter pledges that promised as much. :/

            Well, I’ll keep an eye on it. Good luck!

        • Werewolf486 says:

          Oh and in case I haven’t made it clear yet HGA will not be Free To Play or have a Subscription.

          Just want to be clear on that.

        • Werewolf486 says:

          I think it’s a matter of how you personally want to look at it. You’re taking a very cynical view of funding games this way, which I get considering how funding gaming in general has been done for such a long time. People have gotten screwed for investing heavily in a title only to be let down or worse treated like a castaway by a the dev company. I try not to hold these issue against a company until they are guilty of doing it themselves. I look at it as you buy the game and can get everything that’s in game with in game money as a way to level up equipment and assets and not micro-transact you to death, or you can support the game financially by buying some stuff for cash. It’s as simple as the Devs have done a great job and I’ve enjoyed playing the game so I think I’ll go spend some money with them. Kind of like tipping at a restaurant. If you enjoyed the meal and service you’d tip the staff so if you enjoyed the game and the support why not tip the staff for it.

          I have certain games I still play that I won’t ever spend a dime on just because of their past history and dealings with them.

          Anyway I hope you’ll keep an open mind and watch as things develop.

  4. Skeletor68 says:

    Man, I absolutely loved the original Heavy Gear. Glorious FMV the story and then ongoing campaign modes were so much fun. Full disclosure, I played it with cheats but there was something amazing about just having a stealthy speedy build and only a snub cannon, sniping robo legs off from miles away.

    I tried Heavy Gear 2 afterwards but didn’t like the control scheme for some reason and gave up very early.

  5. demicanadian says:

    I’ve lost interest at “E-Sports evolved”…

    • Werewolf486 says:

      Don’t play it for the E-sports aspect, play it for the enjoyment of blowing things up and having fun. I’m certainly not in it for the E-sports.

  6. Neutrino says:

    Looks like something from 1990.

    • vamman says:

      Did you see the media? link to heavygear.com

      • LexW1 says:

        Those screenshots are very high-res and show a lot of detail, but they rather make this look like the HD remake of something from the ’90s.

        This isn’t really your fault, note, it’s that the design of the gears themselves and their world (which is largely desert/badlands or temperate wilderness, as I recall), which is itself deeply ’90s, because it’s from the early ’90s, and your designs are very true to those. Thus without any re-design or flair, you’re going to look ’90s. Especially as the terrain engine you’re using looks rather old-fashioned (just compare your sand – orange and with over-the-top extremely regular bump-mapping – in those screenshots to sand in modern games, which tends to y’know, actually look like sand).

        Battlemechs manage to look more timeless because they are constantly re-designed, in minor or major ways (and not always willingly!), and the recent game did give them flair and detail that just wasn’t there in the originals. I think you could stand to move away from the “single colour” look for your gearss, going instead for camo and “beat-up” looks. I mean, a blue gear on an orange field looks pretty silly – especially as gears are agile little things which can take cover, do scout and hide and so on, unlike mechs.

        I guess what I’m saying is that is that if you want to look modern, instead of merely being true to the decent cartoonish art of ’90s HG, maybe update it a bit more – with semi-realistic things like gears, you should be more Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and slightly less anime.

  7. Werewolf486 says:

    NOT FREE TO PLAY!! and here’s a correction for you: Heavy GEAR Assault is due to properly launch on Windows and Linux in 2016.

  8. Werewolf486 says:

    I’ve been in Heavy Gear Assault since last year when the Alpha dropped and I’ve enjoyed every moment of the game and watching it develop. Would I recommend the game to everyone? No because some people can’t handle playing games as they are being developed, but I would say keep an eye on it and wait till launch in late 2016 if you don’t like playing games as they developed as I do. If you like backing early and participating in the development of games then HGA is perfect! The dev team at MekTek is among the best when it comes to participating with their community and they actually do listen to us. No they won’t take every idea or suggestion but they don’t treat us like castaways either. I bought the top game pack for $99.95 over a year ago and I feel that I’ve gotten my moneys worth out of the game already. I’m planning to buy two more game packs for my sons to the tune of $140 as they want the Southern packs and honestly I’m eager to spend more money with MekTek. Heavy Gear Assault has been a fun game with a great dev team that’s had to fight for every inch they’ve earned and they’ve had more speed bumps along the way then any dev team should. MekTek has always been good to its supporters ever since the beginning and I support the team more now then ever. I love this game and I’m looking forward to the future of MekTek and Heavy Gear Assault.

    Here are some links to current game play posted up by the community:
    link to youtube.com
    link to twitch.tv
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    Judge for yourself and visit the website, read for yourself, and join the forums so you can ask questions and get it from the community directly. http://www.heavygear.com

  9. geldonyetich says:

    I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the Heavy Gear RPG mechanics. It’s a system where you’ve the freedom to design truly ridiculous behemoths, the only restriction being that the cost makes them infeasible to develop, and yet those same behemoths can be toppled by a Red Ryder BB gun if you flub your rolls.

    • Werewolf486 says:

      It’s the same in Table Top BattleTech. Build a massive 100 tom Atlas only to get one shotted in the cockpit the first engagement of the battle. Btw for reference BattleTech uses Mechs from 20 tons to 100 tons while Heavy Gear is 5 tons to like 20 tons.

      • LexW1 says:

        As someone who played both extensively on the TT, I think you’re being disingenuous.

        It is vaguely possible that an Atlas or the like might get one-shot, if hit by a powerful weapon, directly in a single, unlikely-to-be-hit location (1 in 36 chance, as I recall, possibly even impossible with modifiers, only real way to make it higher was to try Death from Above). Small or medium weapons hitting it may well not destroy it, too (certainly most won’t, actually). In the years I played Battletech we certainly saw very few head hits take down big mechs, and virtually all as a result of Death from Above (which often left the other mech crippled or in an extremely awkward position).

        Whereas with Heavy Gear, whilst I don’t remember the exact rules and would have to dig them out, I do remember that gears were getting one-shot all over the place – regardless of their size, too. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (it made games faster and often more about cover/careful-ness), but it’s a clear difference.

        • Werewolf486 says:

          I think you’re being to picky. The point was I’ve been one shotted in TT Battletech just to point out it happens in other games as well and that I’ve felt that pain. It wasn’t to start a debate over it.

  10. anHorse says:

    Free to play without the free

    • Supes says:

      It’s like most games. You buy it, you then play it :)
      If you’re just looking for the single player stuff, that’ll come later. If you’re interested in multiplayer, you can do that now. Eventually, there’ll be subscription based services (ladders, persistent stats, levelling) but there will also be private, servers run by players, that anyone will be able to play on, assuming you purchased the game.

  11. gabrielonuris says:

    I’ve been playing Hawken recently, after ragequitting MechWarrior Online completely. One thing that I loved in Hawken, besides its f2p model, was the perfect balance between tactics and frenetic shooting mechanics. And also, respawn after you die, that Counter Strike..Ish gameplay style of MWO was the reason why I quit.

    • Werewolf486 says:

      You sure it you didn’t quit because of the wheel of waiting? I get it, I play MWO and I understand the frustrations. Currently there are respawns in the game for testing reasons but eventually that will go away except in special instances but I can’t tell you if there will be a 5-10 minute wheel of waiting or a 1-5 minute wheel of waiting at any point in the games development. The goal will be to get you a match as fast as possible and if you challenge someone it should happen faster. Say you and a buddy want to see who’s best you’ll be able to challenge him and drop right away.

      As for how the game will play it should be faster paced then MWO and it already requires skill to place shots with ballistic drop and having to stay on target while avoiding being shot. A stopped gear is a dead gear no matter what class it is.

      I hope this was helpful!

  12. Bishop149 says:

    Anyone got a working link to that free MW4 redo?
    These guys have apparently stopped hosting / supporting it since they started this project but I hear tell that its still available out there somewhere, my google-fu has proved insufficient to find it.

  13. Iskariot says:

    I just want a modern offline single player mechgame set in a detailed open world.
    I do not want a simplistic online shooter arena.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Same here. I’d pay a lot for a good singleplayer mech game, a worthy successor to the MechWarrior series. Or anything even remotely similar, doesn’t have to be that franchise.

    • Werewolf486 says:

      Check the link maybe this is what you’re looking for? link to heavygear.com It’s included with purchase of a game pack upon completion of the Singe Player module and they plan more Campaigns if the Single player is well received.

  14. McPartyson says:

    I appreciate all these people that line up to pay to alpha/beta test games these days. I may check it out when the thing is actually done.

  15. Catweasel says:

    Pay now to beta test, pay even more as a subscription later to skip your grind and have access to basic online features in your ~not free to play~ game.

  16. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Everything about this seems rather awful (for me personally). Mainly interested in an offline, singeplayer campaign. Like Heavy Gear 1/2 and the old Mechwarrior games. Deeply loved those. Completely uninterested in multiplayer.

  17. sanspants says:

    “Correction: An earlier version of this post said the game was free-to-play, following outdated information on the game’s site. No, it won’t be free-to-play, but it will sell instant unlocks for folks who want them.”

    Hey, can you give us the exact page you found that says that?

    ~Matt
    ~Lead Game Designer
    ~Heavy Gear Assault

  18. JarinArenos says:

    Pass. I don’t need yet another damn “e-sports” game. Why is it so utterly impossible to get a decent campaign mech game?

    • JarinArenos says:

      Okay… it sounds like there might actually be a single-player campaign that they’re ignoring in the marketing material?

      • Werewolf486 says:

        No as a matter of fact it gets pointed out all the time, just most people ignore it and it would seem some people who are writing the articles don’t focus much if any time on it.

        Here is a link to the single player side of HGA: link to heavygear.com

  19. Raoul Duke says:

    The graphics look positively prehistoric.

    • Werewolf486 says:

      I see no Dinosaurs and it’s not Ark Survival.

      It’s a game in early development and compared to other titles looks good to me and gets better looking each time they update more cool textures into the game. Look at this link link to facebook.com to see some comparison shots I did between HGA and MWO.