Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Stylish mech shooter Hawken returning with a free-to-play PvE game

Hawken Reborn launches into F2P early access on Wednesday

A cockpit view of mech violence in a Hawken Reborn screenshot
Image credit: 505 Games

Five years after competitive multiplayer mech shooter Hawken shut down, a new game will invite us back to stomp around in its scrappy mechs. Announced last night by developers and publishers 505 Games, the free-to-play Hawken Reborn will launch into early access tomorrow. This time, it's a PvE game, with story missions plus open patrol zones to explore and complete jobs. I was enamoured with the jetdashing scrappy mechs and greeble-covered apartment blocks of the first game but always wished it had a singleplayer or co-op campaign, so I'm certainly curious about this.

Not much to see in the announcement trailer, but we'll get to play it real soonWatch on YouTube

Hawken Reborn will pop us into the cockpits of stompy little mechs to blast through story missions (six available at first, with more to follow) and patrol zones (one at first). Along the way, we'll upgrade mechs with weapons and power-ups and such. In those patrol zones, the blurb says, we'll get to take on Radio Missions to earn resources, though the zone will get harder the longer we're out, and we risk losing goodies if we die.

It sounds like Hawken Reborn will be singleplayer-only at first, with cooperative multiplayer arriving by the time it leaves early access. The devs expect early access to last 18 months, with the first phase "focusing on polishing the game and optimizing the gameplay and combat experience while improving critical elements like the UI, enemy interactions, and more." Then they'll move more into new content, including new missions and mechs.

Mech violence in a Hawken Reborn screenshot
Image credit: 505 Games

Hawken Reborn launches onto Steam Early Access on Wednesday the 17th of May. It'll be free-to-play, both in early access and at full launch. No word yet on how friendly/generous/frustrating/obtrusive/loathsome that F2P monetisation might be.

The original Hawken had a troubled life. After wowing everyone with that cool prototype trailer in 2011, it launched into open beta in December 2012. "This definitely isn't MechWarrior: But Named After A Bird For Some Reason," Nathan Grayson said after playing the open beta.

"Hawken's lumbering god machines move like kung-fu ballerinas. Holding any direction and shift prompts a dodge so rapid that it may as well be teleportation. But, at the same time, each massive footfall is accompanied by parts whirring and meticulously detailed cockpits wobbling atop tenuous metal legs. The end result is a mixture of lithe grace and the knowledge that - yes - you're still inside a ground-stomping, sky-scraping goliath. One moment, I might feel utterly invincible - bullets pinging off my armored shell as I charge unflinchingly forward - while, in the next, I'll flit and flutter about like a frightened mocking bird."

But updates soon slowed, bugs went unfixed, and it seemed developers Adhesive Games might have quietly left it to die. Reloaded Games took over Hawken in 2015, planning to revive it. Their interest didn't last long, and it passed to current owners 505 Games in 2016. 505 worked on Hawken for a while but shut down PC servers in 2018 without the game ever leaving early access (though I think console servers are still up?). A group of fans have unofficially got bits of Hawken back up with a project called Hawakening, starting with offline bot play and hoping to add online multiplayer later.

Read this next