Legendary mech combat game franchise BattleTech is returning to the PC. A Kickstarter by Harebrained Schemes achieved its $250,000 (£164,400) funding goal in just 53 minutes and has so far raised over $850,000 (£558,000). The new title will be the first turn-based PC BattleTech game in over 20 years, and will be available for Windows, Linux and MacOS.
Described as “a universe of flawed heroes, fallen empires and grey moral realities,” BattleTech sets its giant robot battles against a background of political scheming and intrigue between noble houses fighting to control a region of space known as the Inner Sphere. Years of combat between the houses mean that the fighting mechs on which their power depends have dwindled in number to become rare and precious commodity. Succeed in battle, and you’ll be able to afford to keep your MechWarriors paid and your mechs in fighting shape.
Players will control four mechs — vastly powerful combat robots piloted by mercenary MechWarriors — in strategic battlefield skirmishes against rival hardware. The action will be turn-based, with a single-player mission path, although the Kickstarter, which currently stands at over $850,000 (£558,000), may extend to PVP multiplayer combat if it reaches $2.5m (£1.6m). Harebrained Schemes aims to make gameplay quick, with skirmishes set to last around 30 minutes.
BattleTech started life as a turn-based tabletop wargame in 1984, although few of its digital incarnations have come as close to the tabletop experience as this new title looks set to. Previous PC titles in the franchise include the current MechWarrior Online free-to-play multiplayer action game, which lets you take the controls of a combat mech, a series of successful first-person MechWarrior PC games released between 1995 and 2002, and the MechCommander real-time strategy games.
The project is led by Jordan Weisman, original creator of the BattleTech and MechWarrior tabletop games, as well as the Shadowrun and Crimson Skies tabletop games, both of which made successful transitions to the PC. Joining him are Mike McCain of Harebrained Schemes, which will be publishing the new game alongside its Shadowrun Returns games, and Mitch Gitelman, who designed the MechCommader titles.