Battletech is getting ready for a reboot with a Kickstarter initiative planned for later this year. We had the opportunity to interview the staff about the forthcoming project. See what they had to say.
MMORPG: It’s been over 20 years since we last saw a PC game based on the BATTLETECH brand. You are in the position to introduce an entirely new generation to the series. Can you give a quick rundown on what BATTLETECH is?
HAREBRAINED SCHEMES: BattleTech is the story of warring noble houses fighting for hundreds of years to claim the throne of the Star League, an interstellar empire covering most of human-colonized space.
This all-consuming interstellar war is waged by MechWarriors, elite knights and nobles who pilot mankind’s most powerful and versatile fighting machine - the BattleMech - adaptable to every planetary environment and armed with enough firepower to level a small city. With technology in decline after a thousand years of war, ‘Mechs are precious, rare, and prized possessions, handed down from generation to generation.
MMORPG: What is your favorite thing about BATTLETECH?
HBS: It’s the contrasts of the BattleTech Universe - the stories of MechWarriors fighting for control of a single battlefield, while the nobles manipulate court politics for control of hundreds of worlds.
(We also love the idea that the older the tech, the more advanced it is. After centuries of war, a lot has been lost.)
MMORPG: In the past there has been some controversy over the use of images. What kind of impact does that have on your art team? Are we going to see the original Mechs or do you plan to go in an entirely new direction?
HBS: Whatever controversy there was regarding images from Southern Cross and Macross was settled over a decade ago, so there will be no impact on our art team.
MMORPG: There have been board games, pen and paper RPG’s, and collectable card games based on BATTLETECH. What style of game will this be?
HBS: Harebrained Schemes’ BATTLETECH features an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics. These two elements, solid storytelling and turn-based tactics, are at the core of our Shadowrun series and we are excited to bring them to BattleTech.
MMORPG: Other than the obvious answer, giant robots, what is so compelling for you about BATTLETECH?
HBS: The thing that we love most about BattleTech is that the ‘Mechs are essentially the armored warhorses of feudal warriors vying for an interstellar throne. Although most people come to BattleTech for the ‘Mechs, they stay for the story. The Machiavellian conflicts of the BattleTech Universe have kept players engaged for over 30 years now.
MMORPG: What lessons did you learn from the Shadowrun and Golem Arcana kickstarters that you will apply towards the development of BATTLETECH?
HBS: The “6 P Principal” - Proper Prep Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The key is not biting off more than you can chew or overcommitting your studio. Kickstarters can be extremely exciting and it’s easy to get swept up in the joy of co-funding a game with a passionate audience. This can lead to scope creep as well as rewards and stretch goals that prove challenging to deliver.
Our relationship to our Backers is a critical component of the process and we believe that being up-front with them about what we can and cannot do is vital to a maintaining a healthy relationship. Kickstarter is more than just funding for us. It’s a way to stay close to the people who play our games throughout development, not just after we ship.
MMORPG: The Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter was to help add features to the final product. Is that going to be the case for this Kickstarter or is development entirely dependent upon its success?
HBS: Like Shadowrun: Hong Kong, we’re going to co-fund development of BattleTech with our Backers. Unlike Shadowrun: Hong Kong, BattleTech will be starting from a completely new code-base, so it requires a much larger initial budget. We're asking Backers to help co-fund the initial creation of the title with us, much like a traditional publisher might. We will also be presenting a variety of stretch goals which Backers can help fund to expand the game.
MMORPG: Is there any other thing that we haven’t talked about yet that you would like our readers to know?
HBS: Yes. When we told the studio we got the rights to make a turn-based BattleTech game, everyone broke out in loud spontaneous applause. Just like Shadowrun, Harebrained Schemes is filled with people who are super-passionate about BattleTech and many of us grew up playing it. We are thrilled that we have an opportunity to to make it.
MMORPG: Makes sure you check out HBS’s new website for future details: http://battletechgame.com/