“In the thirty-first century, life is cheap, but BattleMechs aren’t.” That was the tag line for this era of BattleTech that Harebrained Scheme’s foray into the franchise focuses on. With tech and materials scarce during this period of galactic conflict the five great houses had to work with what they got. Which also means hiring mercenaries to augment their standing armies. But, what about the game itself? What do we know about it? Well, read on.
First, a bit of lore.* Humanity once reached a golden age, united in prosperity and peace under the aegis of the Star League. When treachery and violence brought the golden age to an end, the five great nations of the Inner Sphere all sought to establish their dominance over one another. These five nations began to war over the throne of the fallen Star League, becoming known as the Successor States.
Over two hundred years of warfare have resulted in no victor being established. Where the once mighty Successor States fought over planets, the decline of technology has reduced life in the Inner Sphere to near-sustenance levels. Conflicts are now fought over food, water, and the remaining scraps of technology these nations desperately cling to. The weapon of choice is the BattleMech, a multi-ton titan of steel, powered by a fusion heart, and packed with more firepower than a twentieth century tank battalion. The pilots of these machines have become part of a new warrior-nobility, knights and knights-errant fighting and dying in the names of the Successor Lords they’ve pledged their fealty to.
In BattleTech you’ll be playing as one of these mercenaries, swearing loyalty only to your brothers and sisters in arms. You’ll be fighting side-by-side with them as you work for one or more of these nations, making a name for yourself in the Inner Sphere. Set during the third Succession War in 3025 all five Successor States are still at war with each other but rely on soldiers of fortune such as yourself to keep this cold war hot.
After nearly a month the campaign for BattleTech is drawing to a close. And it’s quite apparent that this universe is a dearly beloved one to a lot of people. Certainly to over 30,000 at the very least based on the backer count. In fact, thank to their “alpha strike” campaign it hit the quarter million goal in less than an hour. While not unheard of, it’s certainly a mighty feat. And it’s not let up since. As of the time of this writing over two million dollars have been pledged to the Kickstarter.
To date 15 updates have been posted since the launch on September 29, mostly dealing with their “campaign within a campaign” that I like to call backer achievements. We’ve seen this sort of thing before during other projects. The number of Facebook likes, Tweets, backers, etc all helped to unlock special perks, or “mission rewards” that includes live streams and in-game bonuses. So far 52 of the 64 “points” have been unlocked. Check out the chart below.
Each week also saw the release of special “bonus backer missions” where the team at Harebrained asked backers to share stories, art, and the like on Facebook and Twitter. Each tier also helped to unlock even more goodies. Which has obviously been a hit as most of these achievements have been met too. I haven’t personally participated in any of these as I’m not a huge BattleTech fan, but I do plan on getting around to doing the “personality test”. There’s also a Thundercap campaign going on that’ll go out on Monday.
And the stretch goals are almost all breached as well, the last one hitting at $2.5 million. Which is very close and I really do see it being hit by the end of the campaign. The base funding goal was for just the basic skirmish game. Go online, head to head, with other MechWarriors in a turn-based strategic battle. Beyond that, though, they really sweetened the deal. While we’ll still have the skirmishes backers also unlocked the single player campaign, open ended mercenary missions, a customizable home base, expanded objectives, and lots of improvements to the base game. The campaign was what I really wanted to see, which means that I’m happy. The final goal is PvP on the popular sports planet of Solaris VII.
I’ll be honest. I’m hardly a BattleTech fanatic. I haven’t played any of the previous video games and I barely know the canon lore from the books. But, I’ve slowly been getting into the scene and I have high hopes that this game will make me love the setting even more. And with the funding being so successful I know it’ll be as epic as their previous Shadowrun games. The wait for 2017 is going to be painful even for someone like me.
* AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Jeff James for providing the lore information as I know almost nothing about the universe.