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BattleTech Kickstarter begins, immediately secures funding for ‘stage 1’

[Correction: Contrary
to what I reported earlier, Harebrained Schemes did not fund the
initial $250K goal of basic funding on its Kickstarter. All of those
funds came from backers. Harebrained has invested $1 million into the
game already in development. This was my mistake and I apologize for the
confusion.
]
Before there was MechWarrior, there was BattleTech; the ’80s strategic turn-based tabletop game that spawned an entire universe of novels, shows, spin-off games, and overly elaborate arcade centers. But the glory days of the venerable franchise were short lived and BattleTech
hasn’t seen a proper PC game release since 1994. Harebrained Schemes,
headed by Jordan Weisman (who wrote the original boardgame) is looking
to change that with its freshly launched Kickstarter project.
Promising an expansive 3D strategy game built in Unity 5 that will
recreate and expand on the original tabletop vision, Harebrained Schemes
only asked for $250k to reach stage 1 of their development goal. A goal
they hit almost immediately. What’s included in stage 1? A basic
skirmish mode that would allow players to essentially deathmatch a
computer opponent. Want to see a single-player campaign, or maybe some
multiplayer PvP? Well, that’s where the stretch goals come in.
A narrative-driven campaign (likely the biggest draw for many BattleTech
fans who have been clamoring for a single-player game in the universe
for decades now) set in the rich lore of the Third Succession Wars of
3025 is gated behind a million-dollar stretch goal. Multiplayer PvP is
tucked behind stage 4, which is a $2.5M target.

The potential here seems high. Harebrained already successfully
resurrected another classic ’80s tabletop game with the excellent Shadowrun Returns, proving they have the chops to pull this off. Provided all the stretch goals are met, this is exactly
the kind of game fans of the series have been dying for. A return to
classic strategic thinking with a good dose of management-sim like
logistical planning sounds like a fantastic change of pace from MechWarrior Online‘s
simple deathmatch arenas. Navigating a ragtag lance of mercenaries
through the chaos of the Succession War’s battlefields and the seedy
political backroom dealings of the Great Houses with no clan-tech in
sight is the kind of thing a BattleTech fan dreams about. The
talk about diving deep into the mechanics of your squad’s mechs and
tuning their shock absorbers, gyros, and actuators to your personal
satisfaction put a particular flutter in my would-be-robot-engineer
heart.

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Given the passion BattleTech fans have for the franchise,
combined with the dream-team quality of Weisman returning to the series
and Harebrained Schemes with their excellent recent track record, this
Kickstarter seems like a slam dunk. I’ve no doubt this project will
reach the top-tiers of its funding goals before the month is out. I
might as well start planning on which mechs I’ll want to take into the
battlefield. 

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