Day One Studios, creators of the two MechAssault games on the original Xbox, have announced a spiritual successor going by the name Reign of Thunder. While the game is missing the BattleTech license, it appears that the MechAssault “feel” of fast third-person action is still present, with the promised addition of tons of customization options.
Day One Studios says “mech fans have been asking us for years to return to the genre and we’ve been listening”, which is perhaps an overstatement. The games reviewed exceptionally well, but the BattleTech fans who thought they would be getting a nuanced game in the vein of MechWarrior were sorely disappointed. With a MechWarrior reboot and Hawken still on the horizon, as well as a certain “core” mecha series adding an unprecedented amount of online content, there may not be room for another freemium mecha game based on a series with simple, action-oriented game mechanics.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s this: the press release claims the game will also incorporate the “customization and RPG elements of the early MechWarrior PC and board games” in addition to the instant action feel of MechAssault. If that wasn’t just hapless PR speak, this project could turn out to be something interesting, though Day One Studios still has everything to prove.
For those that have been wondering what has happened to Hawken, well there’s now the chance to sign-up for what looks like a closed beta test. We’re assuming that this closed beta will be PC based (via Steam?) but this is entirely conjecture on our part. There’s also a Twitter feed you can follow for the beta test. What we do know is that some people will be playing the game on “12.12.12”. Catchy.
The new browser based Web Power Dolls will be getting a new mecha, as designed by ToMo. Above is a sketch of a lighter weight mecha with more hard points. Its primary functions are for quick surprise attacks and reconnaissance. For those unfamiliar with the Power Dolls saga, it’s been a pretty successful series of PC based mecha turn based strategy games that were birthed in the mid-90’s (with a tie-in anime OVA to boot). Whilst this new game is browser based, it’s still being handled by the same Kogado Studio. This new mecha will be in-game around the 8th February apparently. We’ve included the current game’s promo video below too.
Towards the end of last year an alpha test was carried out on Mobile Suit Gundam Online. Today, we received the results. Of those that signed up, 1,269 opted to play in the Federation whereas 1,320 chose to join Zeon. Despite the slight numerical advantage, the Feddies were more often than not victorious over the Zeeks (Go Feds!). There are also a fair few comments from the testers asking for various features, though whether any of these come to fruition remains to be seen. Another test phase is planned for the end of February apparently and no final release date has been set.
4Gamer has a new piece on the forthcoming Mobile Suit Gundam Online and it seems that they’re really going more for the co-op action route, a la Monster Hunter, rather than an old school MMO. This is mostly down to the combat being pretty standard TPS Gundam fare, with mobile suits broken down into class types (such as assault or sniper for instance). The fact you can also have a suitably massive number of players, 52 per side to be precise, is also pretty damn awesome really. In addition, there’s also a commander mode available that looks and sounds awfully like Armored Core V’s setup (which in turn is influence by Chrome Hounds obviously). Still no word on pricing or release date as yet but it’s looking to be a pretty cool game.
4Gamer has a nice new piece on a forthcoming online Gundam multiplayer game that will feature brawls with over 100 mobile suits. Entitled Mobile Suit Gundam Online, the game will be released on PC and players will have to pick between either Federation or Zeon units. This alone means that the game will be set resolutely within the UC timeline. Whilst this sounds to be more combat orientated, we’ve already been down this road before (in the form of the ill-fated Universal Century Gundam Online) so we’re a little worried this may not do all that well. What is encouraging, apart from the non-crazy specs, is that a large alpha test is planned with at least 3,000 players in the next week or two. Hopefully this help to assuage many of the issues that are inevitable with games like these prior to its release.
Relic Entertainment recently added the Tau Commander to their survival-style mode “The Last Stand” in Dawn of War II: Retribution. This development came out of left field, since the original game didn’t include the Tau race in the first place, and while only a single hero unit represents them here, it’s still very nice to have a frequent fan request added, especially this late in the game’s lifecycle.
The Tau Commander plays much like veterans of the Tau’s previous appearance in Dark Crusade expect: amazing at ranged combat, but defenseless up close. The Commander actually deals no damage in melee, so keeping him out of stand-up fights is imperative, and to aid him in that he has a very effective jetpack which allows him to boost around the battlefield. Keep him out of harms way, though, and he’ll light up enemies with gatling lasers or a minor Itano Circus of missiles.
There are two points of contention regarding the fellow, however. First, there’s the perennial “Tau Are Too Anime” debate which always crops up, and while you cannot deny that the Tau were designed with at least some Asian influence, their vehicles and armor are a far cry from anything an anime fan would remark as traditional mecha design. Their humanoid (Tauoid?) mecha look more like a particularly blocky MT from Armored Core than they do even the most Real of Real Robots. Second, the price for this single new character in a single mode of the game costs $9.99, a full third of what the whole of Retribution originally launched for. While this seems like it could be the beginning of a DLC nightmare, Relic has done an exemplary job with keeping patches coming to their games and even adding new content (including the original Last Stand!) for free to their games, and they’re likely just trying to earn back their investment by charging what hardcore fans are willing to pay.
PC Gamer has the scoop on the fact that the long awaited MechWarrior reboot will be a PC exclusive. Whilst the console gaming crowd maybe a tad miffed about this, the original MechWarrior games were all PC based (as they were pretty technical simulations after all). If we’re honest, we’re a bit surprised at this development. Not only because this was meant as a reboot, which normally means the original IP gets sold down the river, but also because this franchise is licensed from Microsoft (via Smith & Tinker) so to not have a 360 version is refreshing. Either way we’re actually pretty happy about this development and we’re curious to see what more is announced soon. Cheers to Greg for the heads up.
Update: Turns out this will be an online only game using something similar to the freemium model. Move along everybody, the party’s elsewhere.
After a good few years of, well, nothing about the much anticipated MechWarrior reboot (courtesy of Piranha Games) it appears that the game hasn’t died after all. From the somewhat oddly emphatic tweet from Bryan Ekman that there has been “no legal battle” over the usage of the Unseen designs to the slightly cringe-worthy viral twitter feed for the game itself. Either way, we’re just happy the game is still being made and that maybe one day we’ll get to play it.
Following the story trailer, we now have a new Hawken gameplay trailer. It looks lovely but the more we’re seeing of this game, the more it looks functionally a bit dated. It’s hard to say until we actually get our hands on the game but what we’re seeing looks like just another mecha themed FPS. Well, at least it will be pretty!