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BattleTech Kickstarter Pitch Video and Interviews

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BattleTech Kickstarter Pitch Video and Interviews

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 29 September 2015, 02:00:59

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Mike McCain; Mitch Gitelman

Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech Kickstarter campaign starts tomorrow, and they're working hard to spread awareness in the BattleTech tabletop community. Today there was a long BattleTech stream on the Twitch channel of the "No Guts No Galaxy" fansite, where viewers got an early look at the game's Kickstarter pitch video, followed by an extended interview and Q&A session with Jordan Weisman, Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain.

(starts at around 37:45)

The pitch video reveals BattleTech's development strategy, which involves expanding the game from a simple series of skirmish missions all the way to an open-ended experience with procedurally-generated side missions and even PvP multiplayer, depending on how much funding it gets. Here's a Game Informer interview that explains that in further detail and also reveals the exact numbers involved:

Just like with Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Harebrained Schemes is bringing a funded concept to the community. For its fourth Kickstarter, the studio has a four-stage plan for Battletech.

Stage one, which is entirely funded by Harebrained Schemes, is a player-versus-AI skirmish game. The Kickstarter campaign goal is set at $250,000, at which point “combined arms” (vehicles that complement mech combat) will be added. Infantry is being considered, but will only be implemented if it works well.

“There is no stretch goal associated with [infantry],” Weisman says. “In our point of view it’s part of combined arms, if we can pull it off in a way that works.”

There are a number of smaller steps like this on the way to the three big phases that the studio is planning to implement to grow the game. At the $1 million level, Harebrained Schemes will add a single-player campaign. At $1.85 million, the solo play will become more open-ended with side missions and procedural generation. The final stage kicks in at $2.5 million with player-versus-player multiplayer.

This staged approach worked well for the Shadowrun: Hong Kong campaign, which raised $1.2 million. That game was delivered on time in August of this year. Unlike that campaign though, Battletech is a completely new endeavor on a new engine (Unity 5) with systems that evoke the the tabletop game without mimicking it.

[...] Unlike MechCommander, which was a real-time game, Harebrained Schemes is taking advantage of the more thoughtful pace of turn-based play. “The biggest thing to me is the discreet understanding of risk and reward,” Weisman says. “In a real-time game, you can’t be shooting all these numbers at a player and expect them to make intelligent decisions. In a turn-based game, we can tell you what your chances of falling over are if you plot a really tight turn for a mech that’s moving fast. We can tell you what your chances of success are for a weapon group when you’re targeting a mech through intervening terrain.”

Weisman says this gives players a heightened sense of control, but also gives access to deeper systems. Battletech will include a mechbay for player who wish to customize their big, stompy robots. Not only will this allow players to customize arms and armor, but also more granular elements like actuators and gyros. These impact turning radius, as you wouldn’t want your mammoth war machine to fall over.

You won’t need to go that deep if you just want to get out on the battlefield. “Our goal is to offer you more than you’ve ever had before, but not require you to use it,” Weisman explains.

With the Inner Sphere currently existing in the tabletop realm and in MechWarrior Online, Harebrained Schemes wants to make sure that its strategy-tactics game fits in thematically. Battletech will use art created by Mechwarrior Online studio Piranha Games for a sense of consistency.

Unlike Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Harebrained Schemes is planning for a longer development curve as it works on its first Battletech game. The latest Shadowrun title took eight months between Kickstarter launch and game release.

Battletech will take about 18 months. “We’re building a new house,” McCain says. “Battletech is an all new house and an all new foundation that we’re building.”
As for the interview from the No Guts No Galaxy stream, it wasn't hugely interesting, although it did reveal a few additional tidbits about the game and the Kickstarter campaign. You can read my takeaways here. There's going to be another BattleTech stream on the same channel in about an hour where Jordan, Mitch and Mike will answer more questions, but I think I'll skip that.

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