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Interview Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain talk about BattleTech at Sarna.net

Infinitron

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

The guys at Harebrained Schemes seem to be uninterested in attending videogaming events such as E3, Gamescom and PAX, but they expressed loyalty to their tabletop gaming roots by attending Gen Con this year. Interviews from Gen Con about Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Golem Arcana, and BattleTech are still being released even now. The Shadowrun interviews aren't too interesting now that the game is out, but we can never have enough information about BattleTech. This interview about it at Sarna.net is the most detailed I've seen yet. Here's a small excerpt:

Nic: BattleTech has been in many forms since its inception obviously. From tabletop to PC to Virtual World to MechWarrior to MechCommander. What style game is this? How will the players be interacting? With a MechWarrior or a ‘Mech? Or both?

Mike: Both! We’re making a turn-based, tactical squad combat game. You’re going to command a lance of 4 ‘Mechs on the battlefield. It’s going to be a single-player mercenary-style campaign. MechWarrior 2 is a good reference for that. You’re going to choose which missions you want to take. You’re going to hire new MechWarriors, upgrade your ‘Mechs, get salvage. All that good stuff, from mission to mission.

Mitch: And develop your MechWarriors too.

Mike: Yes! MechWarriors will grow. We’re careful not to guarantee specific features here, but we’re looking at MechWarriors with different quirks, personalities, strengths and weaknesses that might manifest over time.

Nic: Single-player or multi-player?

Mike: The initial game we’re taking to Kickstarter is a single-player, open-ended campaign. We are hoping we’ll do well in Kickstarter, so we are talking about multi-player as a stretch-goal. We’ll have more details about that as we get closer to Kickstarter, in the next couple of months.

Nic: What are some of your goals with the Kickstarter? You did a lot of stretch goals with Shadowrun Returns. I’m assuming you’ll be offering interesting things for people that want to back BATTLETECH?

Mike: Our first goal for Kickstarter is to co-fund the development project with backers, not unlike a traditional publisher would with us. We’ll be putting some money in. We’ll be asking backers to help fund the rest of the budget for the base game. And then we’re looking at a variety of stretch goals. We’re looking at PvP, multiplayer, on the planet of Solaris 7, a lot of other cool stuff. We’ve talked about the possibility of more company-command level things (in stretch-goal land). This is my first GenCon, and I’ve been talking to BattleTech fans all day, and the passion for the project is tremendous.

Nic: Without giving us any commitments, Shadowrun took about a year from funding to release. Are you guys hoping for a 2016 or 2017 release?

Mike: 2017. We’d like to think we learn a little bit from project to project. Shadowrun Returns was a blast and we’re really proud of it. We also want to make sure we have enough time. We’ve done this with Shadowrun and Golem Arcana several times now. We have a pretty good idea, on BATTLETECH we want to start with a new fully 3D engine so we’re going to make sure we do it right. We’re looking at early 2017.

Mitch: It also depends on what funding level we get! So the more game they want us to make, the longer it’s probably going to take.
In addition to that, two podcast interviews, with Mike and Mitch respectively, were published during the past couple of weeks. I haven't listened to them in their entirety, but both of them mention that "while the Shadowrun games are RPGs with turn-based tactical combat, BattleTech is a turn-based tactical combat game with RPG elements". I think we can keep on covering it here, though.
 

Grauken

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I assume the 3d graphics, as this was my reaction as well
 
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m_s0

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That multiplayer talk is worrying, especially so early on. With the kind budget they'll be doing this on I'd prefer if they stuck to singleplayer and maybe toy with multiplayer later, for an expansion or a new game altogether - one that'd focus exclusively on mutliplayer.

I'd rather get a meaty singleplayer mode only than a mediocre/unfinished bit of both.
 

Crooked Bee

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I just hope the focus on tactical combat means they can make something that isn't as easy/simplistic as the Shadowrun games.
 

Zetor

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That multiplayer talk is worrying, especially so early on. With the kind budget they'll be doing this on I'd prefer if they stuck to singleplayer and maybe toy with multiplayer later, for an expansion or a new game altogether - one that'd focus exclusively on mutliplayer.

I'd rather get a meaty singleplayer mode only than a mediocre/unfinished bit of both.
Yea, down that road lies Warmachine Tactics. Still waiting for them to patch in an AI that isn't completely terrible...

I don't really mind the 3D engine bit -- in fact, it's probably necessary if they are going for maps with hills, multi-level buildings and whatnot. Also, destructible environments maybe?
 

m_s0

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I just hope the focus on tactical combat means they can make something that isn't as easy as the Shadowrun games.
Thankfully, they're not making a game for tablets this time around so yeah, fingers crossed.
Also, destructible environments maybe?
That's the kind of stretch goals they should be focusing on instead of multiplayer.
 

m_s0

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And one of the reasons for that is they were planning to make a game for tablets. Which is what they made with S:R.

Whether they would've gone with a more complex design is anyone's guess, hence me crossing my fingers on this one. Tablets won't be an issue/excuse this time around.
 

Morkar Left

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It's an RPG take on Mechwarrior 2, not MechCommander.

Mechwarrior was first-person real-time action where coordinating 12 mechs and more is just out of reach to handle for a pc and the player.

A lance is pretty much shit tier for a mercenary company. I think 3 lances (and maybe some support units) would make a lot more sense to have an actual regiment. And since combat is actually about mech combat I don't see any reason why it shouldn't. It would actually end up pretty boring if otherwise. Even the managing aspect of just 4 mechs is pretty underwhelming. I hope they don't underestimate Battletech fans, especially if you're considering things like that.
 

m_s0

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Believe on that if it makes you feel more hopeful for their next game.

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SerratedBiz

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I don't see any reason why it shouldn't.

I don't care what you think.

The game they are promising is modeled on MW2 and, most likely, MW2: Mercenaries (and in these games you do coordinate a four mech lance and even aerotech fighters, in real-time). The move to turn-based isometric is a reach to tabletop Battletech gaming (ie, small number of players controlling a mechwarrior and a GM), not Warhammer: Mechs. There's no reason why a tactical, story-driven game with a small lance under your control can't be entertaining except for your retarded reasoning why it can't be. Front Mission is already proof of this.

The fucking thread you posted consists of the guy running a four Mech lance.
 

MurkyShadow

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I'd be completely happy with a Mechwarrior 2 / Mercenaries with Rpg Elements 'RPG'.:obviously:
 
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Morkar Left

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SerratedBiz

Tabletop Battletech was nowhere restricted to lance combat (or even just controlling one mech), it was just a start till you had more mechs. In fact you pretty much had already more mechs in the starter pack to begin with. Not sure what you're talking about. Basically there are whole rulesets which cover managing a whole mercenary regiment with support stuff and everything. And on top of that you could even put the rpg rule mechanics.

What about reading the LP? He STARTS with a 4 mech lance (plus 2 aircraft, a dropship and the whole roster of support staff), he can and will expand his regiment while salvaging and doing contracts about the whole IS (travelling time to the mission contracts and everything in) which you could get by reading a bit about the setup.

And thanks for clarifying about what MW2 is. It's not that I played this and all the other mech sims in the series...

And I honestly can't be bothered to discuss about or caring about your retarded arguments

MurkyShadow
Their rpg aspect will probably consist of a pilots skill and weapons skill mixed with some special traits the individual mechwarriors can get. I doubt you can do missions where you are outside of your mech.
 
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Gozma

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Is my memory wrong, because I thought Mechwarrior 2 basically a Wing Commander mostly linear mission based game

It was Mechwarrior 1 that had non-linear Pirates!-ish strategy layer gameplay (although there was a pretty linear main story you could track down if you felt like it)
 

Luka-boy

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Absolutely. I even remember such game, there were mechs, and pilots you can create and train, called something like Cyberstorm maybe?
Yes, Cyberstorm. With the added fun of being a corporate lackey managing disposable, genetically unstable cloned pilots.

You could also develop your pilots' skills in Titans of Steel: Warring Suns, which by the way is freeware.
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almondblight

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That's the kind of stretch goals they should be focusing on instead of multiplayer.

This part makes it sound like they're planning environmental destruction:

Nic: Is it going to be based on any of the Shadowrun engine at all, or are you starting from scratch?

Mike: No, for the most part it’s from scratch. ‘Mech combat is such a different beast. Shadowrun is hide behind cover, ‘Mechs is not so much.

Mitch: I think the experience is more destroy cover. That’s one of the things I loved about MechCommander. You could just blow stuff up.

Mike: That was definitely something on the art direction side of things I want to make sure we’re able to make ‘Mechs look really big, and have that kind of weight and power about them. Expect lots of things to step on and explode.

Not keen on multiplayer, but Expeditions: Conquistador managed to add in PvP without too much extra work if I remember right.
 

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