It was only a week ago today that we told you more news would be coming about a brand new MechWarrior title. Now that "soon" has arrived, I've been tasked with the bearer of bad news. While we did get the information promised about the game, now called MechWarrior Online, we've learned that the original concept for the MechWarrior game has been scrapped in favor of a Free 2 Play PC exclusive game with micro transactions.
So what happened to the original game? The concept of which had a full single player story, four player co-op campaign and would be released on both the PC and Xbox 360. It seems that despite "overwhelming interest" from the community, thanks to the buzz generated by the teaser video and interview, no publisher was willing to bite on the game. The biggest reason? Microsoft.
We knew going in, there were two major risks. No PS3 version due to a Microsoft restriction, and the epic market collapse and major recession. In the end, it was mostly the lack of a PS3 option that did us in. The scope and budget required to develop a console reboot needed the support of a PS3 SKU and we just couldn’t convince publishers to take a risk. By late fall 2009, our dreams of making a MechWarrior game, began slowly drifting away.
The MechWarrior license was given Smith and Tinker by Microsoft after closing down FASA studios. Apparently a term of this was that no MechWarrior content could be place on Sony's competing console, which meant, a smaller market for publishers to approach - which in turn meant nobody wanted to publish the game.
After all this, Piranha decided to take on some contract work - Duke Nukem Forever multiplayer - and then once that wrapped up refocused on what is now MechWarrior Online. So the end result is this - no co-op, no console - a Free 2 Play online versus mech combat game exclusively for the PC. While that's good news for a lot of folks, that also disappoints a lot of co-op gamers and mech fans.