In 2009, Piranha Games released a trailer intimating that they were working on a new MechWarrior title. Recently, the company announced MechWarrior Online, a free-to-play multiplayer mech simulator set in the Battletech universe.

In a dev blog, Bryan Ekman, Creative Director of Piranha, explained how the company’s attempts to secure a publishing deal redefined and ultimately derailed the MechWarrior project they had planned. The game was pitched as an Xbox 360/PC release, but “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.”

The PC-exclusive MechWarrior Online will feature a first-person cockpit view and Ekman hopes to include joystick support. Ekman’s also trumpeting urban combat zones and “information warfare” as the game’s two big design pillars. Fighting in (and hopefully destroying) details cityscapes should ameliorate issues of excessive long-range sniping, and disrupting or controlling the flow of information should encourage players to experiment with a wide variety of mechs.

The specifics of the free-to-play plan are scant, though Ekman assured PC Gamer, “Anything that would affect or give you a tactical advantage, you can’t purchase with real cash. You have to earn that by playing the game.”

MechWarrior Online is slated for a 2012 release. Those looking for more information or looking to register their pilot name ASAP should head to Piranha’s site.

Source: Piranha Games, PC Gamer

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  • Spivonious - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    "Ekman hopes to include joystick support."

    Hopes? I'd think joystick support would be mandatory. Mechwarrior 2 was the reason I bought a Sidewinder joystick so I could aim and rotate the turret at the same time.
  • mechBgon - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    No kidding. This is like Ford "hoping to include steering wheels" on the 2013 cars.
  • Ram21 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Long live my USB Sidewinder
  • LordanSS - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    It would be interesting if they would allow mapping of controls in more than one joystick/device.

    That way, you could use your Sidewinder joystick on a hand, while using a Throttle control on the other, on a HOTAS setup. A nice throttle like the CH Pro Throttle has a myriad of configurable/programmable buttons and hat switches, and even has an analog stick that you could use as a mouse!

    Then circle yourself with an Eyefinity setup... make your computer chair feel like a "mech cabin". ;)
  • camylarde - Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - link

    Saitek Throttle quadrant:
    1st for speed
    2nd for cabin rotation
    3rd for zoom ^^
  • Craig Getting - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    They've talked about joystick support oddly. Ekman told PC Gamer they're "dedicated to it." So it sounds like its happening but he's yet to announce details. The breadth of support will probably depend on the specifics of their engine and how well the netcode handles a wide variety of inputs.
  • lortsie - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Pretty good blog on it here, with an interview including more details;
  • lortsie - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

  • ender707 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    This is the most disappointing gaming news I have seen in a long time. What is the risk involved? Plenty of garbage games are green lit and pushed out everyday, yet one of the best franchises cant get a good release due to risk?
  • lortsie - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    You really wanted MW on a console again? First person I have heard of.

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