It’s been about sixteen years since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries was released in the US. Ever since, fans of the robot-piloting sim have been sitting on their hands waiting for a true successor. In 2013 we got MechWarrior Online, but it wasn’t quite the same. Thankfully, the end is in sight: last year we learned that Piranha Games (the current owners of the franchise) is working on a MechWarrior 5, slated to be released some time in 2018. Last year they released a small gameplay trailer showing off some of the gorgeous new graphics of the updated game, but little else. Piranha’s been pretty tight-lipped since then, but after a year of waiting they’ve finally given us a little more: just today we received a new teaser along with a few details about the new game.
Out of those details, probably the most exciting thing to learn is that MW5 is going to feature (and apparently heavily emphasis) four-person co-op play. As some older gamers may be aware, in previous incarnations of MechWarrior all of your teammates were firmly under computer control. Now, with MW5, those AI allies will be replaced with your actual, human friends (no word on what will happen if you can’t muster 4 friends to play with – I’m just speculating but I assume AI control is still an option).
The other big news that was included in the announcement is that there will be support for mods via Steam Workshop, meaning that even after the base campaign is complete we’ll still be treated to a steady stream of new content thanks to the fan community.
The rest of the details announced are fairly sparse, but still pretty juicy. Supposedly the game is based around “running your own mercenary company” – it’s not exactly clear what that means or how involved it will be, but it’s definitely intriguing. For those of you wondering where the game fits in to the larger Battletech time line, it’s reportedly set around 3015 during the Clan invasion.
The trailer doesn’t disclose all that much either (it is just a teaser, after all). The video opens with a slow pan through a mech hangar (it appears to be the same hangar from last year’s trailer). As we get some gorgeous vanity shots of all the mechs standing in their respective bays, we listen to a voice recording apparently addressed to the player character from their parents. The recording seems to be an audio-will, complete with the classic “if you’re listening to this it means we’re dead” trope. All of this is meant to imply that your deceased parents are apparently handing their mercenary company to you, the player. After the voice over the trailer then shifts to quick cuts of gameplay, in all their bot-destroying glory. It doesn’t really explain much of anything, but after a year of silence it’s definitely welcome.