We sit down with FASA Interactive to discuss the next standalone MechWarrior game.
The long-running MechWarrior series earned a loyal fan following with MechWarrior 2 back in 1995, thanks to its then-state-of-the-art presentation of piloting huge armored mechs into battle. A year later, the Mercenaries expansion pack was added to MechWarrior 2, and it added an intriguing new element to the game--mercenary mech pilots of differing skill levels whom you could recruit if you had enough cash.
Years have passed, and the MechWarrior series has evolved. The last major installment in the series, MechWarrior 4, was released in 2000 by FASA Interactive and Microsoft and looked fantastic for its time. MechWarrior 4 represented something of a return to the series' roots--much of the game was about straightforward battles, and though you had a bit less freedom to customize the weapon loadouts on your mechs, the game itself was still graphically impressive for its time and lots of fun to play. In 2001, developer Cyberlore Studios developed MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, a new addition to the MechWarrior series that made a number of improvements to the core MechWarrior game, and also included new mechs and new multiplayer modes. And most recently, Microsoft has released independent mech packs for the game's warring factions, the Clan and the Inner Sphere. But FASA Interactive is gearing up for a brand-new stand-alone MechWarrior game. We sat down with lead designer Dave Fifeld and FASA Interactive's TJ Wagner and got all the details.
GameSpot: MechWarrior 4 looked terrific when it was first released in 2000, and the previous MechWarrior 4 expansion, Black Knight, still looked good in 2001, but it's been almost two years since the original game was released. What kind of technical enhancements will Mercenaries make to MechWarrior 4's graphics and sound?
TJ Wagner: The engine we built for MechWarrior 4: Vengeance was made to be scalable. With the inroads that video cards and faster processors have made over the past couple years, we're just now able to turn on all the options to the highest detail. Most people who played Vengeance and Black Knight never saw the full potential of the Vengeance engine. They will in Mercenaries, and they will be impressed. Mercenaries will also include a brand-new sound track, which will add to the overall hard-edge feeling of being a mercenary.
GS: Some players criticized Black Knight for battles that seemed as straightforward as those in the original MechWarrior 4--just more difficult. What new features will Mercenaries add to battles to make them more varied and more interesting in general?
Dave Fifeld: Mercenaries gives a lot more latitude to player choice. Many missions also have optional objectives that you can complete to earn cash bonuses beyond standard mission pay. The campaign in Mercenaries allows you to travel between star systems at your discretion, paying jump fees as you go. Each star system is home to one or more potential employers, each offering multiple contracts. The choices are pretty broad at first and remain so through a significant portion of the campaign. Your mission choices and the actions you take within the mission have an impact on later contract availability and midmission events. For instance, destruction of neutral vehicles in some of the heavily populated scenarios will give a marked increase in infamy, which can limit your list of potential employers.
The Solaris arena matches provide you the option of straight-out mech fights, where the last one standing takes home the largest purse. These new tailor-made mech fighting arenas are an extremely popular venue within the development team for putting our new mechs through their paces.
- Player Reviews: 24
- Game Universe:
- MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat Arcade Combat Edition (PS, SAT),
- MechWarrior Online (PC, X360),
- MechWarrior 4: Vengeance (PC, ARC),
- MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Clan 'Mech Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere 'Mech Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Expansion (PC),
- MechWarrior 3: Pirate's Moon Expansion Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 3 (PC),
- MechWarrior 2: Titanium Trilogy (PC)
- Number of Players: