If in the last 30 or so odd years you’ve seen an illusive “MechWarrior” and thought, “I want to go to there,” then you already know that Piranha Games is releasing a true MechWarrior game for the first time in over a decade and it’s free. MechWarrior Online is already in open beta and promises to offer a solution to the Next Shooter Syndrome offering a thinking mans shooter for a crowd that so desperately needs it. Video Game Sophistry had the chance to sit down and talk to Russ Bullock President of Piranha Games about the product, the Free to Play model and most importantly why you HAVE to play it!
What can you tell us about your upcoming game MechWarrior Online?
It’s the next iteration of a classic franchise, it really depends on the age of the gamer if he’s going to recognize MechWarrior. I think most do, especially those 25 and older will immediately say, ” I know that brand” It’s been a big brand. I’m 37 years old and I think the first one came out in 1990, it’s originally based off a pen and paper game called Battle Tech. Ultimately, it’s about giant walking war machines. You pilot it and it’s called a Mech and you battle it out with other Mech’s laying waste to everything in site.
The past of Mechwarrior is really rich and varied, in terms of the development and the design where to draw a lot of your creative influences?
I think ultimately, being fans of the franchise and watching very closely especially in the last decade we found that for some unforeseen reason there just hadn’t been a MechWarrior game in a while even though they had all been very big successes. We were listening to the fans, and their sentiment really echo our own. That it’s time for a brand new MechWarrior experience, there’s been four specific Mechwarrior games since the 1990′s but there has also been a series of games called, “Mech Assault” they use the same brand but they were very different games, very fast and arcade and really weren’t a MechWarrior experience. We listened to the fans and our inspiration really came from Mechwarrior 1 through 4, the true action simulator MechWarrior Products.
When players login to play MechWarrior Online what can they expect? From the first time they play to a few hours in?
It’s a little bit of a different taste from what people are used to if they’re a big shooter fan. If you’re a big Call of Duty and Halo fan, they’re great games but you might be a little tried of the, “Next Shooter Syndrome”. MechWarrior is the perfect answer to that, it’s still very intense, very action filled the average round will still only last 8-10 minutes but it’s very frenetic so all of the action junkies will not be bored in the slightly. It’s been described as a “thinking man’s shooter.” You are in control of a big giant walking Mech so you move your upper body torso independently of your legs. The pacing is a little slower than your frenetic shooter. A lot more strategy involved as you’re going to be thinking about your movements and actions a lot. You have to manage your weapon systems and the heat level of your Battle Mech. People who like it- really like it a lot. You’re average shooter player will spend a couple hours in MechWarrior and really get hooked on the MechWarrior experience
MechWarrior Online is a Free to Play Game- What really attracted you to that style of publication?
First and foremost the game industry has change significantly. For independent developers console space gaming has really become an almost impossible barrier of entry for your standard developer. Even the large publishers are struggling because in order to put a game on the console the production has to be so immense- it has to be Call of Duty, Halo level brands. It’s really unsustainable, even for the large publishers. When Free to Play really started to work in North America and we saw games like League of Legends, these premium games be hugely successful it was a big eye opener for us.It’s a legitimate way to not only get your game to market, but to ease your game to market as well as reaching a global market, plus you don’t have to worry about piracy anymore. It’s really a wonderful business model! But there is some angst with gamers who continue to get use to this, but as they realize you truly can play for free and the only advantage you get by spending money is to limit the amount of time needed to play the game to reach the apex- which players are willing to accept as a realistic trade off. For a while there was misconception anything that was free to play was extremely casual.
Like a Facebook game?
Yeah! Something that, isn’t a very good game- to core gamers. When we saw these titles that are coming with Triple A production and Free to Play we identified we can really do this. MechWarrior production is in the top category from Free to Play products, we are really proud of it and it’s really the perfect business model to bring MechWarrior back.
Why should players really pay MechWarrior online? Mech Fans and those who have never seen a Mech?
For Battle Mech Fans out there, and there’s a lot of them. This is literally your dream game, I know because it’s my dream game. This is a game that doesn’t end after 8 hours, this is a game you can literally put years into it. We are going to continue to add content and never stop. For everyone else, if you’re an action gamer who loves high quality and high production and have a fondness in their hearts for PC products- PC still brings a special something to gaming. If you’re getting a little bit tired about the, “Next Shooter Syndrome,” we’ve got something that will revitalize your interest in game and start to make you feel like there is something ELSE out there to play. It’s gonna keep your mind more occupied and it’s more of a thinking game. Any action gamers out there…you gotta give it a shot!
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