Harebrained Schemes' turn-based tactical combat game Battletech has never had a firmed-up launch date, but as we noted with the release of the debut trailer in May, it was expected to be out sometime this year. Today the studio pushed it into "early 2018," however, saying that the delay will give developers "the time they need to deliver the type of quality experience the company is known for."
"Throughout development our Backers have been clear: ‘Don’t rush it, just make it great.’ and we have taken that advice to heart," Harebrained Schemes CEO and Battletech creator Jordan Weisman said in a Kickstarter update. "HBS, Paradox, and our Backers all share a deeply personal attachment to this project and we are committed to delivering a game that not only meets the high expectations of our Backers and fans but introduces BattleTech to a new generation of players."
Weisman said Battletech continues to make "solid progress," and that the open-ended mercenary campaign "loop" is now playable. "We’ve made a ton of progress on all the component pieces of the game and this phase of development is all about bringing them together—the core combat game, the mercenary simulation aboard the Argo, the single-player story and cinematics, the open-ended mercenary mission system, the ‘Mech customization system," he wrote. "It’s a lot of stuff and it’s exciting to see it all getting stitched together and 'upleveled' with art, audio, UI, and writing."
Later this week, Harebrained will roll out a new update to the Battletech beta available to backers featuring "gameplay changes, AI upgrades, balance changes, and interface enhancements based upon the reams of useful feedback" from the community, while a following update will enable PvP combat. Full details of the first update will be released when it goes live, but the "highlights" are listed below.
- Evasion, Sensor Lock, and Evasive Move have received major revisions.
- Morale has been replaced with a new system intended to reduce the snowball effect of early game advantages.
- Weapon balance has been tuned on a variety of weapons.
- Crits are more frequent and powerful. Components and ammo now require only one crit to be destroyed, while weapons become damaged on the first crit (+2 Difficulty to-hit) and destroyed on the second.
- A/C damage has been reduced (previous: 25/50/75/100, current: 25/45/60/100) for AC2, 5, 10, and 20 respectively.
- Global heat has been tuned down by about 10%.
- Water doesn't increase heat dissipation as much (previous: 200%, current: 150%)
- Stability damage accumulates slower and also bleeds slower, and in larger discrete chunks.
- MechWarriors now have two abilities, which increases their usefulness and flexibility.
- An eyeball icon appears on enemy units if they will have LOS on you after you make the move you’re plotting.
Beyond these gameplay mechanics, this beta update also includes:
- A big, tasty update to AI that includes enemies using MechWarrior abilities, making called shots on prone or shut down units, using Death From Above, and generally messing up your life.
- A Settings Menu that allows you to change your settings and remap your keyboard shortcuts. (Currently only available from the Main Menu.)
- Some UI changes/enhancements both in combat and the skirmish setup screens.