At first glance, upcoming mech game Galahad 3093 looks a lot like Hawken. It's strictly a multiplayer game, and its mechs—"lances," in the game's parlance—are small (at least compared to the lumbering behemoths in games like Battletech), lightly armed, and extremely mobile. But David Whatley, CEO of developer Simutronics, told me ahead of next week's open beta test that Hawken actually had "zero influence" on the game's design: It's rooted in the studio's old CyberStrike series, which dates all the way back to 1993.
"Galahad 3093 is a spiritual successor to our CyberStrike titles," Whatley said. "We had actually begun work on this, at the time named CyberStrike 3, around the time Hawken made its initial unveiling, but decided to shelve it since we didn’t think there was enough room for two such games and what they were doing was similar to our Cyberstrike franchise in many ways."
Hawken fell by the wayside several years ago, and in August 2020 CyberStrike 3 resurfaced with a new name—Galahad 3093—and a new philosophy: "To combine the best parts of simulation-based mech shooters and modern hero shooters."
To make that happen, Galahad 3093 mixes highly customizable walking war machines with pilots based on characters from Arthurian legend, each of whom has a unique passive and active ability. Arthur can call down catastrophic orbital strikes, for instance, while Gwen can drop an impenetrable dome shield and Mordred can teleport. Some combinations are natural fits, but there are no limitations on who can pilot what: If you want to put a stealth-focused pilot behind the stick of a massive Super-Heavy with quad-mounted autocannons, that's your business.
Mechs are available in four weight classes—light, medium, heavy, and super-heavy—and all of them can mount the same basic weaponry. The differences lie in speed, armor, and optional gadgets that can be used to enhance the mechs in various ways: The bigger the machine, the more gadgets it can take. Even at this relatively early stage, class differentiation is significant enough that they're all viable, meaning that gameplay isn't simply a race to the biggest and heaviest machines. The Light class, for instance, is a devastating up-close fighter, especially when tuned for speed and stealth—as long as you don't get caught short of fuel or an escape route.
As an oldster who has neither the reflexes nor the precision to land headshots with regularity, what I particularly enjoy about Galahad 3093 is that the inherent survivability of mechs means getting into trouble doesn't necessarily mean a quick death.
"Our version of mechs are highly mobile, with very vertical environments," Whatley said. "Since they are giant hunks of metal, you get a higher time to kill than most shooters (no head shots here), while still having a control scheme that’s fairly familiar to any FPS player."
I put several hours into the previous Galahad 3093 beta round, and it was really good. Every mech class has its place and all roles are rewarding, whether you prefer to stand up and slug it out with enemies, snipe from a distance, or roam around enemy bases blowing stuff up. Teamwork is also vital, and that's not just marketing-speak: Friendly fire is a real concern, and blasting carelessly away at a furball is going to do more harm than good. There's no penalty for damaging teammates, but there are post-death reports, so they'll know it was you.
Previous beta tests have been limited in scope and duration, with new features and changes being added based on player feedback. So far, things appear to be going quite well, and Whatley said that the game's second map, larger than the current one and "with some extreme verticality including a towering laser drilling facility and a base that’s entirely underground," will hopefully be opened to player testing soon.
The next beta test will be the biggest and longest yet: It's scheduled to start at 8 pm ET on March 19 and will run for more than a week, until March 28. It's also open to all, so if you want to check it out for yourself (and I strongly urge you to do so), just head over to the Steam page and hit the "request access" button, and you're in.
The plan is to launch Galahad 3093 into Steam Early Access later this year, although neither a date nor pricing have been revealed yet. "Right now our focus is on making the core game as strong as possible," Whatley said. While you wait for the shooting to start, you can find out more about the game at galahad3093.com, or on Discord, and enjoy a more dramatic, danceable look at gameplay in the video below.