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Heavy Gear Assault enters early access

Heavy Gear Assault

A couple years ago, Stompy Bot Productions tried to cut itself a slice of the giant fighting robot pie by resurrecting the moribund Heavy Gear franchise as Heavy Gear Assault. But when the $800,000 Kickstarter tanked, the studio canceled the campaign and said it would try its luck with homegrown crowdfunding instead. That's often code for "We give up," but in this case that's actually what it did.

Fundraising totals aren't listed on the Heavy Gear Assault site, but whatever it pulled in was enough to get the game to a playable state and, more to the point, an early access release. "With the move to Early Access, players are no longer required to sign a confidentiality agreement or NDA," Stompy Bot wrote. "We welcome all players to stream live video, post screenshots, and share their Heavy Gear experiences with their friends!"

The early access launch also opens up the fundraising doors a whole lot wider. The game packs required to play run from $40 to $100, and there are all sorts of other purchase options as well, including blueprints packs and specialized weapon systems.

Heavy Gear Assault sends players to the planet Terra Nova, where they'll take the controls of giant fighting robots called Gears and use them to blow each other to pieces. Activision made the first Heavy Gear game in the mid-'90s, after losing the rights to the Mechwarrior franchise, but despite the obvious similarities it's a well-developed property in its own right, with a tabletop tactical game, an RPG, and even a short-lived animated series.

"This new phase of development has really energized our team, and we’re eager to keep the momentum going full speed," Stompy Bot Marketing Director John Nguyen said. "Our early supporters have been dying to share their excitement with the world since it’s been under wraps, and we’re thrilled to see more players join in and provide vital feedback as we gear up for our full launch next year."

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Update: The post originally referred to Stompy Bot Productions as the developer of Heavy Gear Assault, but it's actually the publisher. The game is being developed by MekTek Studios.