Harebrained Schemes hit it big with its 2015 Kickstarter for Battletech, a turn-based, tactical combat sim set in the "classic Battletech" era of 3025: The campaign's goal was $250,000, but it ended just shy of $2.8 million. Naturally, that enabled the studio to set its sights much higher through all kinds of stretch goals, including a full-on single-player campaign with "cinematic transitions" and voice acting, plus an expanded mercenary campaign and PvP multiplayer.
Despite that massive pile-on of new content, development had come along well enough since the conclusion of the Kickstarter that the studio announced last month that the promised backer beta release had been set for March 15. In an update posted today, however, the studio pumped the brakes on that, saying that due to "a series of unfortunate events," the backer beta has been pushed back, and so too has the final release.
Senior producer Chris Klimecky said Harebrained made two big decisions heading into the planned beta launch that had a bigger impact on the process than expected: It opted to make "desperately needed" upgrades to its development infrastructure, and it moved to the latest version of the Unity engine. Neither went smoothly: The infrastructure upgrade caused issues that led to delays in getting new versions of the game built and tested, and while the Unity upgrade improved its performance, it also "broke a lot more of our systems than anticipated."
"As you can imagine, it’s been a frustrating few weeks in the studio. The entire project slowed dramatically just as we were attempting to hit the gas for the final weeks until Beta launch," Klimecky wrote. "The team continued to push as hard as they could, refusing to give up on our March 15th target date, but the slowdowns and instability were punishing. The leadership group decided to step back and take a good, hard look at the situation. We decided it was best to stop the crunch and focus on finishing the infrastructure and editor work before reviewing our quality level and reassessing the target date for the Backer Beta."
There's currently no updated schedule for the backer beta, but Klimecky said Harebrained will make an announcement as soon as it has one adequately nailed down. He also said that the release target has been pushed back as well, from summer of this year to late summer or perhaps the fall, "but we won't be announcing a more exact release date until we're much closer in."