Harebrained Schemes' outstanding 31st century combat simulator Battletech (opens in new tab) will add some serious tonnage in November with the release of Heavy Metal, a suitably named expansion announced today at PDXCON that will drop eight new mechs onto the field of combat, along with eight new weapons systems and a new Flashpoint mini-campaign.
The new fighting machines aren't listed in the announcement, but a list of eight mechs appears on a readout in the trailer and that's probably not a coincidence. Given that, I think it's safe to say that these are the new units we can look forward to:
- FLE-15 Flea (20 tons)
- VL-2T Vulcan (40 tons)
- ASN-21 Assassin (40 tons)
- PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk (45 tons)
- RFL-3N Rifleman (60 tons, and now I'm excited—the Rifleman was my first main mech when I got into Battletech)
- ARC-2R Archer (70 tons)
- ANH-1A Annihilator (100 tons)
The eighth and final mech is unknown for now, but it's a brand-new design created exclusively for Battletech and it promises to be a beast: The trailer indicates that it's a 90-ton unit, putting it squarely in the middle of the massive Assault class. The new weapons include a Mortar, the first area-of-effect weapon in the game, and the COIL Beam, with an energy output that increases based on the distance traveled by the attacking mech before firing. The further it moves, the harder it hits, which could give fast-moving light mechs a real leg up when things get hairy.
Old-time Battletech fans should also get a bang out of the new Flashpoint campaign, which will feature the Bounty Hunter and the Black Widow, two "legendary characters" from Battletech lore with some seriously bad blood (opens in new tab) between them. And it doesn't sound like this will be an opportunity to bury the hatchet.
"A derelict cargo ship has drifted into the Periphery from deep space," Harebrained teased. "What secrets does it contain, and who will ultimately control its mysterious payload?"
"Heavy Metal brings a greater level of diversity to Battletech by including eight new ‘Mechs and a variety of devastating weapon systems that will change the way players destroy their opponents," Harebrained Schemes co-founder Mitch Gitelman said. "The new mini-campaign weaves its way through your mercenary career to the point when you become an elite MechCommander, capable of facing off with two of the most legendary MechWarriors in Battletech history."
The expansion will also bring a free update to the base game, which will add two more mechs, and—here's the big one—official mod support.