Cyberpunk 2077 forces MechWarrior 5 Steam release into next year

MechWarrior 5
(Image credit: Piranha Games)

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries launched on the Epic Games Store on December 10, 2019, meaning that after the usual one-year exclusivity period it would be eligible for release on other platforms on December 10, 2020. But something else is happening on that day that you may have heard about—Cyberpunk 2077, in case that's not clear—and that's led Piranha Games to push the launch onto other storefronts, and the Heroes of the Inner Sphere DLC, into 2021.

"Any developer wants their titles to get as much attention as possible, and obviously sharing a release date with Cyberpunk was less than optimal," the studio said. "Day one sales and marketing are so important to a successful product launch, and we believe that rescheduling our release date will allow MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries to have the opportunity and attention it deserves."

In light of that, Piranha has decided to wait until spring 2021 and then drop everything, everywhere—including consoles—at the same time.

"The combined release on Steam, GoG, EGS, Microsoft Store, and Xbox consoles will give us more exposure and a broader reach than we've ever had before. We will capitalize on this increased exposure with our largest marketing initiative to date, bringing as many new eyes to the MechWarrior franchise as possible," the studio said.

"This will give us more time to add improvements and quality of life features to the base game, including AI, UI, art, customization, and content. We will continue to tune the single player campaign and new career modes, making running your Mercenary Unit the most rewarding experience possible."

Piranha acknowledged that the delay will be disappointing for fans waiting to buy MechWarrrior 5 somewhere other than Epic, but rescheduling the launch was really the only thing it could do. Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a behemoth—it already is, really—and CD Projekt recommitted to the release date in a financial report released yesterday. Simply put, it's going to absolutely swamp any mid-tier games that launch or try to reach a broader audience around that time, which is why so many projects, including The Medium, Everspace 2, and the next big Path of Exile update, have also moved out of the way.

On the upside, Piranha said that the additional time to work on it, backed by increased resources arising from its recent acquisition by Swedish videogame co-op Enad Global 7, will make the wait worthwhile. It also promised that the delay will have no impact on MechWarrior Online, and "will likely benefit MWO in the long run by bringing more eyes to our multiplayer PvP MechWarrior experience."

Piranha added that it "should be well on our way towards implementing significant updates to MWO, including exciting improvements to the new player experience," when MechWarrior 5 launches on Steam and other platforms.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.