Dropzone, the 15-minute mech RTS, is headed to Steam Early Access

Dropzone is a free-to-play, competitive RTS/MOBA crossover currently in development at Sparkypants Studios, an indie outfit formed by veterans of Rise of Nations developer Big Huge Games. It's been in closed beta testing since last July, but today the studio announced that the testing period is being wound up, and that the game will debut on Steam Early Access in February. 

All registered beta players will be migrated to the Early Access version at no cost, and be given a number of "thanks for helping out" bonuses including pilots, rigs, gear, a Daredevil Recon pilot skin, and an exclusive Early Access player emblem and vision tower. The Steam release of Dropzone will also boast a number of brand-new features, which Sparkypants will reveal closer to kickoff. 

In Dropzone, players control three units chosen from amongst five classes—Tanks, Gunner, Mechanic, and two that have yet to be revealed—that respawn, level up, and bring unique abilities to the table. It all sounds very MOBA-like, but matches are limited to 15-minute durations, and victory is based on points earned by killing neutral enemy camps and collecting "Cores," rather than wiping out your opponent or pushing down lanes. Our hands-on preview in April of last year went quite well, and in September we declared it one of our favorite games at PAX West. That's a promising start.

Dropzone is currently scheduled to go live on Steam Early Access on February 15, where it will cost $20 and include a "Squad Bundle" before it eventually becomes fully free-to-play. Find out more at dropzone.gameforge.com

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.