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Learn about life as a mercenary in this new Battletech trailer

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I don't remember if I ever finished the old Mechwarrior game from back in the day, but I poured an awful lot of hours into it because it was an open-ended game: Players could pursue the main quest, or opt to live the simple life of a merc, cruising the galaxy, taking on jobs, and trying not to die. Harebrained's upcoming Battletech will offer the same sort of option by way of a "mercenary" simulation layer that takes place "a level above" the battlefield simulation. 

"It's an open-ended game, which means you can fly wherever you want, and do whichever missions you want," studio manager Mitch Gitelman explains in the video. 

"Escort missions, securing bases, steal things and bring them back—there's a huge variety of kinds of things that really keep you very dynamic on the battlefield, and facing very different kinds of tactical challenges," Battletech creator and studio co-founder Jordan Weisman says. 

Along with choosing the jobs you want to take on, there will also be day-to-day events aboard the ship that will have to dealt with. Some of it will be routine—recovery, repairs, upgrades—but others will be trickier to manage. "Three weeks into space, two of your mechwarriors get into a fight. Do you break up the fight? Do you let it go? Do you take somebody's side? And every decision you make has repercussions," Gitelman says.

"There are all these interlocking systems, and touching one affects another one. It's a giant engine that you are manipulating." 

The strategic simulation appears pleasantly deep and while repetition is a risk with randomly-generated scenarios, I hope that Battletech will offer up enough variety to keep that at bay for at least, say, 100 hours or so. (Maybe not quite that much, but you know what I mean.)   

Battletech is currently expected to be out next month, and is available for preorder on Steam and GOG (opens in new tab), or directly from Paradox.

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.