Mechwarrior Online rights returned to Piranha Games, "more efficient development" promised

Mechwarrior Online scored a very respectable score of 83 in our October 2013 review , but it obviously hasn't been entirely sunshine and lollipops since then. Fans have complained loud and long about missing features, delays and a glacial pace of development that has left major aspects of the game in an incomplete state. But Piranha Games President Russ Bullock recently announced that publisher Infinite Games is no longer involved with the project, which he said has already increased the pace of the game's development.

"It's with great excitement that I share with you that Piranha Games Inc. has reached a deal with Infinite Game Publishing for the return of all MWO publishing rights to PGI as of September 1st 2014," Piranha Games President Russ Bullock announced earlier this week . He said that Infinite Games brought "passion and dedication" to the project over the past three years but added, "It can still be very difficult at times to make the corporate needs and strategies of two companies align."

The unspoken tension between the two companies is what led to the deal, which will see all aspects of the game, from design and development to marketing and hosting control, become Piranha's responsibility. Bullock also suggested that the change will get the development of the game back on track.

"It is our expectation that this will lead to much more efficient development and marketing of the product. Although we just signed the deal at the end of Aug, we have been operating under this model since the beginning of August, this is reflected in the increased community efforts and updates over the last five weeks," he wrote. "This is a good example of how efficiently things can be with all facets within the same office space, were committed to continuing this efficiency throughout the entire project."

The response in the Mechwarrior Online forum appears to be cautiously optimistic overall, with many posters apparently willing to give Piranha the benefit of the doubt and a fresh start, unencumbered by any external publishing deals. But there are also warnings that with full control of the game now in Piranha's hands, it also bears sole responsibility for its success or failure. Let's hope it's the former.

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.