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.)