The MechWarrior franchise is essentially a digital version of the classic Battletech RPG. In these games the player takes control of a single BattleMech (referred to as 'Mech for short) rather than a group of 'Mechs (called a lance). As the player you will encounter other BattleMechs, tanks, infantry, and more from either within the cockpit of the 'Mech or from one of two third-person cameras.
MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 3 were both Origins Award winners taking the slots for "Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game" in 1995 and "Best Action Computer Game" in 1999 respectively.
The franchise takes place in the distant future where these MechWarrior's and their 'Mechs are used as pawns of politics for several major houses. These houses are always at war with each other and the following is the timeline of the MechWarrior titles (in order of release, not chronological):
- MechWarrior takes place during the last stages of the Third Succession War (late 3020's).
- MechWarrior 2, Ghost Bear's Legacy and Mercenaries take place before, during, and after the Clan Invasion of The Inner Sphere (Up to 3057).
- MechWarrior 3 takes place during different parts of "Operation Bulldog", the Inner Sphere counter-attack against The Clans, targeting Clan Smoke Jaguar (3059).
- MechWarrior 4 and its expansions take place within the Federated Commonwealth Civil War (3062 to 3067).
- The newest game in the series, to be entitled MechWarrior Online (not MechWarrior 5), takes place with the timeline meant to advance real time, kicking off 3049.
The notable and major houses in the MechWarrior / Battletech universe are (in no particular order):
- House Steiner
- House Liao
- House Marik
- House Kurita
- House Davion
Composer and producer Duane Decker has done a ton of audio and musical works for the franchise over most of its history. He has done background music tracks for MechWarrior 3 and its expansions, but his more notable works are with MechWarrior 4. He composed the score for MechWarrior 4: Vengeance which was later released on CD, he was also audio lead on the game as well. In addition, he composed the background music for its two expansions.
Electric Entertainment, a production company founded by Dean Devlin, which currently holds all options to produce a film based upon the MechWarrior universe. However, in 2003 Devlin approached Paramount to pitch the project but failed to received funding. The project is currently in development hell.
In addition to the many PC games published under the MechWarrior name, there have been 3 editions of a role-playing game under the same name, the first of which was published in 1985. It was later renamed Classic Battletech RPG upon being reprinted in 2007.
Future of the Franchise
- In March of 2003, FASA Studios announced that MechWarrior 5 had been canceled with no plans to follow in the near future.
- In 2007, Microsoft announced that it had shut the doors of the famous FASA Studios, putting all of its projects into immediate limbo. Some of the laid-off execs and employees from FASA got back together to create the company Smith and Tinker.
- On October 15th 2007, it was announced that Smith and Tinker had purchased the rights to MechWarrior and other titles they have created and worked on over the years. No future projects had been announced at that time.
- On July 9th 2009, it was announced that a new MechWarrior game, to be known simply as MechWarrior, was in development for the PC and Xbox 360. The project is a collaboration between Piranha Games and Smith and Tinker and is intended to be a reboot of the franchise according to those close to the project at the time of the trailer's release.
- In late October 2011, Piranha Games announced that they had licensed the rights from Smith & Tinker to make a Free-To-Play PC-exclusive called Mechwarrior Online.