The upcoming adaptation of the classic mech-based tabletop wargame BattleTech will capture the considerable depth of the original title, according to director Jordan Weisman.
Speaking to Gamasutra recently, Weisman said that a desire to go beyond the tactical limitations of real-time combat was a core reason for the team at Harebrained Schemes to create a turn-based strategy game based on the franchise. “BattleTech has always been a squad… based game. While we were able to reflect this in the MechCommander games, we could not model the mechs, their interactions, and their MechWarrior pilots in as great a depth as we can in this turn based game,” he said.
The shift in approach allows the developer to implement a range of mechanics that separate BattleTech from previous franchise entries as well as other turn-based strategy games. One key feature is the kind of damage the mechs can take. Weisman says that a strong enough impact can stun or wound pilots, thus affecting their combat ability, while damage done to particular limbs can disable the attached equipment, putting the mech in a very vulnerable position.
Despite the presence of these variables, the true tactical heart of BattleTech is the three factors of heat, stability, and melee. Heat is a constant concern, as every move a mech makes will increase the temperature and bring the unit closer to a fail-safe shutdown, rendering it inoperable and indefensible for a time. Stability is affected by a number of variables, the most important of which is melee strikes, which can easily topple a mech, creating an easy kill for opposing forces.
Most of these elements are drawn from the tabletop game, though the developers have previously said that BattleTech will not use the original’s ruleset, ensuring the game remains a unique experience among both its predecessors and rivals.
BattleTech is the latest project from Harebrained Schemes, the developer behind ShadowRun Returns. The game is currently scheduled for release on PC some time in 2017, and received a first trailer earlier this year.