Microsoft finally allows Mechwarrior 4 to be freely released

After a year of squabbling over licensing rights, Mechwarrior 4 will finally be available as a free download. If you haven't been following the drama, here's what's been going on.

Smith & Tinker, an offshoot of FASA, the former development house responsible for Mechwarrior 4, announced that in honor of Battletech's 25th anniversary (Battletech is the official name of the Mechwarrior franchise), Mechwarrior 4 would be released for free. It was also in the wake of an announcement that the series would be getting a reboot. They gave MekTek Studios, the team that has basically supported the community for the decade since MW4's release, rights to distribute it. They released an SDK called "MekPak 3.1" that allowed players and developers to weed out any stray bugs before its re-release. All systems were go until Microsoft showed up and crashed the party. It turns out they needed sign-off from Microsoft, who owns part of the Battletech franchise, to push this through. Needless to say, Microsoft wasn't very quick about this, and the project seemed to have disappeared off the radar. 

Nevertheless, MekTek proundly announced this week that the deal did indeed go through and that the free release of Mechwarrior 4 is "imminent." No date yet, but I'll take imminent over "whenever Microsoft decides to let us have it."

From the MekTek website:

"After nearly a year since the announcement came, MekTek Studios is pleased to announce, that Microsoft Legal has given the all clear for the free release of Mechwarrior4. This hallmark movement by Microsoft Games couldn't come at a better time, as the Mechwarrior community is attempting a rebirth, amidst an announcement of a Mechwarrior Reboot. Thank you Microsoft."

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27 Comments

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It's out now! But the Mektek site is getting hammered.

You have to download a program called MTX, which is only 15.1MB, and from there, you can download Mechwarrior 4.

Seriously hope this is coming at long last, I've been waiting a while

Great series of games, so nice to see it getting some freeware time

Draconian Guppy said,
Mirrors? They only have a lame torrent tracker which I bet is getting hammered because I can't get it to download

Do you know how torrents work? If it's getting hammered, you have more people to download from.

Draconian Guppy said,
Mirrors? They only have a lame torrent tracker which I bet is getting hammered because I can't get it to download
Mirrors for what? This hasn't been released yet, it is on it's way. Unless you're talking about the SDK, which they say can be downloaded via torrent or HTTP. Although in that case, farmeunit's point stands, a torrent with lots of people connected means more people to download from.

farmeunit said,

Do you know how torrents work? If it's getting hammered, you have more people to download from.


yes I know, and the game HAS been released on their MektekX network. 1.6Gb, but downloading with their torrent client is imposible! or is that 1.6gb Mechwarrior4: Merceneries their SDK? (I don't know so which is why I started downloading it)..

Edited by Draconian Guppy, Apr 23 2010, 5:37pm :

I just hope it's as awesome as MWII was when it came out all those years ago. Anyone play the really old, non-PC version?

dreller said,
I just hope it's as awesome as MWII was when it came out all those years ago. Anyone play the really old, non-PC version?

I honestly read that as Modern Warfare 2 Then i /facepalmed

Edited by Tzvi Friedman, Apr 22 2010, 8:44pm :

dreller said,
I just hope it's as awesome as MWII was when it came out all those years ago.

MechWarrior 2 was the only MechWarrior game that I spent any time with. It was pretty good back in its day.

Ruler of the Interwebs said,

I honestly read that as Modern Warfare 2 Then i /facepalmed

haha!! The good old days when mw2 or MWII ment mechwarrior 2

SharpGreen said,
My question is will mektek be releasing the original untouched game or are they gonna mess it up by adding their own crap to it?

Actually, I rather liked MekTek's work - especially when they added my favorite 'Mech from MW3: Supernova.

I had it installed and working on Vista, so maybe I should try it in Win7 with my new 26" VIZIO Monitor! (heheh)

I Loved the old Mechwarrior series of games, used to play those for hours. Hope they release it soon, will provide some good flashbacks of the good old days of gaming.

What needs to happen is a release of MechWarrior II, so it can be patched to properly work in XP+. None of this running the DOS version or the ones with "improved" graphics like they are making now. I mean my old Pentium edition of Mech II + GBL.

Ryoken said,
What needs to happen is a release of MechWarrior II, so it can be patched to properly work in XP+. None of this running the DOS version or the ones with "improved" graphics like they are making now. I mean my old Pentium edition of Mech II + GBL.

Believe that was developed and published by Activision so would require their authorisation.