PC gamers who have been awaiting word of the promised revival of the MechWarrior franchise have some good news today. Developer Piranha Games has officially announced Mechwarrior Online, a free-to-play sci-fi tactical online game featuring those classic 50 foot tall BattleMechs that will launch sometime in the second half of 2012.
Piranha Games previously announced plans to launch a new MechWarrior game in 2009 with an action-sim design similar to the classic MechWarrior titles. But as discussed on the game's official blog, the team was unable to secure a publishing deal with anyone for that game pitch. In 2011 Piranha secured the rights to the MechWarrior license from its previous owner Smith and Tinker and started to explore the idea of making the game as a free-to-play online title. It also found a partner, Infinity Game Publishing, that helped to secure funding for the game.
As far as MechWarrior Online itself, PC Gamer reports that the title will still have features that will please long time MechWarrior fans, including possible joystick support. But this new installment will be more of a tactical sim game than a shooter. There will also be more urban combat MechWarrior Online which is something that older titles couldn't really support that well.
Look for the game to have a big emphasis on teams, including support for four-person "lances" (the MechWarrior term for a squad). While the game will include support for purchasing virtual items, Piranha claims that nothing can be purchased that would give a player a real advantage over others.
Image via Piranha Games