The Evolution Of MECHWARRIOR (Plus Tourney Announcement)

In 1984 the FASA Corporation first released the universe of BattleTech upon our earthly world, since this day players have been enamoured with this futuristic universe. Spawning over 100 full length novels by more than 30 authors as well as thousands of short publications, the BattleTech universe continues to grow and grow with each passing day.

Over the years what started as a complex tabletop game has morphed into a paradise of imagination. Whether you are a fan of tabletop games, the enlightenment that is literature, animated series, indie movies, or even video games the BattleTech universe has something for you. With its astounding size, the BattleTech universe seems to grow at a regular speed with one to two new books coming out yearly as well video games being added every few years. As with many gamers, this writer was blissfully unaware of the existence of the newest in the BattleTech games.

Through the years BattleTech has been featured 35 times in video game form. Starting in the late ‘80s, Westwood Studios brought the BattleTech universe to life for the first time on early systems. Since this day players have seen this series change in platform, technology, and even name. Although based on the shared common universe that is BattleTech these titles have taken dramatically different approaches that can be attributed to both the available technology of the day as well as the designed platform. We will start looking to these games with the first BattleTech video game “BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception”.

In 1988 Westwood Studios in association with Infocom released the very first BattleTech video game. Available for DOS 3.3+, Amiga, Apple II, and the Commodore 64 this game showed stunning graphics of the day featuring a side scrolling top down world. The game even included a full story as you become Jason Youngblood, a MechWarrior cadet. Jason must, like many video games, learn to become the hero that all gamers are meant to be. Through his trials he must overcome overwhelming odds and team up with unlikely allies to save the Citadel. Due to the gameplay of this version, many considered this game to be more of an RPG than an action title due to its heavy reliance on the storyline as well as The Legend of Zelda like gameplay and graphics. Soon after this release, the 1989 “MechWarrior” took a drastically different view on the game.

One year after the first BattleTech game we meet “MechWarrior” by Activision and Dynamix. First released for the Sharp X68000, DOS, and Macintosh (yes Macintosh not Mac back then), MechWarrior looked like a slightly updated version of Battlezone, the first 3d fps. Although sporting what is considered now to be lackluster design, MechWarrior was a revolution paving the way for other FPS games such as Doom. Although slightly changing the storyline from the 1988 game, this MechWarrior game boasted the same theory… You are the good guy, something bad happens, you must fix it. In this case Gideon Braver Vandenburg's’ family is murdered and he must take revenge within an allotted time, five years, or he will forfeit his family's’ throne. This game did introduce the idea of ingame relationships bringinging into the videogame world idea of diplomatic relations with the factions of the Inner Sphere and the clans. Due to these extended story plots this game was once again classified as more of an RPG though due to it’s upgrade to the battle simulation, it sported a much larger FPS action theme. This title “MechWarrior” (1989) is not to be confused with the 1993 SNES only title “MechWarrior” which brought a beautiful graphics upgrade to the game.

Again we will jump four more years into the future to see “MechWarrior” the 1993 release by Activision and Beam Software. In the days of the SNES while most were playing Donkey Kong 2 and Super Mario many found great entertainment in MechWarrior. After receiving a drastic graphics and gameplay improvement from the 1989 game, Activision basically recycled the story line. Again you are a pilot who has had his family brutally murdered, you must seek revenge one murderous member at a time. Due to the game being released on such a popular platform as well as the impressive graphics, MechWarrior was an astounding success. Unlike its predecessors the MechWarrior title still exists to this day with only slight tweaks to the gameplay although leaps and bounds to both the story and the graphics. This brings us, although still skipping 20 years of innovations, to 2013 with the title “MechWarrior Online” by Piranha Games Incorporated (PGI).

As drastically as any jump in technology for the BattleTech series of video games, MechWarrior Online by PGI has brought an extreme increase in graphics while still holding strong to the gameplay roots established in many of the MechWarrior games. MechWarrior Online forgoes the story and brings an online only gaming experience with stunning visuals and outstanding gameplay. In this, the latest BattleTech game, a player is allowed to choose their own fate selecting between four factions, four clans, or simply participating as a mercenary. Once a player has selected they are given options to work in tandem with other players to capture planets and gain territory for their faction. Due to the teamwork aspect some have stated that MWO is “The thinking man’s FPS.” This author's first hand knowledge can attest to this quote due to his experience with FPS games. The extreme requirement for teamwork between twelve man teams require players not only to have knowledge of how to play the game but also how to configure their Mechs to their most useful abilities. This is not the first multiplayer BattleTech game although it is by far the largest due to its freemium model. Unlike many Free-to-Play games, MWO is neither pay to play nor pay to win.

Players are given specific restrictions that can be forgone by simply playing the game to earn achievements or in-game credit. As many freemium games certain options that have no aspect on the gameplay at all such as colorful skins require the purchase of in-game “premium” points. Recently released on the Steam Marketplace, MWO has seen a large surge increasing both the quality of the game as well as the strength of competition, something that was lacking from most other MWO games.

With the surge in new players we are very excited to announce, in collaboration with Clan Wolf International and Piranha Games Incorporated, GameTyrant will be broadcasting our first MWO tournament on the 26th of March, 2016. This tournament will feature $250 in prizes and include 16 teams from 8 major organizations including the game creators themselves. The competition will be broadcast on the GameTyrant Twitch and YouTube channels starting at 1:00 pm EST (1800 GMT) with the finals expected to be at approximately 5:00 pm EST (2300 GMT). As with all new games and tournaments we will be judging the success of this game and the chance to continue with more future tournaments by those showing in attendance, therefore we ask if you are interested please invite your friends and we can work to make this competition a more regular occurrence as well as potentially opening the competition and increasing the prize pools.

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