MechWarrior 5: Clans is an action-packed, co-op mech shooter

This upcoming narrative-driven MechWarrior title features Clan Smoke Jaguar as it attempts to take back their homeland in Operation Revival.

Piranha Games

It’s been almost three decades since MechWarrior fans have had a clan-based game in the series, namely MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat released way back in 1995 on DOS and Windows. Developer Piranha Games aims to change that with its upcoming MechWarrior 5: Clans, which is both a sidestep and a follow-up to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. In a private meeting during GDC 2024, the studio showed off a short hands-off, pre-alpha demo of the game, revealing roughly fifteen minutes of what to expect in the opening chapters. And so far, it looks like MechWarrior 5: Clans will slot right into the BattleTech universe without a hitch.

No deceit, no subterfuge

MechWarrior 5 Clans Combat First Person
The Shadow Cat's laser weapon can take down enemy ships in a flash.

SOURCE: Piranha Games

Taking place during the Clan Invasion, otherwise known as Operation Revival from the point of view of the Clans, this action shooter aims to tell a deep narrative experience. Those who understand the BattleTech lore will know that this is when a group of Clans decided to fight against the Inner Sphere in the hopes of reconquering their homeland. (They’ll also know how this conflict ends, but it’s all about the journey and not the destination, right?) As for the timeline, the developers on site stated that the plot is set up to be a parallel to the Blood of Kerensky trilogy by Michael Stackpole. Where MechWarrior 2 had players take control of Clan Jade Falcon or Clan Wolf, this time around Clan Smoke Jaguar will be front and center.

More precisely, the player will assume the role of a member in a recently graduated Star, a squad of five mech pilots, who all want to prove themselves on the battlefield. In one of their first missions on the desert planet Santander along the periphery of the Inner Sphere, the Star is forced to tangle with a pirate leader named Helmar Valasek. The primary mission is to rendezvous with friendly forces at a couple of mysteriously disengaged dropships, a task that seems simple enough but one of the squad members, Star Commander Jayden, believes that this is easier said than done. Within minutes, he’s proved correct as the Star is forced to engage with pirate forces on patrol and clear an outpost full of light guards. When the team returns to the dropships, they explode and destroy many allies in the blast. Time for payback.

Engage and destroy, with pleasure

MechWarrior 5 Clans Combat Third-Person Outpost
Players can also switch to a third-person perspective to get a different angle on targets.

SOURCE: Piranha Games

Piloting a Shadow Cat mech, Jayden has multiple weapons at his disposal and can give commands to his squad by using a handy radial menu. The demo showed off several standard armaments for the mech, including a C-ER M Laser and a C-Gauss rifle. The laser weapon in particular is very powerful, capable of destroying tanks and VTOLs in a single, well-placed hit, but it takes about two seconds to recharge. With enough precision, damage dealt to specific parts of an enemy mech or ship can disable specific weapons and functions. On that front, to get a better angle on a shot and dodge away from incoming missiles, the mech can perform a small, jet-propelled jump. 

For tactics, in addition to a circular radar in the center of the HUD that will detect enemy combatants, players have access to an overhead map that will help with navigation. A module showing the health of teammates as well as the front and rear parts of Jayden’s mech is placed on the lower-right side. Players are also free to switch between first-person and third-person perspectives. Using the radial menu, the other squad members can be called to gather at a point and engage enemies in a specific queue. The AI controlling the rest of the Star is smart enough to blast targets without needing too much direction, though finding a party for five-player co-op will make coordination and teamwork easier to manage. The peer-to-peer multiplayer system is essentially the same as the one in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, so it should be ready to go without too much trouble.

MechWarrior 5: Clans is slated to release in 2024 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. A more precise release date is planned to be announced in June.

This preview is based on a hands-off demo shown by the publisher behind closed doors during GDC 2024.

Contributing Editor

Once upon a time, Nick's parents confiscated his Super Nintendo because he was "playing it too much." He has secretly sworn revenge ever since. Nick is now a freelance writer for various video game sites. Powered by iced green tea, he typically plays RPGs of all kinds like Shin Megami Tensei, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout. In his spare time, he follows the latest season of Critical Role.

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