MechWarrior reboot was derailed by Microsoft blocking PS3

The initial incarnation of Piranha Games' MechWarrior reboot, revealed yesterday to have become free-to-play PC exclusive MechWarrior Online, was stymied by "a Microsoft restriction" blocking a PS3 edition.

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The initial incarnation of Piranha Games' MechWarrior reboot, which was revealed yesterday to have become the free-to-play PC exclusive MechWarrior Online, was stymied by "a Microsoft restriction" blocking a PlayStation 3 edition. This, according to Piranha, played a big part in publishers not wanting to pick the game up. Do remember there's a happy ending, though.

The revelation comes in a blog post from Piranha owner Bryan Ekman, retelling the history of the game's development. He explains that Piranha began shopping the reboot to publishers in earnest after releasing its jolly exciting proof of concept trailer, but were turned down by houses big and small.

A "restriction" from rights owner Microsoft which forbade a PlayStation 3 edition played a big part in this, he said, along with "the epic market collapse and major recession."

"In the end, it was mostly the lack of a PS3 option that did us in. The scope and budget required to develop a console reboot needed the support of a PS3 SKU and we just couldn't convince publishers to take a risk," Ekman explained. "By late fall 2009, our dreams of making a MechWarrior game, began slowly drifting away."

"Through the end of 2009 and into 2010 we rallied numerous times, reducing scope and budget, re-pitching the concept as a [Xbox] Live only title, etc. etc. In the end, nothing stuck."

After pitching in on the resurrected Duke Nukem Forever, working with the multiplayer and console editions, Piranha came back to MechWarrior in winter early this year.

The studio "decided to plunge in head first" and licensed the rights from license holder Smith & Tinker (the outfit founded by Jordan Weisman, co-creator of MechWarrior's tabletop source game, BattleTech).

Going back to the drawing point, Piranha began toying with free-to-play and switched to a later point in the established BattleTech timeline. It also finally found a publisher partner in "a local group" interested in the game, who rustled up funding to form Infinity Game Publishing.

And that's where baby MechWarrior games come from.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 1, 2011 10:45 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, MechWarrior reboot was derailed by Microsoft blocking PS3.

    The initial incarnation of Piranha Games' MechWarrior reboot, revealed yesterday to have become free-to-play PC exclusive MechWarrior Online, was stymied by "a Microsoft restriction" blocking a PS3 edition.

    • reply
      November 1, 2011 11:17 AM

      What exactly does Microsoft own the rights to?

      'A "restriction" from rights owner Microsoft which forbade a PlayStation 3 edition...'

      'The studio "decided to plunge in head first" and licensed the rights from license holder Smith & Tinker'


      I'd be interested to know what they had rights to.

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        November 1, 2011 11:19 AM

        Microsoft owns the video game rights to all the FASA properties (most notably Mechwarrior and Shadowrun).

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          November 1, 2011 11:21 AM

          Ahhhh, does it cover only Console rights? How were they able to license a pc games I wonder.

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            November 1, 2011 11:22 AM

            Or did microsoft just not care if they made a Free to play game for the pc?

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              November 1, 2011 11:31 AM

              Why would Micro$oft care if the reboot was F2P on the PC? When is comes to OS sales, Micro$oft comes out on top.

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                November 1, 2011 11:34 AM

                I hope you realize no one takes you seriously with your childi$h crap.

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                November 1, 2011 12:34 PM

                Micro$oft
                $on¥
                Appl€
                ₩orld of ₩arcraft
                Hew£ett Packard
                A¢tivision

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            November 1, 2011 11:23 AM

            Nope, it's all video games, console or PC. The PC is "their" platform, or at least neutral from the standpoint of the console wars. The PS3 is a clear competitor.

            As an aside, I really want Bethesda to license the Shadowrun franchise and create an awesome RPG out of it.

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            November 1, 2011 11:25 AM

            Smith & Tinker got the license from Microsoft with the stipulation that it never be used for PS3.

            Same deal with Shadowrun.

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              November 1, 2011 12:43 PM

              Now that the 360 is established that just seems silly, needlessly throwing away sales.

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            November 1, 2011 12:18 PM

            Believe it or not, but Microsoft used to publish PC games.

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        November 1, 2011 12:54 PM

        Apparently it's a dog's breakfast in terms of legal issues because some early Mechwarrior designs were licensed from third parties or outright copied as well.

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          November 1, 2011 3:28 PM

          Yeah I thought Harmony Gold, the company that owns the Robotech franchise, threatened legal action against this game after that trailer was released. Specifically the red 'mech from the trailer is one of the designs that was pretty much copied directly from the Macross franchise and Harmony Gold (kinda) holds the rights to Macross outside of Japan. Though the Macross franchise has its own massive legal mess that has been going on for years as well.

          Its amazing how almost 30 years later the Macross/Robotech/Battletech/Mechwarrior legal situation is still ongoing.

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            November 1, 2011 4:46 PM

            So basically all bets are off if you decide to put legs on a fighter jet, huh?

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      November 1, 2011 11:41 AM

      YO BILL. Fuck you! that is all

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      November 1, 2011 2:00 PM

      No offense to all you mechwarrior lovers, but those mechs are just way too clunky for this century.

      Feels like people standing flat-footed and shooting each other point blank revolutionary war style.

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        November 1, 2011 2:48 PM

        MW gameplay isn't fast and stylish a-la Hawken. They are walking tanks built to withstand a huge amount of damage. Their aesthetic reflects that. MW is slower, methodical and tactical. There are plenty of fast paced shooters both with and without Mechs. This won't be one of them.

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          November 1, 2011 2:59 PM

          I never really played MW4, but looking back I think one of the issues was you always benefited from taking the bigger and bigger mechs as the campaign progressed. You never really had to sit back and choose between taking something like an Atlas or a Mad Cat Vs. a Jenner or a firefly, because the mission called for more of a lighting-fast strike than a slow, methodical locking down of a large piece of the combat zone.

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            November 1, 2011 2:59 PM

            *issues in MW2/3 + xpacs, I mean

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              November 1, 2011 4:31 PM

              I think that's one of the issues they'll be addressing. Every Mech will be useful and it wont simply be a slow graduation to Assault mechs.

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        November 1, 2011 2:55 PM

        Fuck your century I want nothing of it.

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        November 1, 2011 3:31 PM

        I won't be able to play a Mechwarrior game after playing Zone of Enders 2 and I used to love Mechwarrior and Earthsiege.