Battletech Alpha Video Gives Gamers First Look At Turn-Based Mech Warfare

Before Mechwarrior took the gaming industry by storm with its first and third-person action-oriented combat, there was the Battletech turn-based series that took place across hexagonal maps and featured all the tactical warfare that turn-based strategy fans have grown to love. Harebrained Schemes is attempting to rekindle that turn-based nostalgia for today’s generation of gaming with the Kickstarted project, Battletech.

Harebrained Schemes let loose a new 23 minute video featuring a first-hand, unedited look at the pre-alpha gameplay of Battletech and its combat system. The game actually looks pretty good despite being as early in development as it is. You can check out the video below.

It starts off by giving us a rundown of the mechs that will be used in the battle. Each mech will have a pilot, just like in the television show or the novels.

When not in combat, players can move around the mechs in real-time, just like in X-Com or Jagged Alliance when you’re outside of combat.

I love the way the screen shakes when the mechs run. When that Atlas walks across the terrain that heavy shake is sexy as a super model.

Despite being in pre-alpha the game appears to be using IDV Speedtree (or an equivalent middleware suite) allowing for the trees to move and react under weather conditions. The heavier the wind the more they sway. Trees aren’t just there for aesthetics… they’re an actual gameplay mechanic. You can use the trees for cover to hide smaller mechs, and you can also blow the trees up to remove the cover (although that hasn’t been implemented yet).

The combat in the game is pure Battletech. You can target specific bodyparts of the mechs to disable them, and the game will eventually feature visual mech damage so you can see just how badly various weapons will affect the mechs on the battlefield.

The game is still a long ways out from release but there will be a playable at this year’s GenCon in Indiana. You can keep track of the game via the Kickstarter page.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • savaze

    I love me some Battletech, I’ve been playing it since the beginning! Looks like they are opening up preorders (some of their kickstater pledge levels) and looking at getting licensed to sell more hats, shirts, etc.

    • Gerg Arata

      I just wish Mechwarrior Online had been single player. I realize they didn’t get a publisher and it wasn’t possible, but I miss taking out my joystick and stomping around in an Atlas or Cauldron-born for a story mission. Multiplayer isn’t always better -_-

      Mechwarrior 4 Mercs is still really good and up for a free download for those interested