Concept art for MechWarrior Online.
Concept art for MechWarrior Online.

NOV. 1, 2011 • The one hugely popular MechWarrior franchise is set to return during the second half of 2012 in the form of a free-to-play online squad title by Vancouver-based Piranha Games. Gameplay in MechWarrior Online will be based on matches between four-person teams. while these matches will not take place in a persistent world, the actual results information from these battles will be persistent. Virtual items that can purchased online are not expected to manifestly enhance combat abilities.

Impact: MechWarrior was a popular hard-core gaming franchise of the 1990s. The last major release was MechWarrior 4 in 2000 published by Microsoft. Microsoft acquired the developer FASA Studios with the goal of making mech games a major attraction of Xbox Live. MechAssault from FASA was one of the featured titles for the launch of Xbox Live in 2002. However, mech games are somewhat of a niche for the console environment. A franchise like MechWarrior is ideally suited for a PC free-to-play game.  The whole point is to build robots and machines for fighting. For now, virtual items are not intended to provide a combat edge, but in our view, down the line this might change as a mech game is all about acquiring the special items that make you a stronger competitor.

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