BattleTech roars past crowdfunding goal with clever pitch

A classic: BattleTech is based on a franchise with three decades of history. — Harebrained Schemes

A classic: BattleTech is based on a franchise with three decades of history. — Harebrained Schemes

It took under an hour for BattleTech to meet its modest Kickstarter target, as Harebrained Schemes looks to expand on an existing idea.

The Seattle studio already had enough resources to produce a smaller scale version of the futuristic war game. Players would take a squad of four mechanised, bipedal battle tanks (or "mechs") on skirmishes against enemy AI.

But Harebrained wants its community and fans to help turn that foundation into a full, single-player story mode (US$1mil or RM4.4mil) crowdfunding required) with side-missions, procedural missions, and an open-ended campaign (US$1.85mil or RM8.2mil), and player-vs-player combat (US$2.5mil or RM11mil).

The bipedal battle tank or giant battle suit concept has proven fertile ground for video game franchises over the years, including the first BattleTech adaptation, MechWarrior 2, Mech Commander and Mech Warrior Online.

The concept can be found powering several other notable franchises in Gundam, Steel Battalion, Armored Core,and Hideo Kojima's Zone of the Enders, and has been integral to the settings of Hawken and Titanfall in more recent years.

But it was studio co-founder Jordan Weisman who created the BattleTech universe in the first place, and fan requests for a new game have persisted since Harebrained first announced its existence.

The studio has run three previous Kickstarter campaigns, and BattleTech has the potential to trump each of them.

As a new outfit populated with veteran staffers, Harebrained took to the crowdfunding platform in March 2012 with Shadowrun Returns, derived from a multispecies cyberpunk setting co-created by Weisman at one of his previous ventures, FASA.

That first attempt, with an approach that carefully blended old and new school sensibilities, closed out at US$1.8mil (RM7.95mil) raised; sequel Shadowrun: Hong Kong was similarly powered by a Kickstarter audience, accumulating US$1.2mil (RM5.32mil) in February 2015 and releasing in August.

Between those two projects was Golem Arcana, which combined mobile and tablet devices with tabletop miniatures in a US$518,000 (RM2.2mil) October 2013 funding appeal.

There's no doubt, then, that Harebrained has plenty of crowdfunding noise.

With US$1.2mil (RM5.3mil) raised in two days, setting the initial target of its ambitious BattleTech proposal at a momentum-gathering US$250,000 (RM1.1mil) is further evidence of that know-how. — AFP Relaxnews