These days, you likely associate the MechWarriror franchise with its most recent entry, the free-to-play, MechWarrior Online. Long before the series went in the multiplayer direction, however, it was a single-player experience.
The last solo entry in the franchise was 2002’s MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, an expansion to the original game released two years prior. Fourteen years on and MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has been announced, not as an expansion but an original game. MechWarrior Online developer Piranha Games Inc announced the title this week along with a pretty vague 2018 release window. An internal team separate to the Online team is working on it. Though it wasn’t a part of the official reveal, it sounds like VR support could be included in the final release.
Speaking to a fan on Twitter, Piranha Games President Russ Bullock confirmed that the game was “designed” to support VR. Neither Bullock nor Piranha Games itself has responded to a request for clarification on if Mercenaries will definitely support headsets, though it would be strange to design a game for VR and then not integrate it, wouldn’t it?
Adding fuel to the fire, Lead Programmer Brian Windover noted that “native VR support” played a role in selecting Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 as the development tool for the project on a blog on Epic’s site. UE4 is indeed highly compatible with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
According to an official website, MechWarrior 5 is set in 3015 where different states fight in deep space. Players take control of a BattleMech, a huge fighting machine that rules the front lines with its firepower.
It sounds pretty perfect for a VR game; housing yourself inside a giant war machine is one of the best experiences the tech currently offers, as seen in other releases like RIGS: Mechanized Combat League [Review: 8/10]. There’s still a ways to go until MechWarrior 5 releases, but it’s definitely one you should keep on your radar.