Hawken is coming again to PC. 5 years after the primary game stacked up the chairs, turned out the lights, and switched off the servers for its PC model, Hawken Reborn is a free to play “revitalization of the lengthy and beloved Mech fight franchise” from 505 Video games that is set to hit Steam early entry on Could 17.

It’s kind of of a pivot, too. Whereas the unique Hawken was a multiplayer, PvP affair that noticed you pilot your 20-foot metal contraptions throughout quite a lot of game modes, Hawken Reborn will likely be a purely single-player expertise when it releases, with a co-op multiplayer mode “deliberate for a later date”.

“By going PvE, it lowers the barrier to entry a bit of bit with individuals who may see a PvP game and get discouraged, simply because they assume they do not have the talent set wanted to return in,” stated senior producer Brian Decker after I requested in regards to the shift to single participant, so 505 is “specializing in the PvE, the narrative, the world,” no less than for now.

(Picture credit score: 505 Video games)

Mech warriors

“There’s something very partaking about enjoying video games, particularly mech video games, with different folks,” Decker acknowledged, “So the co-op is our type of probability to tick that field … to allow you to benefit from the expertise with your pals” and exhibit the varied deadly and beauty doodads you’ve got affixed to your mech to somebody aside from the game’s NPCs. 505 says it is “open to different options and methods down the street,” too, so it is doable multiplayer modes like Deathmatch, Missile Assault and Siege will return sometime. “The sky is the restrict on what’s to return,” stated Decker.

However at launch, Hawken Reborn could have 9 weapons, six missions, 5 mechs, and one participant, with extra of every to return because the game progresses alongside its early entry improvement path, which Decker estimates will final “12 to 18 months”. There’s additionally a freeplay Patrol Mode that unlocks after a specific amount of missions, letting you collect assets and check loadouts exterior of the principle story.

The mechs—which operate virtually as character classes, every filling their very own area of interest—may be tweaked and customised on a fairly granular stage. Your mech chassis, in addition to its weapons and thrusters, may be upgraded from stage one by way of 5, and modded in line with a “tech talent tree” that may allow you to nudge them in a path of your selecting.

(Picture credit score: 505 Video games)

You may spec for agility—very similar to the unique game, Hawken Reborn’s mechs are fairly mild on their toes for bipedal, ambulant battle tanks—or injury, or health, or another fourth factor. Or should you’re me, you possibly can achieve speccing for ‘dying quickly’: Simply because your enemies are NPCs does not imply they cannot hit arduous, significantly those who’ve their very own mechs.

Game director Luigi Fusco emphasises that the plan is to make the game’s mechs distinct in each feel and appear. “We type of requested the query, ‘What does the Darth Vader mech appear to be? What does the bounty hunter mech appear to be? … We needed to type of get that characterisation”. 

There’s nonetheless work to be accomplished on that entrance, although, therefore the early entry launch. “We’re making an attempt to maneuver barely in the direction of a character-driven mech … we’ve not achieved that fairly but, however I feel as we go on you will see that increasingly more as their talents come out,” stated Fusco.

(Picture credit score: 505 Video games)

Mech-ing cash

It is within the crafting and improve system that Hawken Reborn makes its cash. Your new mechs, weapons, and different enhancements need to be crafted from schematics, a course of that requires supplies you will achieve throughout fight or—should you’re so inclined—by buying them with actual cash.

“We type of requested the query, ‘What does the Darth Vader mech appear to be? What does the bounty hunter mech appear to be? … We needed to type of get that characterisation”

Luigi Fusco, Game Director

505 is emphatic that Hawken Reborn could have “completely no paid loot bins” and Fusco instructed me that “The foundational philosophy” of the game’s monetisation system “was primarily based on the premise of something {that a} participant can buy utilizing actual cash they have to be capable of play in the direction of”. So nothing—no less than without delay—is below lock and key behind a paywall. As a substitute, it is at “the very finish of the funnel,” that means you should purchase the crafting supplies you possibly can’t be bothered to grind for, letting you get your palms in your new toy a bit of extra shortly.

That may find yourself being a bit completely different for cosmetics, or it may not. Once I requested if the brand new game would undertake a special method to monetising purely beauty upgrades—maybe paywalling them—Fusco stated that the design of that hadn’t been “labored out but”. Though they have been within the authentic Hawken and can, some day, be in Hawken Reborn, they are not on this early model. “We have been focusing a lot on simply making an attempt to get the core gameplay loop in there,” defined Fusco.

(Picture credit score: 505 Video games)

It sounds idyllic and unobtrusive, however the proof will likely be within the pudding. The construct of the game I’ve performed would not have any monetisation options switched on—they will be activated when the game goes reside—so it is not possible to judge without delay.

Once I talked about Andy Kelly’s authentic Hawken evaluation for PC Gamer, and famous that he particularly criticised the game for being slowed down by its “tight-fisted F2P construction,” Decker stated that 505 was taking a intentionally “cautious method” to Hawken Reborn’s monetisation. “We do not need to lock all the pieces behind paywalls,” he stated, “Our purpose is to be beneficiant”.

And hey, should you do not prefer it, you possibly can all the time allow them to know. “We simply need folks to leap in, give it a shot, and provides us suggestions,” stated Fusco, “tell us what you preferred and what you did not like”. “That is actually what we’d like; it is gold for us”.

(Picture credit score: 505 Video games)

I hope they strike the proper steadiness. There aren’t sufficient mech video games on the planet, and Hawken’s surprisingly agile tackle the style was a particular factor even when the unique was within the technique of shutting up store on PC. If 505 could make that work within the framework of a monetisation system that does not suffocate the game, I am desirous to see it.