mechwarrior isnt dead(mechcommander probably is), they are just waiting longer to release the next sequel. Instead of making little strides here and there. The next game will likely be like the difference between doom II and doom III well not really, but the difference between mechwarrior 3 and mechwarrior 4 wasnt that much it was considerable but not revolutionary.....
Ah well. I guess I can occasionally post here as well as on Delphi.
Considering the amount of material that has been hopping platforms between PC/X-Box/Virtual World it should be almost no surprise that MW5 was axed at present.
For those not aware, MechWarrior4 was supposed to, originally, be MechWarrior3. Unfortunately, FASA Interactive (the precursor to FASA Studio) was still a fairly new commercial software development house at the time. And they were eyeball-deep in the original MechCommander.
I was lucky enough to get a tour of FASA Interactive at the time. They were back-porting software from the Virtual World BattleTech pods down to work on a regular 3D accellerated PC. Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the pods, essentially they were P90 and PPro200 machines in an 8-node network. The thing that set them apart was the $10,000/per pod graphics system (which also made it damn hard to sell the pod franchises).
Now at the time, I saw some of the early ports of VW code from their RedPlanet (racing) game. It was impressive, but DEFINITELY not production quality, or even pretty.
As the deadline for MW3 approached, Microprose took a long hard look at FIT and came to the decision that there was no way they were going to get both MW3 AND MechCommander out the door on time. So they yanked the development of MW3 from FIT and handed the contract over to Zipper Interactive who delivered a completely different product than what FIT had been working on which had ZERO Virtual World code in it.
Meanwhile, MechCommander was finished, shoved, and development began anew on the VW code.
Also, during this time, Virtual World was working on their next-generation of pods. What emerged was not quite as functional as the previous generation (the original "Tesla" pods had literally hundreds of control parameters, all of which were user-accessible, though it was VERY rare for anyone to use them ALL).
Unfortunately, during this time, the parent company, the FASA Corporation closed it's doors. At the time, the future of BattleTech and MechWarrior was VERY uncertain. However, a few things happened.
- Microsoft had already asserted itself as a controlling interest in FASA Interactive (after being a silent partner for several years). So FIT continued on as FASA Studios.
- WizKids, a new(er) gaming company founded by Jordan Weismann (one of the guys who started up FASA and one of the inventors of BattleTech) bought the IP to the BattleTech/MechWarrior boardgame properties.
MechWarrior became the name of their next click-base boardgame. MechWarrior: DarkAge.
- The rights to the original BattleTech boardgame were licensed to FanPro, L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fantasy Productions (a German company who had been doing translation and overseas development on FASA novels and the FASA "Shadowrun" properties for years). The name "BattleTech" was retired and the term for the game became "Classic BattleTech".
MW4 was released, and after a while, the new "Tesla II" pods were released. They got a hefty processor upgrade (P4 1.8 in the original machines in Chicago's Dave & Buster's facility), and their video systems were vastly simplified (3 high-end nVidia video cards to control the monitors). The system was dubbed "Firestorm".
Currently, all but one commercial site in the US are sporting the Tesla II pods.
There two locations in the US still sporting the "System 3" (pre Tesla) equipment. One is in California, the other is the VGL Underground site (and BattleTech Archive) in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Additionally, there are a couple of overseas sites (Australia(x2), and China that are sporting original Tesla equipment.
Locations for the VW BattleTech pods can be found here: http://www.virtualworld.com/main/sites/
Shortly thereafter, the last "upgrades" for MW4 came, MechWarrior 4: Black Knight and MW4: Mercenaries. Lots of graphical tweaks, a few engine tweaks for smoother gameplay, etc.
As of right now, MW5 is on hiatus, with other games, like the MechAssault series, taking precedence.