Uh-Oh: MechWarrior 5 in Legal Trouble?

Nathan Grayson

Can’t wait for MechWarrior 5? Neither can we, but it looks like we might have to, because even hulking metallic monstrosities made primarily of guns aren’t immune to the American legal system.

But how can someone sue MechWarrior 5 when we know next to nothing about the game? Well, it’s complicated. The gist of it goes like this: the MechWarrior franchise used to crib notes from other robot-centric series, by which we mean it outright stole them . Macross/Robotech, especially, had many 20-story behemoths lifted from right under its nose.

Problem: Robotech rights-holder Harmony Gold noticed, and sued the mechanical trousers off former MechWarrior rights holder BattleTech back in 1996. Needless to say, Macross’ robot designs stopped appearing in MechWarrior shortly after.

Enter MechWarrior 5. Apparently, Harmony Gold sighted something -– probably an old-school mech design -- in the tiny trickle of MechWarrior 5 media that it didn’t like. The real-life robot master has now begun to send out cease and desist orders to websites hosting MechWarrior 5 trailers and screenshots. Is a legal storm brewing? Probably, but for now, current MechWarrior owner Smith and Tinker isn’t commenting.

The obvious downside to all of this: MechWarrior 5’s release could be delayed by a trademark dispute, though we’re hoping that – like last time – the offending mech designs are simply removed from MechWarrior and returned to their proper homes. Expect more soon.

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