MechAssault 2 due this Christmas
And this time, we're assaulting the Mechs.
Microsoft has confirmed that Day 1 Studios is busy grinding out a sequel to MechAssault for release in Christmas 2004, which promises to expand and strengthen the single-player offering and introduce a few new toys besides endless varieties of heavily armoured Mech.
The idea is that this time players control human pilots rather than faceless bundles in the cockpit of a pre-determined Mech. This time we can pick and choose from an array of units including the traditional BattleMechs, but also including Tanks, Vertical TakeOff and Landing crafts (VTOLs) and BattleArmor.
BattleArmor is being touted as a key new addition, giving the wearer the ability to hijack enemy Mechs, clamber up items of scenery, tear through infantry and even use VTOL-flying colleagues as makeshift people carriers, riding them into the heart of the enemy before commandeering their own defences in the fight against them.
Those living without broadband who still enjoyed MechAssault's fairly simple offline modes will be pleased to hear that the single-player campaign has been described as "significantly richer" both in terms of storyline and NPC interaction, and the structure of the game, which promises "missions delivered on the fly". A dynamic, branching sort of approach, maybe?
When it comes to MechAssault though, Xbox Live is obviously its most powerful weapon, and the sequel is promising much more. As well as the same old modes (or at least the popular ones), fans can expect massive clan battles between hordes of new units. Day 1 imagines squads of BattleArmor being airlifted by VTOLs and exposed Mechs struggling to fend them off, guns blazing and subs woofing as rockets arc over the landscape...
MS' official press release makes no mention of it, but we'd also imagine that you can expect downloadable content for years to come with this one. MechAssault pretty much defined Microsoft's rolling updates strategy on Live, and was also the first game in Europe to offer premium downloads.
You can see the first two MechAssault 2 screenshots here.