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BattleTech’s turn-based game is getting an expansion

Harebrained Schemes is adding a new biome, new ’Mechs and more complex missions

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

BattleTech, the turn-based strategy title from Harebrained Schemes, turned a lot of heads when it was released in April. Now the developers have announced their first expansion. Called Flashpoint, it will include new BattleMechs, a new biome and a new mission type.

Flashpoint is the first in a series of procedurally generated short stories, according to a news release issued this week to coincide with the Gamescom convention in Germany. The announcement was accompanied by a new trailer, which we’ve embedded above.

“Flashpoints are high-stakes branching short stories, comprised of procedural mercenary missions linked together with new crew conversations, special events, critical choices, and valuable rewards,” wrote the developers. “To ramp up the intensity, some Flashpoint stories will feature ‘Consecutive Deployments’ in which players won’t be able to repair their ‘Mechs between missions.”

In BattleTech, players take on the role of a mercenary company fighting to return an ousted leader to her rightful place on the throne. The base game tells a complete story, which, as we noted in our first impressions of the game, raises the bar considerably for narratives in a turn-based strategy game. Harebrained cleverly set the events of that game in an unexplored region of the massive BattleTech universe. This new expansion is its first attempt to exploit that open space to tell additional stories that tie in with canonical events in that larger world.

The expansion will include three new vehicles, including the melee-focused Hatchetman-class BattleMech. It will also include a new tropical biome, with will likely include many more water features on the map to enhance ’Mechs’ own integral heatsinks, thereby cranking up the amount of weapons fire allowed in each round of play.

No release date for the Windows PC game’s expansion has been announced, but Flashpoint will be available on Steam and directly from Paradox. The Swedish publisher acquired Harebrained Schemes in June.

BattleTech isn’t the only new game set in the classic tabletop universe that’s out right now. Developer and publisher Catalyst Game Labs had two new starter sets for the miniatures wargame for sale at this year’s Gen Con. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the first single-player first-person action game set in the BattleTech universe in 15 years, is still in development at Piranha Games. That game was recently delayed into 2019.