Back in the 90’s a little game called Heavy Gear was published by Activision. Paying tribute to the universe created by Dream Pod 9, this science-fiction universe was filled with gladiatorial style Mech brawls that left little collateral damage to the imagination. After spawning a sequel, the tentatively-named Heavy Gear 2, the series has been on hiatus since the start of the new millennium. Well kids, or rather, young adults old enough to remember the series, that hiatus is about to go on a hiatus of its own, because MekTek and Stompy Bot Productions are developing Heavy Gear Assault. Perhaps the most intriguing detail about the revival is the fact that it will be one of the first games to be developed using Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. Oh yeah baby, now we’re playing with power. Take a look at the first trailer for the game:
During last week’s Game Developers Conference, Heavy Gear Assault (I really need to stop typing Heavy Rain and then having to go back and edit this) was actually playable in demo form out on the show floor. Those in attendance were treated to a very early (as in, only two months’ worth of development) build of the multiplayer Deathmatch mode. While the game was obviously very rough, it offered some great insight into the kinds of features Unreal Engine 4 can provide. Being large, heavy Mechs, the demo managed to convey a sense of weight to actions.
I’m most interested in seeing how the engine can handle the game’s trademark destructible environments and battle-damaged armors. According to the game’s official site, “Heavy Gear Assault will feature a dynamic destruction engine. Hits on Gears will produce real, visible, physical damage with direct effects on performance. The environment can likewise be leveled by massive firepower or by crashing Gears.” Given everything we’ve seen about Unreal Engine 4’s advanced physics, I expect to be able to see would splinter and glass shatter as I reign metallic destruction down on any who dare challenge me.
Additionally, the team has started a crowdfunding effort as a source of donations to help finish the game. While the full listing of stretch goals can be found here, some of the major goals will include things like spectator mode, an in-game social media network, and even continuous eSports video coverage via live streaming of the Heavy Gear Arena. So far, they’ve managed to raise just over $110k of their $900k goal, and that doesn’t include any stretch goals. It seems like a lot, but the game will be in development for a while so there’s plenty of time to spread awareness.
Are you lads and lasses interested in the first next-generation Mech game to feature Unreal Engine 4? Or would you rather see how the engine can be used elsewhere? Which game genre do you think will benefit the most from the upgraded engine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.