Indie developer Adhesive Games has given giant robot fans the news for which they've been waiting: Hawken has a launch date, and it's going to be free to play.
Based heavily on the fondly-remembered and soon-to-be-revived MechWarrior franchise, Hawken is an effort to create a modern multiplayer first-person shooter evoking memories of its spiritual predecessors. While Adhesive is working on keeping the game fast-paced, it's also ensuring that players really get the feeling that they're piloting a building-sized multi-tonne machine of futuristic war.
Response to videos released by the group have been overwhelmingly positive. Developed in Epic's Unreal Engine, it's undeniably attractive. Sadly, the company has been quiet of late, breaking silence in early January simply to confirm the project was still on track.
Now we know precisely where that track leads: a release before the end of the year. According to an update published by the company yesterday, Hawken will be released on the 12th of December this year: 12/12/12. In addition, it's going to be a free-to-play PC-only multiplayer title.
Details of the precise model being adopted by Adhesive for Hawken are not yet available. The company will likely be looking to monetise its efforts, but with the game being free there are limited options. It's possible the company will opt for a microtransaction model, where in-game upgrades can be purchased for real-world money. Alternatively, it may be looking into a 'freemium' model whereby players can progress only so far into the game before having to start a new character from scratch or pony up some cash.
For those curious as to how the game will work, there's an extra bit of news: registration has opened for a closed beta. To build up buzz surrounding the title, Adhesive has opted for a pyramid scheme-style system: registering on the official site
provides a link, and if a player can convince three of his or her friends to sign up they get their callsign reserved. Sadly, that's about it: there's no guarantee of entry into the beta, no matter how many sign-ups you get under your belt.
While you wait, it's worth checking out the game's screenshot and video gallery
for a hint of things to come. If Hawken plays as good as it looks, you can consider us officially excited.
Will you be signing up for the closed beta, or has the ponzi-style nature of the marketing effort turned you off? Share your thoughts over in the forums