“It takes a lot of faith” - BattleTech’s Mitch Gitelman on Season Passes, and the future of one of 2018’s best Turn-based Tactics Games

By Joe Robinson 22 Oct 2019 0

The upcoming Heavy Metal expansion for BattleTech, due out next month, represents the final expansion as part of the game’s initial Season Pass offering that also included the Flashpoint and Urban Warfare expansions.

Catching up with Mitch Gitelman at PDXCon this year, I asked him how the team felt about the season pass idea itself and how it’s been for the studio to work on a fixed programme of content:

I kind of dig it, actually. It depends on your perspective - as a fan, I think it’s cool. From their perspective, to buy something like a Season Pass, especially when you don’t know what’s in it - it takes a lot of faith. We sold really well, which to me felt really rewarding, you know? That the fans believed that we’d put out good shit without really knowing. We hadn’t even said the name of any of them other than the first one (Flashpoint).

As a game developer, I thought it was cool. We had to change our production methodologies really hardcore. There’s a big difference between games that took a year, BattleTech was our biggest game, it took three years… and then after that we had to learn very very quickly how to put out a free update every other month, and a major expansion every six months like clockwork. It really changes how you do business, and it was really awesome. The team adapted like crazy.

I’m really proud of the stuff we put out. Especially Urban warfare - that was hard. It was really hard.

It also allowed for different staff members within Harebrained Schemes to step into leadership roles, as the Leads for each expansion was a different person for all three DLCs. Whether or not they will return for another Season Pass, or even a new expansion, is anyone’s guess - it sounds like the team is ready for a break:

We haven’t decided yet. Because we go balls to the wall… I just want to go back home, and maybe take a break? The team really needs a break too.

It’s been nineteen months since the game launched, and while HBS seem more than willing to keep supporting the game (up to a point), there’s also a question of whether they may move on to a wholly new project. Whether that’s another Battletech game or something else, Mitch isn’t saying:

We have a lot of options, which is really cool… If Shadowrun was the right business thing to do I’d jump right on it. Directing and making that game was awesome.

There’s so much more to the BT universe that we haven’t explored yet, so there’s loads of opportunities there, but there’s a big wide world out there. Never say never!

BattleTech: Heavy Metal is due out on November 21st, 2019.

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