Five years ago, Hawken died. The free-to-play multiplayer mech shooter from Adhesive Games first arrived on Steam in 2012 before making the leap to consoles in 2016, but by 2018, the PC servers had gone dark. Publisher 505 Games kept the servers alive on Xbox One and PS4, but they’re mostly empty these days. A sad end to a truly fun game.
But today, we find out that Hawken isn’t dead. Hawken Reborn will revive the mech shooter, only it will go from being a primarily PvP game to a free-to-play PvE co-op shooter when it returns to Steam on May 17.
The original Hawken was a competitive game where teams of mech pilots would face off to shoot the proverbial crap out of each other. Hawken Reborn, however, will flip the switch, turning the game into a single-player PvE experience to start with co-op elements coming later in the game’s early access development. It’s also getting way more backstory than the original Hawken, as the game’s Steam page shows.
“Welcome to the world of Illal, a planet once thought to be humanity’s future utopia, turned into a grim dystopia driven by corporate corruption and greed. Illicit terraforming poisoned the atmosphere and a terrible accident gave birth to the ‘Giga,’ a nanite plague that ravaged half the planet,” reads Hawken Reborn’s store listing. “Become a mercenary pilot, pitting your mech against the dangers of Illal, gaining fame, fortune, and resources to reach the truth behind its bodyguard of lies.”
From the sound of things, Hawken Reborn’s free-to-play mechanics will work very similarly to Warframe. Players will start with a mech (called an Axe in the world of Hawken) and then unlock more mechs and weapons by first unlocking blueprints and then constructing those items with gameplay-earned scrip and resources. Players will also have the choice to speed their acquisition of new gear through payments of real money.
Hawken Reborn’s selection of Axes will be limited to start at just five Axes, but more are expected to be added throughout the early access period. It’ll also have limited gameplay when it arrives with just six story missions, one open patrol area, and radio messages that will send patrolling Axes to a random objective. It’s being described as a very early slice of the game, which 505 will use to polish and optimize Hawken Reborn’s gameplay. The early access period is expected to last 18 months.
For those concerned about Hawken Reborn’s free-to-play monetization, game director Luigi Fusco said there will be “absolutely no paid loot boxes” in an interview with PC Gamer.
“The foundational philosophy [of Hawken Reborn’s monetization] was based on the premise of anything that a player can purchase using real money they must be able to play towards,” he said.
Hawken Reborn arrives on Steam early access on Wednesday, May 17.
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