GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! You may remember that back when I headed up the NAG Online Podcast (which you can now catch up on over here, under new management), I constantly noted that my game of the week that I was playing was Hawken, which I once said was possibly the finest mech game I have ever played. Well, I haven’t given up on Hawken totally, even after Adhesive Games abandoned the servers and allowed the infrastructure to crumble as they raked in the profits from people who still bought Meteor Credits (MC). Things are now looking up for my favourite multiplayer game of all time, as it has recently been bought out by Reloaded Games and is receiving a shot of epinephrine straight to the heart.
The move to revitalise the game is called Project Phoenix by Reloaded Games, and will start with a small team assigned to put Hawken back into a functional state. Reloaded Games currently distributes free-to-play titles like APB Reloaded and Fallen Earth, and they also host game servers and back-end infrastructure for Super MNC (Uber Entertainment), Battlestar Galactica MMO (Bigpoint Games), Dark Orbit (Bigpoint Games) and Drakensang Online (Bigpoint Games). Reloaded Games has their own online games service called Gamers First, that allows players to buy G1 credits that can be redeemed for in-game currency.
What’s going to happen now is the transition of the game from Adhesive Games, the original Hawken developers, over to Reloaded Games. This process will be pretty slow, as Reloaded will be first fixing up any of the server issues that are currently hindering the game’s performance online. They are also looking into reopening new server regions and booting up old ones to ease up on the load, but only as required.
At its lowest point, Hawken only had servers in the United States and occasionally had a few servers in Germany and France spin up once a week or so, serving a player base of around 260 players worldwide. According to Steam Charts, Hawken is now seeing an average of around 500 players, which had a high point of over 8000 players in the past two months.
In addition to the revamped server infrastructure, Reloaded Games has been making conversation with the community in the Hawken forums about the game’s changes. On 3 April 2015, there was a week-long Project Phoenix celebration where the new developers set up some custom games modes for people to tinker with. Its safe to say that they won’t all become permanent in the future, but they do sound pretty awesome.
Night of the Living Fred – A single player starts off with a Fred CRT mech, while other players are in normal mechs. With only tow rockets, the Fred mech needs to infect other players and turn them into Freds, until there are either no players left or no Freds left in the game. Radar is disabled, so you have to watch your back constantly.
Convoy – Each team of players is assigned a brawler mech that is stuck in turret mode (it moves very slowly). Teams have one life for each player and one tech option, and each team needs to move their brawler from one point on the map to the other. There was an alternative mode based on this game type where the other team was tasked only with stopping the brawler, with game time being compared between the two matches to see who ultimately wins.
Alien vs Predator – The Alien team has one Raider mech (the queen) while the rest of the team is composed of scouts (who have a cloaking device). The opposing team is comprised of predator mechs and infiltrators, and need to kill the queen first to stop the scouts from respawning.
Invincible – Each team gets an incin and the other team needs to destroy it as many times as possible before the timer runs out.
Monster – A 7v1 game mode, one player is handed an absurd amount of health and the other players need to kill the “monster” mech.
While these game modes sound sweet, they won’t be making their way back into the game just yet. Still, Hawken carries the usual number of game modes to choose from, including team deathmatch, missile assault, siege and deathmatch. Two new modes have been added since Reloaded took over, though:
Co-Op TDM – Up to five players can team up against five AI-controlled mechs
Co-Op Bot Destruction – A bit like Mann vs Machine in Team Fortress 2, four players can team up to hold back up to 25 waves of AI-controlled mechs and attack drones. Every fifth waves brings along a “boss mech” that needs all of the team to work together to bring it down.
If you’re interested in Hawken and want to see how it handles and what the developers are saying about it so far, you can check out the OfficialHawken Twitch channel and see some of the past broadcasts with Joshua Clausen, the game’s new lead developer.