MechWarrior Online is an upcoming action simulation game currently under development by Piranha Games and Smith & Tinker for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. This game is essentially a reboot of the franchise, that takes place in the Battletech Universe, and with the storyline taking place before the original MechWarrior. Development of the game is being led by two main project leaders, Jordan Weisman from Smith & Tinker and Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games.
The story takes place in the year 3015 set on a planet called Deshler, near the end of the Third Succession War, set before the events of the original MechWarrior and right before Hanse Davion comes into power. The main protagonist is Adrian Khol, fourth son of the noble family who rules Deshler in the name of House Davion. Although in training as a MechWarrior, Adrian never takes his training and duties seriously, until the day his entire family is wiped out during the war. Spared from the massacre during a make-up test for mech training, Adrian eventually changes his thinking and takes up responsibility against the rebels who killed his family and takes his place as successor of the family throne.
Jordan Weisman, founder of Smith & Tinker and previously founder of the disbanded FASA Corporation which worked on the MechWarrior series, negotiated the license back from Microsoft after the software giant left the property idle for years, since their last foray with the MechAssault series. Russ Bullock from Piranha Games was a long time fan of the series and wanted to start a joint collaboration with Weisman. He contacted Weisman to develop a prototype project that eventually became the new iteration in the MechWarrior series. Production of the new MechWarrior game first began on October 2008, where the two studios started discussing the project on pen and paper. After coming up with a presentation for a prototype scenario, both studios began ramping up a full-time team to work on the new game in March 2009.
On September 3, 2009, shortly after posting preview videos and images of the game, IGN was issued a cease and desist order by Harmony Gold USA (owners of the Robotech franchise), citing copyright infringement. In 1996, FASA (the former owners of the Battletech franchise) were involved in a legal case over the use of mecha designs derived from the Macross series, and decided to discontinue using images of mecha that were developed outside of FASA. These 'Mechs were then referred to by fans as the Unseen. The trailer for MechWarrior featured the Warhammer, one of the Unseen, which is designed similarly to the Destroid Tomahawk from Macross, or the Excalibur Destroid from the Robotech Series. The Warhammer, as well as several other 'Mechs, such as the Marauder and Archer, were an important part of the early BattleTech universe and image, but were based on images from Macross and other mecha anime series, which FASA had licensed from the original Japanese creators, but Harmony Gold claimed the images as their own property inside the US. It is currently unknown if the Unseen will be used in the final game or not.