10 fan games that shouldn't be ceased or desisted

Labors of love become labors of heartbreak when great games meet a legal demise

We heart the original because: The MechWarrior/BattleTech series of tabletop RPGs/wargames has been drawing in fans for decades, with its vision of a far future torn apart by constant, intergalactic war fought by giant robots bristling with customizable weaponry. It’s a bleak, lumbering alternative to comparatively squeaky-clean Japanese mecha properties. And the videogames based on MechWarrior – including MechAssault on Xbox – have been mostly stellar, although we haven’t seen any new ones for a while.

Who’s behind it: A team of fanboys with mecha on the brain, naturally.

Why it rocks: Until recently, there had been no new additions to the game series, and no plans to change that. The Living Legends team stepped in to fill that ‘mech-shaped hole in our hearts, with this simulation combat title that will be multiplayer online. They’ve planned for 28 playable Battlemechs, as well as other vehicles, over 15 handheld weapons and bunch of missions and environments.

Where it’s at now: Rather than hand the team a cease-and-desist letter, Microsoft is reported to have given them its blessing to go ahead instead. We’re sporting a quizzical look as we try to imagine this paradoxical situation, but hey, we’re not complaining! There’s an open beta available for downloadand the game has won both ModDB’s editor’s and player’s choice award for Best Multiplayer Mod of the year in 2009.

Oh, but remember how we said “until recently” a couple paragraphs ago? Last year, it was announced that a MechWarrior reboot game was in the works by Piranha games. Ironically, it’s the official game that hit a bit of legal trouble last June, because some of the ‘mechs in the game were too similar in design to those in the Robotech universe, according to Robotech franchise owner Harmony Gold. Despite all this, it looks like both MechWarrior titles are still going strong, which is good, because we look forward to welcoming both into our game libraries. Sometime soon, we hope.

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