“Sometimes things just don’t go as you want them to.”
That’s always an auspicious beginning to anything, isn’t it? Well, in this case it’s true. A few weeks back, we came out with some fantastic news. We were bringing the ‘Unseen’ back! We reviewed documents, talked to a great many people, and spent time with some lawyers. We felt we had a solid position.
Sadly, some of the information we acted upon turned out to be inaccurate. Twelve of the ‘Unseen’ images previously used within the BattleTech universe were involved in a court case in the 1990s: Archer, Longbow, Rifleman, Warhammer, Wasp, Stinger, Phoenix Hawk, Crusader, Marauder, Stinger LAM, Wasp LAM and Phoenix Hawk LAM. This we knew. But at the end of that court case, as part of a confidential settlement, it was agreed that the sole and exclusive world-wide right to these images (outside of Japan) would rest with another US company.
It is for this reason that we have chosen to revise our plans to publish these specific images in current product.
Though we spoke with a number of individuals before making our initial decision, no one involved in Catalyst was aware of this agreement. Still, the owner to these images has been very cool with us about the whole situation. They are a good group of people, and we will continue our attempts to work with them as we look toward the future.
I hope you all know, this was something we attempted out of a true passion to bring you everything you have wanted out of BattleTech over the past 25 years. This was one of those big holes we thought we could patch, and sadly we were wrong. I know there are times where it’s easy to see Catalyst as “The Powers that Be” for the games we make, but let me use this as an opportunity to remind you that we are also huge, huge fans (just in case you didn’t already know that from my years of blogs). Over the past two years there have been several projects behind the scenes that we’ve been working like crazy on because WE want to see BattleTech be a great game from every angle. We want it approachable for beginners, and compelling for veterans. More than anything we want to be able to share as much as we can from 25 years worth of story and products… and this was a big piece of that puzzle. Yet we simply can’t in this one case, and for that we as fans and game designers are truly saddened.
So after all of that, I would like to extend my sincerest apologies. Though we’re still able to use many of the unseen designs, these core twelve remain some of the most beloved. I hope you understand it was entirely out of our own passion for the game that this entire situation has unfolded as it did.
The BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction PDF has been adjusted accordingly, as has the printed product
Thank you all for your support over these past few years. It’s what has made even set backs like this all worth it as we continued forward making a great game even better.
Randall Bills, Managing Developer Catalyst Game Labs