"On a distant planet colonized by man, industrialized to the point of collapse ...
Our population has been devastated.
The hunt for resources has become the battle for survival."
— Hawken, Story Trailer
Hawken is a first-person mecha-combat game. Made by Adhesive Games Ltd. with Unreal Engine 3.The planet Illal has seen better days. It used to be a idyllic, resource-rich colony world, but warfare between the dominant interstellar corporations on the planet have left it in ruin. A self-replicating nano virus named Hawken was unleashed on Illal when Crion, one of the three dominant corporations, collapsed violently. As it spreads, Hawken converts the environment into a nightmarish labyrinth of patchwork metal known as the "Giga-Structure."By now, Hawken has converted a third of the planet's surface into the Giga-Structure. Those who could afford to leave Illal have done so. The remaining two leading megacorporations on the planet, Prosk and Sentium, wage open war for control of the planet's remaining valuable resources. The front line fighters in this war pilot mechs, mostly jury-rigged from salvage or repurposed civilian models.And that's where you step in.The game entered open beta on December 12, 2012, then launched and transferred to Steam on February 2014.Hawken also spans into an upcoming live-action series and comic books (Hawken Genesis series serves as prequel to the game, and Hawken Melee a collection of short stories.)
Hawken provides examples of:
After the End: The setting, set after a disaster that wiped out a Mega Corp. and is turning all of the planet into patchwork metal. Those who could flee did—the rest were recruited into the two remaining Mega Corps.
Allegedly Free Game: Actually averts this, despite following the free to play model. Yes, players can buy Meteor Credits with real world money to buy in game items with, but the only things that absolutely cannot be bought with Hawken Credits (currency that can be earned in-game) are cosmetic upgrades.
All There in the Manual: The comic, which would net people access to Closed Beta (and later gave Open Beta players a bonus of in-game money), details the backstory. The setting's on a planet light-years away, and the conflict is between two Mega Corps fighting for rare minerals spawned from a global catastrophe that is spreading some sort of virus that mutates everything it touches into a patchwork of metal.
Anyone Can Die: In the Hawken comic, all named characters die by the end of the second issue.
Bizarrchitecture: The Giga-Structure. More specifically, the "Origin" map, which is set right on top of the Giga-Structure. The map is highly irregular in design and plays as such.
Body Horror: In the comic, the Hawken virus does this to any living thing - an infected cow goes from... a cow... to something resembling TV static.
Color Wash: So far, the playable areas tend to have a specific color theme. "Prosk" is sea green, "Uptown" has golden hues, "Origin" is ... periwinkle, "Bazaar" is full of sandy tan colors, "Frontline" is sky blue, "Facility" has dull flame orange, and "Last Eco" sports mostly natural green tints.
Cycleof Hurting: The Genadier Rev-GL used to have a bug which caused it to reset a person's walking speed when it hit them. This resulted in people getting spammed by the Rev-GL and unable to walk anywhere. "Stunlocking" was eventually patched out.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: In most FPS games, jumping doubles as a dodging technique, adding to the player's range of motion and making them harder to hit. In this game, using a mech's jump jets slows it down dramatically, making it much easier to hit. Many a player have tried to evade high-damage, non-hitscan weapons by jumping, only to lazily float by as their attacker easily lines up their grenade or rocket launcher. The actual side to side dodge maneuver is much more effective, since all mechs have a limited turning speed. An upgrade allows the dodge to be used while flying, which will seriously throw off anyone who's gotten used to shooting airborne targets.
Difficult but Awesome: The Incinerator is often dismissed as gimmicky and ineffectual for its starting primary's low fire rate and lower HP compared to most C-Class mechs. The trick is to treat it like an A or B-Class and plan movement around avoiding direct contact. Because the Incinerator uses heat as ammo for its SAARE grenade launcher, it can fire grenades near-indefinitely and easily lay siege to a crowded objective. Since it also draws heat from nearby mechs, "near-indefinitely" becomes "indefinitely" if the Incinerator is acting in concert with teammates. The behavior described under "Damn You, Muscle Memory" also provides the Incinerator with many easy targets; the SAARE does more than enough damage to take advantage of ill-timed flying.
Dynamic Entry: If you get a kill by jumping on an enemy not only will you not take fall damage but also get a "Crush 'Em" bonus.
Fragile Speedster: The Light Mechs, as well as some close-range mechs, meant to get in fast, are made to do a lot of damage, then flee.
Gatling Good: The Point D Vulcan Minigun and Machine gun turret. What they lack in damage output, they make up for with sheer firing rate.
The G2 Assault (M5 Vytro) has a second Point D Vulcan instead of a standard TOW launcher, giving it unparallelled close range sustained fire at the cost of long range capability.
Glass Cannon: The Berserker, a Mech that can dish out plenty of damage and is lightning fast, but will die to sustained fire from anything heavier.
The Scout, a mech that is lightning fast and has a damaging flak cannon, is very deadly in the right hands, but only has 320 points of health. A well-timed TOW rocket will almost kill it.
Recent patches significantly reduced the health of all mechs as an aim to lower TTK (Time to Kill) which reduced the power of the A-Class mechs the most.
The Sharpshooter. It has long range, high damage weapons. However its guns are less accurate when unscoped, especially the Sabot rifle, which means it's incredibly exposed in close quarters combat.
The Raider is something of a glass cannon by Medium standards, hovering between this and Lightning Bruiser. It's fast and can do a lot of damage very quickly, but has low health for a B-Class mech.
Grey Goo: The Hawken Virus works this way, although it differs from the typical example in that the virus is aimlessly building something as it spreads, rather than just making more of itself. A non-affiliated survivor, who used to work for the corporation that was destroyed in the outbreak, heavily implies that it was released on purpose.
Heal It With Fire: The special repair drone that comes with the Vanguard "Cupcake" mech squirts oil onto it, and then lights it up with a flamethrower.
Jack of All Stats: The CR-T Recruit mech you start with is the most balanced mech, with the assault rifle and TOW missile giving it good firepower at mid-long ranges, and the unlockable SMC giving some shorter-range punch. It's common to see the CR-T Recruit dominating the leader boards.
Lethal Joke Character: In-universe, the CR-T Recruit mech "Fred" is often underestimated by new recruits, due to the hilarious, awkward shape of the torso/head (it's so called, because its cockpit looks exactly like a CRT television, computer monitor, and/or gimmick toaster). Most recruits change their minds when it sends a TOW barreling into their face.
Macross Missile Massacre: The Rocketeer and Bruiser both have Hellfire Missiles as a special weapon, which fire a homing swarm of missiles, though, for balance, they distinctly don't have much punch and their guidance isn't perfect. The Rocketeer is basically focused around missiles, to the point that its default gear item is a rocket turret and its basic primary is also a missile launcher.
Memetic Mutation: "Cupcake," which was originally the name of a player that kills the "protagonist" at the end of the Hawken Story Trailer. It became a running joke among the community during the Alpha and Closed Beta, which culminated in a special mech dubbed the Cupcake as part of the Vanguard Initiative.
In-universe, that mech is known as the H3 Cupcake C-Class Vanguard (AKA "Vanguard Cupcake"), used only by Prosk's "royal guard" units. They were so rarely seen that any transmissions involving them were regarded as wild speculation, until concrete evidence was leaked—sparking a massive riot among jealous pilots who wanted their own Cupcake. In response, Prosk outfitted special versions for rapid close-range riot control.
Mighty Glacier: The "C Class" Heavy mechs, are lumbering and move slowly compared to their lighter counterparts, but have high health and defensive capabilities. They can transform into turrets via metal plates mounted on the chassis.
Brawler post ascension update takes this to it next logical step. It has an alternate mode which boosts its defenses and gives it self healing, and packs a nasty flak gun which can be swapped out for what is essentially a fully automatic sniper rifle and the aforementioned Point-D vulcan. It also has the slowest base walking and boost speed in the game, and even when tuned is still way slower than any other mech in the game, combined with a crippling long weapon cool down period should it overheat (which is very easy to do).
Earlier in the beta, the Turret mode's healing and damage reduction made the thing so durable, that it could be near impossible to dislodge one from a choke point without either flanking, or overwhelming (read: your entire team) firepower.
Also the battleships in Siege mode. You can take them out using your mechs, but there's a reason the primary objective is a SAM launcher silo when they're active.
Mini-Mecha: The mechs are essentially walking cockpits with boosters, guns and, in the case of heavy mechs, extra armor panels.
More Dakka: The Submachine Cannon and Point D Vulcan. One of the assault mechs fields two Point-D Vulcans and a cooldown removal power to up the dakka.
One Stat to Rule Them All: Before an HP nerf, Speed was long generally regarded as being the most important stat, as light mechs could easily disengage from losing fights while heavy mechs generally couldn't and thus died. After the HP nerf, light mechs can not so easily disengage from fights and thus must exercise more caution with their positioning.
Overheating: Firing weapons for continuous periods without letting them cooldown will eventually result in them overheating. However, not only will overheating disable the weapons, it will also shut down all systems (save for movement), leaving overheated mechs sitting ducks for enemy fire. Played with by the Incinerator, which needs heat (whether from teammates or its own heat) to fire its secondary weapon and activate its ability, but can still overheat if the pilot is careless.
Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: The special Vanguard Cupcake mech, exclusive to players that purchased the Vanguard Initiative pre-order packs. While by no means useless, it is generally regarded as the weakest of the Heavy mechs due to its weapons not complementing each other (its primary weapons are all direct-hit continuous fire, while its secondary fires arcing grenades).
Regenerating Health: Played with. You must hold your repair key to recover your mech's hitpoints, during which you can't do anything else.
Scavenger World: Due to a blockade on the planet and the dwindling supplies of the corporations, the war has forced both corporations to scrounge what they can.
The early versions of the L2 Moke A-Class Scout were made of recycled parts from salvaged shuttle wreckage scavenged from abandoned areas of the planet, since scouts very rarely make it back alive. Cockpits were made out of fuel canisters, and this design has been retained in the modern, more streamlined version.
Prosk, the company that developed the L3 Piston A-Class Berserker mechs, has a unit of veterans known as the Skull-Dogs that's commonly seen looting the wreckage of Sentium B and C-Class mechs out of necessity.
The M2 Hiefram B-Class Bruiser mech is said to be designed for ease of manufacture, to the point that badly damaged Hieframs are left abandoned on the battlefield because it would actually cost more to repair and refit them.
The M4 Brommens B-Class Assault mech was originally a civilian mining model.
The M5 Muller B-Class Raider mechs were originally referred to as Armed Merchantmen, and acted as power-loader/cargo-transporter types. This caught a few fighters off-guard in the war, as they thought the Raiders were coming in to sell something - when the Mullers were really, well... raiding.
HE Charges are IEDs (improvised explosive devices) scratch-built from spare parts, stuffed with street rubble and laced with mech fuel.
The Slug Rifle is made of vent piping from abandoned colonies.
The Flak Cannon is made from 4 repurposed AA guns bolted together.
The CR-T Recruit mechs are an ugly, unaerodynamic boxy shape to conserve precious tech and save on manufacturing. The flavor text post-Steam update also implies they're made from scrap, as well.
All of the Heavy mechs are said to be very outdated models that, like the Hiefram, are usually abandoned if badly damaged, because repairing them would be extremely expensive and time-consuming. Maintaining them is already expensive and lengthy, in the first place.
The only mechs that avert this is the Infiltrator, a Super Prototype that is continuously upgraded with new parts, the Cupcake, a mech that was reserved for Prosk's "royal guard" and was enough to spark a riot by jealous pilots, and the Predator, which is born out of the same tech that powers the Infiltrator.
The third issue of the comic books state that there's an entire civilian population living in the ruins, often caught in the crossfire between the two corporations.
Scenery Porn: Each and every level is a wasteland of destroyed, Asian-esque cities, snow-blown ruins, or a desert Qurac bazaar.
Secondary Fire: Almost every secondary weapon has an alternate function, whether it's as simple as lock-on for the Bruiser's Hellfires or zoom for the Sharpshooter's Sabot Rifle, or completely different modes such as the Raider's Corsair-KLA flipping between being a Grenade Launcher and a Short Range Shotgun.
Short Range Shotgun: The Flak Cannon, a giant shotgun (see above for more information)capable of turning enemy mechs into piles of scrap, is only really effective at punching distance.
Signature Sound Effect: The warning klaxon that bases make when a battleship is either attacking them (in Siege mode) or when the enemy controls all of the missile silos (in Missile Assault mode). Also, the iconic HRRRNNN of the Battleship's engines.
The Turret Master: EVERYONE can deploy turrets, assuming they decide to carry them. They come in 2 variants, one armed with a Point D Vulcan Minigun and the other a TOW Launcher. Heavy mechs can turn into turrets via large metal shields mounted onto their chassis.
Unusual Euphemism: "Fuzzy bunny" is the go-to curse word in-universe, and in real life, is the word filter for any swear word (but ass) on the forums.
War for Fun and Profit: The two sides are corporations fighting for what's left of a world that used to be dominated by three—the third inadvertently unleashed the Hawken virus that is slowly turning the planet into random metal bits, and got blown up in the process. The comic states that they take precious materials and metals generated by the viral transformation off of the planet and sell them in space.
War Is Hell: Implied. Scout mechs have an incredibly high mortality rate, which forces the corporations to use scrap metal for them. Damaged heavy mechs are left on the battlefield to rot, as returning them to base to be repaired would cost even more than just ordering or building one from scratch. Players die by the dozen, each destroyed mech another pilot lost in the war. The comics outright state this, and it's hammered home in Issue 3, where an angry civilian survivor tells off a corp pilot for "fighting over table scraps!".
Walking Tank: The C class mechs are essentially this. They can even use their turret mode to be a makeshift tank in all but name.
The Raider mech as default uses the 'Muller' chassis set, which is styled after upper chassis of the M1 Abrams main battle tank.
The War Sequence: Siege mode, which is a rush to destroy the enemy's battleship, or defend yours.
Co-op, which pits four players against wave after wave of drones and robots, along with bosses every five waves.