“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


33 Responses to Sometimes Things Just Don’t Go As We Want Them To

  1. Gamel Pryde says:

    Two questions:

    One: Is there any way to forge an agreement with the company that owns the images to “lease” them or something?

    Two: Will this affect the Mechwarrior relaunch? I noted an unseen Warhammer in the video your site linked to being kind of integral…

    • strykerwolf says:

      Honestly I don’t think it’ll affect the Mechwarrior Relaunch. It’s just my opinion. Cause with Mechwarrior 4 there’s unseen in there like the Masakari (Warhawk), the Warhammer, and a few others. and NetBattleTech has mechs like the Stinger and a few others.

    • General308 says:


      I have no doubt that having to this announcement hurt you more than it it did us. There is no doubt that you and others like at Catalyst love this game with a passion. It is the only reason you would put up with us the way we get sometimes.

      Thank you for doing everything you can to get the Unseens back for us. At lest we do have some of them back. For that you deserve our thanks.

    • Black Tiger says:

      That is extremely disappointing. I was looking forward to those pieces immensely. However, good try, guys at CGL! You did what you could for us, and it didn’t work out.

  2. StCptMara says:

    *winces* Ouch…so, we only have the Locust, Wolverine,Griffin, and the VMI mechs(oh..and those OstMechs)? *winces* So..who was it that had the rights? I know it is not Harmony Gold, as they actually lost those rights themselves…and only recently got them back enough to license to Palladium….

  3. Doug Glendower says:

    If this is in any way my fault, please let me know.

  4. Reg says:

    Well at least no assassinations occurred and everyone still has a limb or two! I think you guys shouldn’t worry too much, cause in the long run I don’t think that many people would be devastated because of this little, little detail. The universe is awesome in size and those who have come this far wouldn’t be like “Game over man! Game Over!”… That just wouldn’t be doing anyone justice :3

  5. llglass says:

    As a die hard Battletech player, I am saddened by this turn of events. BUT that will not stop me playing.

  6. NovaKaine says:

    I kinda figured as much, too many happy fans.
    That really don’t matter in the first place.
    Slap a few raggedy mechs together and they will buy it.
    I swear if a I see an ostscout in this game I’m gonna throw up on every copy I see. What better way to preserve the battletech legacy than to put these mechs in the game. This one fan that is totally disgusted.

  7. Hornd-1 says:

    While I am not a hard-core follower of BT, I can sympathise with the plight of the “Unseen”. Here’s to s swift and amicable resolution of these events.

  8. Tboltdriver says:

    Mechs are Mechs. Unseen, Seen, Unliked, Popular, they are all just mechs. Make us a good game, and there will be no hard feelings,
    You’ve done yeomen’s work already,

    thank you.

  9. NovaKaine says:

    And I’m still disgusted today!

  10. NovaKaine says:

    Woke up this morning and found myself even more hacked off at this.
    I want my Battlemaster!

  11. darkawa says:

    Well, we still have the Project Phoenix, yes they aren’t the models that I played wen I started in this game but these are very usefull and is a very good way to represend the unseens in the boardgame.

  12. NovaKaine says:

    Gawd I hate lawyers, ya just know it gotta be their faults.
    Still Disgusted!

  13. GOLFisNOTaSPORT says:

    Battlemaster’s not on the list dude, so we’ve still got that. But I’m gonna miss the Rifleman, Warhammer and Marauder.

  14. The Wolf says:

    Randall or Loren,

    Is there anything we, the fans, can do to contact whomever possesses the rights to these, or get Studio Nue to revoke THEIR rights so we can then deal with Studio Nue, who are willing to share, or anything else we can campaign on to get these ‘Mechs back?

    BattleTech is FAR more important and loved than Robotech has EVER been, so if it were a case of most popular, BattleTech would get the rights hands down.

    I’m really disappointed in whomever said no, 20 year old confidential agreement or not; it’s childish and stupid, especially since these ‘Mechs aren’t seen in new Robotech shows, anymore, and haven’t been for almost 20 years, to hold them back. If that company, or whomever owns these rights, is producing a new show, they need to make it happen and tell us about it; if not, they need to come up off those rights, pronto.

    The Wolf

  15. NovaKaine says:

    Yeah at least we still have that.
    But what is Battletech without a Warhammer,a Rifleman and the Marauder?
    Wanna guess?
    Robotech thats what is.
    Come on for once give the players what we want, I don’t think thats a lot to ask.
    Still disgusted and a bit angry

    • Reg says:

      Hey they can try very hard but the universe is still in shambles… anyways the game wont come out till maybe 2011 so hey, they have time to maybe organize a deal and until then just hope that MechWarrior 4 can tide you over :3

      • GOLFisNOTaSPORT says:

        Yeah but we’re not as worried about MechWarrior coming out as we are all the new products that are supposed to be launched for BattleTech this year and were supposed to include the Unseen…

  16. Haddock says:

    i don’t get it

  17. Haddock says:

    is this about unseen mech?

  18. Barabomb1948 says:

    As has been commonly misquoted “Someone’s always trying to ice Gator Bill.” ::chuckles::

    First, a hearty THANK YOU to everyone involved in the MechWarrior 4 universe and in working to bringing things back and up and running once more. ::snugglehugs to the crew::

    Second, I have the MW4 Compilation but tend to hang out in Mercenaries more often than not. I also have, as a gift, the IS and Clan Meck Paks. Never could get them to work, though, except in those solitary campaigns when, instead, I wanted them to work in game. ::chuckles::

    Third, well, I’ll be 61 in December. With several health-related problems, I’m not sure HOW long I can be patient; but be patient I will.

    Fourth, is the Mek-Tek “soon” the same as the DAZ 3D “soon”? ::gigglefits::

  19. NovaKaine says:

    And I thought I was the old geezer at 48.
    But who knows maybe we’ll get lucky.
    Ya might want to check out mekteks mech packs for the game.
    Dozen and dozen of different mechs and variants.
    I love it.
    Still disgusted though grrrrr.

  20. NovaKaine says:

    Hey what would really be great is a Battletech
    RTS or maybe turn based.
    Hint Hint Mechcommander.
    Yeah that would be great.
    Hint Hint.

  21. wd_mavrik says:

    I love BT and will continue to play. What of that phoenix art work can’t you use some of that to replace the original macross designs?

  22. Black Tiger says:

    Well, I am still looking forward to the Griffin. It was my first mech. But ever since I got back into the game last year, I have been wanting one of the old Marauders. I agree with The Wolf, is there anything we can do to petition this?

  23. Castager says:

    I’ve been a fan for a very long time. The battletech universe has captured my imagination. I can close my eyes and picture the view from ten meters up. I smell the acrid tang of ozone comming from the hot electronics in the cockpit. I can feel the vibration of the gyro spinning below the command couch. This reboot can’t come fast enough, but not at the cost of the product quality that is omnipresent in this genre. I love the detail that goes into every facet of the Mechwarrior series. Duncan Fisher boasts about going to the Valhalla club. The advertisements while I’m waiting to battle on Solaris have com numbers on them that I can call in serch of replacement parts after todays festivities. If I vaporize a limb on an enemy mech it will suddenly loose balance and fall over. The richness of detail an how it ties in so well with everything else is what makes me keep comming back to play. It makes for the best kind of interactive daydream.
    Every effort is appreciated, Thank you.

  24. PaulRus says:

    I think we should wait. But we certainly will help, I think everyone tried at least. Will wait for Archer…

  25. NovaKaine says:

    Well after much research, actually I just happened across it.
    There will be a new robotech live-action movie out in 2010.
    As if anyone would care.
    This would explain the rights issue I’m thinking.
    Wouldn’t want to deprive movie-viewers of 10 seconds of live action would we?

  26. NovaKaine says:

    Oh and I’m still disgusted by the way.
    I know, I know nobody cares.

  27. shadowvfx says:

    I was really interested in the 25 years of art and fiction book, but now, without the Macross mecha designs being available, it sounds like it should be renamed to 15 years of art and fiction.

    Those designs were so prominent in the early days of the series, that I honestly can’t conceive how this art & fiction book can even be remotely considered a “history of Battletech” without them. I do hope that a licensing agreement can be reached in some way, because I have been yearning for these designs to “officially” return for over a decade.