Developer Blog #6 – Multiplayer COOP

Feb 27, 2024

It’s been a while since we first talked about Hawken Reborn Update 0.2 being our biggest set of changes since Early Access. What was an exciting release to show that we’re making positive changes to the game also turned into the sad departure of several members of our development team due to layoffs across our organization late last year. In its wake, the Hawken Reborn team has dramatically changed and so has the game’s original development plans. 


With a much smaller core development team, our focus has shifted away from a larger vision of an intriguing sci-fi narrative to one that is laser focused on ensuring the game’s core design can achieve a level of polish that will keep players coming back for more. That led to the removal of a lot of story elements like the original Story Arc that faced similar challenges to retention akin to the original game’s tutorial mode. This also means that future updates coming out of Hawken Reborn will be changes to the game’s combat, movement, and overall mechanics that are mission critical to a fun experience for all pilots.

Fortunately for our team, the foundation laid out thus far has a lot of elements that we’re able to expand on. Most notably a rework of the Patrol Mode that originally saw pilots spending too much time in game before seeing significant action start to pick up as Threat Levels around them crept up with player interaction.

In the near future, you’ll see the release of Hawken Reborn Update 0.3 and as we’ve previously mentioned, an “Update” signifies major features that players can expect to see. The biggest feature of which is going to be Multiplayer co-op, which we know many of you have been eagerly waiting for!


Hawken Reborn has always been designed as a multiplayer game from the start, which is why it has been an “always online” single player experience since we entered Early Access. While it isn’t evident in the current build, each time a pilot launches into a Patrol Mission means that they are in a multiplayer lobby with two openings for a 3 player co-op experience. 

While we were in this single player phase of Early Access, we took the constructive feedback from the community and worked on the areas that needed the most improvement to the individual piloting experience. Those changes surfaced as we weren’t shy to make significant changes to things like the First Time User Experience (FTUE), In-Game HUD, Mech Weight, Infantry Crushing, and a slew of other adjustments that made sure the game felt like a mech game. 

Since the release of Update 0.2 last September, we’ve made some significant strides into the right direction and now it’s time to expand this next phase and see what Multiplayer co-op will bring to the table. The most significant of which is a game design that truncates your experience in Patrol Mode into a much shorter, but more satisfying session that turns up the heat faster, earlier, and hotter from the start.


We’ve seen mention of how the game has a lot of similarities to extraction shooters with the in and out gameplay that Patrol Mode has to offer. Those comparisons are definitely fair since that feeling of an endpoint was our aim, but we also wanted pilots to have agency over how much they were willing to gamble in our risk reward loot system. Unfortunately, we ran into issues where it was taking too long to get to that endpoint for a variety of reasons including difficulty scaling and resource farming mechanics that made waiting a benefit rather than a detriment. 

We ended up seeing sessions that took much too long to get to a point where the action felt meaningful. In many cases beyond the hour mark and for an FPS franchise that prides itself on frenetic combat, we obviously need to refine this formula even more. 

With these considerations, Patrol Mode will be shifting towards being a more time limited instance to allow us to better balance all of these variables. Thematically, this is due to the raging nanite storms that are some of the regular perils of everyday life on Illal. There will be some moments of respite where a window of opportunity will present itself for you to venture out and endure the world’s hazards for a rewarding bounty. It’s these windows that we find our pilots hopping into Patrol Mode. Practically speaking, each instance of Patrol will start with a 30 minute countdown clock that warns of an incoming nanite storm that destroys everything in its wake so spend your time wisely as the storm will force you to make your escape or you and your hard earned resources will succumb to its wrath. 


Radio Missions have been temporarily disabled for future integration into our new game designs. As their replacement for resource farming, the world will be populated with points of interests that have an element of game design that feels a bit more organic instead of the clearly defined nature of our Radio Missions. By “organic” we’re referring to the nature by which your combat encounters play out. No longer does the same mech pop out from the same spawn point, but you’ll now have a slight element of surprise when combat starts and enemies start to make their presence known in the form of projectiles to your face. 

You’ll now have to contend with both land and air more strategically as drones also get a big rework in their navigational programming. To make them feel more like aerial enemies, we’ve updated them with a 3 axis navigation system that allows for a more fluid flight path making them less grounded and more menacing from above so make sure you’re checking your surroundings up high in combat too!

In addition to the points of interest, new Loot Crates are now scattered around the map that will reward your efforts if you should decide to tackle the obstacles between you and their spoils. Some Loot Crates will be easily attainable simply by stumbling onto them while others can be fortified behind a heavily protected barrier that you’ll have to forcibly plow through waves of enemies to get through. Along with a wide variety of loot that these crates have stashed in them, you’ll also potentially earn Scrip, which in Update 0.3 is the only way to attain the currency until Radio Missions make their return.


With our new time-boxed experience, you can expect to not waste any time as the game ramps up the difficulty quickly with thrilling combat encounters that will reward players for toughing it out until the very end. Whether that’s with you defeating all the obstacles or succumbing to the challenging new mechanics we’ve thrown at you is the test that we’re presenting in this first iteration. 


We saw the positive feedback regarding how weight felt much better in Update 0.2 and to make our mechs continue to have their distinctive characteristics, Weapons and Thrusters will now be socket locked to specific mechs that have a better thematic fit. We’ve also adjusted how quickly any given mech can turn to better convey the heft that specific hulls need to look around. 

Another element that we’re focusing our design efforts on is shifting away from purely focusing on Light, Medium, and Heavy as the nomenclature for our mechs. We’ve found that with our socket system, these weight specific terms didn’t provide enough context for how our mechs play so in future updates, we’ll be categorizing our mechs around their individual combat types with these identifiers:

VEX utilize their evasiveness and potent short range hit-and-run tactics to make up for their weak defenses and small fuel reserves. Their aggravating playstyles are a constant menace to their slower moving opponents due to being able to quickly duck into combat and back out to take advantage of their second to none shield regen. 

AERIAL performs best at long range and in the air, hovering out of cover, before diving back down to recharge and reload. This type is best suited for pilots who like to be in the air, keeping their enemies at a distance while they oversee the battlefield from above. They do not do well in enclosed spaces such as tunnels.

BULWARK are lumbering fortresses, unleashing volleys of sustained fire, considerate forethought must be used when piloting this type as they cannot get out of a bad situation fast. Fortunately their strong shields provide the fortitude necessary to sink your feet down to outlast your enemies. 


An updated mech garage also awaits players 0.3 as we make the barrier of entry easier from the very beginning. All players can expect a hangar filled with a fully loaded mech from each of the game’s three combat types mentioned above. Each mech will also be equipped with 2 weapons and 1 thruster to ensure your starting arsenal will give you a good sense of the different play styles from the start.


While diversity in how our mechs are starting to feel is an overall positive, diversity when crafting the exact same items in our modding system was not. We want to ensure that components you build don’t feel weaker due to a “bad” RNG roll so we have made the decision to remove the RNG element from our mod system completely while reviewing all mod stats to ensure your components still gain meaningful improvements! This will ensure that every item made will have the expected outcome and players don’t feel like they need to spend more hard earned resources to attain that “god roll”.

For those who have already crafted a few items in Hawken Reborn, you’ll now see that all your upgrade points have now been refactored to this new formula.


The world of Illal is a treacherous one with hazards all around you. Among those perils are the five different warring factions that are stationed across the map. Marked by their holo banners that warn trespassers of their dangers, factions will now be  even more present in Hawken Reborn not only visually, but in the long run, they’ll also be the gatekeepers of highly sought after components that are only obtained by hunting them down.


The difficulty variable of Threat Levels is now going to be normalized on a scale from 1 to 99 to better communicate the sense of danger you’ll face as you explore the world. In some instances, you’ll find TL’s of 100+ that have enemies marked by a big indicator to tell you to run away. Whether you choose to do this is up to you and we’re excited to see how this pans out.


Serving as a bouncer to the Patrol Mode’s end is the aptly named Enforcer. These mechs are TOUGH, but not completely unstoppable. Their job is to remind you to start making your way home or it’ll do it for you. We strongly urge that you run away from them in this build, but defeating an Enforcer in the future, should you be brave enough to make an attempt, will earn you a reward befitting of the high risk gamble you made.


In co-op situations, Threat Level will dictate the pace at which all pilots traverse through the environment by dropping the World TL to that of the lowest pilot. This makes the content more accessible for all and we know there can be some situations where a lower TL forces the host to have an unwanted experience. Therefore we’ve opted to make finding lobbies a bit manual to mitigate these issues.

While co-op will be implemented in the build, it’s also our first iteration so there’s still going to be lots of areas of improvement. One of which is making sure you’re able to find co-op lobbies, which in its current state will require players to share their lobby IDs with other players in order to get a true co-op session going. 

We hope to have a much more fluid system implemented later, but for now we ask that players head over to our Hawken Reborn Official Discord server to find other players or share your lobby IDs directly with your friends to start sessions. 


Hawken Reborn Update 0.3 is currently available now!

This milestone marks an extremely exciting time for the game and it’s also one that is a humbling experience considering the road we’ve traveled thus far. We’re really excited to finally bring co-op to our players and even more excited to finally get the conversations going again after our recent hiatus. 

As with previous Updates, we’ve made some significant changes to the way Hawken Reborn looks and feels in Update 0.3. From refactoring how gear is assigned, to changing up our categorization of our combat types, to introducing brand new game mechanics, we’re not shy to try to make changes that make this game better. A lot of these mechanics are still in their early stages of development and we would love to still hear your feedback both negative and positive so that we continue to improve your game experience.

What we’ve shared so far is the beginning of our new journey and there’s still a lot of features that we haven’t mentioned that are making their way into this update. Prior to launch, expect to see new patch notes getting into the nitty gritty and as always, we’d love to hear from you again so be sure to join the conversation on our Hawken Reborn Discord Server and official social media channels!