During the Game Developers Conference back in March, Piranha Games showcased the first gameplay footage for their upcoming free-to-play MMO MechWarrior Online and in short, it looked like the MechWarrior game fans have been waiting years for.

Since then, Piranha has been busy keeping their developer blog updated with details on the game, from how the persistent universe will function, the different types of warfare and of course, the titular mechs that will be featured in the game when it launches this summer. Now, we have a teaser of more gameplay footage as well as a ton of screenshots showcasing the gameplay and mech customization via the Mech Lab.

MechWarrior Online wouldn’t be an authentic MechWarrior game if it didn’t feature the comprehensive mech customization the core series is known for and this is where the Mech Lab comes into play. It is here where players can purchase their base mech model/chassis and then acquire, upgrade and customize by managing power resources and weight restrictions to fit in weapons, ammunition, armor, along with customization including skins and more!

Below is another set of gameplay screenshots, some looking rather familiar to the level and environments presented in the MechWarrior Online gameplay trailer. Take note of the Dragon, a brand combat-focused new mech that weighs in at 60 tons and can run at 86.4 km/h.

With the indirect-fire capabilities of the Telos DecaCluster LRM-10 combined with the range of the Imperator-A Autocannon/5, the Dragon will be able to bring down most foes before they even get into the range of its two Victory 23R Medium Lasers.

From these and the previously released MWO screenshots, I’d like to see the in-game screenshots and videos open up the game to showing more than the Atlus and Catapult. There should be a variety of mechs in the triple-digits, let’s open it up and show a totally different set of mechs along with entirely new environments, a la DUST 514 and its persistent, shared universe with EVE Online which offers literally 1000s of different maps. From what we’ve seen so far, the Mech combat and warfare has potential, but we’ve not seen variety in environments or vehicles yet.

The official MechWarrior Online synopsis:

Set in the year 3049 during the early stages of a massive interstellar war, MechWarrior Online puts you in command of the most powerful war machine to ever walk the field of battle, the mighty BattleMech.  Command your Mech and customize it to suit your battlefield role; upgrade systems, replace weapons, and tweak armor with endless options.

MechWarrior Online lets players command at will: go head-to-head online alone or with friends in high-octane Conquest and VS modes. Band together and form your own Mercenary Corp, invite friends and battle other player-made Merc Corps for prestige and power.  Pledge your allegiance to one of the five great houses and fight for control of precious Inner Sphere planets.

MechWarrior Online launches summer 2012.

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