Mechwarrior 5 Runs Into Legal Trouble

The future of Mechwarrior 5 is a little up in the air today, with Harmony Gold - the media company that holds the rights to the Robotech universe in the US - commencing legal action against the upcoming mech title.

Legal threats are being sent out to gaming websites as you read this, Harmony Gold demanding that they pull down the trailer for Mechwarrior 5. Why? It's a long story.

See, Mechwarrior (and its daddy, BattleTech) haven't always used original designs for their mech. They sometimes straight up stole them from existing series, particularly Japan's Macross, which in the US forms the first part of the Robotech trilogy.

So BattleTech and Harmony Gold - who hold the Robotech rights in the West - went to court in 1996. End result? BattleTech (and by extension Mechwarrior) ceased using mech designs lifted from Macross, and instead employed only mechs they had themselves designed.

Harmony Gold's complaint in this instance is that the Mechwarrior 5 trailer uses designs that they own the trademark to. Now, they may have a point - the red mech in the image above looks a little like the Tomahawk Destroid from Macross (pictured below). But only a little. Surely not enough to warrant legal action.

Anyway, at the moment, the only legal threats we know about are those made to IGN. There's no comment yet from Piranha Games, the team working on Mechwarrior 5, or from Harmony Gold, explaining just what their beef is, and whether they'd be happy with edits to the game or are out for blood.

We'll update when we hear more.

MechWarrior 5 Trouble Brewing? [IGN]


    As you can see your honor, their giant make believe robot looks very similar to OUR giant make believe robot......

    hahah nice call ribs

    I hope we dont get stuck in development/legal hell with this title.

    With the huge number of Toys, Comics, Anime, Video and Board games out there that have 'giant make believe robots' this seems a little like McD's suing BK's for having a burger that looks somewhat like their burger.

    This is the biggest load of rubbish to come out of copyright laws in a while. instead of C&D letters it should be a politely worded letter to the creators saying OI.

    This is how i see it.Battletech gives us an entire universal playground sandbox to play in while Robotech sits on their designs and cry foul every time one of "their designs" are seen in public?Ill side with smith and tinker thanks.At least FASA did something with these designs and created a world from scratch.Multiple factions,pirates,Clans,mecenaries,all the aspects of a long term franchise.What has Harmoney Gold done recently besides re-release Robotech anime?Hmmm?

    What I dont understand here is why Hamony Gold is putting out a C&D for this game.
    Why dont they instead support S&T and help them develop the game.
    They could stand to make good money from this themselves if they do, and it would have been good PR for them as well.
    Instead they are now having most of the MW community rise up against them, something which could easily cut into their precious profits.
    What this is all about is money, nothing else.
    They jusy want to keep all the profits for themselves.

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