BattleTech - Overview - Original Game

Original Game

Chicago-based FASA Corporation's original, 1984 BattleTech game focuses on enormous robotic, semi-humanoid battle machines called BattleDroids. The name of the game was changed to BattleTech in the second edition because George Lucas and Lucasfilm claimed the rights to the term "droid"; the machines themselves were renamed BattleMechs from the second edition onwards. The visual design of the earliest line of BattleMechs were taken from Macross and other anime, including many signature images. In later years FASA abandoned these images, and it was common speculation by fans that the decision was the result of a lawsuit brought against them by Playmates and Harmony Gold over the use of said images. No official broke the silence until 2007, after FASA had sold the BattleTech intellectual property to WizKids Games. Under license from them, the Classic BattleTech line developer for Fantasy Productions, Randall N. Bills explained that FASA had sued Playmates over the use of images owned by FASA, but received no compensation, even though Playmates was ordered to stop using the images in question. After realizing how the use of licensed images made them vulnerable to lawsuits and afraid that such a suit would bankrupt the company, FASA made the decision to only use images owned by them and them alone. The BattleMechs taken from the various anime sources were then considered "Unseen". When Fantasy Productions licensed the property, these "Unseen" images were expanded to include all art produced "out-of-house" – that is, whose copyrights resided with the creators, not the company. Catalyst Game Labs has continued this practice. On 24 June 2009, Catalyst Game Labs announced that they had secured the rights to the "unseen"; as a result, art depicting the original 'Mechs absent from publications for over a decade, can be legally used again. An update on 11 Aug. 2009 has placed the unseen restriction on several designs once again. This update affects only the designs whose images originated from Macross. Designs whose images originated from other anime such as Dougram and Crusher Joe are unaffected by this change and are still no longer considered unseen. By August 2011, the remaining images that were considered to be unseen were returned to unseen status due to continuing problems with license agreements.

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