To answer the title's question, I have to go back in time a few years - 2017 to be exact.
TIME & TIME!
After MechWarrior: Age of Destruction (the clix game from Wizkids) burned me out and Catalyst Game Labs picked up the Battletech license from FanPro, I spent quite a few years away from it all until that year when I rekindled my love for it. My life was going through several changes, I decided to focus on my career, most of my BT playing friends were doing the same or moving away to other cities and countries, and I didn't like the Jihad and the overall direction CGL were going with the Lore.
When I said "away", I mean really away. I tuned out completely, I did try the MWO Beta and didn't like it, other than that I had no idea what was going on for almost a decade.
So, in 2017 when I approached Battletech again, I was shocked to find it mired in financial issues, lacking an available Main Box Set, still mired in the Jihad, still doing old tech metal minis through Iron Wind Metals, still using 30 year old rules, and generally being MIA from most stores around the world. I travelled to several countries here in Europe always visiting hobby shops, and most people either shrugged their shoulders or thought the franchise had died already - they thought it didn't exist anymore!
This coincided with getting into resin 3D Printing, which I became fascinated with. Being tired of the grind of the games industry, I decided to make a prototype game to present to CGL / Topps to relaunch the franchise. Nowadays it's known that CGL were already in the early planning stages for the Clan Invasion Kickstarter back then, but nobody knew this publicly.
I got to work, made some models, made a rule set combining all the elements I liked from several games (Battletech, Alpha Strike, MechWarrior Dark Age, Warhammer 40k 8th Edition, Armored Core 4, etc), printed the models, playtested the rules with friends, and posted it on the Battletech subreddit, calling it MechWarrior: Gods of War - I've since deleted the original post but all the discussion is still there, some of the images you can see here or my deviantArt gallery.
There's more I could talk about regarding this, the feedback I got (positive and negative), the people I talked to about it, the consequences... regardless, the project went nowhere, the Kickstarter was announced, and that was the end of it.
I stepped back, focusing on life, work, and creating PMW, but I still went back to the rule set from time to time, still thought about that Mech combat game I'd love to see that simply doesn't exist in the market. That's where The Black Death started!
THE BLACK DEATH??
Yes, for a while it was even mentioned here on the Patreon, I discussed my ideas with a friend who was also a Mech fan, game fan, and comics publisher, and we joined forces. We came up with TBD, the Lore (a blend of sci fi and the European dark ages), started discussing Mechs, systems, business model, the works... ultimately, we had a falling out and that concept was scrapped as well.
"BLACKSTAR SCENERY SET"
I put the game rule set aside again, coming up with Blackstar as a terrain / scenery set compatible with Battletech. It was a mix of re-purposing lots of Star Wars Legion models I built in the early days of Imperial Terrain and ended up not using, together with some new stuff to flesh it out.
The idea evolved, I threw out all the Star Wars inspired stuff, kept trying to get away from being "generic sci fi turret #32895795", never being satisfied with it.
Until it dawned on me a few months ago to go back to the rule set, invest in myself taking the Patreon in an original direction (if you've been around you know from time to time I'm targeted by some elements of the community for doing BT related work...), reshaping Blackstar to be both a Game, and Scenery that serves both purposes - you can print it for the new Game or you can print it for other games like Battletech or Warhammer 40k.
SO, WHAT IS BLACKSTAR?
Blackstar is a Mech action game for 2+ players, designed for fast play sessions between 30-90 mins (depending on the minimum or maximum number of Mechs on the Arena). It will feature big, detailed Mech miniatures, a short and precise rule set focusing on "more playing, less reading" and using a CCG Card system to make it more dynamic and easy to use - you don't need to memorize complicated tables, all you need is contained in the few pages of Rules and the Cards themselves.
The action isn't just in the gameplay, it's part of the Game itself - pushing content as fast as possible to players, everything will be distributed digitally via this Patreon, in case you're not subbed or missed a month you will be able to buy the STLs directly at PMW and MyMiniFactory, while players without printers will also be able to order 3D Prints on Demand at PMW or any Warlord Tier printing partners around the globe.
The Rules will be public and free, updated when necessary and immediately available to players, with Lore / Books distributed as PDFs and (hopefully) Print on Demand. Rule set testing will be available exclusively to PMW Patrons, as I'll post PDFs and hopefully get feedback from everyone.
WHAT ABOUT THE SCENERY?
I've ran away from generic sci fi and went into classic sci fi from the 60s, 70s, and 80s for inspiration, mixed with historical Portuguese heritage to make what I hope is an unique look for the universe, and will be available in two versions - hexless and with hexes for BT compatibility. More on that in August!
WHAT ABOUT THE MECHS?
Stay tuned coming in a few days for the next Devlog, called The Art of Creating Mechs, part 1.