Heavy Gear

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Characters, creatures, artifacts, and machines unique to the universe of Heavy Gear

Heavy Gear is a game universe published since 1994 by Canadian publisher Dream Pod 9. It includes a tabletop tactical wargame, a role-playing game and a lesser known combat card game (Heavy Gear Fighter). The setting is also known through the PC-game incarnations published by Activision in 1997 and 1999, developed after Activision lost the rights to the Battletech/MechWarrior series. It also spawned a 40-episodes, 3D-animated TV series in 2001, which featured a much simplified version of the universe developed in the role-playing game.

The background universe of the game is extremely detailed: several million words have been published to date in more than a hundred books and game accessories. A continual epic storyline runs throughout all of the game's material, with new publications moving chronologically along the timeline.

Heavy Gear is best known for its humanoid combat vehicles (or mecha): the 'Gears' and 'Striders' used by the military forces in the setting. Its mecha designs are typical of those found in the Real Robot anime genre; they are most similar in size and tactical role to those in Ryousuke Takahashi's 1983 Armored Trooper Votoms anime. They're, in fact, generally used in role of special forces rather than armored vehicles.

Plot and setting[edit]

Heavy Gear is set on a distant, fictional planet called Terra Nova around 4,000 Earth Standard Years from now (AD 6132). Terra Nova was once the pride of the United Earth Government's colonies. However, an economic collapse forced the UEG government to abandon Terra Nova and all its other colonies centuries before the period depicted in the game setting, leaving Terra Nova in a dark age. Eventually, City-states rose from the ashes and either through treaties or tyranny, united to form national unions called Leagues. These Leagues would in turn ally (again either peacefully or forcibly) to form the superpower blocs that dominated the temperate southern and northern hemispheres of the planet.

The planet's geography is primarily land containing deep underground water reserves, but few large bodies of open water, and no oceans. This is unlike Earth which is covered by 70% ocean. The planet has its own existing ecosystem of plants and animals, though most animals are reptilian in nature, such as the bison like Barnaby used as livestock, and the prolific Hopper which is the equivalent of Earth's rabbit. The single dominant land feature is a massive mineral rich, hot, desert belt around the equator of the world known as the Badlands. This territory is not dominated by any one political group, and is considered open territory to everyone, and contains many bandit groups known as Rovers. Most people live in the northern or southern polar regions where temperatures are more acceptable to human life, and other terrain types such as forests, grasslands, swamps and jungles can be found. Small ice caps with arctic conditions and glaciers are found on the true north and true south poles.

As the setting is primarily the backdrop for a series of strategy, roleplaying, and video games the military and weaponry are the main focus. One of the most popular weapon systems of the various groups on Terra Nova are the machines known as Heavy Gears that give the universe its name. They are 12- to 18-foot-tall (3.7 to 5.5 m) bipedal, armored, single occupancy military combat units. The Gears are less heavily armed and armored than main battle tanks used by the Terra Nova armies. However, the Gears provide a mix of capabilities that prove effective as the setting/game rules typically allow victory through maneuver warfare and place less emphasis on raw firepower and armor.

Several major wars take place over time, including the War of the Alliance. A new dictatorial government on Earth attempts to re-take its former colonies by force using its own advanced war machines such as hover tanks and armies of purple skinned GREL super soldiers (Genetically Recombinant Expeditionary Legionaries). In this war both the North and the South cooperate to fight off the Colonial Expeditionary Force, which during their first defeat and withdrawal abandon many personnel (both human and GREL), who eventually settle Terra Nova and form the city-state of Port Arthur.

As of 6132 AD (TN 1936, local calendar), the Confederated Northern City-States (CNCS) and the Allied Southern Territories (AST) are recovering and rebuilding from the War of the Alliance. Despite the looming common threat posed by the eventual return of Earth's colonial armies, the polar superpowers have great fear and animosity for each other, an analogy of the real world NATO and Warsaw Pact, while the independent City-States of the Badlands simply try to survive the crossfire.

Confederated Northern City-States[edit]

The political situation on Terra Nova has three major nations of the north polar region banding together to form their alliance called the Confederated Northern City-States to oppose the Allied Southern Territories from the south pole.

Northern Light Confederacy[edit]

A large nation known for its devotion to the major religion of Sorrento Revisionism based on the teachings of an early wandering desert colonist prophet named Mamoud. Sorrento Revisionism is a sect that preaches conservatism, and the necessary use of force to make the world a better place. They are most often motivated to conflict by that reason, and even incorporate chaplains into military units.

Mercantile Federation[edit]

An industrial power that puts a price on everything, including buying and selling votes in their political system, and has a keen interest in exploiting the untapped resources buried in the sand and rock of the Badlands.

Western Frontier Protectorate[edit]

A region of open plains and ranching that promote family, hard work, and patriotism by military service. Indeed, the WFP requires a person to be a reservist in the Protectorate armed forces in order to be elected to high office, and only military veterans may vote.

Allied Southern Territories[edit]

The south pole of Terra Nova likewise has an overall political grouping known as the Allied Southern Territories. Unlike the three nations forming the CNCS, which are generally on an equal level with one another politically, the Southern Republic dominates over the other three southern nations in order to field the strength necessary to meet Northern aggressive policies towards them.

Southern Republic[edit]

The real power of the southern pole. They are the largest nation on the planet with both territory and population, and dominate the other southern nations by military force if necessary. They are openly free with many individual rights of expression, a high level of art and culture, and legalised vices, but with the major exception of freedom for political dissent. The government is intolerant of dissent and opposition groups, and employs secret police. Prisoners often form poorly trained and equipped military units.

Mekong Dominion[edit]

A nation of manufacturing, money lending, and corporations as government. They are also minimally armed, using their small military as a dual purpose police force and often hires outside forces to supplement their own when necessary.

Humanist Alliance[edit]

This nation uses science and technology to structure their society in an attempt to create harmony and utopia. This ideal has almost attained religious status in their people. They place citizens into castes based on aptitude testing and are highly educated at all levels. Research and development, and an efficient skilled work force are some of their greatest assets.

Eastern Sun Emirates[edit]

A fractured nation of individual City-States that are almost nations unto themselves. They are led by hereditary monarchs known as Emirs who rule over their common citizens with no middle class in between.

Minor powers on Terra Nova[edit]

Along with the major polar regions, several smaller factions exist on Terra Nova.

Peace River[edit]

An independent city state in the Badlands of Terra Nova. They are an industrial nation capable of sophisticated, but practical manufacturing. This nation is home to Paxton Arms, one of the few independent corporations outside the two polar regions to build military hardware, including Heavy Gears of their own design. Peace River is the largest independent nation in the Badlands. The Peace River military also tries its best to defend other bandland nations from encroachments by either polar League, but is often stretched thin to cover such a vast area. Their other major conflicts involve Rovers, the bandits of the Badlands.

Port Arthur[edit]

The remnants of the failed expeditionary army sent by Earth to reconquer Terra Nova, Port Arthur was one of their primary staging bases in the Badlands. Over one-hundred thousand human officers and GREL (Genetically Recombinated Expeditionary Legionaries) super-soldiers were abandoned by the Earth fleet concentrated on Port Arthur. From here they have established a nation for themselves, and benefit from the high technology of the Colonial Expeditionary Force (CEF) hover tanks, and GREL infantry to safeguard their territory.

Rovers and independents[edit]

Most people in the Badlands owe their allegiance to no nation. They live as families, gangs, or individuals. Small facilities of human habitation known as Oasis Towers are spotted around the Badlands at any available surface, or shallow wells of water, and small-scale agriculture can even be attempted. However, most Badlanders make their living as miners or caravan traders. They ply back and forth between the polar regions and far flung industrial sites of the Badlands selling and buying goods.

Rovers are the criminal element of the Badlands. They are groups of local outcasts, criminals escaping the law, deserters fleeing their homelands, simple runaways, or even hereditary rovers born to other rovers who live in the wilds of the badlands and prey on local trade caravans, independent miners, and homesteaders.

They are a common problem in the lawless Badlands. Rather than work for their living, they take from others. Most Badlanders protect themselves in some fashion, though an unwritten code has developed over time where Rovers only take enough for themselves, and will not leave their victims destitute or without the supplies to survive. However, the cruelty and/or humanity of the Rover bands runs the full spectrum of decency. Many Rover bands even operate Heavy Gears salvaged from forgotten battle fields, stolen, or even bought on the open or black markets.

Mysteries and oddities of Heavy Gear[edit]

The Heavy Gear series has a number of unresolved mysteries in the setting. A few of these are listed below. It is unknown if any of these will be revealed due to the developer turnover at Dream Pod 9.

  • Stoneheads: The planet of Terra Nova is sprinkled with large round stone heads similar to those of Easter Island but with a much more Asian style. These date back to the earliest colonization of the planet or possibly before and the meaning of the giant markers is unknown.
  • The Koreshi, or sand-riders, are a culture of desert-dwelling nomads similar to the Fremen of the Dune universe. Their existence on Terra Nova is a mystery.[1]
  • One of the CEF's fleets disappeared when sent to the colony world of New Jerusalem.
    • (The fate of this fleet is touched upon on the Return to Cat's Eye book for Heavy Gear Blitz!.)
  • The Eastern Sun Emirates saw massive changes during the published Storyline Books culminating in the launch of an ancient spacecraft. It is unknown where that spacecraft went.
  • MacAllen cave network: Much of the water on Terra Nova is subterranean. The MacAllen network of caves contains most of it, and is nearly a worldwide phenomenon. Natural artesian springs appear all over the globe, even occasionally in the deep deserts of the Badlands. Most of the network is deep underground, often thousands of feet below the surface. Even whole ecosystems of life exist in some of the airless and perpetually dark areas of the network. The extent of the cave system is unknown.
  • White Sand: One of the more unusual hazards of the equatorial deserts of the Badlands is the phenomenon known as white sand. This sand is highly corrosive and dangerous volcanic ash. It is so corrosive it can destroy machinery and can slowly eat through most metals chemically. It is even used as weaponry in the form of bags of sand thrown into air-intakes or to be inhaled.
  • Bowser: A near sentient ONNet computer installed into a CNCS heavy gear that has run away from its military base without a pilot. Sightings of Bowser occasionally filter in from the Badlands.
    • (Bowser is known to be piloted by Sadie "Boom Boom" Toepfer in the Heavy Gear Arena book.)
  • Landships: Unusual magnetic properties of the planet Terra Nova allow for large ships able to hover a few feet off the ground known as Landships. They form the equivalent of a "wet navy" that other planets with surface water would have. A minimum size is necessary to take advantage of this unexplained property, so all Landships are the size of oceangoing vessels such as frigates, destroyers, battleships, and aircraft carriers. Because of their cost, they are uncommon.
  • Order of the Blue Crescent. A religious group based on the teachings of the desert prophet Mamoud. Blue Crescent Adherents typically shave their hair bald, tattoo a blue Crescent on their foreheads, give up all personal property beyond what they can carry, and must visit the major locations that Mamoud once lived in the Badlands during their life. They are noted for being generous, friendly, and often volunteer for civic duties and charities, but are not pacifists. Blue Crescent Adherents can be found serving in the military of many of Terra Nova's Leagues.

Heavy Gears[edit]

The namesake machines of the universe setting are the Heavy Gears. They are 12- to 18-foot-tall (3.7 to 5.5 m) machines usually weighing between 5 to 12 tons, that resemble robotic humanoids. They seat a single pilot inside the chest and head unit. They provide a flexibility to the battlefield of Heavy Gear setting that make them more useful than most other units, though they do not dominate. They can traverse more difficult terrain faster, and change direction swifter than tanks, which is important to a setting that emphasizes mobility, and not just firepower, to succeed in combat.

They are powered by a unique piston engine called a V-engine mounted as a backpack. This is different from most science fiction settings, which use some form of nuclear power or a more obscure or invented power source. Confusingly, this V-engine is not the same design as a modern V-engine, but an alternative working design invented by students at the University of Colorado. The engine works by having two rotating cylindrical engine blocks with multiple chambers in each block. The blocks somewhat resemble large scale cylinders from a revolver handgun. The two rotating cylinders are set approximately 90 degrees from each other, and shared between each rotating block are several solid V-shaped rods that serve as pistons. As the blocks rotate inside their static housings openings in the sides of the rotating and static portions of the engine will line up and act as intake and exhaust ports, and also electrical contact connections trigger the spark plugs. The rotation of the cylinder blocks can then be tapped for electrical power generation or directly for hydraulic pressure.

The computer system that enables the machines to move and operate fluidly are called Optical Neural Networks, or ONNets for short. They are learning computers that work, in many ways, similarly to an organic brain and are trained to perform advanced tasks instead of being programmed with software. They operate using light instead of electricity, and use microscopic crystals to form logic circuits for the light to pass through. New connections are made over time by the computer and allow it to learn new instructions. This factor leads the ONNet computer to develop traits, instincts, and habits over time based on the pilots that operate with them. Some functions become automatic as the computer tries to predict what the pilot wants and has used in the past in similar situations. This allows faster reactions in most situations, but can sometimes also cause indecision on the ONNet's part if tactics or patterns change in an unusual situation. Heavy Gear pilots tend to form a bond with their Gears' ONNets, or at least recognize the efficiency that an experienced ONNet provides; pilots forced to abandon a damaged or disabled Gear often take with them the ONNet unit from beneath their seats.

The weaponry of the Heavy Gear is usually lighter and less powerful than a main battle tank, as Gears themselves typically weigh only a fifth (or less) the weight of a tank. They typically have one automatic cannon carried as a Gear sized hand held assault rifle. They also typically have a shoulder mounted multiple-launch missile launcher rack, as well as a small anti-personnel fragmentation grenade launcher for use against infantry. However, variants of many machines, especially heavier models, can carry or mount a wide variety of weapons, such as heavy mortars, bazookas, guided missiles, larger hand-held grenade launchers, field guns or cannons, and even advanced directed energy weapons.

Heavy Gears can walk, run, crawl, and generally mimic most of the mobility of the human form, on which they are patterned. This flexibility affords the Heavy Gear many of the advantages of an infantryman, such as the ability to traverse difficult terrain and make effective use of cover, while at the same time having the resilience and firepower of a light armored vehicle. Most Gears also have a secondary movement system consisting of wheels (or tracks for heavier gears) fitted to the soles of their feet, powered either by efficient electric motors or a drive train connected to the V-Engine. The use of the alternate movement systems afford a higher speed and increased fuel efficiency on roads or flat terrain, and reduce wear on leg joints when traveling long distances. However, the wheels sacrifice maneuverability and cannot be used in heavy terrain due to their relatively small size, requiring the Gear to switch back to walker mode which excels at the task.

Artwork & Design[edit]

Cover of the Heavy Gear Blitz! Locked & Loaded rulebook

The Heavy Gear books are notable for their heavily illustrated content. Each book features highly detailed plans and cutaways of the machines, along with flags, insignias, maps and other visual information to help players' immersion. Most of the artwork was done by illustrator Ghislain Barbe, who was also responsible for the artwork of Jovian Chronicles, another Dream Pod 9 game line with similar anime inspirations. Although he left Dream Pod 9, Ghislain produced book covers for the Heavy Gear franchise until Heavy Gear Blitz! Locked & Loaded. Currently, artwork is provided by a team of individuals; Avelardo Paredes, Mariko Shimamoto and David Tauzia, among others.

The main themes of many artworks include the Heavy Gears themselves, with distinctive backpacks for the V-engine, single eye head units, and at least a small area of the machine painted with an alternating yellow and black warning stripe paint scheme.

Northern military combat machines are typically shaped with square armor plates, and are usually named for predatory mammals such as bears and large cats.

Southern military units are likewise given a distinctive look. They usually include numerous rounded and spherical shaped armor plates. They are usually named for reptiles, often snakes.

Rules[edit]

All editions of Heavy Gear use some variation of Dream Pod 9's own Silhouette game system. The first and second editions of the game contain both Role-playing and Tactical Wargame Rules. "Tactical" Heavy Gear calls for the use of hex maps and paper counters or miniatures.

The third edition of the Heavy Gear RPG uses a separate Silhouette CORE Rulebook, which is needed for play. The Heavy Gear 3rd Edition book contains useful summaries from many 2nd edition products, combined with some detailed statistics for both the SilCORE and OGL D20 systems.

Heavy Gear: Blitz! Locked & Loaded is the most recent Heavy Gear: Blitz! rulebook, the first of which was released concurrently in 2006 with a new line of miniatures. It contains no role-playing material and is styled as a dedicated wargame; it contains a streamlined rule system, an innovative new army building system, complete army lists and background information for five factions, a basic campaign system, a painting guide, and a timeline of historic events in the Heavy Gear universe. The Heavy Gear: Blitz! rules are intended for use with 1:144 scale model terrain, but it is still possible to use hexed mapsheets and paper counters.

The Heavy Gear Blitz! ruleset was a nominee for the 2007 Origins Award for Best Miniatures Game or Expansion of the Year.

In May, 2009, Dream Pod 9 released "Return to Cat's Eye", the first expansion book for Heavy Gear Blitz!, which provides background information and army lists for three new armies.

Silhouette CORE RPG Rules[edit]

The Silhouette RPG, known in later editions as SilCORE is a simulationist system that defines characters in terms of 10 base attributes (agility, knowledge, etc.), 5 derived attributes (health, etc.), and a variety of skills. Skill rolls make up the "backbone" of the system, while basic and derived Attributes serve as modifiers to the roll.

The task resolution and tests involve rolling a number of 6-sided dice, taking the highest result, adding in modifiers for attributes and/or situation, and then comparing it to a set threshold number. If the result is higher than the threshold the test is a success; if it is lower the test is a failure. The margin by which the test succeeded (Margin of Success, MoS) or failed (Margin of Failure, MoF) helps to determine the final outcome. Characters may suffer penalty-inflicting wounds rather than depleting a set number of health points.

Some players regard the system as particularly lethal, especially for inexperienced characters. A variety of optional rules are available in the SilCORE rulebook to mitigate this lethality.

DP9 ceased producing RPGs between 2006-2008 for their entire game catalog, including Heavy Gear.

On August 27, 2008, Steve Jackson Games announced that they had entered into an agreement with Dream Pod 9 to produce a fourth edition of a Heavy Gear roleplaying game.[2] The project never got past the planning stages, however, and on August 9, 2010, Steve Jackson Games announced that they were relinquishing the rights to Heavy Gear back to DP9.[3]

Dream Pod 9 announced that they would produce a fourth edition of a Heavy Gear RPG themselves, with a tentative release date of late 2011.[4] This edition was not published.

Heavy Gear 20th Anniversary Edition[edit]

On March 5, 2014, Dream Pod 9 announced that a new Heavy Gear RPG would be produced by Arkrite Press LLC, which is co-owned by Dream Pod 9 staff members.[5]

Heavy Gear Fighter[edit]

Heavy Gear Fighter is a stand-alone two-player card game set in the Heavy Gear universe. It was published by Dream Pod 9 in 1994, and is currently out of print.

Game Description[edit]

Heavy Gear Fighter is a card-based dueling game in which two Heavy Gears duel in the Badlands. It is not a collectible card game; everything needed to play is contained in the box.

Every playing card is illustrated with a full color picture of a Gear. They are divided into Attacks of various strengths, Defenses, and Special Effects. Both players draw from the same pile.

The game does not use dice or paper. Each playable Gear has a full color record/action sheet that is used to keep track of actions/damage with small counters. Cards are dealt from a player's hand to cause damage, defend against enemy attacks, and create various special effects.

Expansion Sets[edit]

The game received an official expansion set, Equipment & Weapons, in 1995. As its name implies, it added new Equipment and Weapon cards that could be played on the Gears.

Several "mini-sets" were included as promotional material in the pages of various magazines, notably Mecha Press and White Wolf Magazine. These cards were always optional and allowed players to create special combat conditions as well as execute different maneuvers.

A set was designed that would have featured new vehicles (notably tanks and Striders), but it was never published.

Miniatures[edit]

A 1:144 scale HACS-02HG-MPS Grizzly, from Dream Pod 9's tabletop miniatures wargame Heavy Gear Blitz!

Heavy Gear has had three successive lines of wargaming miniatures starting with the RAFM produced 1:87 scale line, then the in-house produced 1:144 scale Tactical Rules and varying scale Fleet line, and the current 1:144 scale resculpted line for Heavy Gear: Blitz!

The 1:87 scale RAFM line was launched in 1995. The miniatures were largely cast in lead until public safety concerns, originally raised in 1993, influenced the gaming industry to cast lead-free miniatures. The price increase from the adoption of lead-free pewter made Dream Pod 9 reconsider the size and scale of their miniatures. As a result, the RAFM line of Heavy Gear miniatures was discontinued and never expanded beyond the Northern and Southern Terra Novan factions.

The 1:144 scale (12mm) Tactical Rules line was launched in 1997. It was largely the result of a desire to decrease the production cost inherent in lead-free, pewter miniatures. The Tactical Rules line was also developed with a greater attention to the control of proportions of the various Heavy Gear designs using CAD illustrations as guides. The Heavy Gear miniature range was then expanded beyond the Northern and Southern factions to include designs from the Badlands and Colonial Earth Forces factions. The later Tactical Rules line miniatures were sculpted by Philippe Ferrier Le Clerc, who joined Dream Pod 9 in 2001. He also provided Heavy Gear limited edition resin miniatures through his boutique studio, Minimaniak.

During the same era as the Tactical Rules miniatures, Fleet Scale miniatures were also introduced which ranged from 1:350 scale for infantry, tanks, heavy gears, and striders to 1:3500 scale for landships.

The 1:144 scale (12mm) Heavy Gear: Blitz! line was launched in 2006. It preserved some of the Tactical Rules line miniatures for recasting. However, the majority of the Tactical Rules line miniatures will be resculpted. The intention of this change was that the miniatures bear a closer resemblance to the original hand drawn illustrations, that they have a greater range of possible poses, and that unit recognition is made easier for overall improved gameplay. In order to accomplish this, the difference in size between some miniatures has been exaggerated by approximately 10% and the miniatures are now cast on sprues, which allows many smaller, modular parts to be cast. Another effect of the Heavy Gear: Blitz! line of miniatures has been an appreciable increase in detail due to new sculpting and resin-master casting techniques. It has also produced the first new Heavy Gear designs in many years.

Fusion Models has also produced a 1:35 scale resin model of Heavy Gear's Kodiak heavy assault Gear.

Video games[edit]

Box cover of the first Heavy Gear computer game

Faced with the loss of the Battletech/MechWarrior property, Activision's Production Executive, Frank Evers (NYPH), spearheaded the acquisition of the video game license in 1995. The story of the first game, Heavy Gear, followed the crew of the CNCS landship (an enormous hovercraft carrier), 'Vigilance' as they played a cat-and-mouse game across the Badlands with a rival landship from the AST, the 'Draco'. The game was made for the Windows 95 operating system and was partly based on a game engine derived from existing MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries code. It was released in 1997.[6] Before the release of the PC game an arcade version based on the Virtuality Hardware Platforms was developed but never released. It is unknown if the dwindling interest in Virtual Reality arcade games or the high cost of manufacturing were the reasons, but from the existing footage one can assume that the game was already in a quite late stage of development since even animated instructions on how to use the Arcade hardware and an intro video were implemented as seen in the footage. The working title was "Heavy Gear Extreme".[7]

In the second game, Heavy Gear 2, an atrocity caused by the New Earth Concordat (NEC) — the destruction of the Badlands city of Peace River by an anti-matter bomb — leads to a formal cease-fire between the Northern and Southern Leagues. A team of elite Special-Ops pilots from across the planet, equipped with advanced prototype Gears and a newly unveiled intersystem assault shuttle, are sent through the interstellar Tannhauser gate to the planet Caprice, the nearest NEC base, to find out more and strike back at the enemy. The game was made for the Windows 98 operating system, though a Linux version was also released later on by Loki Software. Unlike the previous title, it used an entirely new game system, which was also used in Interstate '82. It was well received by critics, with an 81.46% average rating on gamerankings.com[8] and being considered the best game of the genre at the time by GameSpot.[9]

After years of the Heavy Gear franchise laying dormant a licensing deal was announced on August 1, 2012 between Stompy Bot Productions and the owner of the franchise Dream Pod 9. The press release indicates a new PC, console, and mobile game will be produced. Heavy Gear Assault is being developed with Epic Games Unreal Engine 4, and is now in Alpha.

TV series[edit]

In 2001, a computer-animated TV series titled Heavy Gear: The Animated Series was produced by Audu Paden at Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Adelaide Productions for Columbia TriStar Television. The series lasted 40 episodes (though two of these were "recap" episodes and more still were clip shows). It played in syndication in various markets worldwide.

The Dream Pod 9 creative staff had very little input in the series' content, and the animated universe differs significantly from the game's. The show was aimed at an audience much younger than the one the property had previously targeted. The producers' original intent was to start the series with a mecha-combat tournament held between the villainous Vanguard of Justice and the honorable Shadow Dragons (representatives of Terra Nova's Northern and Southern armies respectively), but after the resolution of the tournament storyline rising tensions would lead to war between the North and South, which would in turn be followed by an invasion from Earth trying to reconquer its old colony planet, forcing the North and South to join forces for their own survival. Worries that having the villains from the early episodes (the Vanguard characters) suddenly working with the heroes, and shifting from a tournament-styled competition to all-out mecha warfare, would have been too confusing for their targeted age group led to a decision to not use the war storyline. What ended up happening on the show was that they ran the tournament storyline as planned but even though the tournament had been 'won' within the first dozen or so episodes, the two teams just kept having exhibition matches and the like for the remainder of the 40 episode run.

The "in-universe" explanation for the difference between the universes is that the animated series is a Terra Novan entertainment program not unlike real-world professional wrestling.

DVD releases include two volumes released in North America in 2002 by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment each with five episodes edited together into "feature length" stories. 2004 saw a release in the UK of a two disc Season One set including both "feature length" stories and three standalone episodes which collectively present the first thirteen episodes of the series in one form or other, but lacks the bonus content present on the North American releases. Also in 2004 Anchor Bay issued a single disc release in Canada with another five episodes from later in the series.

The entire series is currently available for streaming for free in the US and Canada on Sony owned Crackle. It's also available for streaming in Canada on Netflix.[when?]

The episodes were originally produced in widescreen and presented as such on the DVD releases, while most syndication broadcasts were of a cropped pan and scan version of each episode. The streaming versions available from Crackle and Netflix are also of these pan and scan versions.

Publication History[edit]

  • Heavy Gear Fighter (1995), stock number ICF-02, card game which was released before the First Edition Rulebook.
  • Heavy Gear Fighter: Weapons and Equipment (1995), stock number ICF-03, card game expansion pack.
  • Heavy Gear Fighter: Booster I Card Set (1995), stock number not available, card game expansion pack.
  • First Edition Rulebook (July 1995), first and second printings stock number ISG-001 (ISBN 2-921573-26-1), later printings stock number DP9-001 (ISBN 1-896776-05-1), rulebook which combined roleplaying and wargaming rules, and an early version of the game's Vehicle Construction System rules to create new Gears and conventional vehicles.
  • Operation Jungle Drums (October 1995), stock number ISG-06, ISBN 2-921573-30-X, introductory adventure featuring both roleplaying and Tactical game material.
  • Field Guide: Northern Vehicles 1 (December 1995), stock number DP9-009, ISBN 2-921573-28-8, expansion module with additional Gears and weapons options for the Northern faction on Terra Nova. Includes full-color counters showing the Gears in the book, for use in tabletop play.
  • Field Guide: Southern Vehicles 1 (December 1995), stock number DP9-010, ISBN 2-921573-31-8, expansion module with additional Gears and weapons options for the Southern faction on Terra Nova. Includes full-color counters showing the Gears in the book, for use in tabletop play.
  • First Edition Gamemaster's Screen and Counters (1996), stock number DP9-020, trifold screen for Gamemaster and full-color counters for use in tabletop play.
  • Life on Terra Nova (January 1996), stock number DP9-002, ISBN 1-896776-00-0, world sourcebook for Terra Nova, the primary setting for the game.
  • Into The Badlands (March 1996), stock number DP9-018, ISBN 1-896776-02-7, regional sourcebook for the Badlands, the equatorial region of Terra Nova.
  • Field Guide: Northern Vehicles 2 (April 1996), stock number DP9-012, ISBN 1-896776-01-9, expansion module with additional Gears, conventional vehicles and weapons options for the Northern faction on Terra Nova. Includes full-color counters showing the Gears and vehicles in the book, for use in tabletop play.
  • Field Guide: Southern Vehicles 2 (April 1996), stock number DP9-013, ISBN 1-896776-03-5, expansion module with additional Gears, conventional vehicles and weapons options for the Southern faction on Terra Nova. Includes full-color counters showing the Gears and vehicles in the book, for use in tabletop play.
  • Tactical Air Support (May 1996), stock number DP9-008, ISBN 1-896776-04-3, new rules and background to include aircraft in Heavy Gear games. Includes additional rules for the First Edition Vehicle Construction system, which were replaced with the rules in the Second Edition Technical Manual.
  • Technical Manual (July 1996), stock number DP9-004, ISBN 1-896776-06-X, sourcebook describing the weapons and technology of the Heavy Gear universe.
  • Duelist's Handbook (August 1996), stock number DP9-005, ISBN 1-896776-07-8, sourcebook describing the gladiatorial sport of Dueling. Includes roleplaying and Tactical game material.
  • Character Compendium 1 (September 1996), stock number DP9-021, ISBN 1-8967776-08-6, character sourcebook featuring influential and noteworthy characters and groups from around Terra Nova.
  • Tactical Field Support: Artillery & Ground Warfare (October 1996), stock number DP9-016, ISBN 1-896776-10-8, sourcebook with new rules for minefields, artillery support and morale, along with new weapons options.
  • Southern Army List One: Southern Republic (November 1996), stock number DP9-024, ISBN 1-896776-09-4, army sourcebook for the Southern Republican Army with new and expanded roleplaying and Tactical game material. Though it is labeled "Southern Army List One," no other books were published in this format.
  • Northern Vehicle Compendium One: Gears & Striders (December 1996), stock number DP9-025, ISBN 1-896776-11-6, sourcebook featuring additional Gears and weapons options for the Northern faction on Terra Nova. The Vehicle Compendiums expand on the material included in the earlier Field Guides, and feature many new designs.
  • Southern Vehicle Compendium One: Gears & Striders (January 1997), stock number DP9-026, ISBN 1-896776-12-4, sourcebook featuring additional Gears and weapons options for the Southern faction on Terra Nova.
  • Northern Record Sheets One: Gears & Striders' (February 1997), stock number DP9-027, ISBN 1-896776-14-0, set of Tactical game record sheets for the vehicles described in Northern Vehicle Compendium One.
  • Southern Record Sheets One: Gears & Striders (February 1997), stock number DP9-028, ISBN 1-896776-15-9, set of Tactical game record sheets for the vehicles described in Southern Vehicle Compendium One.
  • CNCS (Northern) Leaguebook One: Northern Lights Confederacy (May 1997), stock number DP9-030, ISBN 1-896776-16-7, regional sourcebook.
  • Southern Leaguebook One: Southern Republic (August 1997), stock number DP9-031, ISBN 1-896776-19-1, regional sourcebook.
  • The New Breed: Battle Before The Storm (September 1997), stock number DP9-035, ISBN 1-896776-20-5, campaign sourcebook which tied into the Heavy Gear PC game produced by Activision.
  • Heavy Gear Design Works: The Making of a Universe (November 1997), stock number DP9-037, ISBN 1-896776-31-0, contains artworks examples for the Heavy Gear line, from early development through the First Edition.
  • Storyline Book One: Crisis of Faith (November 1997), stock number DP9-033, ISBN 1-896776-21-3, the first book detailing DP9's published metaplot for Heavy Gear, from TN 1933 to TN 1935.
  • Second Edition Rulebook (December 1997), stock number DP9-101, ISBN 1-896776-32-9, updated rulebook with both roleplaying and wargaming rules. Available in both softcover and hardcover versions.
  • Southern Leaguebook Two: Humanist Alliance (January 1998), stock number DP9-032, ISBN 1-896776-26-4, regional sourcebook.
  • Northern Vehicles Compendium Two: Tanks & Artillery (February 1998), stock number DP9-038, ISBN 1-896776-29-9, sourcebook featuring additional conventional vehicles and weapons options for the Northern faction on Terra Nova. Includes Tactical game record sheets.
  • Southern Vehicles Compendium Two: Tanks & Artillery (February 1998), stock number DP9-039, ISBN 1-896776-30-2, sourcebook featuring additional conventional vehicles and weapons options for the Southern faction on Terra Nova. Includes Tactical game record sheets.
  • Gamemaster's Guide and Screen (March 1998), stock number DP9-103, ISBN 1-896776-34-5, trifold screen for Gamemasters and supplement with tips for running games.
  • Campaign Setting Two: The Paxton Gambit (March 1998), stock number DP9-040, ISBN 1-896776-33-7, campaign sourcebook set in Peace River.
  • Miniatures Rules and Campaigning (April 1998), stock number DP9-043, ISBN 1-896776-39-6, Tactical rules boxed set containing campaign guides, full-color maps and counters for tabletop play.
  • Southern Leaguebook Three: Mekong Dominion (July 1998), stock number DP9-036, ISBN 1-896776-28-0, regional sourcebook.
  • Terranovan Military Powers Book One: Northern Guard (August 1998), stock number DP9-046, ISBN 1-896776-37-X, army list sourcebook.
  • Life on Terra Nova Second Edition (September 1998), stock number DP9-102, ISBN 1-896776-40-X, updated wordbook with new material to reflect the events in Storyline Book 1.
  • Second Edition Technical Manual (December 1998), stock number DP9-104, ISBN 1-896776-43-4, includes material from the First Edition Technical Manual and an expanded version of the Vehicle Construction System rules.
  • Tactical Pack One: Battle of Two Towers (December 1998), stock number DP9-050, ISBN 1-896776-42-6, expansion pack for the Tactical game rules. Includes full-color counters and maps,
  • Storyline Book Two: Blood on The Wind (February 1999), stock number DP9-034, ISBN 1-896776-27-2, details DP9's published Heavy Gear metaplot from TN 1935 to TN 1939.
  • Northern Leaguebook Two: United Mercantile Federation (March 1999), stock number DP9-051, ISBN 1-896776-46-9, regional sourcebook.
  • Northern Leaguebook Three: Western Frontier Protectorate (March 1999), stock number DP9-052, ISBN 1-896776-53-1, regional sourcebook.
  • Tactical Pack Two: Shadow War (March 1999), stock number DP9-054, ISBN 1-896776-48-5, expansion pack for the Tactical game rules. Includes full-color counters and maps.
  • Southern Leaguebook Four: Eastern Sun Emirates (April 1999), stock number DP9-053, ISBN 1-896776-49-3, regional sourcebook.
  • Armor Pack Volume One: Tanks and Striders (May 1999), stock number DP9-057, ISBN 1-896776-51-5, expansion pack for the Tactical game rules. Includes full-color counters.
  • Terranovan Military Powers Book Two: Southern MILICIA (August 1999), stock number DP9-048, ISBN 1-896776-54-X, army list sourcebook.
  • Tactical Pack Three: Operation Sudden Fire (October 1999), stock number DP9-055, ISBN 1-896776-58-2, expansion pack for the Tactical game rules. Includes full-color counters and maps.
  • Storyline Book Three: Return to Cat's Eye (November 1999), stock number DP9-056, ISBN 1-896776-59-0, details DP9's published Heavy Gear metaplot from TN 1939 to TN 1941.
  • Activision Game Companion: Black Talon - Mission to Caprice (January 2000), stock number DP9-059, ISBN 1-896776-63-9, campaign sourcebook which tied into the Heavy Gear 2 PC game produced by Activision.
  • Tactical Space Support - Space Warfare (March 2000), stock number DP9-060, ISBN 1-896776-68-X, new rules and background material for fighting in space.
  • Life on Caprice (April 2000), stock number DP9-047, ISBN 1-896776-66-3, world sourcebook for Caprice, a "hypercity" world first introduced in "Black Talon - Mission to Caprice."
  • Tools and Weapons: Equipment Catalog (June 2000), stock number DP9-061, ISBN 1-896776-73-6, sourcebook featuring additional weapons and equipment for player characters.
  • Storyline Book Four: Storm on the Horizon (August 2000), stock number DP9-062, ISBN 1-896776-74-4, details DP9's published Heavy Gear metaplot from TN 1941 to TN 1943.
  • Caprice Book One: Corporate Sourcebook (September 2000), stock number DP9-063, ISBN 1-896776-78-7, sourcebook detailing the corporations which rule Caprice.
  • Caprice Book Two: Liberati Sourcebook (October 2000), stock number DP9-064, ISBN 1-896776-80-9, sourcebook detailing the clans which inhabit the "highlands" of Caprice.
  • Second Edition Duelist's Handbook (December 2000), stock number DP9-105, ISBN 1-896776-95-7, updated Dueling rules and background material.
  • Tactical Miniatures Rules: The War Goes On (February 2001), stock number DP9-106, ISBN 1-896776-98-1, updated Tactical game rules featuring a condensed "datacard" record sheet for each Gear or vehicle.
  • Earth Book One: Colonial Expeditionary Force (April 2001), stock number DP9-065, ISBN 1-894578-51-1, army sourcebook for the Colonial Expeditionary Force with roleplaying and Tactical game material.
  • Miniatures Supplement: Raids & Raiders - Interstellar Strikes (June 2001), stock number DP9-107, ISBN 1-894578-55-4, additional Tactical game rules and background material for special forces units.
  • Spaceship Compendium One: Ships of Terra Nova (July 2001), stock number DP9-066, ISBN 1-894578-57-0, sourcebook describing spacecraft and space facilities in use by the various factions on Terra Nova.
  • Miniatures Supplement: Tactical Dueling - Arena Champions (October 2001), stock number DP9-108, ISBN 1-894578-62-7, rules for Dueling with Tactical game figures.
  • Operation Jungle Drums Redux (November 2001), stock number DP9-109, ISBN 1-894814-07-X, updating of the original supplement for use with the Second Edition roleplaying rules and the "datacard" vehicle sheet format in Tactical Miniatures Rules.
  • Storyline Book Five: Distant Shores (December 2001), stock number DP9-067, ISBN 1-894578-66-X, details DP9's published Heavy Gear metaplot from TN 1943 to TN 1948.
  • Spaceship Compendium Two: Ships of The CEF (March 2002), stock number DP9-068, ISBN 1-894814-31-2, sourcebook describing spacecraft and space facilities in use by Earth and Caprice.
  • Life on Atlantis (September 2002), stock number DP9-070, ISBN 1-894814-46-0, world sourcebook for Atlantis, a waterworld.
  • Life on Utopia (April 2002), stock number DP9-069, ISBN 1-894814-38-X, world sourcebook for Utopia, a world devastated by nuclear war.
  • Life on Eden (January 2003), stock number DP9-072, ISBN 1-894814-78-9, world sourcebook for Eden, a world recovering from a natural disaster.
  • Heavy Gear Third Edition Player's Handbook (September 2003), stock number DP9-925, ISBN 1-894814-88-6, roleplaying game to be used with the Silhouette CORE rules, or the d20 OGL rules produced by Wizards of the Coast. Includes material from the Equipment Catalog.
  • Heavy Gear Third Edition Vehicle Companion (January 2004), stock number DP9-927, ISBN 1-897042-00-0, updates for the Silhouette CORE rules for Gears and vehicles from previous publications. Includes OGL-compatible statistics.
  • Silhouette CORE Miniature Rules (July 2005), stock number DP9-919, ISBN 1-897042-01-9, tabletop wargaming rules for the Silhouette CORE edition. Includes Dueling and "fleet scale" rules for 1/350 scale miniatures.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! (August 2006), stock number DP9-996, ISBN 1-897042-39-6, new rules for tabletop wargaming play. HGB includes no roleplaying rules.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Hammers of Faith (December 2006), stock number DP9-9031, ISBN 1-897042-48-5, army list book detailing rules and units in the Blitz! rules for the North.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Swords of Pride (March 2007), stock number DP9-9032, ISBN 1-897042-92-2-, army list book detailing rules and units in the Blitz! rules for the South.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Shields of Freedom (December 2007), stock number DP9-9033, ISBN 1-897042-69-8, army list book detailing rules and units in the Blitz! rules for the Badlands.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Locked and Loaded (May 2008), stock number DP9-9996, ISBN 1-897460-21-4, updated version of the Blitz! rules. Includes new army lists.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Black Talon - Return to Cat's Eye (May 2009), stock number DP9-9034, ISBN 1-897460-18-4, features new army lists and vehicles for the CEF and the local forces on Caprice.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Field Manual - Core Book Revised (November 2011), stock number DP9-9997, ISBN 978-1-926790-54-1, update of the Blitz! rules.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Perfect Storm - NuCoal Field Guide (November 2011), stock number DP9-9191, ISBN 978-1-926790-30-5, features new army lists and vehicles for the NuCoal faction.
  • Heavy Gear Blitz! Forged In Fire - Southern Field Guide (December 2012), stock number DP99266e, ISBN 978-1-927334-59-1, features new army lists and vehicles for the Southern factions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grabianowski, Ed. "Gear Most Heavy — the Dream Pod 9 Interview, Part 1". Robot Viking. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. "Heavy Gear’s fictional storyline also takes some inspiration from Frank Herbert’s Dune in terms of some of the ongoing mysteries of the universe like the Koreshi (sandriders who are rumoured to be descended from the legendary Prime Knight soldiers of Earth and live in the harshest desert of the Terra Novan equatorial badlands)." 
  2. ^ http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archives.html?y=2008&m=August&d=27
  3. ^ http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2010-08-09
  4. ^ http://www.robotviking.com/2010/07/28/gear-most-heavy-the-dream-pod-9-interview-part-1/
  5. ^ http://www.dp9.com/content/heavy-gear-roleplaying-game-press-release-0
  6. ^ http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/heavy-gear-series
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hyl3gp_7ylY
  8. ^ http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/89278-heavy-gear-ii/index.html Heavy Gear II - GameRankings summary
  9. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/pc/sim/heavygear2/review.html Heavy Gear II - Gamespot review

External links[edit]