If you were a long-time PC gamer it is quite possible that some revision of Mechwarrior was installed to your C-drive at some point. If you are me, you likely had multiple of them. While the web of who owns what part of Mechwarrior and its larger Battletech universe is complicated to say the least, Smith and Tinker owns what Microsoft formerly acquired from FASA and is using it to make a new Mechwarrior game exclusively for the PC.
A ComStar faction should be an amusingly terrible idea.
Image from Piranha Games
The original announcement for Mechwarrior Online was quite different than where we are today. Mechwarrior Online, then called Mechwarrior, was scheduled for release on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC as a full retail game. That decision has since been overturned: Xbox 360 support has been dropped and the game is slated as a Free-To-Play PC release. Constant DLC is planned but free for players. The time-frame has also been shifted from 3015 to 3049 with each real day translating to a full day in game. You will also be able to select your Inner Sphere House when you launch and control over each planet is persistent. Like all free-to-play games, the ultimate question is how they plan to encourage their players to make small purchases leading to how successful the game will be when it is launched sometime in 2012.