Graphic novels based on games can sometimes be nothing more than tacky attempts to claw back some development costs. But while I haven’t played Hawken and can offer no judgement in its merits as a game, I can vouch for this book having a bit more to it than the average book-of-the-game, which details the chain of events that set the gaming action in motion.
The basic plot is straight out of the science fiction random plot maker: a planet rich in precious resources is colonised by three companies, all fighting for the rights to mine new reserves. Because of their distance from Earth, the government turns a blind eye to any obvious trouble, and soon enough, the companies start engaging in covert operations. In turn, this descends into war.
One genius scientist defects from one company to another and takes a project he was working on with him. With this, fewer fossil fuels need extracting and a shift in the balance of power occurs.
There are a few twists and turns on the way, but it’s all a lead-in for a MechWarrior style online multiplayer, so there isn’t much resolution – it’s designed to be open-ended. The book also doesn’t have any two chapters illustrated by the same artist, which is distracting to say the least. Some of the artwork is superb, but without the consistency of style, it starts to grate after a while.
As someone who doesn’t get a lot of tome to play games, it would have been nice to see this story actually lead to a definitive conclusion, as there’s clearly a rich seam of background to be mined. The book is enjoyable enough but can really only be recommended if you’re playing (or are about to start playing) the game.