Codex Gamicus
Steel Battalion
Steel battalion.jpg
Developer(s) Tekki
Capcom Production Studio 4
Nude Maker
Publisher(s) Capcom (JP)
Capcom (NA)
Microsoft Game Studios (EU)
Release date September 12, 2002[1] (JP)
November 21, 2002[1] (NA)
March 28, 2003[1] (EU)
Genre Mecha Simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Campaign, Free mode
Age rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
PEGI: 12+
USK: 12
Platform(s) XBOX

Template:Infobox/media Template:Infobox/input Template:Infobox/requirements

Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Steel Battalion (鉄騎 Tekki?) is a 2002 mecha simulation video game created by Capcom for the Xbox console where the player controls a "Vertical Tank"—a bipedal, heavily armed mecha. To control the tank and play the game requires the use of a large controller made specially for Steel Battalion.

The controller has two control sticks and around 40 buttons. The game, bundled with the controller included, launched at a retail price of around ¥19,800, £130, or $200.[2][3] Only limited quantities were made available. These quickly sold out, making the game a collector's piece. It has since been re-released in limited quantities worldwide, with blue controller buttons distinguishing it from the first edition with green buttons.

At the time of its release in 2002, the game was considered the most realistic mecha simulation available on a home system up until then, and one of the most realistic simulation games in general up until that time.[1]


At the beginning of every mission, the player must 'start up' the machine and operating system; this is handled through a series of switches and buttons dedicated to this purpose. If the player does not eject when prompted, the player's in game character will die, and all saved data will be lost, causing the player to start over. If a corner is turned too fast, the machine will tumble over. If the player's machine overheats, its operating system must be reset. The game even simulates window wipers in case of mud hitting the monitor.

A reviewer on IGN wrote, "where MechAssault and Robotech wouldn't let us into the cockpit, Steel Battalion won't let us out".[4]

Vertical Tanks[]

Vertical tanks (VTs) are the vehicles piloted in the series. Essentially bipedal walking weapons platforms, VTs are classed by their developmental generation and sub-categorised by their combat role. Primary combat roles are standard combat, assault, support, scout, and fast attack. VTs are divided into three weight classes: light, medium and heavy.

  • Light VTs focus on mobility. They are designed to pursue fleeing enemies or attacking weakened bases. Light VTs are capable of being transported by air and are designed to be dropped into key drop spots. Their use can be pivotal for air assaults on bases.
  • The Medium VT is the most common, featuring a balance of firepower, armor and mobility. This VT has the most possible variations through add-on armor and weapons.
  • Heavy VTs employ heavy armor and great firepower, but lack mobility compared to other VTs. Consequently, heavy VTs are mainly used to protect key locations and bases.

Steel Battalion "Behemoth"
Creator Capcom
System XBOX
Supported games Steel Battalion, Steel Battalion: Line of Contact
Release date 2002, (North America)
Inputs 30 light up buttons and 2 normal ones, 5 switches, a dial, 2 joysticks, 3 foot pedals,

a trigger, a clickable thumbstick, a gearshift

Rarity Limited release, no longer in production

As the player progresses, new generations of VT will become available. This allows a newer, more advanced operating system, startup sequence, and combat functions, as well as a wider cockpit view and layout. New generation VTs also handle better and can provide better firepower over previous generations.


Steel Battalion was developed by Capcom Production Studio 4[5] in collaboration with former Human Entertainment designers that would go on to form Nude Maker.[6] Producer Atsushi Inaba stated at the Game Developers Conference in 2005 that the Steel Battalion was a "product-focused project" in which the team initially focused on creating a new peripheral and software designed to go with it.[7] Inaba's superiors were skeptical about putting such a game on the market.[6] The amount of staff working on the project grew according to the team's experience with making new hardware. The earliest build of the game was created for the PlayStation 2. However, when the Xbox became available, the development team switched to it because of the system's greater power.[3] Online play was taken out of consideration close to the development's start due to being too ambitious.[3][7] While the game and its special controller received critical acclaim, the project turned little profit. Inaba stated that Steel Battalion was developed to show "what can be done in the game industry that cannot be done in others."[7]



Steel Battalion was the 5th best-selling game during its week of release in Japan at about 15,092 copies.[2] Inaba concluded that the game ultimately broke even in terms of units shipped and units sold.[7]


A sequel called Steel Battalion: Line of Contact was released in 2004, and also used the game's unique controller.[11]

The third installment called Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor was announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2010. This installment uses the Kinect motion sensor control rather than the original controller. The new game was released in June 2012 due to poor reviews.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Release dates. GameFAQs. Retrieved on 2008-02-11
  2. 2.0 2.1 GID 1118 - Steel Battalion - Xbox - Garaph. Retrieved on 2009-04-06
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bishop, Stuart (February 10, 2003). Interview: Steel Battalion. Computer And Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-04-05
  4. Boulding, Aaron (November 25, 2002). Steel Battalion Review. IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved on 2010-01-06
  5. Error on call to Template:Cite web: Parameters url and title must be specifiedProduction Studio 4 (Japanese). Capcom Co., Ltd. Archived from [{{{url}}} the original] on February 6, 2005
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sheffield, Brandon (October 23, 2006). Capcom & Clover, Over and Over: Former Clover Head Atsushi Inaba on a Post-Capcom World. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-04-04
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Sheffield, Brandon (March 11, 2005). Postcard from GDC 2005: Lessons from Viewtiful Joe: Making a Creatively and Financially Successful New Game. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-04-04
  8. Steel Battalion for Xbox. Gamerankings. Retrieved on 2010-06-21
  9. Steel Battalion (Xbox) reviews at Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-06-21
  11. Bishop, Stuart (January 6, 2004). Xbox News: Steel Battalion: Line of Contact retail plans confirmed. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-11-19

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