In 2015, Megabots completed construction of the Mk.II, a 15-foot tall, 6-ton behemoth capable of hurling projectiles at more than 130 miles per hour. Megabots challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries, creators of the Kuratas heavy robot, to a duel. They accepted, with one condition.
“Just building something huge and sticking guns on it. It’s Super American … If we’re going to win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it,” said Kogoro Kurata, designer of the 4-ton gargantuan Kuratas mech. In other words, it had to be a melee fight to the death.
Megabots accepted, but there was one small problem. They needed a new robot. Their Mk.II robot had been deemed “unsafe for hand-to-hand combat.” The upcoming encounter would have killed or seriously injured the human operator. So, they did what any enterprising company would have done — they took to Kickstarter.
“The Mk.II was designed to be an inexpensive prototype,” explained MegaBots co-founder Matt Oehrlein. “The Mk.III is designed from the ground up to be the best robot possible, with the best hydraulic, robotics, and pilot safety technology available on the market.”
The new Mk.III features a grappling hook and an eight-foot chainsaw as optional accessories. In training for the fight, Eagle Prime honed its fighting skills by bashing a hapless Prius to death. Not much is known about the armament of Kuratas, other than its 6,000 rounds-per-minute BB Gatling guns.
The showdown won’t actually be streamed live; in fact it’s already taken place at an abandoned steel warehouse in Japan. There were no spectators at the event, due to safety concerns. According to MegaBots, the duel consisted of several rounds, spaced out over several days to give the teams time to repair their bots. Gui Cavalcanti of MegaBots told The Verge that there were no points or scoring — it was purely winner-take-all by knockout. Additionally, the weight, power, size, and weapons of the bots were “left to each individual team,” and they were designed “to not cut through metal, but instead to damage it.”
On September 30, MegeBots posted on Facebook that they were “still alive,” so the results of the duel are anyone’s guess. If you’re hoping for a Transformers-style destructive extravaganza, you’ll probably be disappointed — the mechs are slow and ponderous, and it’s likely to be a slow-moving battle of attrition until one can no longer move.
The event will be streamed on Twitch, with commentary provided by Mike Goldberg of the UFC and robotics expert Saura Naderi. Tune in at Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. PT for all the giant mech-on-mech action.