Gearbox to Release Remade HD Versions of Homeworld 1 & 2

Posted on July 23, 2013 12:15 PM by Brett Thomas

We’ve had a lot of classic oldie-but-goodie games that have been brought back from the depths of obsolescence thanks to GOG, and many more old games that have received new love as they crossed to the open source community (Descent, Ultima VII, Sierra adventure games, Hexen).  However, true remakes of classic titles like Baldur’s Gate and Monkey Island have been a more recent invention.  When done right, these remakes breathe new life into titles that would have been lost to the ages as “amazing… back in its day.”

Gearbox Software just crossed another one of these “man I’d love to see this if it were done now” games off my list.  Space warfare fans rejoice – the battle is coming to your screen again with a complete rebuild of Relic and Sierra’s classic Homeworld and Homeworld 2.

Homeworld Ingame Screenshot

If you have never played the Homeworld series, I’ll understand – but you’re really missing out on a couple of amazing games.  Released in 1999, the first game was a revolutionary take on the Warcraft formula by implementing it in complete 3d.  Battles took place in a seemingly limitless sphere, allowing a tremendously different type of battle strategy from the limited “ground/hill/flying” Z-axis stack provided in 2d RTS games.  Other RTS elements, including resource control, unit building and a technology tree, were all beautifully implemented to take advantage of the new redefinition of terrain, which now included asteroids, dust clouds and the like.  

One of the most unique things about the Homeworld series involved its single-player campaigns, which featured a persistent fleet – resources, technology and ships would carry from one battle to the next.  In the original, this amounted to a very high difficulty that punished you for frivolous Blitzkrieg-style tactics or abuses of resources, as you would be left deficient in future battles.  Relic tweaked this slightly in Homeworld 2, creating a difficulty that scaled up or down with whatever fleet you brought into the mission.

Homeworld Ingame Screenshot 02

Relic was acquired by the now defunct THQ in 2004, but was kind enough to release the Homeworld source shortly before its acquisition, keeping the title alive in the open-source community with ports to multiple platforms.  THQ, however, did little with the actual franchise until its closure in 2013, as most of the Relic devs fled from the company.  The dismantling and auction of THQ’s assets allowed Gearbox Software to acquire it for $1.35 million, and it appears that it will no longer sit on the shelf collecting dust. 

Gearbox promises that a complete HD rebuild of both Homeworld and its sequel will be coming soon to Windows.  The company also plans to make a more direct port of the originals to other “leading platforms,” which we can only translate to mean iOS and possibly Android devices (as they would have the resolution and computing power to make good use of the original’s graphics).

No target date was mentioned in the announcement, which came out of Pax Australia at the end of last week.  However, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more info as it becomes available.

  • Rob Williams

    I’m interested to see just how much of an “HD” upgrade this is going to be. I hope it’s a little more than simply scaling the game’s resolution up to modern resolutions, which is what Sega LOVES doing.

  • Guest

    What would make the re-release of HW1 and HW 2 outstanding is to have multiple mission maps in each mission where each time you complete a criteria on one map you get to advance to the next map. If you fail then you are transfered to a series of smaller maps where you must first complete those goals where you would then be able to return to the main mission maps. Each mission would have a maxium of five maps with each map have a maxium of three sub mission maps for a total of 15 maps that would be playable. In multiplayer or AI versus Human mode these sets of maps would allow the game to take on a life of its own as players and AI moved through each map collecting resources and capture points to win the map where enough maps are captured then said player wins the scenario.

    • Brett Thomas

      That would be interesting. HW1 was my first education in just how badly I fare against other human players (I’m more of a thinker and plodder, rather than rushing in), so I’m not as familiar with the multiplayer outside of the old lan battles at uni so many years ago. However, the single player campaign did only require you to reach certain criteria to leave (or you could stay and amass more resources). The idea of “failure missions” for those who die would be a neat twist though…

  • Ron Moravek

    Keep in mind, THQ acquired the Homeworld IP from Sierra after the acquisition of Relic. The sourcecode for HW1 was released to the community a long while back as it was owned by Relic and not Sierra. This amounted to several hundred MODS.

    I am very, very excited to see Homeworld on STEAM….I hope the multiplayer works.

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