Back when Homeworld released in 2000, real-time strategy games were somewhere between Command & Conquer and StarCraft and not much further than that. Relic, who we know now for their Company of Heroes games, debuted with this ‘wagon train among the stars’ in which you must guide the survivors of your world’s destruction to their fabled homeworld of Hiigara. So, yes, Battlestar Galactica. After THQ’s collapse, the Homeworld IP was parted from both Relic and THQ and until today, had a mysterious new owner. It’s Gearbox, for better or worse.
In their statement announcing the victory, Gearbox’s Chief Creative Officer , Brian Martel, explained that their “first priority” will be to port the Homeworld games to “today’s leading digital platforms”. Now, one thing you’ll have to keep in mind about these games is that they were kind of a bitch to play. Unlike those other RTSes, play occurred in a full three dimensions, requiring you to not only manage planar defense, but attacks from above and below, too. If you could get beyond that, the games were still pretty difficult as you ferried all of your assets from mission to mission with resource fields few and far between.
What gets me about this Gearbox acquisition is that there are few developers in my mind that have treated their licensed titles with such little care. I can’t imagine them botching the Homeworld games by any means, but if they’re making a new installment, then Gearbox’s track record consists of Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines, which are not glittering examples of their best work. Yeah, they can pull off Borderlands super well, maybe, but despite all their posturing, their reputation as a game developer, and all the good words they’ve said about those two games, it didn’t help the final product.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see those Homeworld re-releases before the end of the year.