The Homeworld real—time strategy game franchise is finally getting a triquel with Homeworld 3 thanks to Blackbird Interactive, the studio responsible for the 2016 land-based prequel Homeworld Deserts of Kharak, and most recently the critically acclaimed sci-fi simulator Hardspace.: Shipwreck. More than 20 years after the release of the last space game in the series, Homeworld still enjoys a well-deserved cult of devoted fans and a passionate community of modders.
Recently, Game Rant had the opportunity to play two missions from an early build of Homeworld 3, after which a conversation took place about the development of Homeworld 3, the choice of design and influence on it with Blackbird Interactive Chief creative Officer Rory McGuire and assistant game director Catherine “Kat” Neal. . The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about what it’s like to work on Homeworld 3 so many years after the release of Homeworld 2?
McGuire: It’s a bit like a dream. Not quite a dream come true, but a dream come true. This is something that we have been thinking about or discussing to one degree or another for more than 20 years. Many of us have worked on Homeworld 2, and many of us have also worked on Homeworld 1. When we release the game, it will be 20 years since the release of the last major game, at least in the space part of the franchise. As soon as we released Deserts of Kharak, we started negotiations with our partners at Gearbox, and we had a lot of different ways we could go. And I feel like the way we creatively approached the cover, and some of the things we do with the story, was actually one of the things we wanted to do back in the Homeworld 2 era 20 years ago. So much of what we wanted to do couldn’t have been done then, and now we can do it. So some of the things you’ve seen in the walkthrough, like being able to interact with shelter and terrain and fly around areas, Homeworld 2 and 1 don’t have any of that. It’s a bit of a technical miracle, and we’re really proud of what we’re putting together.
Q: Could you, for our readers and for strangers, describe the main plot, gameplay and any significant changes made to Homeworld 3 compared to the previous installments?
McGuire: Homeworld 3 is actually a continuation of the story of Homeworld 2. Karan S’jet came out and opened this gate that was opened at the end of Homeworld 2. But she has since disappeared, as if she had gone on a journey. unlock these gates, and no one has heard of her for 100 years. And the general direction from where it disappeared, a threat began to appear, an anomaly that creeps into the existing space. And our hero, Imogen S’jet, is sent with a fleet to fight this threat. And it devours the gates and devours the systems. In terms of systems, Homeworld is truly a best-in-class 3D fleet combat and naval combat.
It was in 1999, and we wanted to move it to 2023. Previously in Homeworld it was like playing in a pool where you could go up and down and move from side to side, but there was nothing in the pool. And the way Homeworld 3 is played, as I’m sure you’ve seen, is more like a coral reef. There are things that are in space, there are things that you need to know about, and there are spaces that you can go through and get around. Players can use the new terrain and shelter. And game systems recognize that it’s not just the visuals that haunt you, but also things like a rocket. If you dive behind a shelter, the rocket will hit that shelter. Thus, players who are just playing the game will enjoy it. But the real ballistic simulation of the game, which, by the way, is the same simulation that was used in Homeworld Remastered, and is actually inspired by Homeworld 1 and Homeworld 2, essentially recognizes that there really is a really rich gameplay there.
Q: The homeworld tended to have a reputation for being quite ruthless in terms of complexity, which really fit with the Hiigaran loser’s story of the last remnants of their race trying to get through this hostile galaxy. Is that what you guys are relying on again in Homeworld 3?
Neil: As for Rory, he went into a bit of detail about the story, but I’m going to get to it from the gameplay side. Homeworld has always been an exciting strategic experience, and it really brought that to the player and made them feel like they were really lost in the expanses of space. We were really focused on how to make the terrain complement the classic Homeworld experience. And from that moment, when we first started talking about the landscape and the gameplay of the landscape, we started digging into the idea that the space between the landscape was really a dangerous place, right? And in the same way, on a coral reef, you can sort of hide among the wreckage.