News Reaction: Gearbox Have Bought the Homeworld License

Homeworld is one of my most beloved franchises of all time. The original Homeworld is probably my second favourite game of all time. I still go back and replay it and its expansion regularly. One of my very first blog posts was about the series. (I touched up the editing a bit before writing this. I’ve come a long way in the past 10 months.)

WARNING! Crazy high resolution on full-size.

And now the infamous Gearbox Studios has gotten their hands on the license. What do I think about that? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m about to tell you.

The Homeworld games are the only great space RTS games I’ve ever played. Space RTS is a very small genre though. Most space strategy games go the 4X route, which has never been a hit with me.

Homeworld is a game steeped in beauty and darkness. Your desperate journey through the galaxy as the only survivors of your race is filled with wondrous sights, rich history, mysteries lost to time, curious alien races, hard sacrifices, and hope. It did away with the notion that space is nothing but blackness, with pinpricks of light and rocks. Instead it showed us beautiful nebulae, cosmic clouds, a supernova in progress, and an ancient scrapyard to mention some; all of it underscored by a touching soundtrack that will still make emotions well up in me to this day.

And now Gearbox have it. The guys who have only ever done shooters. Okay, Opposing Force and Blue Shift were both pretty good Half-Life expansions, that had a certain gravitas to them.

And then came Borderlands. Now, I actually kinda liked Borderlands. It was an okay game, but not good enough for me to get the sequel. But a lot of people like Borderlands, and I think I can see why. If you’re into that sort of thing. I think everyone can agree they’re hardly pinnacles of story-telling or atmosphere, though.

Then we got Duke Nukem Forever. Which was honestly a disaster, and Randy Pitchford gloated publicly about how people bought the game anyway. DNF was in production for many, many years though. Exactly how much work Gearbox did on it is unclear, and we’ll likely never know. They did stand up for that damned thing though, which tells me a fair deal.

More recently we had Aliens: Colonial Marines, another disaster. If there’s one leg up DNF had over ACM, it’s that it at least worked. ACM was rather broken. Unfinished. I won’t get into that case much now though, I’m sure you’ve all heard about it, including the rather shady rumours regarding the mismanagement of money.

The message I’m getting from this is that if it isn’t Borderlands, Gearbox don’t care and would rather out-source or do as little work as possible on the games they produce. Or are supposed to produce.

So do I think Gearbox can make a good Homeworld game? No. I honestly don’t. Okay, apparently they have great love and respect for the franchise, but they said the same about Duke Nukem and Aliens, and we saw how that turned out. I have a feeling they won’t even bother with the RTS aspect, and go for another shooter. It’s what they do, after all.

I can’t really work up the passion to be angry though. I’m just sad. The silver lining is that it seems like they plan to get the old games released on modern download services, and seeing the Homeworld franchise on Steam and/or Gog and/or others would be nice.

As for what they have in mind for future games in the franchise, I guess we can only wait and see.

On a THQ-related note, I am curious what, if anything, Nordic Games are planning to do with the Darksiders license.

~Wulf

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Posted on April 27, 2013, in Games, Rant, Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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