“Homeworld” is one of those games that manages to stand out amongst a crowd. At the time of its release, it was a very “different” game. It offered something completely new. No real-time strategy game had ever attempted to do what it had done before. Set in three-dimensional space, “Homeworld” added the illusion of depth to an otherwise two-dimensional battlefield.
Despite the game’s three-dimensional plane (complete with a Y-Axis and all), the gameplay didn’t feel all that different from any 2D RTS. But that hardly mattered because the game looked freakin’ sweet. It was just cool to watch squadrons of star fighters swarm around a capital ship, bombarding it with all manner of sci-fi weaponry.
“Homeworld” was the game that helped to define Relic Entertainment as a studio.
Just to explain the boring parts for those among you who haven’t had the opportunity to play it, the game’s story had you building up a gigantic fleet of ships and journeying towards Hiigara, the homeworld of your civilization—hence the name.
An expansion pack and a sequel were subsequently released, but the franchise was poorly treated and mismanaged by the inept hands at the game’s now-defunct publishers, Sierra. The franchise deserved better. Fans remain hopeful of the series’ resurrection as the license is rumored to be back in the hands of its developers. We can only hope.
It may be too early to say if a sequel to the series will ever be made, but there’s no reason why we can’t keep hope alive, to make an obscure reference to a song you’ve probably never heard of.
What matters is that “Homeworld 3” needs to exist. I’m totally willing to hold out until the middle of next year’s E3 for Relic and THQ to announce that they’re working on the game. In the meantime, I can’t help but build up my expectations for the game and what it needs to be to surpass not only the previous games but also the competition it has from other RTS games.
Reboot or Sequel
Does it really matter if the game’s a true sequel to “Homeworld 2” or if it’s a complete reboot of the franchise—taking place in an all new setting with all new characters, races and a backstory. After all, the galaxy’s a pretty big place. A new “Homeworld” doesn’t need to be a storyline follow-up to such an old game. I’d ask rhetorically if anyone remembered the events of the second game, but I’d probably get a whole bunch of responses explaining the story’s entire plot, so I’ll refrain from doing just that. With a franchise as old and abandoned as Homeworld’s, there’s no better way to rekindle interest by making a whole new game.
Those 3D swarms looked pretty cool, but the game essentially took place on a flat plane. “Homeworld 3” needs to feature some real depth to its combat so that the game is more than just a polished, graphical update to the original game.
The story of “Homeworld” was a pretty gripping experience enhanced by the hard choices you had to make as you progressed through the game. At some point, you had to choose between ion-based technology and missile technology to define your fleet’s armaments. This small detail gave the player a sense of ownership over the fleet as a whole. The game fell short of allowing you to fully customize your ships, so that’s one thing that “Homeworld 3” could stand to deliver.
Single player-only games are soon to be a thing of the past. Discounting RPGs, of course, most games benefit from having a strong online component, be they shooters or strategy games. “Homeworld 3” should be no exception. It would only benefit from having a strong online component that pitches players not just against each other in mortal combat but in battles that affect the fate of the galaxy. Total Annihilation’s short-lived “Boneyards” system comes to mind. Though I think I’d settle for a system just like the battle.net in “Starcraft II.”
With so few real-time strategy games on the market these days, I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that the time is right for a game like “Homeworld 3” to surface. What would it have to compete with, besides Relic’s own Dawn of War II series and Starcraft II? Barring the fact that they’re all RTS titles, scarcely anything could compete with the game.