Ancient Relics: Homeworld HD Now Homeworld Remastered

By John Walker on March 6th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

We learned last year that Gearbox were planning to re-release the enormously loved Homeworld games. Having plucked the license from the THQ jumble sale, apparently because their Chief Creative Officer Brian Martel has maximum love for the series, they made clear their intentions to release an HD version of the first two games. They’re upping their terminology now, from “HD” to “Remastered“.

The Homeworld games are held in a particular reverence with fans, and are unquestionably responsible for an awful lot of successful Kickstarters for promising to simply be like the series. And yet, likely due to a muddy of licensing, they’re not available to buy from places like GOG or Steam. Gearbox are looking to fix that, releasing not just the remastered versions of both Homeworld and Homeworld 2, but also their original versions alongside them. They explain, with typical Gearbox enthusiasm,

“Previously, we’d been referring to this effort as Homeworld HD but as work progressed it became clear that title didn’t properly communicate the scope of the work. This is more than a simple re-release or up-res – given the input we’ve received from fans, mod makers and series veterans, the result is full-fledged remastering of nearly all aspects alongside the archival Classic versions.”

So now the Relic games will be rebuilt to work on our new-fangled PC boxes, with new models, textures, and effects, going all the way up to 4K resolutions. They also say they’ve had the original audio and video artists recreate “cinematic scenes in high fidelity.”

They’re also redesigning the multiplayer, although their definition is a touch ambiguous: “Multiplayer for both games has been combined into one centralized mode that will allow you to interact with other players like never before.”

Of course, there’s also Blackbird Interactive’s new Homeworld: Shipbreakers game in development, from some of the original Relic team, granted use of the official title from Gearbox. Swooshy space lights will be all over the place, it seems.

Gearbox are conducting a survey on their Remastered website, to see what cuckoo-crazy fans would be willing to fork out for in a collector’s edition. And it seems from this that they’re aiming to have the games out by Autumn this year.

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92 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge tikey says:

    Finally! I want to see balance changes to Homeworld 1. Maybe they’ll make it so you can finish the game without having to steal every ship you come across (which obviously was a lot of fun on itself).

    • Premium User Badge c-Row says:

      That was pretty much the best tactic in Homeworld 1. Were salvage corvettes a thing in HW2?

      • Premium User Badge tikey says:

        Nope, the unit cap limit was rigid so capturing just meant not spending a few resources that were abundant enough.
        Capturing was useful in certain situations but it certainly was too much work to make it a viable tactic.

        • skittles says:

          Part of the reason I never enjoyed H2 as much. It was so satisfying in the original carefully managing fleets, teasing apart enemy formations and finally sticking salvagers on the big fat juicy prize. H2 was a decent game, but it was just a standard RTS set in space.

      • Marik Bentusi says:

        It had infiltration frigates instead, which are one ship class bigger and capture the enemy ship right then and there instead of dragging it back to your mothership for conversion. Since they’re bigger, you also only need one to capture an enemy frigate.
        I also think it was technically possible to salvage corvettes in HW1, but they’re so small you’d rarely bother with the thought.

        Personally I preferred the aesthetic and lore background of the way HW1 did it, but then again for a long time I’ve also been clinging to the magic heal beams.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          I kept trying to salvage those nasty little Kadeshi fighters after I blew up their tenders and they ran out of fuel. Little buggers always seemed to have a few gulps of gas saved just for dodging salvage corvettes. :(

          • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            You can do it. Use several kennyvettes per Swarmer and they’ll dodge right into one of their capture fields. They’re a micromanagement nightmare to use in sustained battle, but if you follow a good routine of “one sweep, a quick brawl, then everyone back to the barn” they can be devastating. And even when all the Swarmers are dead, any Fuel Pods you’ve captured are high priority targets to everything. And don’t even get me started on the sheer awesome destructive power of the Multi Beam Frigates. A bunch of those are worth sacrificing your whole conventional fleet as a distraction for.

      • Psykhe says:

        Not anywhere close as much as in HW1.

        Im HW2 you take over (and repair) ships with your harvesters. Which makes it far more risky, sincy those aren’t exactly durable. It is still a valid tactic to take over ships, but you won’t use it to get most of your ships anymore.

        The balance in HW2 was well done in this aspect.

        In others, not so much. I.e. the enemy fleet size in a map is influenced by your own starting fleet size. So you starting with a full fleet = lots of enemy ships, you starting with few ships = not so many enemy ships.
        The problem with this is that you can very easily outproduce the enemy, so the easiest tactic in HW2 is to decommission most of your ships at the end of a mission and quickly reproduce them at the start of the next mission.

        • stele says:

          I wish I had know that. Played and loved everything about both games, except for the “dynamic difficulty” feature which I *HATE* in games. I could never finish HW2 because I’d have huge fleets and get decimated in the later missions.

        • Premium User Badge tikey says:

          Constantly producing frigates was the easiest, most efficient way of defeating the enemy.
          Once you have enough ship producing vessels you can build them faster that the enemy can destroy them. That’s one of the issues with the abundance of resources in HW2. While in HW1 you HAD yo capture everything because of the scarcity of resources.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          “Im HW2 you take over (and repair) ships with your harvesters.”
          No you don’t. Both the Vaygr and the Hiigarans use frigates to capture ships – and Marine Frigates happen to be #1 on the target priority list on almost anything that can harm frigates and everything that can be captured by them. Harvesters do repair however.

    • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

      Maybe they’ll make it so you can finish the game without having to steal every ship you come across (which obviously was a lot of fun on itself).” – completed HW without stealing every ship. Heck: Not even 1/4th of them. Just a few Turanic Raider frigates, cause I loved the looks of them. Final battle was heck of a challenge, but somehow, barely, I made it :)

  2. Jekhar says:

    Yay and all, but sad to see Cataclysm is so easily forgotten. I know not everyone liked it, but it was my favourite (please don’t hurt me).

    • chronoshag says:

      I’m with you on this one – loved it. If we all buy the original versions’ remastered edition, can we please have Cataclysm remastered, Gearbox?

      • Dave L. says:

        They’d do it if they could. Unfortunately all of the original source files were lost when Barking Dog was bought out by Rockstar and later shut down. They’d pretty much have to re-build Cataclysm from scratch in order to do what they’re doing with Homeworld 1 & 2.

        • Marik Bentusi says:

          Wouldn’t they have to rebuild it all in a new engine anyway? If it was all part of the Unreal family or something I’d understand, but I’m not quite sure what’s there to salvage that you can’t already extract from the game files.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          That’s really sad. Seems like the art assets and source code for quite a few classic games have been lost over time and we are only now starting to discover it. The Baldur’s Gate remakes also suffered because of this.

        • HugobertingtonEsq says:

          God
          Damn
          And Cataclysm looked so much more fun for me
          It had so much more character in it than the main titles

        • chronoshag says:

          Seriously!? DAMMIT. Right then, convincing every person I have ever met, including the dead ones so that they remake the whole game from scratch due to the massive influx of sales shouldn’t be too hard.

          HEY

          YOU

          I JUST MET YOU. AND THIS IS CRAZY

          BUY ALL THESE THINGS.

    • Premium User Badge tikey says:

      Cataclysm is in a very peculiar place for me. On one hand I find the overall story quite weak. “oooh, terror from outer space attacks!” Like a bad Star Trek episode.
      On the other hand it has some of the best and more memorable moments in the whole series.

      • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It also had some serious thought put into different ships. Not just “little ship”, “bigger ship”, “bigger ship but with an ion beam”, “even bigger ship”… They had ramming ships, twirling anti-fighter frigates, tiny robots that could slowly bleed a ship to death if undetected, holographic mimic ships, fighters that could dock in pairs to form corvettes, a frigate sized carrier with automated drone swarms that flit about like angry bees… It was glorious.

      • Premium User Badge tikey says:

        I had completely forgotten about the tiny robots and the mimics. Glorious indeed.

      • Canadave says:

        I know that the Beast was basically just a biological rip-off of the Borg, but considering the technology the game was made with, they did a great job of turning it into a seriously creepy enemy. The whole of mission 4 in the Tel Sector (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H06Rl-goTwk), especially that opening cutscene, is just brilliantly done.

    • Armante says:

      Coincidentally I came across my original boxed copy of Cataclysm stored under my parents house just last week. Installed it onto my Win7 64bit pc, and after a quick download of the 1.01 patch, and one minor .ini tweak, it played just fine. Gotta love the internet for making the patches and info readily available.

      Onto mission 3 now, and running into those damn mines again. Still a cool game. At the time I loved it because it was ‘more Homeworld’ but did dislike a few things they did. Never did like mimics, cloaking ships and other ‘cheating’ ways of playing.

    • Deano2099 says:

      So forgotten even RPS said they’re re-mastering “the first two games”!

    • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

      Random fun fact: Cataclysm was the part of HW franchise that got least plot holes of all! (both: HW1 and HW2 were roughly equal on that matter with HW2 being just a tiny bit worse)

    • hideouszippleback says:

      Thank you for saying this – I was beginning to think I was the only one who even remembered Cataclysm. I wish articles about this would at least mention it. It was a great game that made pretty good use of the Homeworld universe, and added a bunch of awesome ships and mechanics. I’m really stoked we’re getting Homeworld and mostly meh about Homeworld 2, but it makes me sad that everyone’s acting like those are all the Homeworld games there ever were.

  3. MajorManiac says:

    WANT!

    Just please, for the frakkin gods sake, make it mod-able.

    • Volcanu says:

      Mmmhmm- then more skilled & dedicated minds than mine can create Star Wars and Battlefleet Gothic mods for it. I will help by wetting myself with excitement.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        There already are Star Wars mods for Homeworld 2. In fact the guy making the Star Wars:Warlords mod for HW2 managed to upgrade the engine to dx9+ (from dx7) functionality and added in bump mapping, transparent and high-res textures. A real testament to how incredibly good the base engine for HW2 is, when it handles new technology that easily.

        • Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

          I’m pretty sure HW2 was DX9 from the get-go. The modification was largely shader-based, which didn’t exist prior to DX9.

          • DatonKallandor says:

            Checking again you’re right, it was the shaders. The Bump Mapping and other texture upgrades still stand however. Even now Warlords is the best looking Star Wars game around (and it put and puts Galaxy at War, which came out later, to absolute shame both in looks and gameplay).

          • Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

            I’m sorry, I have to differ there:
            http://www.moddb.com/mods/fwtow

    • Premium User Badge Tom De Roeck says:

      I hope the Complex mod doesnt break because of it.

      • Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

        We will try our best to make sure Complex still works.

        I say we – i’ve not really been active on the team for a while, and I wasn’t a programmer – but yeah :)

  4. araczynski says:

    voted for the footlong dong.

  5. newguy2012 says:

    Its Gearbox, so this can be a stinker.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I dunno, they’re due a good one. Gearbox are like the Star Trek movies and release alternating stinkers and awesomes.

      That said, my DVD’s of H1 and H2 work fine on Windows 7, so anyone looking to play on a modern setup, barring a few tweaks, should not be put off diving right in. The games are super cheap as well.

    • dmastri says:

      I will never give Gearbox another penny and neither should you. Terrible dev.

      • Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

        Wait till it realeses (like any good consumer should) rather than pre-ordering.

        If it turns out good you should buy it if you’re interested.

        A boycott is pointless if you’re never going to ‘un-boycott’ them. If they’ve lost you forever, whats the point in changing to get you back? They won’t change.

        If its a case of ‘I hate this decision/game and I’m boycotting you until you reverse on your policies in regards to making games’ then, when said policies are reversed and they make something good, you should show your support for them reversing their policies by giving them another chance. If you never ever go back to gearbox, then them becoming a ‘good’ dev/publisher means nothing as you are not rewarding them for doing good.

        • oxykottin says:

          Well said Bill, The point of boycotting is to change. If they change and do what you ask, and still refuse… That makes you the dick. (generally speaking not targeting OP)

      • Werthead says:

        Sod that. I want more HOMEWORLD games and it that means giving money to Gearbox, I’ll grin and bear it.

    • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

      Don’t care. I’ll gladly pay 100$ for Mothership alone. ;)

  6. Premium User Badge Chuckaluphagus says:

    These are the only games I have ever played where I’m planning on shelling out for a collector’s edition like that. Even aside from being excellent games, mechanically, the art and music produced for Homeworld are stunning.

    And now the music from “The Garden of Kadesh” has started playing in the back of my head. Not going to complain.

  7. Premium User Badge c-Row says:

    I want the full remastered soundtrack of both games on CD(s). Please make that happen, Gearbox.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Let’s hope it’s not a remaster of the Rick Rubin kind.

    • Urthman says:

      Why? It’s just a ripoff of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica soundtrack.

      • CMaster says:

        Please be a sarcastic comment.

        • Urthman says:

          Sorry, I assumed all PC gamers watched the Battlestar Galactica remake and thought, “It’s Homeworld, the TV series!”

          • Premium User Badge tikey says:

            I know I did.
            Fun fact: The guy who plays the Bentusi had a role in one of the nüBSG movies (Razor) as a Cylon Hybrid.

      • Premium User Badge tikey says:

        It has to be.

      • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Homeworld 2: Released in September, 2003.
        Battlestar Galactica (the miniseries): First aired in December, 2003.

      • Premium User Badge tikey says:

        Now that we’re talking about it I just want to say that I love how both soundtracks (HW’s and Galactica’s) explore a lot of ethnic sounds, and despite having different approaches end up creating a similar atmosphere.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    Looking back over the previous comments i seem to be the only one who’s not ‘overly’ fussed about this.

    Dont get me wrong, They’re great games I have very fond memories of.
    I played them both to death the first time round (finished them both) and I’ll be all over a 3rd one if/when it’s made, but replaying the originals now just with fancier graphics…meh?

    • Premium User Badge tikey says:

      I played them recently without fancier graphics and I found them to be not only quite fancy still but a great fun to booth. There hasn’t been anything like them.

    • mickygor says:

      Well I’m looking forward to better compatibility with modern machines. I have prohibitive FPS problems with Homeworld 2, and just getting the original working is a chore.

      • skalpadda says:

        Have you tried enabling vsync in HW2? Choppy frame rates are apparently very common on newer machines but locking the FPS usually solves it.

        • mickygor says:

          Yea and that worked for a time but it went back to being choppy :(

          • Premium User Badge Chuckaluphagus says:

            I think I had the same problem you’re describing, and the solution is to lock the running Homeworld 2 executable down to a single processor. After you’ve started the game, Alt-Tab out to the desktop, open the Task Manager, find the executable (I believe it’s just “hw2.exe”, but not certain) in the Processes List, right-click on that, then choose “Set Affinity …”

            In the window that pops up, you want to have only a single CPU selected. Doesn’t matter which one, but it needs to be only one.

            Older games seem to have some issues with current multi-processor setups. I’ve found the same trick helpful in dealing with stutter in other games from the same time period.

    • Armante says:

      Playing Cataclysm again just now :)

      I _LOVED_ the original Homeworld. IIRC Homeworld came out after the original Half Life and those two games together define that era of gaming for me. I can still remember booting it up for the first time, having Adagio for Strings Agnes Dei roll out of the speakers and watching the launch sequence of the mothership. It was like having part of my fantasies come to life, having grown up on Star Wars and the original Battlestar Gallactice tv series. Discovering the rendevous ship was destroyed, and finding Kharak under attack – I played and replayed that mission so I could save all 600,000 remaining lives. Powerful stuff.

      Homeworld 2 I enjoyed because it had fancy graphics and it was more Homeworld to play, but it somehow lacked something. Maybe it was the slight loss of control with formations, maybe it was the story, but nothing has recaptured the feelings Homewolrd evoked with its varied missions and fantastic soundtrack. I’ll be interested for sure to pick this bundle up again, even if only for the ease of then having the originls to play rather than the Remastered versions. I do hope they don’t mess with them too much. And as for the cinematics that told the story, I strongly hope they don’t mess wuth them too much. The black and white style with layers in paralax should be retained, not made some fancy 3d graphics cutscene please.

  9. Bull0 says:

    Does anyone really care about getting a pride of hiigara statue at this point or would they just like to be able to buy the game digitally? That’s the real question.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Wellll, most people who played Homeworld back in the day probably have a fair bit of disposable income and nostalgia now. I’m not interested in action figures personally, but if I was going to have something from a game sitting on my desk, the mothership would be on the top of the list. Not a hard choice when most other options involve plastic swords, breasts, anime or some combination thereof.

      • Bull0 says:

        No denying it’s pretty classy, particularly the chrome one, but meh. I’d rather they plowed that money/effort into making the game more gooderer.

      • mickygor says:

        Yep, that’s me. It’s one of the few games I’d gladly pay that much for.

    • Surlywombat says:

      I want a Pride of Hiigara so i can put it next to my Kol Battleship from SoaSE.

    • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      How else can we be expected to answer the eternal question: If I throw the Hiigaran mothership, will it come back to me?

      • Bull0 says:

        I can’t deny we’re still a long way from a good answer to that question, in spite of the late nights the boys have been putting in down in the lab.

    • Werthead says:

      I’m not into collecting merchandise for games (although I still have my STARCRAFT keyring from the release of the original collector’s edition, back when they were £5 extra and not five times the price of the original) but I’d have a light-up version of the HOMEWORLD mothership on my desk in a heartbeat.

      I’d pay even more if every now and then it popped out a Resource Collector that scooted around the house and cleaned the place.

  10. DatonKallandor says:

    Hopefully they’re going to fix the frigates in Homeworld 2. Due to a lack of time on Relics part they never got around to balancing them, so literally every single weapon in the entire game has 100% accuracy against them – and they’re also on the top of every targeting priority list. Consequently frigates were incredibly bad in Homeworld 2, acting as very expensive ablative armor for your fleet.

  11. HugobertingtonEsq says:

    So does this mean more or less content for the games?
    Cos it seems like HW2 is a bit less compared to HW2

  12. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Homeworld remains my most-bought game.

    I think I bought Homeworld (the original) about 8 times in total. It was a multiplayer staple in the Grambly Gentleman’s Homeworld Club (for obvious reasons). The CDs kept going missing, there were generosity-buys for new members, the dog ate at least one. Most of these purchases were when the game had reached budget and/or second-hand status.

    • Horg says:

      It’s good to know that there are individuals (and dogs) such as yourself who overcompensated for CLEARLY INSANE individuals, such as myself, who never played a Homeworld game. This is a mistake I intend to correct. In HD.

      • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

        Thanks for saying that. I’ll one-up you, or even 2-up you. I never played Homeworld. AND I never finished Baldur’s Gate II. AND…get this. I know this is anathema to PC gamers…but I only played Planescape: Torment like halfway through.

        And you know what? I’ve come to peace with all that.

        • Zekiel says:

          Well to be fair the last third(ish) of PST is a bit rubbish. Up until the finale which is amazing. So… yeah.

    • Premium User Badge Durkonkell says:

      How utterly bizarre! Homeworld 2 is MY most-bought game. I think I bought four copies of it, one for a friend and another three because I somehow LOST all the others. Repeatedly.

      The only possible conclusion is that Homeworld games are deliberately engineered to destroy themselves or perhaps are coated with some kind of substance favoured by dogs.

      • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Homeworld 2 is only thrice for me. The original, one to replace another canine-facilitated structural failure, and one to replace the lost one.

  13. Premium User Badge tikey says:

    Fun fact of the day: Homeworld started as a Battlestar Galactica videogame but they couldn’t get the rights for it. That’s why they share a lot of themes.

    • Chris England says:

      I can’t help but wonder if the BSG 2004 guys had played Homeworld when they dreamed up the new series, forming a beautiful but slightly oddly-shaped circle?

    • Snargelfargen says:

      This is blowing my mind. Woaaah

    • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

      There’s a BSG mode for Homeworld 2. It got very unique combat mechanics and a whole campaign in it. Really worth trying out if you’re a fan of it.

      However to be honest: I’m more then glad that Relic never got the license for Battlestar. I love Homeworld franchise by far more than Battlestar.

  14. XhomeB says:

    Hope it does make it to GOG. I’m getting worried, 2K have yet to publish a single game there.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Planet:_Battle_at_Procyon
    This Looks pretty Homeworldy! I need to go bargain bin dive for it.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      That’s cause it was made by the people who made Cataclysm. Now Kerberos Studios (of Sword of the Stars fame) and the people who did the lore for Homeworld 1 and Cata.

  16. waltC says:

    I still have both games installed under 8.1×64 and both games run beautifully @ 1600×1200 x32-bits. I feel if I could get into the configuration settings a bit more than the games allow a normal player, that running them @1920×1080 & up would not be difficult.

    • Armante says:

      Apparently it can be done (as a regedit I think?) but it tends to leave black boxes and affects the menus

  17. Sidewinder says:

    You know, with all the loving praise these games always get, I feel bad that I keep bouncing off them. I want to love them…
    Ah, what the heck, maybe the umpteenth time’s the charm. If I gave up when giving up was sensible, I couldn’t call myself a gamer. Time to pop in that CD…

  18. bill says:

    Makes sense. A few small tweaks to HW1 would make it a much better and more accessible game. For example:
    - A more modern “3d map” and better view distance
    - A button to harvest all remaining resources on the map automatically once you’ve already won, so you don’t have to sit around for half an hour.
    - Er, actually, that’s about it.

    I loved HW1 but never got around to HW2, so this might be the chance.

    • Zekiel says:

      I always found movement off the default 2D plane very fiddly in Homeworld. I can’t work out how you can make it simpler, but I’d love it if they could.

      • Armante says:

        Interesting. I found it came quite naturally when using a 3 button mouse and/or ctrl/shift clicking.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        They solved it for Homeworld 2 – right-click is a 2D move, hold right-click and drag is a 3D move. It’s simple, fast and genius. And there’s always the M – click – click and hold shift methods when you need extreme precision.

  19. Iskariot says:

    I love you Gearbox.
    If you pull this off I might even forgive you for what happened with the Aliens game…
    The Homeworld series is the love of my life.
    It is sad I know… but I don´t care.

  20. SomeDuder says:

    Oh fuck it’s a Homeworld post. Do you people realize how much I love Homeworld? Even Cataclysm? I mean, come on, post more Homeworld articles.

    Seriously though, I’m pretty excited for this. Hope it appears on Steam soon, my Homeworld discs aren’t getting any younger…