A Beautiful Relic: 37 Mins of Homeworld Remastered

It’s only three weeks until we can get lost in space again ourselves, but in the meantime your eyeballs will thank for pointing them at this big chunk of 1080p footage from Gearbox’s upcoming remastering of cult classic spaceship RTS Homeworld. Whereas other recent remasterings – Grim Fandango and Indigo Prophecy – focused on making the game less archaic, this looks like it’s really going for it. For instance, where once the mothership’s textures took up a lowly 100k, now they’re a meaty 10Mb.

Can’t speak yet for how the game feels, but the results of all this fiddling are spectacularly pretty. Take a look.

This is a 1080p feed of the stage demo Gearbox gave at the recent PAX South, for context:

I haven’t actually played Homeworld since the original release, so as fond of it as I am I’m not amongst its most fervent fans, but even this is the kind of thing that makes a man dream of a 4K monitor and enough graphics cards to defrost Greenland. Dear Jeebus, please make me rich in order that I might behold the prettiest spaceships possible.

The Homeworld Remastered Collection’s out on February 25th. All being well, we’ll have some stuff and things about it here before then.

79 Comments

  1. -Spooky- says:

    Can´t wait to play it .. :)

  2. LucasBriggs says:

    Anyone know if there is gonna be an option for coop?

  3. melnificent says:

    From the studio that brought us classics such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever…

    • Arexis says:

      While true, they also gave us the XCOM remake and Bioshock.
      I’m trying really hard to think of a major publisher that has a spotless record. Having some trouble. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

      • lordcooper says:

        Wasn’t that Firaxis?

      • emotionengine says:

        Gearbox didn’t publish those, they are a development studio, not a publisher. 2K published those games (both by different devs, btw). For this release, Gearbox are covering both dev and publishing duties by themselves. 2K has nothing to do with this (as far as I know).

      • fish99 says:

        Errr…. no, they actually didn’t.

    • Cinek says:

      Thankfully they didn’t have to think about anything here. They just upgraded graphics, sounds, and sadly: UI. Storyline, missions, units, all stays the same.

      • Corb says:

        They did more then that though, they hired and brought on a lot of the original creators as well as the modders keeping these classics alive to do the technical work. Gearbox, from what we have so far, look like they went about this the correct way this time.

        • waltC says:

          Agreed…even just for “remastering” in the sense that you only upgrade the existing graphics & sound, and update the 3d engine so that it can render on current systems without a problem–that can amount to one heck of a lot of work…;) This looks like they did considerably more than just “remaster” the originals, and it would be hard to mess up since they had the original games as guides. I’d be surprised if this game turned out less than stellar (was that a pun?)

          I liked the lengthy video–somewhat–because they didn’t feature a lot of close-up talking heads I didn’t know and wasn’t interested in. The focus was the game as opposed to stranger cameos–and that was nice to see.

          I got the original HW1 to run under Win8.1/10TP by running a little proggy that is supposed to turn on “NT 3d acceleration” in 8.1–seems to work. But nothing I’ve done so far allows me to run HW2. Game starts, opens black screen and begins to load–then drops back to the desktop. I’ll have to pick the remastered version up, for sure..! Aren’t they throwing in working version of the 1&2 along with the remastered versions? What fun to compare…;)

    • Cei says:

      Both games that Gearbox inherited rather than developed from scratch. I got the feeling they didn’t care about them.

      Homeworld on the other hand? They care enough to a) actually bid and win the licence b) hire ex Relic developers who worked on the originals c) spend ages re-doing it. I’m pretty confident they’ve done a good job.

    • emotionengine says:

      They also brought us Half-Life: Opposing Force and Borderlands 1/2. But I guess taking those into consideration would be just too. . . balanced.

      (EDIT: I understand that a healthy dose of scepticism is never unwarranted in the gaming industry, but this kind of self-victimising knee-jerk cynicism that I’ve been seeing too often these days just pisses me off sometimes. /end rant)

      • Corb says:

        I just want my shiny new ships! :D

      • airmikee99 says:

        That kind of rational thinking, taking into consideration they have made 26 games and only 2 of them had issues, isn’t allowed here on the internet, or on Planet Earth for that matter. Log off and do some serious soul searching until you’re ready to come back and ignore any and all facts in order to form your opinions.

    • revan says:

      Relic did all the heavy lifting in 1999 and 2003. Gearbox only upgraded graphics and UI. So there should be no fear of Aliens: Colonial Marines and DF Forever encore in this case.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Those two were done in house but the strings pulled by a different master.

      AFAIK this is more in house and those pulling the strings have not also cut them, pulled out the rug and jumped on the dead body of the developer….

      … ok, I’m giving them a LOT of leeway here hoping they make good on this re-release. It might be their saving grace.

  4. newguy2012 says:

    ooooo, its gearbox, but I still hope.

  5. c-Row says:

    First time I ever preordered a game on Steam. Even if they mess it up I still get my HD soundtrack at last!

  6. Bradamantium says:

    Homeworld was the first RTS I ever played that lead to me feeling bad that I’m complete shit at RTS. I made it something like six missions in before I just Could Not Even anymore no matter how hard I tried, and I really did try because I wanted more of it. Maybe I’ll give this a shot and hope I’ve become a better tactician in the eightish years since I played it.

    • jonfitt says:

      One thing that you need to realise to crack the game is that your fleet carries over from one mission to another. So too many losses in an earlier mission can harm you. Also, most importantly, do not jump out of any system until your harvesters have scraped every bit of scrap from the map.
      It spoils the illusion a bit because it can take ages real time and the game is all like “We must go now”, and then you spend 20 minutes harvesting.

      It’s a problem with combining extremely fixed scripted encounters with a persistent army. It doesn’t care if you enter the map with 2 fighters and 600 credits, or 2 dreadnoughts, a wing of fighters, and 30000 credits, the scripted enemy is the same.
      In the sequel the game just auto-harvests it all for you as you jump. It’s a band-aid on an imperfect system. It really needs an AI director.

      • frymaster says:

        I believe that, in the last mission of the original at least, the scale of your enemies is tweaked according to how much of a fleet you have. Guides warned you NOT to capture the herd of easily-separated Ion Frigates just before the last mission, for that reason

        • manny says:

          Nice to hear, due to controller limitations, you can only control an army of a certain size before everything gets too finicky. Personally like to control as few units as possible, just with good variety.

  7. Hanban says:

    Letting out a relieved sigh. We might not ever get a Homeworld 3, but I think I’m fine with just this.

    • jonfitt says:

      But imagine if we’d only every gotten X-COM, TFTD, and Apocalypse HD remakes and never had XCOM!

    • Werthead says:

      It’s possible. If the remasters do well (and the pre-sales on Steam are apparently really strong) and SHIPBREAKERS also does well, I think we’ll see Blackbird do a proper HW3 alongside Gearbox. HW2’s ending was really badly rushed, the entire finale cinematic felt like a plot summary for a HW2 expansion, so there’s certainly some unfinished business there.

  8. Kreeth says:

    I like what they’re saying about making it look like what it looks like in their imaginations – this is exactly what I hoped for. Same game, but prettier.

    Homeworld is absolutely foundational for me – I remember seeing the box for the first time with the mothership on it, reading the stuff on the back, looking at the screenshots, and that was me hooked. Couldn’t wait to get it home, and it was just as good as I’d imagined.

    I wonder if they’ll still let you steal all the ships in the first one. I vaguely remember there not being any kind of fleet limit, so as you stole more and more it became possible to just steamroller some of the later levels and the main logistical problem became keeping the fleet aligned so they could all fire on the same target at once.

    • Cinek says:

      Oh yea, fleet logistics… I remember final mission… got so many ships that my fleet spanned twice the length of in-game view range… I was attacked before half of my ships even moved to the proximity of Mothership, hahaha.

      • Kreeth says:

        Ah, good times…

        I was royally peeved when it dawned on me that HW2 had a hard cap so you couldn’t just build millions of salvage corvettes and steal the enemy capital ships rather than fighting them.

        • Rolento says:

          Oh yes that was fun. I remember getting quite a few of the Kadesh multibeam frigates and slaughtering everything with em:)

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            In a particularly hectic skirmish game in HW2, I actually managed to get my Mothership captured by the AI while I was entirely distracted. (I should point out that the game doesn’t recognize the pause key on my keyboard and it’s not rebindable, which tends to make the game more fun, but also more challenging)

            At first I was dismayed, but I quickly rallied from my shipyard elsewhere on the map and made to recapture it. Then they sent in their capture frigates to counter me (while I was still capping, I believe), so in a moment of sudden, absolute clarity, I captured their capture ships, then used the combined swarm to retake first my mothership, and then half their fleet.

            Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with that wonderful game.

    • frymaster says:

      ” I vaguely remember there not being any kind of fleet limit”

      There was a limit to what you could build, but you could capture over that limit

      I remember trying to research interesting things so I could build them as soon as possible, max out my fleet, and then fill up the deficiencies with captured ships

      (i.e. I would never buy an ion frigate when all those lovely multi-beam frigates were there for the taking….)

  9. Lytinwheedle says:

    What happened to Homeworld – Shipbreakers? The site seems dead.

    • Cei says:

      Still in development. Think it has taken a bit of a backburner until these remasters are done.

      • Hanban says:

        It’s a different studio so I don’t think it’s been on the backburner. I would guess that after they got the go ahead to develop it into an actual Homeworld game they had a lot of stuff to rework and that it’ll be a while before they’re ready to show it again.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Or they’re just ditching ground combat and making Homeworld 3.

          We can hope, right? Haha?

        • Lanessar says:

          Actually, BBI is doing a lot of the remaster in cahoots with Gearbox, so that they get the rights to the Homeworld name for “free”.

    • cannonballsimp says:

      I was wondering the same thing. They mention Shipbreakers at the end of the video, and it seems there was some personnel overlap between it and this remaster. But they haven’t forgotten about it.

    • Werthead says:

      Gearbox recently added it to the list of games on their website and it appears that they’ll speak more about it when the remaster comes out. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new trailer appeared alongside the remaster, as it’s a golden marketing opportunity.

      Blackbird started work on SHIPBREAKERS in 2010 and had gameplay footage in 2013, just before they changed it into a HOMEWORLD prequel. Two more years down the line, I’d hope it was getting towards completion.

  10. DrollRemark says:

    *awkward pauses*
    *bad jokes*
    *unnecessary whooping*

    Urgh, convention videos.

    That does look fabulously smooth though.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      I thought someone had tacked on a sitcom laugh track for the longest time.

  11. BioSnark says:

    The effects currently compare poorly to how alive a modded Homeworld 2 battle could look:
    link to youtu.be

    Heretic that I am, sending a fleet into another fleet and watching the fireworks was what I liked in homeworld, not strategy.

    • Hanban says:

      One of my favourite things in Homeworld was to alt-zoom onto fighters and watch them go at it. That’s something I miss in games these days.

    • kael13 says:

      There just seems to be a lot more effects. Anyway, this remaster apparently encourages mods, so you might see a remake of this one, too.

    • Thrippy says:

      The Italian guy they hired and keep referring to in the PAX video is Beghins, author of the Homeworld Complex mod. I expect they also approached the multiple disputed authors of the PDS mod but perhaps TelQuessir reaffirmed his long standing retirement from the mod scene.

      It seems self evident this will be the most robust mod friendly build ever released. There should be no shortage of cranked up VFX mods in the years to come.

  12. kael13 says:

    Just got done watching and I have the biggest grin on my face. Even the original Homeworld ships seem to look better than the HW2 ships!

  13. 2late2die says:

    Does anybody know how this Steam release relates to the remastered collector’s edition with the model of the mothership? More specifically, if one has preordered the collector’s edition would they get steam keys on the 25th or would they have to purchase the digital version separately?

    • Thrippy says:

      That’s a Amazon/Steam fulfillment issue. Gearbox pre-orders (the Community Day twitch.tv subscription deal) will receive emailed keys on the 25th.

  14. derbefrier says:

    I remeber seeing adds for this game and thinking my pc will never be able to run this. So I have never played this game, I just drooled over screenshots in pc gamer and other mags at the time. I will wait for reviews though since I don’t have nostalgia driving me towards an impulse buy.

    • vivlo says:

      i’ve always wanted to play the original homeworld. But now that i at last have a computer that could run it, this remastered version might be too much.

  15. PsychoWedge says:

    I really hope they have something like difficulty settings for the campaigns because I love Homeworld sooooo much but am just too shitty at RTS. I never got past mission seven or eight in H1, even though I tried the mission I was stuck on over and over and over again.

    • revan says:

      Is that the one with a mass of those tiny ships attacking you constantly? I was stuck on that one. Years later I figured out you need to take out their refueling ships to effectively fight them.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The difficulty in at least one of the HW games – possibly all of them, can’t say – was badly broken, based on a system where the AI ‘cheated’ to always have bigger, badder fleets than you. You can be pretty good at RTS (I’m not) and still get your arse handed to you in the campaign (I frequently did). I believe they patched that out eventually though? I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Zekiel says:

        I’m very interested in the answer to this. I recall not buying HW2 because I was informed it had a ridiculous difficulty curve and I didn’t fancy buying a game and then only being able to play 3 missions of it!

        • Lazyjim says:

          Part of the ridiculous difficulty curve for HW2 was actually a scripting bug in one of the missions that made it almost unwinnable. They quickly fixed that with the 1.1 patch.
          This was also the only patch that Homeworld 2 ever had.

          They don’t make games like they used to…

  16. vecordae says:

    This looks like how my teenage brain remembers Homeworld. That’s pretty rad.

  17. Kong says:

    Best news in a long time.

    One thing bothers me though: the fighters do not show a fuel gauge.

    There are support frigates. Hm.

    They mention in the clip they had to tweak some details in order to make HW1 ships work with HW2 ships in multiplayer…if the fighter fuel got scrapped because of that I will be very disappointed.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I question if the fuel model is really necessary. In HW2 skirmishes, I still find myself mostly deploying fighters from carriers simply because they frequently need repaired/reinforced, and they can’t hyperspace on their own. Organizing the fighters into squadrons rather than building them individually (which is probably one of the ‘changes’ they talked about) encouraged that as well, since if at least one member of the squadron was intact you could (if memory serves) reinforce it to full strength.

      • Kong says:

        Maybe it is not necessary but some fans of HW1 missed the feature in 2.

        It was great to attack enemy collectors with figthers, harrasing their supply lines and having to calculate in the distance travelled. Some may have been glad to get rid of that feature, regarding it as unnecessary micromanagement or simply as a distraction from the big action. To me it made fighters and bombers more interesting.
        I loved fooling around with the formations, just for the heck of it. But I also enjoyed the time spend collecting every last resource, watching my fleet drift through space peacefully; never saw it as grind. It is possible that I am quite alone with this ;)

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I don’t expect you’re anywhere near alone. You make a damned good argument for it staying, even though I’m probably in the camp who’d be slightly happier without it. Who knows, though? The multiplayer is an entirely separate component, so maybe it won’t have to affect elements like fuel limits in singleplayer?

  18. Enkinan says:

    Well that is gorgeous.

  19. Dominus_Anulorum says:

    Dang, I want this badly. Homeworld was one of the first games I ever played. I still feel haunted remembering the adagio for strings moment in the third mission. Sadly, $30 is too much for me right now, but hopefully it will go on sale at some point in the near future.

    • Hunchback says:

      I probably should be ashamed of the state of my general culture, but i have to admit i discovered Adagio for Strings through Homeworld, i am almost cried when i did at that…
      I heard it, i was stunned by the beauty of it and some long time later on, when the internet was a more accessible thing i went looking for “homeworld ost” and found out what it was…

      But then again, i suppose video games are just as good a medium to learn as anything else, no?

  20. Hunchback says:

    So, when’s Valve gonna announce Half-Life: Remastered ?

    More in line with the actual subject – that’s just so fucking awesome! One of the best games ever, in so many ways… and apparently they’ve just bumped the graphics a bit and melded all the factions for multiplayer. This might be a great chance to re-experience the same emotions from back in the day… *hope*

  21. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    I usually find the commentary on videos like this cringe-worthy — especially if it’s in front of a live audience — but apart from some annoying whooping, I found this one to be an enjoyable watch. I never played the originals as I don’t think I had the hardware at the time, but I do have some nostalgia for the franchise nonetheless due to the amount of time I drooled over screenshots and magazine features. I’m pretty excited to finally have the chance to experience the games for the first time so here’s hoping the remaster plays as good as it looks.

  22. bwuceli says:

    Preordered it, can’t wait for release. I just want to play Homeworld again, remastered or not.

  23. Colwolf77 says:

    I loved the original so much, was one of the first games where i would pause in the middle of a huge battle and just take in the majesty of it all. I’m so glad this work was done but what I would really like to see is a sequel that takes the homeworld saga further, not just the graphics and special effects but the mechanics. I always felt there was more to come, please make this old time gamers dreams a reality.

  24. thenagus says:

    Great to hear them talking about mod support

  25. Snargelfargen says:

    It’s been like 15 years and I still get goosebumps from Homeworld’s music. Good stuff.

  26. BlueTemplar says:

    How come it’s “Homeworld Remastered Footage”, while they only seem to show Homeworld 2 models and GUI icons?

    If there’s an oughties 3D game that DOESN’T need remastering (considering how beautiful it already is), it’s Homeworld 2. Of course I’m still happy they are remaking the game, as running it on Vista and later systems can be quite tricky…

    P.S.: Any word on remastering Homeworld : Cataclysm?

    • pitchblackdrgn says:

      They’ve said several times that there no Cataclysm remake in the works, and probably won’t be one. Not only are they missing the rights to it (iirc), the source code got lost at some point when Barking Dog got turned into Rockstar Vancouver (and then subsequently shut down).

      • Werthead says:

        “and probably won’t be one”

        HOMEWORLD Modding Scene: “Challenge accepted.”

        • Mandabar says:

          Hope isn’t dead on this yet I’ve heard. And they DO own the rights to it homeworld cataclysm. The issue has been finding the original source code to work from. They have all the sound assets already from the sound studio that originally created. I’ve heard a few rumblings that it’s not as dead as we think, but it might be awhile (if ever) before we get cataclysm.

          I loved cataclysm, even if it was considered it the red-headed stepchild by alot of folks. Purists

  27. vahnn says:

    I just want to play this with Complex.