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Have You Played... Homeworld?

Can I get a lift?

A screenshot from Homeworld Remastered Collection showing ships heading towards the Mothership
Image credit: Sierra Studios, Gearbox Publishing

Let's not muck about here. Homeworld is essentially just Battlestar Galactica, if it were a real-time strategy game that jumped through a hyperspace gate exclusively onto PC. There's still much more to Relic Entertainment's sci-fi take on the plot of exiles returning home, though. When Homeworld's Kushan civilisation set out on their journey to the lost planet of Hiigara in the space-year of 1999, the game was doing something very unique compared with most other RTS games on the market.

Homeworld chucks you into the role of fleet commander, tasked with leading the Kushans across the galaxy to their stolen planet of origin, Kharak. Unlike other, ground-bound RTS experiences back then, it allows you to move units in three dimensions. This was cool enough, but the core conceit of producing all your units from the weirdly vertical Kushan mothership – at least until you got some carriers up and running – makes the whole effort seem terrifyingly vital. Lose your mothership, and all your efforts to find Hiigara were for nothing. It doesn't hurt that the mothership was a character in its own right, mentally controlled by scientist Karan S'jet.

A hectic space battle in Homeworld Remastered Collection
Image credit: Gearbox Publishing

If you'll bear with me, I don't want to forget about one thing Homeworld did that still stands out more than two decades on from when I first got my sweaty teenage mitts on the game: its manual. Relic just poured effort and imagination into Homeworld's manual, which you can find online here. I read the thing as though it was a textbook on Kushan culture and history, which it sort of was. I'm not sure I'll ever encounter anything like that again now, but I'll always treasure my more than slightly foxed copy. Homeworld was remastered in 2015 along with its sequel, and you can find that version on Steam and GOG.

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CJ Wheeler avatar

CJ Wheeler

Former News Reporter

CJ used to write about steam locomotives but now covers Steam instead. Likes visual novels, most things with dungeons and/or crawling, and any shooter with a suitably chunky shotgun. He’s from Yorkshire, which means he’s legally obliged to enjoy a cup of tea and a nice sit down.