Surprise Homeworld Prequel Attack!
Oh, blimey. Suddenly there's a new Homeworld game right around the corner. Confusingly it's not set in space, but it's definitely following the same visual design cues nonetheless. It's also now a prequel to the events of the spaceship RTSes we know and love, and is developed by Blackbird Interactive, an outfit founded by various veterans of said original spaceship RTSes. I.e. space or not, sit up and pay attention to this.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak is released very early next year, and there's footage below.
This very much appears to be second renaming for the game initially known as Hardware, then as Homeworld: Shipbreakers following an arrangement between Blackbird and current IP owners Gearbox. Now it's Homeworld: Battle For Kharak, having now fully shed its initially-planned F2P persona in favour of a full commercial release. So it's not a surprise on that basis, but its prequel nature and new name most certainly are.
The move from space to sand remains an odd one, but despite being land-locked, many of the vehicles certainly evoke the gigantic industrial design of the Homeworld games. You get a ton of new lore too, although it remains to be seen how much it confirms or contradicts what the earlier games established. Also, hey, we don't get a great many trad. real-time strategy games these days, so that's something to anticipate in its own right.
It'll be out on January 20th 2016, which is only a little more than a month away.
The recent remastering of the Homeworld series, following Gearbox's acquisition of the IP in the THQ firesale, turned out pretty well, so there's at least some precedent for this being on the side of the angels too - especially as Relic co-founder and Homeworld 1/2 art director Rob Cunningham heads up Kharak devs Blackbird Interactive. Which is also probably why those enormous sandcrawler things look so lovely.
Both land and air combat are promised for Deserts of Kharak, as are big environments, "tactical combat and strategic decisions", both solo and multiplayer modes and an origin story which concerns "chief science officer Rachel S’jet, the Coalition of the Northern Kiithid sends an expedition deep within enemy-controlled territory to investigate the finding, which could forever alter the fate of humanity."
If you want to pre-order via Steam - but don't ever pre-order, yeah? - you'll get a copy of the Homeworld Remastered Collection for free. Alternatively, if you already own that collection, you get 20% off your pre-order of this. But don't pre-order. Not even when it's Homeworld.
But it is Homeworld. Ooh, basically. Ooh. Homeworld's back. Like, only 50% back, but back.