Of all the reasons not to release a new game during this busy notE3 period, surely the greatest is that I simply do not have time to play Hardspace: Shipbreaker right now. Launched into early access today by Homeworld 3 developers Blackbird Interactive, it's a first-person sim about carefully cutting up spaceships to sell salvage. Blackbird, do you have any idea how many showcase streams I need to watch for work this week? Outrageous. But you, reader dear, maybe you have the time to blast off.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker gives us a whole lot of spacedebt and the tools to work it off: a cutting torch, some tether lines, and a basic awareness of how to strip spaceship wrecks for parts. We'll head in to carefully extract the valuable bits, cracking, peeling ships, and gutting ships - while trying not to do anything that might cause a disaster and ruin our salvage. A game about looking at a spaceship, figuring out how best to take it apart, then following through on that plan without accidentally e.g. cutting through an active fuel line. What I've seen has some of a Viscera Cleanup Detail vibe to me, walking the fine line between artful procedure and great chuffing balls-up.
In its initial early access state, Hardspace has the first act of the campaign and a sandbox mode. Blackbird's plan is to spend about one year finishing the campaign, building more (and bigger) spaceships for us to take apart, adding procedurally-generated ships to the sandbox mode, adding modding supporting, putting in leaderboards and daily challenges, fixing bugs, and so on. The price might go up at launch.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is out now on Steam Early Access, with a 20% launch week discount bringing it down to £17.59/€19.99/$19.99. I believe we have some thoughts on Shipbreaker coming soon but I am too enthusiastic and bought it myself today, even if I can't play it now.
Homeworld 3 is still a long off in deep space, not expected before the end of 2022 at earliest.
Here's a Hardspace gameplay trailer from over the weekend, demonstrating what to do (and not do) in the spacesalvage industry: