A Galactic Preview of Homeworld 3
After laying dormant for nearly a decade, Gearbox Software’s award-winning RTS series is back. Homeworld 3 is a real-time strategy game developed by Blackbird Interactive and published by Gearbox Software. The new game is set to deliver as much sci-fi action and strategic gameplay as the first two RTS games in the series combined. Learn all about this upcoming title in this article.
What is Homeworld 3?
Homeworld 3 is an upcoming RTS game by Blackbird Interactive and the direct sequel to Homeworld 2. The original Homeworld, developed in 1999 by Relic Entertainment, became an instant classic of the RTS genre and was quickly followed by Homeworld 2 in 2003. Gearbox Software purchased the IP to the Homeworld series in 2013 and gave it a second life with the launch of a prequel titled Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, which was released in 2016 and well received by fans. Now, after nearly a decade of being kept on the back burner, Homeworld 3 is set to reignite the excitement of space warfare.
The Homeworld series
Homeworld revolutionized the RTS genre because few games like it in the 1990s operated in true 3D space—meaning you could place attacks on the Z-axis—and fewer still challenged you by carrying over units from mission to mission. The game pushed players to think multidimensionally about their engagements with the enemy. No longer did you meet foes on a level playing field. Players were able to attack from all angles, utilizing a wide variety of tactical configurations, such as sphere or wall. With a neuroscientist named Karan S’jet wired into a massive ship known as the Mothership, players jumped from mission to mission, slowly whittling away resources in a bid to follow a mysterious stone map leading to a place in the farthest reaches of space called Hiigara.
Homeworld follows the journey of the Kushan, an exiled group of survivors who are trying to reclaim their ancestral home planet of Hiigara. The player takes on the role of the Kushan fleet commander, Karan S’jet, as she leads her people through space, gathering resources, researching new technologies, and engaging in tactical battles against enemy forces. The game’s story culminates in a massive final battle for control of the Hiigaran homeworld.
Homeworld 2 takes place many years after the events of the first game and follows the Hiigarans (formerly the Kushan) as they continue to rebuild and strengthen their society. However, a new threat emerges in the form of the Vaygr, a mysterious enemy who seeks to conquer all of space. As the fleet commander, the player must lead the Hiigaran forces in a battle to protect their home and defeat the Vaygr threat.
Homeworld 3 storyline
At the end of Homeworld 2, the player discovers a hyperspace gate network that spans the galaxy, opening civilization up to much wider space travel and new trade possibilities. Homeworld 3 picks up approximately 100 years after that discovery. It was a huge moment, and the hyperspace gate network ushered in a world of opportunity and prosperity; however, it seems to have also introduced new problems to the galaxy. Complicating matters further, Karan S’jet, the original protagonist of the Homeworld franchise, is missing. A new evil known as the Anomaly also threatens the galaxy and is seemingly connected to Karan’s disappearance. In Homeworld 3, Imogen S’jet assumes the role of fleet commander and tries to fight back against the Anomaly while investigating the whereabouts of their missing predecessor.
Homeworld 3 gameplay
The official gameplay trailer gives a brief summary of a mission while highlighting the various units available in-game. The units will sound familiar to fans, with Fighters, Bombers, and Assault Frigates engaging in combat while Resource Collectors zip around mining asteroids.
True to its roots, Homeworld 3 will retain its signature RTS format. Also, like its predecessors, it will give players the ability to pilot, recruit, and obtain enemy ships to help gain an edge in battle. The upcoming installment will also be bringing a slew of new features and advanced mechanics.
Players will engage in epic battles fought across both open space and the 3D terrain of hulking space derelicts called megaliths—the crumbling remains of an ancient civilization. Rather than maps featuring swathes of empty space as they did in the originals, players will now be able to utilize these derelicts to hide or take cover from enemy spacecraft. Players can make use of these structures by funneling foes into an ambush, hiding from powerful enemies, and taking cover from missiles.
The emphasis in Homeworld 3, as with the first two titles, will once again be on an engaging single player campaign experience; however, the game will feature two robust multiplayer modes: co-op and PvP. In co-op, you and a friend can team up to manage a fleet through a series of randomly-selected battles. Co-op feels like a mix of RTS and roguelite, with your fleet expanding and growing more powerful with each victory, and if you perform well, you earn upgrades that carry between runs. PvP is the more traditional multiplayer mode, allowing you to battle others (human or AI) in 1v1, free for all, or team battles.
Homeworld 3 graphics and design
The graphics quality has been considerably boosted from the previous titles, and the game takes advantage of various modern features that Unreal Engine 4 is capable of delivering, such as ray-tracing. The much higher resolution allows players to zoom in on the spaceships and see their details up close.
The visuals feel familiar; the developers have carefully recreated the art style of the original games. The franchise is well-known for its starship designs and comic-style cutscenes, and these are still present in Homeworld 3. Furthermore, in Homeworld 3, space itself is now much more beautiful, denser, and full of details to enjoy.
Homeworld 3 release date
Homeworld 3 is slated for release on Steam and the Epic Games Store in mid 2023. Neither Gearbox nor Blackbird Interactive have mentioned anything about the game coming to Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch, so it looks to be a PC exclusive game.
The game will be available in a standard edition and a collector’s edition. The collector’s edition boasts a treasure trove of both physical and digital goods:
- Homeworld 3 base game Steam key
- Homeworld 3 Year One Pass
- Homeworld 3 soundtrack by Paul Ruskay
- Ship decals and icons
- WW2-inspired spotter deck
- Homeworld 3 logo keychain
- Statue of The Mothership, Khar-Kushan: 14”
- Statue of Hiigaran Torpedo Frigate: 1.8”
- Statue of Hiigaran Destroyer: 3”
- Lithograph: 18×24”
From the enhanced graphics to the immersive storyline, it is clear that Blackbird Interactive is bringing this franchise back to life in the best way. Homeworld 3 is set to be one of the best games of 2023. To play more exciting games, check out the Xbox Game Pass and see why Acer is an official sponsor.
Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.