‘Homeworld 3’ gives real-time strategy a modern sci-fi twist

It’s been practically 20 years for the reason that launch of Homeworld 2, and in that point the RTS style has grown by leaps and bounds with titles like Starcraft 2, Company of Heroes, Sins of a Solar Empire, and way more. Yet for all that point, there’s nonetheless nothing that manages to strike the identical temper and feeling as Homeworld, and that’s precisely what Blackbird Interactive is hoping to recapture with Homeworld 3. After enjoying roughly two hours of the sport and speaking to builders at Blackbird, it’s clear that Homeworld 3 is seeking to pay homage to the legendary video games that got here earlier than it, whereas additionally making an attempt to deliver a contemporary spin that may appeal to new gamers.

“Oftentimes, when people make a Homeworld-inspired game it ends up feeling like the voice actors are too big, or there’s just too much stuff, too much going on. Homeworld is much more subdued and restrained. And that kind of special spectrum where Homeworld sits, I think is very unique to the brand and hasn’t been very well replicated,” says chief inventive officer Rory McGuire “The secret weapon that we have here is that a lot of the people that have contributed to the original creation of that feeling, are at Blackbird and actively contributing to Homeworld 3.”

My demo consisted of two totally different missions, a tutorial that taught the fundamentals of gameplay and a later extra concerned mission that basically let me begin flexing tactical muscle groups. The common circulation of Homeworld 3 will immediately really feel acquainted to longtime followers, with a cycle of exploration, useful resource gathering, and fight, normally tied to some type of goal. The coronary heart of your fleet is your mothership, a hulking capital ship that must be defended in any respect prices, which can be the place you produce new ships and conduct analysis.

Homeworld 3’s common aesthetic and temper, like previous video games, manages to really feel each epic and eerie on the similar time.Blackbird Interactive

The general appear and feel of Homeworld 3 may be very harking back to previous video games, simply with upgraded visuals. It’s definitely a sight to behold as your fighters and frigates glide by area plagued by particles and wreckage. Past Homeworld video games struck an nearly somber tone by their visuals and soundtrack, and the 2 hours of Homeworld 3 I performed hit lots of those self same notes. There’s a way of surprise and discovery that it seems like the sport may recapture, a minimum of based mostly on my early impressions.

If you’ve performed previous video games you must decide up the fundamentals instantly, however for brand new gamers, there are a couple of slight adjustments to make the sport simpler to get into. The digital camera controls are completely customizable, letting you management the whole lot from a type of first-person shifting by area strategy or utilizing your normal RTS controls. Playing by the tutorial mission it actually struck me how Homeworld 3 nearly looks like an extension of Homeworld 2, however with an upgraded aesthetic and smoother controls.

“We love the community, and we want to make sure that they’re getting a truly Homeworld game,” says affiliate sport director Kathryn Neale “With that said, it is quite complex for a player who hasn’t dug into it before, and we want to make this more open and accessible. We’ve been doing that through the different control schemes, and through being able to use terrain as a part of being able to interact with the environment and move around the space.”

Missiles and bullets in Homeworld 3 are absolutely simulated, that means if an impediment will get in the best way they received’t attain their goal. Blackbird Interactive

As revealed at Gamescom, terrain and canopy are the largest new additions to Homeworld 3, and it supplies a wealth of recent fight choices. The second mission is the place I bought a real introduction to this new cowl system, tasking my fleet with capturing 4 totally different locks to open a hyperspace gate. Partway by this mission, my fleet was ambushed by pirates utilizing missile frigates, and I’d must destroy them to seize the subsequent lock.

At this level, I had three choices out there tactically. I might cost straight in and simply settle for the losses my fleet took, or I might use the lingering particles as cowl to try to dodge the missiles. With a little bit of exploration, I additionally discovered a tunnel going beneath the construction that I might use to sneak up behind the frigates for a shock assault. I selected a mixture of the latter two. The cowl system in Homeworld 3 is fascinating and actually feels prefer it provides an extra layer to the technique.

Suddenly you’re wanting on the atmosphere the place battles happen, and never simply issuing orders to your ships. While you’ll be able to manually order items into cowl, your ships additionally do a superb job of routinely diving into cowl as they circle round enemies. McGuire notes that the crew at Blackbird checked out tank fight in World War II for reference on how the duvet system ought to work, how hulking tanks would use roads and buildings for canopy.

“The biggest thing in terms of complexity was really about ensuring that the ship behaviors really helped to support the strategy of engaging with terrain,” says Neale “We were really focused on making sure that the ships were reacting in really interesting and immersive ways to the terrain as you guide them around the world.”

Blackbird hopes that additions like extra dynamic digital camera controls will make Homeworld 3 simpler for brand new gamers to get into.Blackbird Interactive

Blackbird notes that the second mission I performed is just about 15 % into the marketing campaign, and the duvet system there actually solely serves as an introduction, and there are different options the crew has deliberate that they will’t speak about but. Neale describes issues like the duvet system and ballistics simulation as “tools” for the participant to make use of, akin to different methods within the sport. “The original Homeworld series was very focused on sort of hard counters and really pushing the rules. This provides an additional way through which you can sort of soft counter or you know, it’s a little bit more nuanced in the strategy when it comes to different units and new goals, which creates a lot of options for the players, no matter what the mood is,” says Neale.

Although I solely scratched the floor of what Homeworld 3 has to supply, it’s clear to see that Blackbird is absolutely dedicated to making a sport that feels uniquely “Homeworld.” The cowl system is a giant new concept that actually feels prefer it brings one thing new to the franchise, and if that’s any indication of the bigger expertise, I’m excited to see extra.

Homeworld 3 is at present in improvement for PC.

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