Gearbox’s beautiful ‘Homeworld’ remake reaches PCs on February 25th

26 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Gearbox Launching Homeworld Remastered Collection Feb. 25.

At PAX South in San Antonio this weekend, Plano-based Gearbox Software finally announced the price and release date for their long awaited recreation of two classic PC games, Homeworld Remastered, and it’s coming sooner than you might think.The Homeworld Remastered Collection, a renovated version of the first two core entries in the spacefaring strategy series, will launch on Steam Feb. 25 with a price tag of $34.99, Gearbox Software announced today. Just announced today at the PAX South convention, a brand-new HD remake of both Homeworld and Homeworld 2 will arrive this year—February 25, to be specific, which is more than a decade since either game was first released.

In a nutshell, Homeworld tasked you with managing a space fleet in all sorts of “you’re gonna die” encounters—warping in and out of various locations as your flagship, a giant mothership, attempted to find a habitable world for your civilization to call a new home. Homeworld is a sci-fi strategy game classic from 1999 (its sequel was released in 2003) that hasn’t been seen in a long time, and as is the case with many old games it’s not easy to get running on modern hardware, even if you happen to have a copy of the game itself. The package will also feature the classic versions themselves; partially so lovers of the originals can play through them without interference, but also so players can see just how far the remastered versions have come.

We’ll be sure to write up a review for the remastered Homeworld games as soon as we have our hands on them, so be sure to follow OnlySP on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest. Deep stuff, and an especially engrossing storyline that perfectly established the game’s key condition: Lose the mothership and it’s game over, period. The remastering of Homeworld 1 and 2 was announced alongside the news that Gearbox had purchased the rights to the Homeworld franchise after the bankruptcy of former owner THQ back in 2013.

Later, they announced that they were partnering with many of the game’s original creators not just for the remake but also for a sequel: Homeworld: Shipbreakers (previously in development as a “spiritual successor” to Homeworld under the name Hardware: Shipbreakers). For the nostalgic among you, Homeworld Remastered contains untouched versions of the original PC games, modified only for compatibility with modern operating systems. Space itself is far lovelier; instead of battling in a black void punctuated by the occasional, errant star, battlegrounds can be shifting nebulas or spiraling asteroid fields.

I heard about them, and the reverence people have for them to this day has made me regret missing them way back when (in my defense, I was a broke kid with a sub-par computer at the time), but I never took the dive. Building that multiplayer component has been an arduous process, a Gearbox representative explained during my demo, as Gearbox is blending the maps, modes and races from both games into a single package. That has involved taking code from the two classic titles — code that didn’t fare especially well during the franchise’s dormancy and transition from THQ — and updating it with new code. This is obviously the same game, and the new ships are easily recognizable as the old ships, but everything about Remastered strikes me as an obvious upgrade.

Battles that looked slow and choppy on the old software look downright zippy by comparison, with smooth animation of impressive space maneuvers and attractive graphical touches to everything from explosions to backgrounds to the individual lights on each ship. Gearbox has been able to stay so true to the original games in part because they went to the original sources whenever possible, even if something needed to be redone from scratch.

While it sounds as if high-quality sources for the original audio were available for the remaster, Gearbox instead opted to fix something that fans complained about when the game first released: Due to timing conflicts, the voice actress for Homeworld 1′s Fleet Command was replaced for Homeworld 2, upsetting many players. The team behind this remake clearly cares about the source material, and I’m personally very excited to experience the entire thing myself when the full game launches next month.

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