Almost out of the blue, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak has emerged on Steam, and pre-orders have opened up. It comes with a free copy of the Homeworld Remastered edition, while those who already own the Remastered edition can get a 20% discount on the preorder. For those who participated in the funding campaign and purchased a Prospector’s Guide or VIP package, the developers have confirmed that a free copy of the game will be provided.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak is an RTS prequel to the Homeworld series, featuring the exiled Hiigarans before their rediscovery of interstellar travel. The game’s key features include a rich, detailed 3D terrain, complete with game-impacting weather effects. Deserts of Kharak appears to have a full host of ground and air units, including a mothership-like mobile base complete with landing strip and production capabilities. It also promises tactical depth and meaningful choices in managing your fleet, technology, and resources, scavenged from the great shipwrecks buried in the desert. This and the promise of online play, complete with ranked ladders, will likely have fans of the series chomping at the bit for the next month or so awaiting the release.
Developers Blackbird Interactive (BBI) include a number of ex-Relic employees, veterans of the original Homeworld games and Company of Heroes. Back in 2013, Deserts of Kharak was merely known as Hardware: Shipbreakers. While it sports an art style reminiscent of Homeworld, BBI did not have the rights to the franchise and the association was only spiritual in nature. Initially, due to funding issues, BBI intended to make the title free-to-play, while also running a funding campaign for eager fans.
However, Gearbox, having acquired the Homeworld IP in the THQ bankruptcy firesale, went into partnership with BBI to turn the game into Homeworld: Shipbreakers and make the game into a true member of the franchise in a full commercial release. With full funding, BBI went pretty dark, releasing very few details until this pleasantly surprising piece of news, which comes so close to the game’s release.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by danikov.