From the makers of Homeworld comes the debut trailer for Hardware that's stunning, exciting and just a little bit familiar.
I somehow managed to overlook Hardware, the sci-fi strategy game announced earlier this year that's in the works at Blackbird Interactive, an indie studio founded in 2007 by, among others, Homeworld art director Rob Cunningham, Homeworld lead artist Aaron Kambeitz and former Relic art director and visual development supervisor Cody Kenworthy. That's a whole lotta Homeworld going on, which is why it's a bit odd that with all the furor over the possible resurrection of Homeworld in the wake of the THQ collapse, Hardware has stayed largely under the (or at least my) radar.
So it's clearly time to do something about that, especially since this very sweet debut trailer hit the tubes yesterday. Homeworld vets will no doubt get a very serious "vibe" from it: the narrator's weathered voice, slow, percussive music and of course the great, rotting hulks half-buried in desert sand all but scream "Higaara." Which is perfectly fine by me, yet Cunningham told Rock, Paper, Shotgun in January that while the two games "share DNA," they're actually quite different.
"There is an art style that connects them, but the gameplay is very different, the experience is very different, but what will be the same is that sense of epic, immersive story. That connection with what's happening in the game world," he said. "We'll have [Homeworld composer] Paul Ruskay doing audio and music so we'll have that DNA in there as well, so from a creative point of view, a vibe, there are quite a lot of similarities, but in terms of the game itself, it's quite a departure from Homeworld."
Hardware is set on a mysterious, hostile desert planet littered with the wrecks of ancient starships, that's controlled by the "ruthless interstellar megacorporation" with the ominous name of Long March Industries. "LMI oversees a galactic gold-rush as prospectors and fortune seekers converge on LM-27 in search of the untold riches buried in its burning sands," the Blackbird Interactive website says. "In this persistent multiplayer game, players command a fleet of massive vehicles as they explore, salvage and fight for fortune and survival in the world's first planetary-scale social strategy game."
It's probably too soon to start yelling "Take my money!" but I think I'll keep my wallet handy anyway. In the meantime, you can find out more about Hardware and sign up for the closed beta at blackbirdinteractive.com.