When developer Relic was acquired by THQ, the publisher also picked up the rights to the Homeworld franchise. The fact that THQ never got Relic to produce another Homeworld game is probably a sore point for a lot of fans. That being said, Relic was working on another game alongside Company of Heroes 2 – that other game was codenamed “Atlas”. Could that have been Homeworld 3, or was it the often rumoured Dawn of War III? Now that SEGA owns Relic, it’s not a given that we’ll ever find out what “Atlas” was all about. Then again, it might be business as usual for Relic!
Whatever the case may be, one Homeworld fan has grown impatient and taken it upon himself to turn his software development company into the next home for Homeworld. You’d be excused for never having heard of teamPixel before. The eight year old company has been developing apps, websites and desktop software in the past, but they’re adamant that the past eight years have “been preparation for this”.
So what is “this”? teamPixel is looking for money to purchase the Homeworld IP; they’re attempting to do this through crowdsourcing website Indiegogo. They even went so far as to fill in the paper work to attend the recent THQ IP auction, but they were told that Homeworld wasn’t up for auction at present, but would be at a later stage.
Assuming teamPixel acquires the rights to Homeworld (and that’s a seriously lofty goal for a tiny company like this) they plan on bringing the initial games to Steam and Good Old Games. They also plan on porting the game to touch devices like iPads and Android phones. In fact, they’ve already got some basic Homeworld content running on touch devices.
Once those first few goals are reached, they then plan to develop and release Homeworld 3, which they’ve apparently started planning for already.
Homeworld is a tough RTS. It has niche appeal, and with games that have a niche appeal comes a particularly rabid fanbase. Whether or not teamPixel has the clout to pull this off and satisfy Homeworld fans is the biggest question.
Another thing worth considering is why SEGA opted to pick up Relic. In a press release, SEGA claimed that they targeted Relic in order to “further reinforce PC game development capabilities in the U.S. and European regions.” For possibly the vast majority of hardcore PC RTS players, when they think Relic, they think Homeworld so it’s unlikely SEGA will want to let the IP slip away from them. Heck, SEGA might have already secretly acquired the rights anyway considering their press release says they acquired Relic and “some IPs owned by THQ inc.” They never specifically say what those IPs are.
Exactly where the Homeworld IP lands up is, for me at least, one of the most interesting parts of this whole THQ disintegration. I’ll be keeping an eye on this and will update as often as there is news to tell.