Remember Hardware: Shipbreakers? We first learnt about the RTS game from Blackbird Interactive earlier this year; it’s the game being developed by a team that’s largely made up of the guys behind the Homeworld series.
PAX is on right now, but during last week’s PAX Dev, Gearbox and Blackbird sat down together to talk about Hardware: Shipbreakers. Gearbox now owns the Homeworld IP, and they’ve just allowed Blackbird to use it because, let’s face it, Hardware: Shipbreakers is practically a Homeworld game anyway.
On top of sharing the Homeworld IP with Blackbird, Gearbox is throwing money at the indie team in order to help them finish up Shipbreakers. Gearbox will be responsible for publishing the game, which is now officially called Homeworld: Shipbreakers.
Speaking to website Polygon, Gearbox main-man Randy Pitchford said:
“These guys have been funded by private equity, but it’s clear it was going to take many millions of dollars more. We’re giving them the brand and the resources to make this happen. Now, these guys are cooking and with the money they have now, they can grow the team.”
Blackbird’s CEO Rob Cunningham is obviously pretty chuffed with the deal. He and his team were involved in the bidding for the Homeworld IP against Gearbox. Despite losing the bid, Blackbird congratulated Gearbox which, according to Cunningham, “turned into a friendship”. Now it looks like Blackbird and Gearbox are friends with benefits.
“Hardware, in all respects, was Homeworld,” Cunningham recently admitted. “It looked, sounded and felt the same, but we wanted to take that style and experience further. When [Gearbox] acquired the property, it coincided with when we needed to find a partner.”
Pitchford and Gearbox are continuing with the HD remakes of the original two Homeworld games, but other than that there are no plans as yet to develop a third instalment. “Gearbox is not in the best spot to make a sci-fi RTS successor,” Pitchford admits. Consequently it seems like Gearbox is doing the next best thing: sharing the IP ownership and handing full development responsibilities over to the team responsible for creating the Homeworld franchise to begin with. That’s pretty great news.
Check out the latest trailer and gameplay footage for Homeworld: Shipbreakers below. The trailer was put together prior to this deal being inked, so it still refers to the game as Hardware, but just look at the similarities; even the muffled radio chatter (as in Homeworld) between units is there. This game is looking so good.
No mention was made of whether or not the game remains a free-to-play offering.