Episode 2 of the webisodes for Hardware: Shipbreakers is online!
Dan Irish has sent along the details of the Shipbreakers pre-release packages:
More evidence of Gearbox collaboration too!
“The team at BBI are a team of true entertainment craftsmen who have inspired our entire industry with their works” added Brian Martel, Executive Vice President of Gearbox Software. “With the PreSale campaign now public, gamers and developers alike should jump at the chance to support the creators at BBI. HARDWARE: Shipbreakers looks amazing.”
Bit of a blitz from Blackbird today.
First up Rock Paper Shotgun interview.
“We are envisioning an epic sci-fi roadtrip where the player gets to experience all of the crazy, amazing fun you’d have from controlling units that are epic in scale,” says Cunningham. “To clarify that: we’re on a desert planet, far away. This is an exo-recon/survival mission! You want a thing that inspires confidence. This is Paris-Dakar but madly in the future.”
Second, a games.on.net interview.
GON: Hardware has been described as “the world’s first planetary-scale social strategy game”. That sounds like a lot of buzzwords. Can you clarify for us exactly what this means?
Dan: When we set out to realize our vision of creating a vehicle fantasy, Facebook was a popular medium and we thought that a ‘social’ framework would provide broad base to connect with a large community. We’ve since clarified our perspective: RTS and the social platform are a hard mix; Facebook is synonymous with shallow gameplay and ‘milking’ users; our vision is grander than Facebook’s platform constraints.
We are not making a ‘social strategy game’. We’re making an RTS with both single-player and multi-player. There is gameplay on a planetary scale – meaning big maps and a big world to explore – and you have the ability to do that with friends. We’re eager to fix the misconception.
GON: So will users be required to have a Facebook or other social media account to play?
Dan: No, no social media account is required to play Hardware: Shipbreakers. You can sign up for the beta now at: http://blackbirdinteractive.com/contact/beta/ . You need a PC to play the beta.
Second to last, the new trailer!
Finally, the pre-order store is up… but currently crashed due to traffic!
Here’s Blackbird’s blurb congratulating Gearbox. Blackbird is also speaking with Gearbox and will meet them at E3!
BLACKBIRD INTERACTIVE FORMALLY CONGRATULATES GEARBOX SOFTWARE ON ACQUISITION OF HOMEWORLD IP
Key Former Relic Stakeholders and Veteran RTS Game Development Studio, Blackbird Interactive, Would Like to Congratulate Gearbox Software on their Acquisition of the Homeworld IP from THQ.
VANCOUVER, BC – 24th April, 2013 – Blackbird Interactive, a videogame developer specializing in sci-fi RTS gaming, today responded to news that Gearbox Software successfully acquired the Homeworld IP.
“Blackbird Interactive would like to show their support in stewardship of Gearbox in their future plans for the IP. As co-founders of Relic Entertainment, Homeworld is very dear to our hearts.”said Rob Cunningham, CEO of Blackbird Interactive.
In celebration of the IP’s new home, Cunningham shared some new, rare items of unreleased Homeworld2 art from his personal archive.
“Homeworld gave us a great foundation in the industry and established Relic as a world class studio.” Cunningham continued. “We are excited for our friends and colleagues at Gearbox to show us and the world what lies in store in the next chapter of the Homeworld saga.”
About Blackbird Interactive
Blackbird is a private, independent game studio headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was founded in 2007. The founders are a team of experienced and successful video game industry veterans including senior EA staff and founders of Relic Entertainment.
In 2010 development started with an ambitious and original sci-fi game entitled HARDWARE, the newest Free to Play (F2P) real-time strategy (RTS) game from the creators of Homeworld.
For more information, please visit www.blackbirdinteractive.com
Hardware is the newest Free to Play (F2P) real-time strategy (RTS) game from the creators of Homeworld.
Survive amongst the derelict starships of planet LM-27. Earn your in-game currency retrieving cargo and technology from the space-wrecks littered across the landscape. Combat onslaughts from militant competitors, equally desperate for wealth. Survive the harsh storms and burning temperatures. Endure the poisonous and grinding dust that wears down man and machine alike. After that, fortune can be your reward. Or death in the sand can be your lonely fate.
For more information, please visit www.hardwarethegame.com
See the mentioned artwork here.
It could have gone one of two ways. Homeworld was either going to be snatched up by a AAA studio with their heart in the right place, or a money-loving team of re-releasers that are popping up more and more. Turns out it pretty much went both ways.
Gearbox, a company who made their name carrying on the success of titles on the behalf of their originator studios (Half-life, Tony Hawk, and Halo to name a few), have picked up the Homeworld IP. Recently though Gearbox have been producing their own original IP, Borderlands and have not-so-much continued, as put their own spin on other popular video game classics such as Aliens and Duke Nukem.
So what conclusion are we to draw when they pay what was probably mega-bucks for a dusty classic like Homeworld? Their statement gives us a hint:
assemble the purest form of the original acclaimed and beloved games, Homeworld and Homeworld 2, with the intent of making them accessible on today’s leading digital platforms.
So the originals are to be re-released. It’s hardly a surprise, and no doubt there were many other companies at the auction with that same intention. Though few will have been a company quite like Gearbox. With the recent success of Kickstart/restarts of a multitude of classic video games and HD re-releases of games like Age of Empire II this strategy is bound to be a success. But Gearbox don’t need a quick dime, they are a AAA developer and with this pickup comes a massive amount of fan excitement and expectation.
And Gearbox would positively be going backwards if they just gave us Homeworld and Homeworld 2 and then left it at that. They’ll be sure to be preparing to make their mark on the series…
But then again Gearbox have never made an RTS before…
There’s more Shipbreakers info over at Destructoid.
Greed and the desire for fortune is the driving force behind those that travel to LM-27, the deadly world strewn with the remains of derelict ships. It’s a miserable place, where the dust grinds down man and machine alike. This is the stage for Hardware: Shipbreakers.
“We’re taking the standard RTS conventions to the next level in terms of style and gameplay combinations,” Dan states. How is Blackbird doing this? Well, Dan was playing things close to his chest. A gameplay reveal is being made in a few weeks, so my questions about how much the title will stick to the RTS trinity of resource gathering, combat, and base building went unanswered.
Absent information on the gameplay and mechanics, it’s hard to get a clear picture of how Hardware will play, but it’s a free-to-play RTS with social features, so that should tell us something.
We’ve mentioned Hardware before, but they’ve been in the news quite a bit lately.
First up, the teaser for Hardware:Shipbreakers.
SEGA posted about their acquisition of Relic and some of their thoughts.
SEGA Corporation (Headquarters: Tokyo, President, Representative Director, and Chief Operating Officer: Naoya Tsurumi, “SEGA”) acquired all of shares of THQ Canada Inc. (Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada, “THQ Canada”) and some IPs owned by THQ Inc., a parent company of THQ Canada on January 24, 2013 in order to further reinforce PC game development capabilities in the U.S. and European regions. THQ Canada has developed million-seller franchise titles such as “Warhammer 40k Dawn of War” and “Company of Heroes” under the brand of Relic Entertainment Studio.
Relic Entertainment was established in 1997 and acquired by THQ Canada in 2004. THQ Canada have been known familiarly as Relic Entertainment since the acquisition and provided a number of high quality games equipped with graphics equal in quality to movies and rich strategic game features mainly for the PC market in the U.S. and European regions. THQ Canada provides several million seller franchise titles, and its representative products include the “Warhammer 40k Dawn of War” series,. As a series Warhammer 40k Dawn of War has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, whilst the “Company of Heroes” series, a real time strategy game based on the modern history of warfare from World War II and after, has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
“We are thrilled to have Relic Entertainment join the SEGA family. The acquisition is a strategic fit and a critical step in growing our business,” John Cheng, President and CFO, SEGA of America said. “They are a well-respected studio with a pedigree for making creative and innovative games and we look forward to seeing what great things we can create together over the coming years.”
SEGA already owns three development companies in the U.S. and Europe, and is progressing to support compatibility with the rapidly expanding online games field, such as PC online games, smartphone games and social games. As a result of the THQ Canada acquisition, SEGA will further advance the provision of various appealing entertainment contents by utilizing THQ Canada’s high-end content development capabilities and accumulated development know-how, and increase SEGA’s presence in the PC online game market.
It’s interesting to note they indicate more than one Intellectual Property was aquired.
Edit: IP aquired info is here: http://www.thesangreal.net/gafpics/sega_relic.pdf (thanks RadiantMonolith!). Company of Heroes, and a LOT of 40K IP, including games not worked on by Relic. That document also reveals that Project Atlas is a Warhammer 40K product!