A Twitter reply from Gearbox president Randy Pitchford has confirmed that Homeworld: Shipbreakers, the game formerly known as Hardware: Shipbreakers, is no longer planning to use a free-to-play business model. While you could reasonably argue that Twitter isn't the best medium for divulging information about the funding plans of an anticipated RTS resurrection, realise that it could be worse. He could have done it as a Tumblr gif wall.
Well this makes things easier. Between free-to-play revivals and Kickstarter, we spend a lot of time saying things like "from the makers of..." and "a spiritual successor to..." Basically, everything short of "look, they're remaking that game you liked, only they're not allowed to call it that because of law." For upcoming free-to-play RTS Hardware: Shipbreakers, it was the spectre of Homeworld that we were awkwardly dancing around. Not any more: Gearbox, the new owners of the Homeworld IP, have partnered with developer Blackbird Interactive to allow them official use of the licence.
When Blackbird Interactive announced Hardware: Shipbreaker, the free-to-play sci-fi strategy from the creators of Homeworld, they chose to focus on the mood, rather than the action. This first gameplay reveal is no different, capturing the dusty wilderness of the graveyard planet LM-27, and the tension that exists between the competing factions of prospectors, each looking to haul some prize space salvage.
The debut trailer for Hardware, the sci-fi strategy game made by some of the people behind the Homeworld series, shows what can be achieved with just concept art, music and magnificently gruff narration. There's nary a hint of 'gameplay' in this video - which tells the story of a shipbreaker's desire to return home from a mysterious 'graveyard planet' - but it's comfortably the best trailer I've seen all year, evoking the similarly beautiful cutscenes from the Homeworld games. Have a gander below.