Hardware Shipbreakers: per chi ha sempre desiderato il ritorno di Homeworld
Molti anni sono ormai passati dall'uscita dell'ultimo capitolo di Homeworld e molti giocatori hanno chiesto a gran voce un successore di uno dei più grandi capolavori di Relic Entertainment. Probabilmente le richieste stanno per essere esaudite.di Marco Fiore pubblicato il 17 Maggio 2013 nel canale Videogames
Below you will find the original interview in English with Blackbird Interactive. The questions were answered by Dan Irish, the Executive Producer of Hardware.
Gamemag: First of all, would you like to introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about Blackbird Interactive? Part of the team is made up of ex-Relic employees who worked on the Homeworld franchise, am I right?
Dan Irish: My name is Dan Irish and I’m the Executive Producer of Hardware: Shipbreakers. Much of the team at Blackbird Interactive is composed of the original creators of Homeworld, ex-Relic employees, most notably the creative and art teams behind Homeworld. I was the Executive Producer of Homeworld 2 at Relic Entertainment.
Gamemag: We played and loved the first two Homeworld games and we know there's a big fanbase asking for Homeworld 3. Is this going to be the spiritual successor of Homeworld? Or you are aiming to create a different type of game?
Dan Irish: Hardware is very much influenced by Homeworld, and fans of the original game will find that Hardware feels very similar (e.g. the same expansiveness of space in Homeworld has been captured on the terrain of LM-27, unit customization, etc.), but this is very much its own game. It shares a spiritual and personal connection for me, however. I loved the original Homeworld game—it’s the reason I sought out Relic Entertainment and got hired there. Moving to Canada and meeting the team (who have now become my friends) are some of the most positive experiences in my life and my career.
Gamemag: Could you tell us more about the story and the lore behind Hardware? Who are we going to play and what is our objective?
Dan Irish: We will be revealing more about who you will be playing and your motivations in the universe very soon, actually. The game follows the story of a prospector who bought into the idea of a gold rush at this newly discovered planet, where there are so many shipwrecks.
There are several themes that we think define the feel of Hardware. The game has a very “gold rush” kind of feel, and that will be reflected in the lore. During the California Gold Rush, Levi Strauss (the now global denim jean behemoth) was founded to provide durable clothing and supplies to prospective gold seekers. In Hardware, Long March Industries (LMI) is the Levi Strauss to the prospectors on LM-27.
LMI bought planet LM-27, but it can’t get all of the materials out of the planet itself, nor does it want to. By allowing others to buy prospector licenses to check out the planet, the incentives are transferred to the individual. In our case, the players take on the role of a ‘prospector’. But just like in the gold rush of the mid-1800s of California, or even the tech boom of today, those taking part still need the necessities--LMI offers those necessities, just like Levi’s did during the California Gold Rush.
Every prospector and their ‘team’ of vehicles takes supplies to operate and there’s a ‘benevolent’ yet dictatorial corporation selling them what they need. Without LMI, no one has any hope of accessing the wrecks, but it is becoming a little worrisome how much power they have…
Discovery and exploration will play a huge part in Hardware, as prospectors scour the planet’s surface looking for wrecks and resources. While I can’t reveal how the ships came to crash onto this planet, that is a mystery that drives the players forward to explore more about the how and why of the world.
Epic combat will be the cornerstone of this game experience, and it integrates straight into the fiction. In the previous trailer we released, the lone Prospector is shown trying to warn the others, but he’s unable – and what happens next is up to the player.
Gamemag: Which kind of business model will you adopt for Hardware? We first read about it being a F2P game, but then you asked users to pay to get the Prospector's Guide and the VIP pass and potentially access the closed beta phase.
Dan Irish: The VIP pass and Prospector’s guide sale are our own version of Kickstarter -- we want people who are excited about the game to be able to contribute to its development and be rewarded for their support and excitement. The game will be F2P at launch, although we're still working on the best monetization strategy to fit what the players want
Gamemag: Can you tell us more about how the game will be structured? Is there going to be a single player campaign, co-op modes and multiplayer or it focuses only on specific game modes?
Dan Irish: The game will have both PvE and PvP elements. We can talk more about that after we’re ready to reveal gameplay which we’ll be able to share very soon!
Gamemag: We got stunned by the images and the videos you showed till now, they look incredibly evocative and remind me of the spirituality of the Homeworld franchise. Did you build a specific engine to accomplish this objective?
Dan Irish: We’ll be going more in-depth on the technology and the innovation behind Hardware in the coming months. I should be able to answer this a bit better for you then.
Gamemag: At what point of the development you are right now? Are the core gameplay mechanics are already implemented?
Dan Irish: We will have a gameplay reveal announcement shortly (in the next few weeks). We’re planning the closed beta for Q4 2013. We’ll tailor our development cycle depending on the feedback we get from the beta. We want to hear what the fans have to say, and then take that feedback into account before the final open beta and launch.
Gamemag: Which aspect of the game are you most proud of right now?
Dan Irish: My personal favorite is the production value and the commitment to quality that we’ve shown. Everyone at Blackbird is incredibly excited to be working on Hardware, and we won’t settle for anything less than perfection.
Besides that, the ability to tell the story of the fiction before the game is available to the public is a real treat. We want everyone who wants to know about this game get some real insight into the motivations and the intricacies of Hardware. Being able to create such expansive lore and an interesting world for an online real-time strategy game is really exciting for us.
Gamemag: Is there anything you would like to tell to our fans before the end of the interview? Like, why should they play Hardware and which kind of experience are you guys going to offer them?
Dan Irish: This is an immense world with a very deep fiction, and for that we’ve created some new technology that can display amazing terrain. That terrain is a backdrop of the session-based gameplay in the same way that ‘outer space’ was the setting for the original Homeworld, the first real-time 3D RTS game.
In that way, Hardware is the spiritual successor to Homeworld. The terrain is immense just like the vastness of space is immense.
The bottom line is that this is a game that is conceived to be open-ended. There is not a fixed destination that we can talk about yet, but stylistically and emotionally it is an epic sci-fi road trip, in the same vein as Homeworld. This time, the backdrop is an emotional landscape of a barren planet.