Blackbird Interactive has released the first trailer for its upcoming sci-fi strategy game, Hardware: Shipbreakers.
The trailer features a set of slightly-animated concept-art-esque stills underneath a dry, weary voiceover that tells us of a planet hiding untold riches — a desert planet littered with the hulks of crashed starships, still bearing cargo in their holds. The narrator has come to this planet to earn enough money through salvage to return home, hoping that he'll be long gone when whatever drew these ships here to crash comes back.
Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Blackbird's Rob Cunningham says that the game was "all about massive trucks rolling around in a huge desert. A sort of Tonka truck experience." Scale was a huge touchstone for Blackbird, who wanted to give the game a sort of Russian nesting doll experience with massive vehicles going inside even more massive ones and so on.
The game will start its testing with small maps, said Cunningham, but will eventually grow to encompass an entire planet's worth of terrain that players can control. "The vision is Google Earth meets RTS," he says, where instead of just being about quick micromanagement the strategy was dictated by a long-term macro game over weeks and months, with players staking control of pieces of a much larger planet.
Since ownership of small pieces of territory on a planet populated by other players means that players' relationships are key to one another, Hardware is somewhat of a "social strategy game." Indeed, Blackbird's chief technological officer Yossarian King says in a Gamasutra editorial that the devs "wanted to launch on social networks like Facebook, and then move onto mobile platforms including iPhone and Android, but tablets looked pretty good too, and a standalone PC build for Steam distribution also made sense." He also said the game could come to consoles if it was successful on its other platforms.
Blackbird is made up of a number of former employees of Relic Entertainment, like Cunningham, who worked on the critically acclaimed sci-fi strategy series Homeworld. Cunningham says Homeworld and Hardware may have commonalities, like a similar art style and a score penned by Homeworld composer Paul Ruskay, but there's "not that much" of Homeworld's DNA in their new game.