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Homeworld Remastered Collection launching Feb. 25 with original games, multiplayer beta

The Homeworld Remastered Collection, a renovated version of the first two core entries in the spacefaring strategy series, will launch on Steam Feb. 25 with a price tag of $34.99, Gearbox Software announced today.

The collection is a beefy one — it includes the renovated versions of Homeworld and Homeworld 2, which have received a dramatic visual, audio and mechanical upgrade over their original iterations. The package will also feature the classic versions themselves; partially so lovers of the originals can play through them without interference, but also so players can see just how far the remastered versions have come.

During a hands-on demo at PAX South, those changes were put on display as Gearbox demonstrated the new and old versions running side-by-side. Ships still look like their classic counterparts, but with far more detail. Flat hatches have evolved into ornate hulls, and antennae look more like antennae, and less like burly stovepipes. Space itself is far lovelier; instead of battling in a black void punctuated by the occasional, errant star, battlegrounds can be shifting nebulas or spiraling asteroid fields.

The games also handle much, much smoother. The remastered version of the original Homeworld particularly benefits from that change, as the first game in the series featured a fairly clunky interface, even when compared to its sequel.

In addition to the two remastered games and their original formats, Homeworld Remastered Collection will include access to a Steam beta for the game's multiplayer component. Building that multiplayer component has been an arduous process, a Gearbox representative explained during my demo, as Gearbox is blending the maps, modes and races from both games into a single package. That has involved taking code from the two classic titles — code that didn't fare especially well during the franchise's dormancy and transition from THQ — and updating it with new code. It may take a while for Gearbox to get the mode where they want it, hence the beta.

The Homeworld Remastered Collection is available to pre-order now on Steam, where it's temporarily 15 percent off, for a total of $29.74. You can check out a trailer for the collection below.