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Mysterious prequel Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak has a release date

New title by members of the original Homeworld team, published by Gearbox

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The first new title in the Homeworld series since 2003 will be released on Windows PC next month. Originally announced as Hardware: Shipbreakers in 2013, the newly titled real-time strategy game Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak will be available Jan. 20, 2016.

When Blackbird Interactive first unveiled the RTS title in January of 2013, they told Rock, Paper, Shotgun it had very little in common with the original Homeworld series other than a few employees and collaborators. Then, in April of 2013, the Homeworld IP was purchased by Gearbox Software who in September 2013 struck a deal with Blackbird to formally lend them the Homeworld name.

"When we signed this project in front of the crowd at the 2013 PAX Dev," Blackbird's chief executive officer Rob Cunningham said today in a press release, "Randy [Pitchford] spoke about Gearbox's commitment to quality entertainment and taking risks, and they have fully delivered on that message. All of us at Blackbird are super proud of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, and we owe it to the outstanding team at Gearbox."

In Deserts of Kharak players will take on the role of Rachel S’jet and lead a terrestrial campaign on land and in the skies of an arid planet. They'll negotiate dune seas, deep craters and "the vast, hostile canyons of Kharak" to tell the story that leads up to the first Homeworld game. In contrast to Hardware's highly social gameplay, Deserts of Kharak appears to have more modest multiplayer goals and will allow solo or cooperative as well as competitive play.

Pre-orders are available through Steam and will include a copy of Homeworld Remastered Collection or, for current owners of that collection, a 20 percent discount.

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