Homeworld 3's mothership needs just a bit more time in spacedock before heading out for places unknown. Gearbox announced on Wednesday that Homeworld 3 is being delayed by two months, from its planned March 8 release date to May 13, 2024.
In a statement about the delay, Gearbox and Blackbird Interactive said that they recently brought in playtesters from outside their studios to play the campaign in its entirety. "After careful analysis of feedback, we made the decision to delay the global launch of Homeworld 3 until May 13, with advanced access set for May 10, to ensure that we’re making the final tweaks needed to deliver at the level of quality that we strive for and you deserve," the developers said.
The space RTS has been on a long journey to release, starting with a crowdfunding campaign on now-shuttered investment site Fig that originally pegged a 2022 release. That slipped to 2023, then February 2024, then March. I have a feeling the May 13 date will be the one to finally stick.
"To say that you as a community of players have been waiting patiently for this next installment would be an understatement, and we are deeply appreciative of that," said Gearbox and Blackbird Interactive. "We will continue to keep you updated on our progress."
I had the chance to visit Blackbird Interactive and play a good chunk of Homeworld 3's campaign late last year, and it's certainly promising—you can read more about it in the cover story of last month's PC Gamer magazine. There was also still a lot for Blackbird to finish in that build I played, from cutscene animations to performance optimization. I suspect a couple more months for polish will be a blessing.
Homeworld 3 is an ambitious return for the series. Not only is it attempting to carry forward the mood and storytelling of the beloved first two games, it's also trying to lure in new players with other modes, including PvP and co-op. The co-op mode, War Games, has a bit of a roguelike spin to it, with randomized artifacts that change the makeup of your fleet. A War Games run lasts less than an hour, and in that time you'll accrue several relics that may turn your weakest little fighters into more fragile yet armed-to-the-teeth ships capable of shredding enemy carriers at the expense of their own lives, or improve your frigates' range, encouraging a more defensive playstyle.
A demo of War Games is currently playable in Steam Next Fest, if you want a taste of Homeworld 3 to tide you over until May. According to our calendar of upcoming PC releases, there's not much else currently on the schedule for that month, which might make it a good time to get stuck into a strategy game as complex as Homeworld.