HOMEWORLD 2 Info History

a.k.a., "The Litany of Woe"
On March 21, 2001, Sierra confirmed that HOMEWORLD 2 was in development by Relic Entertainment, and was scheduled for release sometime in 2002. An official announcement was supposed to be made on May 17th, 2001 (at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles), but that date came and went without any such announcement, and HW2 was not shown publicly at E3.

On May 15, 2001, Relic sent out the following statement:

Relic Entertainment would like to confirm reports that Homeworld2, the eagerly anticipated sequel to 1999ís "Game of the Year", will not be shown publicly at this yearís E3 expo in Los Angeles.

Homeworld2 is still on track to be released in 2002, and the entire Homeworld2 team is working hard to redefine the RTS genre a second time.

More information regarding the status of Homeworld2 will be released as it becomes available. Please direct any inquires regarding the game to contact@relic.com.

Afterward, Relic was strangely silent on the matter, refusing to explain why the announcement was delayed. As there had been a fair amount of hype over the impending announcement, including a Sierra website with a countdown to May 17th, it would be fair to say that some were a little upset over the unexplained silence.

Toward the end of August, rumors began to trickle out of Relic that Homeworld 2 had been canceled, and these rumors were reported by several major news sites. Anonymous contacts from within Relic confirmed that the game was no longer in active development. On August 20, 2001, responding to rumors that Homeworld 2 had been canceled, Sierra marketing director Craig Davison released this statement:

We are currently in negotiations with Relic regarding the Homeworld 2 contract. As of right now nothing has been decided and thus the status of the game is just as it was yesterday: in development.

According to a different Sierra statement, these negotiations had been going on since before E3, which partially explained why everyone had been so tight-lipped about the game. There was still no official word from Relic on the matter.

At about the same time, RelicNews released the first concept art for the game, in the form of a movie-style poster. This image was from a flyer that was originally intended to be released at E3. Something had happened at the last moment that prevented this release.

On November 12, 2001, after Alex Garden had strongly hinted in chat rooms that a release of Homeworld 2 information was imminent, Relic announced only some Impossible Creatures (formerly Sigma) info and a site redesign. An unused graphic showing a previously unseen HW2 vessel (the battlecruiser) as part of the new Relic website design was leaked and then suppressed, suggesting that Relic had planned to release information that was pulled back at the last second.

On May 16, 2002, Alex Garden and a few other Relic and Sierra employees had a brief IRC chat where he announced the following:

Homeworld2 is on track and going strong... And is going to be be released in 2003...

Nothing more specific was revealed about the game, except to say that the www.homeworld2.com website would not be updated until 2003; implying that no further information would be released until then. The following excuses were given for the E3 pullback and media blackout:

Sierra's Genevieve Ostergard: As for why it's taken so long to get new information out there, we re-worked the design and this resulted in a longer schedule, but ultimately a better game. We're very happy with it, and we are really enjoying working with Relic on such a hot franchise.

Relic's Alex Garden: E3 2002 is really about 2002 titles and Homeworld2 is a 2003 title. If there is anything that you guys have taught us it is that we should focus on the game and not on the PR. We want to stay focused until we're really ready to blow you all away. Hang in there!

Yeah, right. Anyhow, it seemed that the mysterious Sierra vs. Relic catfight was over (or at least under a measure of control), and HW2 was back in production. However, the information blackout remained in effect.

In August 2002, the iron curtain lifted just a bit with the release of a series of six HW2 screenshots to PCGamer magazine and its European affiliates (PC Jeu, PCZone, Joystick). Even this bit of detente was not without its share of freakishness; for starters, there was some consternation over the fact that information had been released to PCGamer and not via the newsletter to fans, as Alex had seemed to promise in May. Perhaps more strange was that the shots, while pretty, seemed to have been taken with a legacy graphic engine that, by all accounts, doesn't reflect the quality of the "rewritten from the ground up" HW2 engine. The marketing folks may have caught the developers unaware with the PCGamer deal. In December, five more shots from this batch appeared in PCZone and Joystick, and by January 16th 2003, Relic had officially released the source images for all of these plus four previously seen. All fifteen of the PCGamer shots can be seen here:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15.

Also, at the ECTS 2002 (Europe's game developers conference) August 29-31, Relic's booth had a brochure featuring more images from the game. Shortly afterward, the PC Gamer shots also appeared in the French magazine PC Jeu. On September 11-16th 2002, Relic released the three source images for the shots seen on this brochure: 1 2 3.

On January 22, 2003, Relic Assistant Producer Geoffrey Thomas released a packet of official HW2 logos and title guidelines, and had the following to say about future info releases:

We'll be launching the official site at the end of April with the possibility of more information coming out between now and then.

On February 5, 2003, the Sierra Homeworld 2 site was updated with a new front page and sexy teaser image, but not yet with new information.

On February 14, 2003, IGN PC posted the first normal preview of the game. The usual barrage of magazine and website previews followed.

After a period of glasnost that had everyone thinking things were back to normal, Relic sank back into silence in mid-Spring when questions began to arise about Beta test plans (which had been originally stated as planned for Spring). Angst built through the community as summer passed, until on August 12th, Geoff Thomas announced that plans for a Beta test had been scrapped (most likely to keep on schedule for release). It was also announced about this time that plans for a demo has also been scrapped.

On August 25th of 2003, the gold announcement was made:

Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) announced today that Homeworld 2, the sequel to 1999's award-winning, space-based real-time strategy game, Homeworld, has gone gold and will ship to North American retailers September 16, 2003.

On September 2nd, just a few days after Sierra Brand Manager for HW2, Alex "Marweas" Rodberg, had made an ass of himself posting insults on the Relic forums, Sierra's Chris Mahnken announced that there would indeed be a downloadable demo, which was made available on the following day.

On September 16th, 2003, Homeworld 2 shipped to stores in North America and Australia.