It was very exciting to hear back in 2019 that Homeworld 3 was in development. The news was tempered a little at the time, though, by a very strange crowd-funding scheme that was attached to the project, despite the fact the game was being bankrolled by Gearbox, a major publisher.
It wasn’t a traditional crowd-funding idea, like Kickstarter, where backer funds are simply wholly or mostly intended to finance the game’s development. Instead, Gearbox and developers Blackbird Interactive employed a platform called Fig, which rather than asking fans for funding to get the game made — Gearbox was always going to be paying the bills — was going to give them a chance to contribute to the game’s development via suggestions, as well as share in the profits made should Homeworld 3 be a big hit.
The whole thing just felt weird, though maybe that was just to me since over 8400 fans eventually parted with cash, raising over $US1.5 ($2) million. That money is now mostly never going to be collected, though, since Fig have announced to backers that the whole project is now dead in the water.
While Fig’s campaign page for Homeworld 3 is still live, messages are being sent to individual backers informing them of the cancellation, which read:
Hello Homeworld 3 Reservation Holder,
First off, we want to let you know that everything is on-track with Homeworld 3’s development. We hope you’re as excited as we are for this long-awaited game.
As you may be aware, there have been recent changes at Gearbox. Due to these developments, Fig will no longer be collecting investment reservations for Homeworld 3, and all investors that placed an investment reservation in Homeworld 3 will NOT have that investment collected. Rest assured knowing that Fig never charged you for your investment reservation and that this will not affect Homeworld 3 pre-orders. In addition, the game and all associated rewards are still coming to those who purchased them.
We know that this will come as a disappointment to some of you that were waiting to invest in the success of this incredible game. Since partnering with Republic, we have changed how we do investments, and now we collect the money upfront and confirm the investments once the campaign crosses the minimum threshold agreed to by the developer and Fig. We currently have two opportunities available, starting with one that is leveraging legendary IPs like Homeworld for future remakes/remasters in an investment portfolio approach.
The two main points to take away from this are, of course, that development on the game is unaffected — it was never affected by Fig money in the first place — and that for whatever reason behind the scenes it looks like Gearbox’s sale to Embracer earlier this year (alluded to as simply “recent changes at Gearbox”) is behind the campaign’s cancellation.