What Happened to Homeworld: Cataclysm? (Part One Maybe?)

Why No Love for This Game?
Why No Love for This Game?

Update 2/23/15: Following up on this article, we’ve recently had two of the folks who worked on Cataclysm on our podcast, including Chris from the article below and Martin Cirulis, who also worked on the original Homeworld. Check it out for even more great info!

Original: With all the talk of Homeworld and Homeworld 2 getting an HD makeover from the folks at Gearbox, I had to wonder…what happened to Cataclysm? I’ve not played Cataclysm, but I’ve been told many a time it’s the best in the series, but it seems to be something of a black sheep, as a lot of folks seemed to skip it since it wasn’t from Relic directly. Regardless, I wanted to find out what happened to this entry in the series, so I first contact friend of the site Paul “Rorschach” Tobia. You may remember Paul from the podcast we did on Sword of the Stars.

In that podcast, Paul said how he knew the folks at Kerberos, and how they used to be Barking Dog Studios, the folks behind Cataclysm. I therefore contacted Paul, and he put me in touch with some of his friends at Kerberos. After writing a polite email about the issue, I got this reply from Chris Stewart, a producer at Kerberos.

Hi Brian,

Thus far Gearbox hasn’t talked much about Cataclysm. Technically, it’s part of the same IP, but assets and code are less directly available, so I don’t know if they’re keeping mum on it until they know what they can and can’t make available, or if they think because it was made by another company, the rights are distinct from 1 & 2 – though with all third-parties involved basically dissolved, I doubt that’s the case. I hope they don’t think it’s not of interest to gamers!

There should have been code copies at Barking Dog, Relic, and Sierra. Sierra’s would be long gone, and I don’t know what the archive situation at Relic was in regards to Cataclysm, but Barking Dog’s are certainly gone as well – where to, I don’t know, we haven’t been involved with Barking Dog / Rockstar in over a decade, and at least two different offices. Cataclysm existed in a weird space where Sierra wanted an expansion to the series, but Relic wanted it separated from the main line, hence the “standalone expansion” marketing oxymoron. Relic was pretty dismissive of Cataclysm, so I don’t know what they would or would not have saved.

It’s possible that stuff still exists on back-ups that went to another Rockstar office, but honestly I doubt it.

All music and sound assets (VO, dialogue, etc.) are still archived at Studio X Labs, last I checked, at best quality – theoretically the base Cataclysm, using just a retail copy, could have it’s sound up-scaled, since it’s no longer constrained to a CD. I’m not sure about removing or spoofing the Securom DRM – I’m sure if the pirates can work around it, Gearbox could work around it, without having to find the source assets. But I’m just thinking out loud.

That probably doesn’t help you much – if you have any specific questions I can help with, let me know, I’ll do what I can.

There’s some good information in there, to be sure, but I wanna know more. Chris gave me another lead to follow, which I plan to, so that’s where I’ll leave this for now. If I find anything further I’ll let y’all know. :)

Author: Brian Rubin

35 thoughts on “What Happened to Homeworld: Cataclysm? (Part One Maybe?)

  1. Thanks for pursuing this! Cataclysm is one of my favourite games of all time and a worthy part of the Homeworld saga. I’m looking forward to hearing what else you can discover!

    1. Welcome to the comments Michael, and it’s my pleasure! Hopefully something good will come of it. :)

  2. Agreed, I played the living shit out of it in multiplayer. It was stable, required little bandwith and just performed well. Two very different sides and still relatively balancd…pure awesome.

  3. Wow, that is interesting read, thanks for sharing….and yeah, please do more investigation on the subject.

    1. Welcome to the comments Timmaigh, and I truly hope to find out more. :)

  4. Best game ever. Please do keep us updated. Cataclysm is in my top 2 games of all time. FInished homeworld 2 again yesterday and started cataclysm today… its so much better its actually scary. an HD version of this would make me sell all my other games and quit my job!

      1. I envy you. Seriously. if you havnt tried it you are in for a serious treat. Unlike many games of old that dont age terribly well, cataclysm defines what makes a game great. it actually will make you reflect on what you have been playing and rethink a few thinks… quality at its best. i really hope they give it the dress it deserves.

  5. It’s been awhile, but have you found out any more info about Catalysm? It’s my favorite game of all time. Many good memories from the multiplayer. Thanks for what you’ve already provided.

    1. Hey Jared, welcome to the comments. I’ve not yet heard anything, but I’ll poke at it again to see if anything pops up. ;)

  6. I just learned myself about the HD remake for HW and HW2, it would be a shame to not have an HW Cataclysm HD remake. The story was just great.

    1. Sigh, yeah, apparently someone else entirely has the rights. I need to actually play it myself as well.

  7. Make sure you are using WinXP computer, been trying to install it on Win7 and so far have not been able to.

    1. Make sure it runs as administrator and add /dsound /heap 1073741824 /enableSSE /forceSSE to the target-line in your desktop-link to force the game to run better.

      1. Hey Lothal, welcome to the comments. I’ll give these a try next time I try Cataclysm, which I’ve actually never played. :/

  8. Steve you need to run the installer as an administrator. A bit of googling will give you your answers.

    Please please please let this most awesome of the trilogy be re-made. The massive ZOT gun is the closest to a wave motion cannon (Star Blazers) you can get in gaming.

  9. It would be wonderful to see this game remade…
    Or if we could at least get a high quality audio pack. I’d love to hear what that glorious music sounds like in proper bitrate :)

    1. Welcome to the comments hok, and yeah, it’s as deserving of an HD treatment as the other two at the very least.

  10. Cataclysm is one of my favourite games of all time. If I had the choice of Cataclysm getting the treatment or both Homeworld 1 & 2 getting the treatment, I would choice Cataclysm alone every single time.

    Thanks for looking in to this. One can hope that Cataclysm gets its day at some stage…

    1. Welcome to the comments JB! Your post reminded me that I still need to actually PLAY Cataclysm, so I’m gonna make it a game of the month in one of the coming months! Yay!

      1. Game of the month! Game of the month! Game of the month!

        Lets start the chant now. Cat needs a light shone on it’s awesomeness.

          1. What ever happened to you following up on the new lead you got from Chris Steward?

            We need us some Cataclysms remake!

            1. Hey, welcome to the comments! Sadly I sent a few emails to the contact Chris gave me and never received a reply. :(

  11. I’ve also heard a lot about this game, but I could not find the opportunity to play at all. I only played Homeworld 1&2. Just out of curiosity, I watched the video of this game. I realized that I regret to never buying this game. I really want to play this game. Thank you for the information you share. (Sorry for my poor english)

  12. Back in November you said “Sigh, yeah, apparently someone else entirely has the rights.” – Who is that?
    It was the first Homeworld I played and, after playing the other 2, it’s definitely my favourite.

    1. Welcome Hamooosh! As for the rights, we still couldn’t find a clear answer to that. :/

      1. The Homeworld IP was licensed to Barking Dog to create Cata. These ‘rights’ were never sold outright and any new IP generated was considered a derivative work and as such reverted to Relic at the end of production. The code is another story and is the component that is lost. Rumoured to be somewhere on the Rockstar servers.

        Cataclysm IP, because it is essentially Homeworld IP, is wholly owned by Gearbox Software.

        What has me tantalised is that I have seen a few reports of Gearbox people clamming up tighter than a drum when asked about Cataclysm at various conventions. I think something is in the wind.

          1. That’s a good thought. Think about this publisher for a minute. Creator of Borderlands mucking around with a beast alien, massive seige cannons, transforming ships and space magic precursor races, LOTS of pew pew, an under dog protagonist and an engaging easily accessible narrative.

            SIGN ME UP NOW!!!

  13. Since Homeworld 2 sucked and killed off basically any races that were ever awesome (fuck you Relic for leaving so many loose ends), I’m sad Cata never got the remastering treatment. Cata was my favorite of the entire set. I know Relic fanboys hated it for being a Barking Dog game, but I thought the Beast was the coolest thing since sliced bread.

  14. Though Homeworld 1 is my favourite most replayed game of all time, A remastered Cataclysm is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Even just a stable vanilla version would be amazing that’d run on today’s rig. May those with the IP step forward and offer something up for us – Take our money dammit! ;)

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