Rumination on Homeworld: Cataclysm

Fascinating in-depth analysis of the Lore elements of Homeworld: Cataclysm, one of my early games. The video is produced by Lorerunner, who seems to be working on a series of video game analysis pieces of similar depth–those who care about games as art should definitely support his work.

For those who have not already heard this long ago, Martin Cirulis and I were a writing team in the late 1990’s, and between us we wrote the background fiction and campaign scripts for both Homeworld and Homeworld: Cataclysm (now available and re-titled as Homeworld: Emergence). 

For those who wonder whether writing and Lore (aka Narrative Design) is a critical feature in game development, please note how many people group Homeworld, Cataclysm and Deserts of Kharak as a trilogy, and note that Martin was also the writer of the background fiction for the recent Expedition Guide for Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.

The background fiction and narrative design that goes into a project is often described as “fluff” or window dressing when planning or developing a game. But world building is an art and a craft, and how well the job is done makes a critical difference in how the audience receives and processes a novel, a film, a game or a television show.

The structural design of the Homeworld universe–language, culture, history, etc.–was done and done well years ago. Thanks to that strong foundation, that universe can support any number of vivid and engaging games based on the adventures of people that are easy to identify with and care about.

The only sad thing about this video, from my perspective, is that Lore Runner is clearly a gamer who cares very much about the art of games and about Lore in particular, and he still has no idea who wrote the background fiction for the games he loved as a kid, or why “researching the Lore of Homeworld” was not an issue for the team who made Cataclysm.

The work I do can be critical to the success of a franchise for years–but it is very hard to be properly credited and cited for that work. Something should be done about that, don’t you think?

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About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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