Canon is a debatable term when it comes to the Homeworld series, as the series has changed ownership several times and different companies and different personnel have worked on them. After the release of Homeworld 2 in 2003 it was arguable that there was no-one to determine what was canon in the Homeworld universe and what was not. The acquisition of the Homeworld intellectual property in 2013 by Gearbox Software and the development of both Homeworld Remastered and Homeworld: Shipbreakers has changed this situation again, with the Homeworld franchise now a going concern. However, the new owners of the franchise have not yet made definitive statements on what is canon and what is not.
The officially-released Homeworld materials are as follows:
- The video games Homeworld, Homeworld: Cataclysm, Homeworld 2 and Homeworld: Shipbreakers.
- The game manuals and other materials accompanying the main games, including History of Hiigara: Prelude to the End Times and the Homeworld: Cataclysm Manual.
- The Revised Historical Briefings and Artwork book in the Homeworld Remastered' Collector's Edition.
- Concept art for the games.
Definition of canon and official materialEdit
The officially-released material is not necessarily all canon. In particular, the game developers employed a number of retcons in later games in the series to more easily accommodate ideas and concepts not developed whilst working on the earlier games.
For example, in Homeworld it is stated that a standard hyperdrive is recovered from the wreck of the Khar-Toba, reverse engineered, copied and scaled up to serve as the Mothership's hyperdrive core. In Homeworld 2 it is claimed instead that the Khar-Toba carried one of the Three Great Hyperspace Cores to Kharak and this core was recovered intact from the wreckage and used to directly power the Mothership. In this case the latter explanation is generally accepted as canon, replacing the information from the original Homeworld.
Cataclysm's canon statusEdit
Homeworld: Cataclysm, the second game in the series, was developed by Barking Dog Studios and released one year after the original game. Highly popular with fans and reviewers, the game's status in canon was called into question after Homeworld 2 failed to substantially mention it, and indeed appeared to contradict it in several respects.
- During the game Kiith Somtaaw develops a number of highly advanced technologies, including energy weapons (and homing energy weapons) to replace close-range projectile weapons, more advanced armour and shield technology and of course the extremely powerful Siege Cannon weapon. None of these advances are present in Homeworld 2, despite the latter being set a century later.
- The Beast War is depicted as a large-scale interstellar conflict in which, at the very least, thousands of people are killed. It is not even mentioned in Homeworld 2.
- Homeworld and, to some extent, Homeworld 2 both indicate that hyperspace is a transient effect caused by tunnelling through the space/time continuum to a different location. However, Homeworld: Catacylsm depicts it as an alternate dimension/universe in which life-forms dwell.
However, there are some indications in Homeworld 2 that Cataclysm indeed took place:
- Kiith Somtaaw are mentioned during Homeworld 2. Although they were not created for Cataclysm (they are mentioned in the original Homeworld manual), their prominent mention in Homeworld 2 over the numerous other kiith can be taken as a nod to the earlier game.
- The Bentusi in Homeworld 2 are depicted as having fled the galaxy or having been destroyed, leaving only the Great Harbor Ship of Bentus behind. No explanation for this is provided in Homeworld 2, as when last seen in Homeworld the Bentusi were a thriving, large race with numerous ships. However, Cataclysm depicts many of the Bentusi fleeing to another galaxy to escape the Beast. This would provide an explanation for the Bentusi's absence in Homeworld 2.
- Some of the technological innovations from Cataclysm are indeed present in Homeworld 2, such as the Resource Collector now serving a dual role as a repair ship instead of a completely different vessel having to be built.
The only official statement by the IP holders is that they do not consider Cataclysm to be "exactly" canon. Further clarification of the situation is awaited.