Hiigarans are Clones, Well, Maybe Not: Population Discrepancies

In the original Homeworld, we rescue cryo-trays with approximately 600,000 able bodied Kushan stored on-board. The in-game mothership is nowhere near large enough to fit this amount of bodies, but let’s ignore that part.

The mothership crew fights its way across the galaxy to Hiigara and conquers it. When they reawaken the sleepers, it is said that many of them committed suicide and others were killed during the early years of rebuilding. War against the Taiidani also likely claimed thousands of lives. We leave the Hiigarans with a population of around 500,000 men and women at the end of HW1 and Cataclysm. Now, fast forward a century to Homeworld 2.

In the last mission, we have a counter at the bottom showing that there are 180 million Hiigarans on Hiigara when the final battle begins. It may seem like a miniscule number compared to Earth’s 7 billion, but let’s put it in context:

0- Kushan land on Hiigara with 500,000
115- The Kushan population has gone to at least 180 million

In fact, 180 million is likely an underestimate because by the time the Sajuuk returns, Hiigara has been under siege for days, maybe a week or two. We see all kinds of massive debris raining down on the cities and prior to that we saw Hiigaran tanks on the ground, implying the Vaygr were possibly planing a land invasion as well. Even with a conservative estimate of just 20 million killed during cataclysmic orbital combat, that brings the number up to 200 million.

200 million Kushan… that is 400 times the amount of Kushan allive at the conclusion of Homeworld 1. Let’s see if that is realistic.

For the sake of the argument lets also put the odds unrealistically in the Kushan’s favor: Every Kushan couple has a kid every year from the age of 15 until the age of 45. In other words, in the first year after landing, each couple has 1 kid. Also for the sake of giving the Kushan a better run, lets assume the average age of the Kushan at landing was 20. There would be 250,000 babies in the first year, and the same amount every year for the next 15 years. In 15 years after landfall, the next generation would be fertile enough. Now, that set of 250,000 babies will have 125,000 babies this year and their parents become infertile the same year. Next year comes and the next set of children become fertile. They decide to have children too, and the previous matured children have babies again, bringing the baby count for this year up to 250,000. Following year, it’s going to be 375,000 babies. Then 500,000 babies.

Under This Model they will completely overpopulate Hiigara and use up all its natural resources by a century later, but let’s also think about how realistic this system is. Under this model, we are assuming nearly a 50% annual population growth rate.

To put this into perspective, the highest annual population growth of any country in the last 5 years was 11.2%, in Qatar… very far away from those 50%. What’s even more important is that these figures include immigration into the country, not just newborns- which probably constitute only several percent of that.

Such population growth sprees like Qatar’s also happen to be unsustainable. After 2010, Qatar’s growth rate plunged dramatically, to just 5.6% in 2013 and is likely even lower today. This makes sense- there may be a year when many families decide they need to have a baby due to some sort of circumstances affecting most of society… but are they really going to have a child every year after that? The answer is no. There is no way that a 15 year old couple would begin to have a child every year of their life from 15-45. No couple wants or often can even have 30 children.

Qatar’s growth in 2010 is also something of an anomaly. The average growth rate across Earth appears to be within the range of 1-2%, with many shrinking and most other “fast growers” scoring only about 3% growth.

So with all those statistics in mind, what could the Kushan population realistically look like 115 years after landfall? Assuming a stable average growth of 5% annually, which would be an accomplishment, the Kushan could probably achieve 75 million at best- nothing close to the 180 million we see in Homeworld 2. Even this is a perfect situation.

If we factor in the way real society responds to hardships such as those the Kushan faced after landfall, we would likely see a shrinkage in population, or at most a 1-2.5% growth rate. Then, Hiigara would only have a tiny population of 1 to 6 million.

So, how did Hiigara get from 500,000 to 200,000,000? Cloning… Well, maybe not.

Discuss your thoughts on how realistic the population growth we see is.

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Hihi I remember this kind of talks shortly after Hw2 was released back in 01 or 03?

Anyway yes to put things simple it was a story flaw they didn’t consider that…

If you like to hear hypothetical opinions:

We never knew what the crew compliment of the mothership was. It used to be unfinished in construction and was undercrewed. Yet we still didn’t know how many served on it. They had an Ambassador on board which suggests they were well prepared for their long journey. So perhaps they had entire battalions serving on board. Many 100.000 addional people…

Maybe they simply life much longer than us - maybe they are fertile sooner & longer. Keep in mind they are not Human. They are Alien…

Maybe the new population partially mixed with the former occoupants deserters-and traitors among the Taiidan. Perhaps there were still decendants of the original Hiigarans living on Hiigara held as slaves by their Taiidan masters. Or living in luxery as their ancestors betrayed their own people…

But as mentioned before Relic simply messed up…

You’ll notice it said Population of Hiigara. It didn’t mean it was exclusive to the Kushan or their direct descendants.
The most likely explanation is that the planet already had a sizable population of people (Taiidan and non-Taiidan alike) living under imperial rule upon the exiles’ return.

There is nothing in the lore or backstory that says or suggests that Hiigara was devoid of life at the time or that the entirety of its population was exiled prior to the events of HW1.

As for HW2, which happens 200 years after HW1, the imperialists merged with the Vaygr and the distinction between Taiidan Republicans, Kushan and other races living on Hiigara probably became irrelevant (hence Hiigarans).


There are actually little nudges that this might be the case. Like with the captains of the ships in hw2. Karen and the sobani captain used their kiith name for their last name. Yet the captain of shipyard nabaal doesn’t really give a last name. Also, it’s canon that Hiigara was the the capitol of the taiidan empire so you would have the taiidan and any other race they conquered in their time of being an empire when the Kushan won.


There’s also historical evidence that after a disaster or war population explodes…

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Oooor we could just assume that the HW2 writers just weren’t interested in putting the time in to make the story fit into the canon (unlike that other sequel… :frowning: ) and just not debate this because it’s pointless. coughPlay Homeworld@cough

@Stuart98 :relaxed:

More on topic, assimilation of Taiidani population makes the most sense to me, and is the only way in my mind that HW2’s implication of the Hiigarans as the dominant force in the galaxy makes any sense to me. Especially combined with an apparently unaging leadership figure, it really could be an interesting social dynamic to explore.


I just assume that former imperials make up the majority of the population of Higgara, with returning exiles being a minority.

Now, weather or not the former imperials view the returning exiles as liberators or conquerors is another question? Is there Apartheid on Higgara? Do the exiles have special privileges?

We can look to the beginning of Cataclysm’s story (as well as the manual http://www.homeworldaccess.net/downloads/hwcdocs/Manual.pdf) for some info on this.
The Kushan settle on Hiigara and begin establishing new cities - doesn’t seem like they get special privileges so we could assume they are simply living in harmony with the current population early on.

After the emperor’s death, the Taiidan fractures into the Imperial loyalists and the republic. There was dissension in the empire long before this and most of them viewed the burning of Kharak as the final straw.
It is a fair bet to say that most of the population on Hiigara (as well as most of the planets in the empire) probably viewed the exiles as liberators.

@Ursa_Major I actually wrote a fanfic on this subject

@nadarko you have a link?



It was actually started by another person. I asked if I could join in on working on it and I made a few about the Kushan-Taiidan issue.

I actually restarted it on the old forums and added some more, but now that they are gone, I would need to find my old word doc and repost it somehow.

Any academic who looks at this conversation is going to see one thing that jumps out immediately:

We don’t know how their race breeds. That ALONE makes this conversation moot. You’re applying HUMAN numbers here, which aren’t necessarily even relevant. So going forward with anything is just speculation.

The writers didn’t mess up. Things are just vague. Sorry if there isn’t a pattern to the numbers that you like, but oh well. Not everything needs to make sense. There is a lot about Homeworld that is left unsaid, and that mystery is what makes things great, because it means that almost anything is still possible.

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My headcanon is inspired by the Bible as Homeworld’s story draws themes from it. When the ancient Hebrews were Exiles (in Egypt and in Babylon), many chose to remain in Egypt or Babylon instead of returning to Israel.

We’re told that when the Hiigarans were exiled they were given the choice to leave or stay (as slaves). I don’t think billions of Hiigarans went to Kharak aboard those ships. Even if the Taiidani were that ruthless, millions must have survived.

During that journey to Kharak more than one ship must have fled. We know of the Khadeshi only, but smaller pockets may have remained. Many could have been hidden by other races, developed into exile communities.

Following the Homeworld War many Taiidani who have lived on Hiigara for thousands of years may have chosen to stay. Modern Israel is not just Jews, there are many Arabs living there now. They’re considered Israeli citizens too.

It’s not too much of a stretch to believe those who are ethnically Hiigaran are the only ones living on Hiigara.

Nigeria has a 62.5% growth rate currently. That’s without any particular need to grow quickly. A growth rate of 300% would be needed to get 160 million people in a hundred years (from 500k). That probably means five kids for every one Kushan.

Now, if they’re a desert culture with sparse resources they may actually have large families to start with. Their chances of survival would improve on fair Hiigara.

It could be possible without any cloning. We’re also relying purely on natural means here, IVF is a possibility as well as long as they have the resources to maintain it.

I think the mixture of isolated colonies returning to Hiigara, mixed in with “naturalized” Taiidani, and the typical size of a Kushan family can explain Hiigara’s population in Homeworld 2 without needing clones.

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“Any academic” would apply Occams razor here.

The Kushan and Taiidan are typical portrayed as regular humans. Barring some early concept art (probably not even canon) of the Vaygr looking like frogs in gimp suits, it looks like all the factions* are Human. Even the Bentusi are probably just cyberneticly enhanced humans. All having descended from the same common ancestor. (The Progenitors)

There is really no reason to assume Higgarans reproduce any differently than humans. Particularly when a simpler explanation (the Kushan and Taiidan interbred to produce modern Higgarans) exists.

*Except I guess the Beast, and the Lava ship people from the galactic council, and maybe even the Turanic Raiders, who knows. Space is big, there are probably “real” aliens out there, but the Homeworld conflict appears to be mostly between humans.

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The anthropologist in me thinks Higgaran polygamy is unlikely, if only because the heroine Karen Sajet is a female scientist. Societies which favor pumping out large amounts of babies tend not to let their wives go to school, or let them captain interstellar spacecraft. Unless the Higgarans lay eggs (unlikely because the art depicts them as regular humans) 5 babies per person means a lot of time for each woman to spend pregnant, which means very little time spent studying.

Then again, Kiths other than Sajet (the science caste) might be different.

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Also the somtaaw fleet intelligence officer in Cataclysm was female.

Has no one considered the fact that the vast majority of their people were exterminated, and they might consider as a population that regrowing their numbers is their primary objective for a few generations?

It’s another possibility, but there is a much simpler explanation which says the Kushan and the Taiidan interbred to produce the modern Higgarans.

It was confirmed in the launch trailer thread when everyone was upset over the save humanity thing that all races are human.

62% growth rate what? Citation needed!

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