I don’t think the business model is really that relevant, selling dlc can sometimes be a reason to lock things down but many games have managed anyway. Just look at any paradox grand stat title.
I recall them saying in the past that the modding scene was on their radar, so that gave me some starting hope. More recently, the last fig update dropped an interesting tidbit.
… Different engine than Deserts of Kharak. We built on the foundation of Homeworld Remastered, meaning the engineering team took the simulation layer from Homeworld Remastered and bootstrapped it onto Unreal Engine 4 to take advantage of that engine’s presentation and rendering power.
I’m sure for some people that’s not good news, but honestly if they’re doing all the things they say they want to they’re getting down into the guts enough to potentially right most any of the wrongs of the hw2/r engine. Much of it’s flaws are, in my eyes, stuff that wasn’t given enough time to be finished, tested, polished or documented thoroughly, so if they get that time this time around and of course clean up some of it’s legacy technical problems like being stuck on lua 4, memory limits and access violations, desyncs, and so on, then I have a lot of hope.
The data driven design that has made HW1 and 2 so moddable seems to me to be something that’d come over with that simulation layer, and unless they end up hiding away the data files this time inside some hard to handle unreal bundles, I imagine we’ll keep that. Some unreal games allow impressive access to the guts of the game’s behaviors, XCOM2 being the most prominent one for me, so it could even be expanded beyond what we have now.
Of course, there’s no guarantee. Maybe all those legacy issues will persist and the data archives will be hidden, encrypted, obfuscated, and whatnot. As you say, only time will tell. But I have hope.
3d space or horizontal plane? I very much hope the new game has real 3d space.
If you mean more 3D than HW1/2 I honestly don’t. I want Homeworld 3 to be successful, and I think the kind of visual chaos and extra input complexity this would bring would raise the effort needed to play it enough to get in the way of that. Space opera battles with ships slugging it out all generally with the same orientation doing their WW2 in space thing, only breaking that rule when they need to, is a strong aesthetic and one I go to homeworld for.
I do really hope they manage to streamline vertical movement enough that it sees more use, though. That depends on UI improvements panning out though.