Homeworld 2 worked fine because it was designed and balanced with it in mind. Homeworld 2 Remastered is a ton of fun because it’s not pretending to be something it isn’t.
Homeworld 1’s gameplay, tactics, balance, and ship design were based around functional projectile weapons and when ported as they have been into Remastered you get a Frankenstein’s monster of both systems with the advantages of neither and disadvantages of both. Many, many ships simply fall apart because they’re trying to maintain Homeworld 1 quirks such as building individual ships, but without the mechanics that made those things work in the original, which in this case would be formations.
The fact that weapons are no longer physical have such profound and far-reaching consequences on the balance and gameplay of Homeworld 1 Remastered in a way that, honestly, for the mixed race skirmishes they probably should have just gone the opposite way and fully HW2-ized the HW1 stuff. Homeworld 1 Remastered is trying really hard to not play like Homeworld 2, but it just can’t get away from the fact that it is essentially a Homeworld 2 mod.
I don’t have a good answer to this problem. Gearbox had to make some really difficult decisions to bring out what they did and I would still rather live in a world where this Remastering exists, and was done with as much care as it was, than a world without it. I can’t speak enough for how ecstatic I am that Homeworld is relevant again and people are talking about it.
Really, the best I can think of is that in an ideal world, Gearbox would have been able to modify the engine enough to make it play like Homeworld for HW1R, and then HW2-ized the HW1 ships for the mixed race multiplayer mode. The current version of HW1R falls apart (on a purely gameplay level) because it’s trying so hard to be something that it fundamentally isn’t.