The Layman’s Guide to the History of Hiigara


Homeworld Art & Basics

 

We are: The Fists of Heaven. Every visitor of our website is well aware how much we love gaming and everything space related, especially the Homeworld franchise. However, people outside of my circle of friends love asking a lot of questions about this passion of ours, so out of appreciation (and because I can simply share this content when someone asks me about Homeworld from now on) here is a layman’s guide to the history of Hiigara. Watch out down below because I’ve included some Homeworld art as well.

Homeworld represents one of the most unique universes ever designed, with a story spanning several thousand years. Deriving its’ motifs from historical and religious texts, such as Hebrew mythology and the Old Testament or the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, one of the most important aspects of the game is the backstory described in the Manuals and Game Guides of the three games. These three historical overviews are subject to discussion from the perspective of canon, given that because of several takeovers of the game title, the dev team changed with it as well, but taken in a larger context, these backstories amount to one of the best space operas ever written.

This short description of the key moments in the history of Hiigara and the Kushan people is based on the official playbooks of the original game, Homeworld: Cataclysm and Homeworld 2, even though there is great alternative fan-based lore floating around the net, filling the gaps within the story.

The Empire That Was

The game universe is based loosely on the Whirlpool Galaxy, with a large black hole in its’ galactic core. The exact time when the Hiigaran Empire was formed is unknown, but what is known is that it came to prominence in the First Time, when the Outer Rim Trade Routes were founded by a mysterious alien race named the Bentusi, who obtained the power of hyperspace and could travel very long distances in mere seconds in their massive Harbor Ship of Bentus, or one of the other ships they had at their disposal.

Space combat RTS Homeworld

The Bentusi Ship

The Bentusi traded technology of so-called Short Jumps with planets in the outer rim of the galaxy for resources, which allowed for interplanetary jumps to be made, in turn triggering expansion and conflict, given that newly founded fledgling empires jumped their fleets from planet to planet, claiming them as their own. What distinguished the Bentusi from other races was that they were the only ones who had an original Hyperspace Core, allowing them to jump so far as to cross entire galaxies quickly.

The Bentusi at first attempted to stop the tide of expansion by destroying anyone who challenged their dominance and prevented the conflict by eliminating the aggressor force, but as conflicts expanded, the Bentusi simply couldn’t be in enough places at the same time. This in turn meant that the new empires could force the Bentusi to give them self-governance and thus the Galactic Council was formed on Hiigara, the center of an empire on the rise, based in the inner rim of the galaxy.

The Galactic Council was formed by 16 empires, among them the Taiidani, who were the neighboring enemy of the Hiigarans, as they had several interplanetary disputes on their borders. As time progressed, the border clashes became more intense, and then the Hiigarans discovered the remains of a Second Hyperspace Core, hidden in a crystalline lattice of the remains of an ancient, awesome starship.

This Hyperspace Core allowed the Hiigarans to quickly integrate the Core at the heart of their flagship and jump to the Taiidani homeworld, commencing a large-scale planetary bombardment of their military infrastructure. With the Taiidani capital planet turned to cinder, the Hiigarans returned home, awaiting the response of the Galactic Council. Because no other empire could stand against the sheer might of the Hiigaran force and their Far Jumper, this lead to the eventual clash between the Bentusi and the Hiigaran navy in space above Hiigara, in which the Hiigaran military might was all but destroyed.

The Taiidani military was in tatters, but their main fleet penetrated Hiigaran space and either colonized or destroyed entire worlds in retaliation. At the very end of this bloody conflict, the Hiigarans had to become Exiles, memory of them dispersed in the mists of time, and sent in a sublight transport convoy 35,000 light years away, their course plotted for a desert planet called Kharak. The Taiidani vowed to monitor the Hiigarans, and forced them to sign a document forbidding them from using any hyperspace technology, or be utterly destroyed.

Exile

Over time, as with the change of generations, ships malfunctioned, were destroyed by raiders or lost in nebulas, and at the end Hiigarans forgot themselves and became Kushani, divided into clans, called kiith.

The Guidestone Homeworld

The Guidestone

Kharak was a harsh master, with the population of the Kushani capped at 300 million due to limited resources. The Kushani were a divided people, with certain kiith fighting over a rivalry considered spiritual in nature, over the question whether they were put on that planet to suffer by Sajuuk, He Whose Hand Shapes What Is, or they were just stranded on it, a space faring people stuck on the farthest reaches of space. 3,000 years passed and one fateful day, an archaeological team found a relic in the deep desert of the equator, where temperatures rose to boiling water, a find never seen before – the Khar Toba.

The mammoth ship was the last of its’ kind, a remnant of the mighty convoy that brought the People to the planet. In its’ belly, there were two artifacts – a Guidestone with a map of the Galaxy, with an ancient word inscribed within a set of coordinates, known to all kiithid – Hiigara, home. The other artifact was no less than the remains of the Second Hyperspace Core. All the kiith gathered under one banner, in order to reach forthe stars.

Karan Sjet Homeworld Remastered

Karan Sjet

A project for a Mothership was created, a vessel that could be operated with a minimal crew and carry home the rest of the Kushani, suspended in cryogenic sleep. The leader of the project was Karan S’jet, of the Kiith S’jet, who at the very end integrated herself with the Mothership, becoming Fleet Command, the Sajuuk-Khar, the Chosen One of Sajuuk.

The importance of the backstory for Homeworld is not because it influences the story in-game, but because it shows you how much was lost, thus giving the game itself an added importance to what was before. It is these gems of lore that give this epic game unprecedented depth.

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I'm an ecommerce / digital marketer at Rhino Digital and spend the rest of my time exercising, rock climbing, reading, and writing, usually in the company of awesome people. My favorite game franchises are the Homeworld series and the Descent series. You can reach me at mike [@] fistsofheaven.com

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