First Tribes Ascend screenshots released

Fans of the Tribes sci-fi shooter game series got some welcome news a few months ago when developer Hi-Rez Studios announced that it had secured the rights to create new Tribes games. This week the developer used its Facebook page to release the first screenshots from the first Tribes games it plans to release, the multiplayer-themed shooter Tribes Ascend.

The two screenshots were taken on Monday during a play test for Tribes Ascend and show an art style that is definitely linked to previous games in the series along with large outdoor areas. Hi-Rez Studios has been fairly silent about specific gameplay details about this new title. At the moment the developer is aiming for a downloadable release for both the PC and Xbox 360 platforms by the end of 2011.

An offshoot of the Starsiege series from the now defunct Sierra Online, Starsiege Tribes was first released in 1998 by developer Dynamix and quickly became a fan favorite thanks to its addictive gameplay, a smooth online play experience (even on dial up modems) and huge outdoor maps. A sequel, Tribes 2, was released by Dynamix in 2001 but fans response was not as strong and Dynamix itself was shut down later that year. A new PC game, Tribes Vengence, was released in 2004 via Irrational Games but that title also was not as well received by hardcore Tribes fans.

Hi-Rez Studios, the Atlanta-based developer of 2010's first person shooter MMO Global Agenda (which has more than a little resemblance to the Tribes games) announced a few months ago that it had obtains the rights to the Tribes series. Originally the developer announced plans to release an MMO-based game called Tribes Universe. However last March it revealed its plans for Tribes Ascend, a game that is more in tune with the ideas of the original Starsiege Tribes.

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