Hi-Rez Studios first announced plans to resurrect the Tribes sci-fi first person shooter franchise in 2010 as an MMO title called Tribes Universe. Later in 2011 the game developer announced that it would first release a more conventional multiplayer shooter based on the franchise called Tribes Ascend. This week the developer revealed that Tribes Ascend will be the latest first person shooter to join the growing ranks of the free-to-play PC game titles.
As first reported by IGN, Tribes Ascend will still have all of the trademarks of the previous games in the series (big levels, jetpacks and skiing on long slopes, among other things). However Hi-Rez Studios is hoping to gain revenue from the game by selling player character loadouts. The article says that Hi-Rez took their inspiration from the popular action-RTS game League of Legends which offers new Champions for sale while also rotating a number of Champions for the free players. In Tribes Ascend's case, players can purchase loadouts that will give them special armor, weapons and other items that can be accessed by their characters. Some loadouts will be for heavy weapon players types while others will be based more on stealth.
The game itself, which runs on Epic's Unreal Engine 3, is due for release later this fall for the PC with console versions due for release There's no word yet if there will be any beta testing for the game. In the meantime, IGN has released a gameplay trailer for Tribes Ascend which you can check out below.