Three cheers for Hi-Rez! In addition to providing me with a no-brainer of a column topic this week, the Atlanta-based development firm is also gifting its fans with a reboot of Global Agenda.
The original GA launched way back in February of 2010, and while it remains one of the more enjoyable online games I've ever played, it has fallen on hard times. Hi-Rez shifted its focus to Tribes: Ascend prior to GA's free-to-play conversion, and the latter game's population steadily declined to the point where Dome City and the various instances surrounding it were a haven for tumbleweeds rather than lobby shooter fans.
Can GA 2.0 build on the original game's rock-solid foundation while avoiding its missteps? Let's discuss that with Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris after the break.
Massively: Is this a completely new game or an extensive update to Global Agenda? If it's the former, will the original game be shutting down?
Todd Harris: This will be a completely new game. No decision yet around what we'll do with current Global Agenda but we do expect much of the GA community would move to GA2 when it is ready.
How are you going to handle beta signups? Will GA and/or Tribes players get any sort of priority tester access?
Yes. We'll give priority access to players of GA; and we also give preference to players of other Hi-Rez games.
The forum announcement mentions a focus on PvP. Some commenters assumed that that means no PvE whatsoever, but is that the case?
For now the focus is PvP.
What about open-world elements? Will the reboot feature stuff like the Sonoran Desert, quest areas, and that sort of thing, or are you going to focus on merc instances?
No open-world elements planned. We launched GA without open-world [stuff] and many in our community say those were the best days of GA. We know there are other players who enjoy the open-world content, but we felt like the game focus became diluted after that.
How about AvA? Will we see that again in some form?
No plan for hex-maps or facility building.
Will we see any features from Tribes in the GA reboot? Maybe private server functionality, spectator mode, etc.?
Yes. As one example, spectator mode will definitely be included in GA2.
One of the neat things about GA was that it appealed to both casual shooter fans and competitive types. It was skill-based but it also had a bit of an equalizer due to progression. Is that balance in the cards for the reboot? If not are you leaning more towards a hardcore or a casual experience?
We're maintaining the core GA idea of skill-based, class-based combat that still has a heavy progression element.
Will we see things like crafting, Dome City, and other unique GA features come back?
Nothing to announce in those area yet.
What does this mean for SMITE? Do you have separate teams working on SMITE and GA2?
SMITE is actually growing faster than any of our previous games to date, and Tribes grew pretty damn fast, and so we are growing the SMITE dev team along with it.
We actually have three independent mini-studio teams working under the Hi-Rez Studios umbrella. Each studio team sits together and each contains all the talented specialists required to develop and maintain a game (design, art, animation, programming, QA and more). One is the core team that built GA and those folks will be working on GA2. A separate team is on Tribes. And a third team is SMITE. All teams are separate and all three teams are growing.
Sounds great, thanks for keeping us in the loop!
The Firing Line's Jef Reahard has a twitchy trigger finger, a love of online shooters, and an uncanny resemblance to Malcolm Reynolds. OK, maybe not, but at least if he ever kills you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing him, and you'll be armed.