Hi-Rez Studios has announced its purchase of the rights to former Sierra property Tribes.
In a post on the Global Agenda forum, Hi-Rez CEO Erez Goren revealed that the PC shooter series had been a constant touchstone for the development of the new game, so the company had purchased rights to the franchise.
"While working through the design we kept coming back to one old and loved game that represented many of the concepts we where incorporating into the new game (Jetpacks, vehicles, large open space, three armour types, futuristic weapons, etc)," Goren told the forum.
"Many of you will know this game as Tribes, the original on-line multiplayer shooter. As of now, Hi-Rez Studios is the proud new owner of the Tribes franchise."
The Tribes franchise was originally developed for Sierra games by subsidiary Dynamix, and released as Starsiege: Tribes in 1998, with two sequels following. The IP was then acquired by GarageGames in 2009, which planned to use it to enable Starsiege:Tribes in its browser-based Instant Action game portal.
The game has now reportedly been cancelled, despite Instant Action CEO Louis Castle telling listeners of a recent podcast that the game would be available on the service.
"Tribes, we will absolutely be bringing it back," Castle told listeners.
"It's a great game. I know you guys cannot wait to play it but it's going to be a lot cooler. I can't promise that you can play for free forever, but you will definitely be able to play it for free."
No details of the amount paid for the rights was revealed, but Erez confirmed that support for Global Agenda would continue despite the acquisition. The studio will now split into two teams, with one supporting Global Agenda and the other working on Tribes.
Instant Action CEO Louis Castle spoke about the purchase, saying that whilst a Starsiege: Tribes would not be available on Instant Action, Legions, a similar game programmed by some of the Tribes developers, would.
"Simply put, we were approached by Hi-Rez and they made us a compelling offer," Castle said. "We were not intending to sell Tribes when we acquired it, so the timing was driven solely by the Hi-Rez offer. We can not disclose the terms."
"As to what this means for the future of Legions, it remains a wholly owned property of InstantAction and we continue to work on releasing it to the new InstantAction platform."