Paladins: A F2P FPS From Smite Devs Hi-Rez

After starting out under ye olde subscription model with their first game, Global Agenda, Hi-Rez Studios turned it free-to-play and have stuck that way since. Over-the-shoulder MOBA Smite was the first game of theirs that seemed to really take off (poor, dear, sweet Tribes: Ascend, left to fade away). Now they’ve announced another F2P game, and another FPS – a fantasy “strategic team-based shooter” named Paladins [official site].

It sounds a bit MOBA-y to me. This being Gamescom week, they don’t have much to say about Paladins just yet but will be yammering all about and showing everyone in a few days.

Hi-Rez explained in last night’s announcement:

“In Paladins, teams are pitted against one another. Each combatant enters the battle with a primary weapon, a set of combat and movement abilities, and a personal mount to carry them quickly from one fight to the next. Players begin each match with a customizable deck of skill cards which can be activated and evolved upon leveling up in-match for enhanced strength, defense or utility throughout the session.”

Sounds a bit MOBA-y, doesn’t it? One could crudely point out bits of that description which appear in other games, but it’d be a bit reductive. So, instead let’s say that it’ll be interesting to see how it shapes up against Blizzard’s MOBA-tinged FPS Overwatch and Gearbox’s own Battleborn. MOBAs are pretty dang influential at the moment, and shards of the genre are turning up in all sorts of games.

Paladins is due to launch in 2016. You can see a few characters and sign up for the upcoming closed beta on its site.

59 Comments

  1. Awesomeclaw says:

    With the rate that Hi-Rez put out new games and abandon their old ones, I’d be kind of wary of really getting into any of their games at this point.

  2. Zankman says:

    “Paladins: A F2P FPS From Smite Devs Hi-Rez”

    >looks at screenshot

    Oh, I can tell.

    • pepperfez says:

      I’d like to see a game where outfits like that are actually justified in-game. Like, an otherworldly invasion begins at an adventurers’ beach retreat, or maybe during fashion week. Obviously male characters would need to be wearing spandex trunks or this, respectively.

      • Rizlar says:

        Aw yeah, an other-dimensional portal opens up amidst San Diego beachwear expo, transporting the models to a world that knows only death and rainbows. Also mutates them all to have ridiculous figures and tiny heads.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Like a Kill la Kill setting game XD

        • FilipMagnus says:

          I suspect no small amount of people would throw insidious amounts of money at any studio that takes on the task of making a game in the spirit of Kill la Kill.

  3. MrBRAD! says:

    RIP Smite?
    RIP Tribes Ascend
    RIP Tribes Ascend Beta

  4. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Obligatory fuck Hi-Rez.

  5. suibhne says:

    Still catering to the lowest statistical bound in female representation, I see.

    • Neutrino says:

      Checked comments just to verify that someone complained that the girl was too pretty.

      Left satisfied.

      • Zankman says:

        As if that is what it is about. Trivializing others opinions and complaints, so immature.

        • anHorse says:

          Yeah because “lowest statistical bound” totally wasn’t trivialising the other side of the argument from the offset…

          • The_invalid says:

            It’s fucking true though. I’m sick to the back teeth of seeing all these thinly veiled “don’t take away my scantily clad women” non-arguments. The representation of female characters in games still mostly stinks. You can sit there clutching your pearls all you like, but it’s completely true.

          • Xzi says:

            It’s also true that a thousand other mediums out there had already adapted unrealistic beauty standards for women well before video games came along. And that the majority of people behind the creation of such standards were/are themselves, women.

            Men aren’t portrayed realistically in video games either. Before you go spouting the tired “yeah, but that’s a power fantasy” line, that’s a double standard. It would mean that women in video games are “beauty fantasies.” If we’re being straight about the whole thing though, fantasy is the point, and neither gender wants to see a bunch of uglies in their fantasy-themed games, be they women or men.

          • suibhne says:

            “the majority of people behind the creation of such standards were/are themselves, women.”

            …Huh.

            The rest of your post is at least defensible as opinion, but this statement masquerades as data-driven. I’d be flabbergasted if you could even begin to substantiate it.

          • The_invalid says:

            “Before you go spouting the tired “yeah, but that’s a power fantasy” line -”

            Hold up a sec, you brought this up, not me; but let’s look at the male characters announced so far in Paladins – A goblin piloting a mech, an Orc, an anthropomorphised mammal, a knight and a dwarf. None of those characters are even the slightest bit sexualised, or even attractive. If your assertion that ‘nobody wants to play a bunch of uglies’ is true, then Hi-Rez certainly weren’t listening.

            But eitherway, this is all some pretty weak deflection. The reason the ‘power fantasy’ statement is so ‘tired’, is because (a) it’s completely true, and (b) it gets utterly ignored by the vast majority of the faux-intellectual neckbeards that get so rabidly salty that some people want games to hold their female characters to a reasonable standard rather than a sexualised afterthought.

          • suibhne says:

            When they write “power fantasy”, they clearly mean “for male players, who get to control a conventionally sexualized female model.”

      • suibhne says:

        Checked comments just to verify that someone strawmanned/caricatured my comment about representation as being all about “prettiness”.

        Left predictably dismayed.

      • GWOP says:

        disingenuous
        ˌ
        dɪsɪnˈdʒɛnjʊəs/

        adjective

        not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

      • Daemoroth says:

        Ditto… Wish they’d spend more time lambasting movies, comics, dramas, sitcoms, men’s magazines, women’s magazines, tabloids, commercials, billboards, cosmetics, lingerie, modelling, fitness gyms, (the list goes on) doing the same thing.

        Gaming is easy I guess, they can all pretend to stand ‘outside pointing in’ whilst taking part in ALL the rest.

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      And the other female hero shown so far points her arse at the viewer. Because obviously.

      There’s also a literal white knight who will always be there if there’s a “damsel in distress”. Hilarious stuff, all in all. (And, generally, looking over the heroes so far they just felt so generic.)

      • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

        To be clear, I’m not angry, just bored. The main reaction these character designs caused in me was a sigh.

        • SomeDuder says:

          That’s funny, cause that’s my reaction to any developer that plans to make/releases a MOBA game.

          MOBAs are the new MMO it seems – every developer/publisher just HAS to make at least 1 to try and grab that precious marketshare. And just like with MMOs, there’s only room for a precious few on the market.

          Wonder what the next big thing will be that developers will smash themselves to death against. FMV adventure games?

  6. BathroomCitizen says:

    Normally I give second chances to game devs, as usually they do stuff in their userbase’s best interest – even if they make mistakes.

    But treating my beloved Tribes franchise like that, really hurt my feelings. So I don’t care what new games they’re releasing anymore.

    :_(

  7. airtekh says:

    “Paladins: A F2P FPS”

    Hmm.

    “From Smite Devs Hi-Rez”

    *closes browser tab*

    • ElkiLG says:

      *Opens it again to post a comment*

      • cdjaco says:

        *Realizes that in the intervening time, Hi-Rez has abandoned Paladins and moved on to yet another game*

        *Closes browser tab again*

  8. The_invalid says:

    Can we please just be done with this whole ‘moba aesthetic’ now? Come back grimdarkness, all is forgiven!

    Well, maybe not, but rehashing the same art style so heavily to the point where I can barely tell one game apart from another is unspeakably tedious.

  9. Scumbag says:

    Insert comment on Hi-Rez
    Point out this can go burn in a fire

    Seriously this can piss off though. I poured a few hundred hours into Tribes back when it came out, and then it just kinda fizzled out and got forgotten. So many issues that needed fixing, so much potential to be fulfilled. Nope, ITS MOBA TIME!

    If the game stepped away from F2P, had its own user provided servers and an SDK, maybe something may have come of it. Now its just this weird old decaying thing that is kicking about. After I dropped the game almost as hard as they did I went back to Red Orchestra 2, which seems to only just have been dropped by the devs 4 years after release.

    • killmachine says:

      the game “effectivly” stepped away from free2play. there was a pack that unlocked all classes, weapons and stuff. sdk is released, too. not official but it is there. apparently you can also start your own server.

      i played tribes ascend for quite a while and i also was active on the official forum and on reddit for just a bit. i came to the conclusion that tribes hardcore fans are just pricks. they’re one reason why the game fucked up. hi-rez had a gem there but the fanbois wanted it to be “their” tribes and completely destroyed accessibility for more casual players. so, if you create a game for hardcore players, you have to realize that only hardcore players play the game. but that isn’t enough to sustain it financially. so, hi-rez dropped the ball. but, guess what, the game can still be played like it always has been. it just doesn’t receive any more updates. but… there’s an sdk and people are able to build maps. but no one does, because tribes fans are fucking hypocritical assholes.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I got really into Smite myself…then I moved to Singapore. Doesn’t look like southeast Asia is going to see an English client ever, data won’t be transferable if we do, it probably will use a traditional (i.e. fucking horrible) free to play model rather than having a complete pack.

      Yeah, pretty much sick of Hi-Rez myself, though I suppose it isn’t uncommon for companies to give their international rights to publishers that do a really awful job when doing it right should be simple as hell.

  10. cdjaco says:

    Add me to the long list of people with contempt for Hi-Rez for their mis-management of the Tribes franchise.

    Based on their track record, I expect them to support Paladins for about a year…after which they’ll more on to the next shiny thing.

    Magpie developers. A pox on them.

  11. DizzyCriminal says:

    Can I just give them money to put a defibrillator Tribes Ascend. Man I spent a hell of a lot of time on that game, and wish I could get in some decent games again.
    I’m sick of MOBAs. There are already competent MOBAs, no one else has a Tribes alternative.

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      Even if it’s not the same thing as Tribes, for some sci-fi team based gameplay it’s best that I join on the Planetside 2 bandwagon and get on with the times.

      Still, I miss the fastness of Tribes gameplay.

      • banananas says:

        I feel you…
        I’ve never dipped into any Tribes game pre-Ascend. It was only Doom, Quake 1-3 and then CS (a loot of CS). Then I tried Ascend once it came out, and bloody LOVED it to death! My god… the pathfinder class was so my deal: learning the routes, acquiring the necessary skill to get into a proper skiing flow, boosting myself with grenades and spinfusor blasts for that “gotta go fast” flag-grab and then speeding away like all hell broke loose, with 4-5 people on you ass and discs zipping around you.
        What an unforgettable adrenaline rush! Man, good times! *shiver*

    • caddyB says:

      Yep, not after what they did to my favorite FPS, Tribes: Ascent.

  12. CptCasper says:

    Always lots of whiny Tribes fans when Hi-Rez is mentioned, the fact is not enough people played Tribes so they stopped supporting it. Like any business Hi-Rez wants to make money, Tribes was costing them money so they moved on, you Tribes lot should do the same.

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      Maybe the hate to Hi-Rez it’s undeserved and they had all the reasons in the world to move on.

      Still, I think that Tribes filled a gameplay niche that no other game managed to fill, and it’s a real pity that no devs were able to recapture the teamwork that made the game special.

    • The_invalid says:

      Your assertion misses the point entirely. If Hi-Rez had developed TA like any other game in the Tribes series and let users mod the game and run their own servers, it would still be possible to form a community around the game. As it stands, there is no way to do that, and consequently the game has even less community support than Tribes Vengeance (!!!).
      In its current state, users are stuck with a game that is still fundamentally unbalanced and flawed, with no hope of it ever being fixed. It’s symptomatic of the wider problems the F2P model presents as far as longevity and community go.

      • nearly says:

        Well and let’s not forget that they nearly got themselves banned from the game’s own subreddit by being assholes. And without warning shut down official support and listed said subreddit as the new official support without a) even talking to the people that run the subreddit (who by and large hate them) or b) talking to their employees.

        Shutting down a game that isn’t profitable is one thing, but they didn’t even shut it down. They condemned the game to a slow death from a tiny drip of support by refusing to just release dedicated servers or simple tools that would allow the community to keep it alive like they did for past titles. It’s comically inept that they would continue to allocate money to controlling a game that no one is going to play simply because they haven’t allocated nearly enough money or effort into keeping it afloat: and that the reason they’re doing this is because the alternative is to let the game live and possibly become slightly more popular without them seeing a dime of it.

  13. tangoliber says:

    I’ll give it a shot. Dirty Bomb is awesome, and Overlook looks pretty good….so it has some steep competition.

    (Battleborn looks slow and inaccurate though. I don’t know what Gearbox is thinking there.)

  14. Monggerel says:

    Lady, that’s not proper fighting attir-*is shot in the leg with an arrow*
    -e because, you see, that is neither protective nor otherise practic-*second shot goes through windpipe*

    I guarantee that every female character will wear high heels. But with a bit of parity on the guys’ side, I honestly wouldn’t be able to complain.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Right. If every guy was wearing just thong armour, and was styled to have maximum appeal to the average female audience — as opposed to being all bodybuilder-muscle-y for male power fantasies — then things wouldn’t be so bad. Or at least, everyone would be equally put off.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        It’s really not the same thing, though. Because history and the way societies currently work throughout the world. Sexualizing men and sexualizing women are not the same thing, and you have to ignore an entire fucking mountain of context to believe that they are.

        I know you know better. But a lot of people seem willfully ignorant about this.

        • Rizlar says:

          I think it’s just normal ignorance. Can’t really blame them for it, though you can for the closed-mindedness and rudeness.

        • GWOP says:

          “Sexualizing men and sexualizing women are not the same thing…”

          But what if you sexualize men in the same manner as women? :D

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          It’s not the same thing, no. But it might help get things done by putting things into perspective for once.

          If guys won’t accept that women should have normal, effective outfits and not be designed specifically to appeal to men … then give their favourite male characters equally ineffective outfits and design them to appeal to women. Show them what it’s like from the other side.

          I’d love to see how many flabby, scantily-clad Batmen and Duke Nukems and Supermen and Solid Snakes it would take before those men realised that maybe they’ve been a bit unfairly privileged in the entertainment department for a very long time now.

  15. aircool says:

    We will only get equality in gaming when we see a female orc as the lead and as a positive role model.

    Or what about zombies? They’re always getting a bad rap. Hell, even when games ban violence against humans, they’re comfortable replacing those humans with green blooded zombies.

    Personally I don’t give a rats arse; consider yourself lucky if all you’ve got to complain about is oversexualised/undersexualised characters in a game.

    • GWOP says:

      You just equated women to zombies to make your point. Might want to reevaluate… all of it.

      • nearly says:

        Well, there was that Dead Island statue that they promised would never happen “again” (as opposed to at all), and the file names that people uncovered…

        I just don’t understand why people aren’t bothered that the women in these games look like, at best, they’re shooting softcore porn. I’m sure most people involved recognize that it’s not reality and isn’t supposed to represent reality, but I’m still confused why this is desirable as the exclusive method of representing women.

        • pepperfez says:

          A solid chunk of the people so desperately defending the status quo just straight up hate women and think anything that demeans them ought to be protected. If that sounds harsh, see Reaxxion, the work of Roosh “Legalize Rape” V.

    • Hobbes says:

      Well, Eiger was a troll, and g’damn was she one amazing role model in Dragonfall. That was a female who took no shit from anyone. Brilliantly written, demonstrating it’s possible to be female, a soldier, badass, and without any sexualised overtones at all. Whilst you might never earn her admiration, you might, just might, earn her respect.

      *shrug* Good positive Female leads are in top quality games already, it’s just that people like Snarkeesian prefer to play the professional victim card because it makes more money. That’s not to say there’s not a valid discussion to be had either, there is, and we -need- that discussion to continue, but for the love of dog can we do it with facts and sanity rather than well, all of this?

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        This from someone tossing around “professional victim”.

    • vlonk says:

      “Female orc” is equal to “non attractive” maincharacter? Because I have my doubts we have a positive role model for a MALE orc in gaming right now :D
      I always saw the Hellscreams, Doomhammers and their ilk from WoW as obnoxious loud ragebuckets.

      Maybe somewhere in the Shadowrun/Cyberpunk universe sphere we might see a clever orc at least.

      Kaptin Bluddflagg from Dawn of War though is an unsung hero of the Warhammer universe.

  16. Lionmaruu says:

    ok world, keep going, make every fucking moba you want, please just finish it already so we can move on to something at least more interesting than stupid mobas! or team fortress clones… hate both games anyway.

  17. blummer102 says:

    I really like Smite so I hope that doesn’t get abandoned or forgotten once this comes out. I’m all for new decent F2P games (the MOBA model is the only one where I feel like F2P really works) but this looks kinda uninspired, a little too much like they’re jumping on the Overwatch trend before Blizzard starts making bank off of it.