Hi-Rez Studios

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Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.
Type Privately Held
Industry Video-Game Industry
Founded 2005
Headquarters Alpharetta, Georgia, United States
Key people Erez Goren
Todd Harris
Stew Chisam
Mike Dudgeon
Products Global Agenda
Tribes: Ascend
Smite
Employees 100+[1]
Website hirezstudios.com

Hi-Rez Studios is an independent, privately held video-game developer based in Alpharetta, Georgia. The company was established in 2005 by Erez Goren and Todd Harris to create exceptional online interactive entertainment, and is now one of the largest video-game studios in the Southeast United States. Hi-Rez Studios' games include the squad-based shooter Global Agenda, the critically acclaimed Tribes: Ascend, and the third-person MOBA Smite (stylized as SMITE).[2] In 2012, Hi-Rez Studios was recognized as a Top 30 Video-Game Developer by Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra. [3]

About[edit]

Erez Goren, a successful entrepreneur and video-game enthusiast, founded Hi-Rez Studios with Todd Harris in 2005. They seeded the company by hiring experienced game developers from other successful titles, including City of Heroes, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Call of Duty.[1] Today, Hi-Rez Studios employs more than 100 people at its development facility just outside of Atlanta, Georgia in the northern suburb of Alpharetta.[1]

Games Developed[edit]

Global Agenda[edit]

Global Agenda is an online team-based game. The game went live on February 1, 2010. In April 2011, Global Agenda became the first ever free-to-play video-game released on the Steam platform, introducing Elite and Free Agents in addition to an in-game cash shop featuring Agenda Points.[4]

Tribes Universe[edit]

Tribes Universe was an upcoming massively multiplayer online shooter developed by Hi-Rez Studios based on the Tribes series. The game, along with Hi-Rez Studios' Tribes IP acquisition from InstantAction, was first announced on October 23, 2010. While alpha testing was said to begin at the start of 2011, development on Tribes Universe was halted when Hi-Rez Studios decided to start working on Tribes: Ascend.[5]

Tribes: Ascend[edit]

Tribes: Ascend is a free-to-play multiplayer-only first-person shooter and part of the Tribes franchise. It was announced by Hi-Rez Studios on March 11, 2011 at the PAX East, and released on April 12, 2012. Tribes: Ascend earned a metascore of 86, and PC Gamer ranked it at #8 in an article on the Best Shooters of All Time. [6] Aspects from previous Tribes games such as jetpacks and skiing are featured in the game.[7]

Smite[edit]

Smite is a free-to-play third-person (dubbed 3D Action) MOBA. Players take on the visage of mythological deities from different pantheons and take part in arena combat, using powers and team tactics against other player-controlled deities and non-player controlled minions. Hi-Rez Studios announced Smite for the first time on April 21, 2011 at PAX East, and began its closed beta period in May 31, 2012. An open beta followed in January 24, 2013. The beta process resulted in over 74 million hours of playtime and the realization of a robust competitive community.[8] Throughout the beta, Hi-Rez Studios also hosted a series of LAN and online events with cash prize pools.[9] Smite was officially released in North America and western Europe on March 25, 2014.

The weekend following its release, Hi-Rez hosted a Smite Launch Tournament in Atlanta where the eight best teams from Europe and North America played for a prize pool of over $200,000 USD, half of which was raised by the community from sales of a character skin.[10] Team Solo Mid from Europe won first place, with Team Dignitas from North America taking second place. Viewers at home could make their own predictions for a chance to win various prizes.[11] According to Hi-Rez, the event drew more than 400,000 unique viewers worldwide.[12] After the event, Hi-Rez added a custom-branded skin in honor of Team Solo Mid's victory.[13]

In May 2014, Hi-Rez announced the Smite World Championship Series (SWC). The SWC began with three months of regional qualifiers, which will culminate into two separate $50,000 regional LAN events for Europe and North America.[14] The Smite World Championship is currently scheduled for January 9-11, 2015 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, and will feature a prize pool starting at $600,000; however, that amount is expected to significantly increase prior to the event based on community contributions and exclusive content sales.[15] Hi-Rez has revealed that the World Championship will feature teams from North America, Europe, China, Brazil, and Spanish-speaking Latin America.[16]

Controversy[edit]

Hi-Rez has been criticized by gaming communities, mostly regarding Tribes: Ascend and Global Agenda. While the video-games themselves were typically praised,[17] the long-term upkeep of both games by the company is often cited as a major failing point.[18] Hi-Rez Studios has announced they are not doing future updates for either Tribes: Ascend or Global Agenda; however, the company maintains active servers and customer support for both video-games.[19]

On August 6th 2013, Hi-Rez took down the company forums with less than 24 hours notice, stating social media platforms would become the substitute despite not controlling certain communities or informing their moderators. [20] [21] The original post cannot be found on any of their developer blogs, but is quoted widely. In removing their forums, Hi-Rez erased many public criticisms on a variety of subjects such as game balance, poor network performance, and lack of support. However, an incomplete backup was created and uploaded by users.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Hi-Rez Studios LinkedIn Official Page". Hi-Rez Studios. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  2. ^ "Hi-Rez Studios The Official Website of Hi-Rez Studios Alpharetta GA". Hirezstudios.com. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  3. ^ "Our Top 30 Developers". Game Developer and Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  4. ^ "Global Agenda: Free Agent on Steam". Valve. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  5. ^ http://forum.tribesuniverse.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=398&p=4937#p4937
  6. ^ "The Best Shooters of All Time". PC Gamer. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  7. ^ "Tribes Ascend Home". Hi-Rez Studios. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Hi-Rez Studios releases SMITE in North America and Europe". Hi-Rez Studios. 25 Mar 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  9. ^ "SMITE Tournament Series: Week 24 Recap". Hi-Rez Studios. 14 Oct 2013. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  10. ^ "Atlanta 2014 SMITE Launch Tournament". Hi-Rez Studios. 1 Mar 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  11. ^ "Release The Bracken! Promotion". Hi-Rez Studios. 18 Mar 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  12. ^ "SMITE Launch Tournament Results and Recap". Hi-Rez Studios. 2 Apr 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  13. ^ "New Apollo Skin: Team SoloMid". Hi-Rez Studios. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  14. ^ "SMITE: World Championship Series". Hi-Rez Studios. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  15. ^ "The $600,000 SMITE World Championship comes to Atlanta January 9-11, 2015". Hi-Rez Studios. 2 Jul 2014. Retrieved 2 Jul 2014. 
  16. ^ "Hi-Rez Studios and Level Up partner to bring SMITE to Latin America". Hi-Rez Studios. 5 Jun 2014. Retrieved 20 Jun 2014. 
  17. ^ "Tribes: Ascend for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  18. ^ "Hi-Rez On Tribes’ Failings And Future, Tribes Ascend 2". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  19. ^ "Hi-Rez Communication Focus". Hi-Rez Studios. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  20. ^ "official forums will close within 24 hours from this post!". 
  21. ^ "Hirez is closing down their official forum and focusing on reddit, youtube etc". 
  22. ^ "User made back of old Hi-Rez Forums".