Xbox 360 Game Ascend Discontinued, Dev "Deeply Saddened"

"We are deeply saddened by this decision and the impact it has on our community," Signal Studios writes.

Free-to-play Xbox 360 game Ascend: Hand of Kul (formerly known as Ascend: New Gods), has been removed from the Xbox Marketplace, and developer Signal Studios isn't happy about it. In a post on the company's website, Signal Studios says, "Despite our best efforts and the game's success, Microsoft has discontinued support for Ascend: Hand of Kul."

According to the studio, it found out about the game's removal over the weekend. Signal Studios did not share any details regarding its discussions with Microsoft about why Ascend: Hand of Kul was removed. We have followed up with Microsoft asking for its side of the story.

"We are deeply saddened by this decision and the impact it has on our community," the developer writes.

Though you can't play Ascend: Hand of Kul on Xbox 360 anymore, the PC version on Steam is still available. And as a "thank you" to fans, all new PC players will be given a starting bonus of 25K souls, which you can use to buy gear, spells, and buffs. All existing Ascend: Hand of Kul players will receive a 10K bonus.

Ascend: Hand of Kul was announced during Microsoft's 2012 E3 briefing and launched on Xbox 360 in September 2013. Its developer, Signal Studios, is perhaps best known for the Toy Soldiers series.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

64 comments
BongSabre
BongSabre

The Free-to-Play/Pay-to-Play model only seems to work for horribly popular games like WoW. 

It's killed nearly every other game that has relied upon it for one simple reason:

no one wants to pay more money to be competitive with others. 

I'd rather pay the lump sum and out-play the competition.

By separating players into subscribers and non-subscribers, you're halving your revenue right there.

And if you put out a game that penalizes people for not pumping real-world cash into it on an hourly basis, it's going to tank... badly.

Besides, this game was effing horrible to begin with and that never helps.

Anyway, that's just my two cents.

skullscience77
skullscience77

They, Signal, seemed to drag their heels with promised gameplay developments.  Maybe that played a part.  It sucks as the game was promising but never felt complete without those options being implemented.

djrobv1
djrobv1

I noticed this Monday or so when I went to download it and give it a second try. The download option was gone. I was able to go to my download history and start the download, but 5 minutes later I saw the first story that it was axed. I have a huge backlog of games, so not a big deal for me per say, but I wish Signal all the best with their upcoming game/s.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

I tried the game out and it was fun for a while, but the game play seemed somewhat limited, so I never went back.


If the game was not attracting new players I can see why MS might decide not to support it anymore. 

DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

this game needed work and for a f2p game on the 360 it looked like it belongs on the wii to repititve and cheap but I cant complain because its f2p

Red_Frog
Red_Frog

That's a shame. It was a decent hack n slash, just desperately needed SS to finish and implement the coop mode.

Defender1978
Defender1978

Hasn't been removed yet.  Still on Xbox Live.  

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Glad I didn't spend money on this, it would be yet another digital game I bought that got removed from existence.  But this game did suck, and the fact that it was F2P made me even more critical and wary of it.  I was the same way with that Spartan F2P game on the 360 as well.

Maybe if it wasn't F2P more people would have given it a chance, and been more open to it?

rabbitcancer
rabbitcancer

Maybe it sucked - but it was free.  Why pull it?  There's plenty of f2p on Steam and PS4, half of which is cack, yet it's still there.  If some people like it then it should be supported.  I think this is more to do with Microsoft trying to push people onto their new console and nothing to do with the game whatsoever.

AM-Gamer
AM-Gamer

This is why Free to play sucks. You better hope everyone keeps playing the game or you can end up with nothing. The fact some companies are trying to make this standard scares me.

jako998
jako998

Game was ass anyways. I doubt many people will miss it.

northArrow
northArrow

I thought the game sucked balls but I really don't understand why it was removed entirely.

Sjalasvalten
Sjalasvalten

I suppose it's a bit of an ironic statement but how can you get value from a FTP game?  These types of decisions are inevitable.

Selindrile
Selindrile

Aww, for a F2P game, this one was actually pretty badass. I enjoyed it so much.

bishop60
bishop60

Eh it kinda sucked. I played it for a little while, but it got way to repetitive and boring.

Romayo83
Romayo83

I spent $5 on this game right off the start. Saved a few hrs worth of exp farming. It was OK. Good game in a world of greats. I feel this should of been released year ago in 360's lifespan it feels like a game that is outdated. Now back to DiabloIII on X1 which blows this away in every aspect lol.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I tried this the other day. Just reinforced why I don't like FTP games. Great game and idea but made on a shoestring budget and clunky as all hell.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

This is the reality of a free to play game - all that money you spent?  Worthless when they just turn the game off.


My SNES games will never cease functioning because Microsoft says so.

Sevenstorms
Sevenstorms

WTF Microsoft bring back Ascend Hand of Kul !!!! I LOVE THAT GAME!!!!

mdign
mdign

 With those graphics it looks like the game was discontinued in 2005.

ExoticCharm
ExoticCharm

That game was trash.  Not only was there too much grinding to be acceptable for any game, but they released patches that actually made it worse.  It was a pay-to-win from the beginning.  It's a shame because the concept was cool and the gameplay by itself was decent.


The dev shot themselves in the foot.  It doesn't even matter what Microsoft's reason was, it was the right decision.

gtx_780ti_sli
gtx_780ti_sli

Good move, Microsoft, this game is garbage. If they want it published on consoles, bring it to Sony. They'll publish any piece of trash.

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

I keep telling you guys, F2P is a scam and a joke.  It works for some games, obviously, but that's circumstantial.  I tried this game when it first came out, and while it was amusing, the fun quickly dissipated and I instantly forgot about it.  No staying power, at all.  It's not entirely the devs fault either.  F2P, microtransactions, etcetera, it's all just smoke and mirrors. You get what you pay for (or at least you're supposed to) 

Vodoo
Vodoo

Last year's Summer of Arcade gave me bonus credits to use in that game and I haven't used them all yet. That sucks. But honestly... I probably wouldn't have played it ever again anyway, lol.

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

Funny.  I'd just seen this on the Marketplace sometime a couple of weeks ago, having known nothing about it before then.  It was being advertised at the time alongside some other F2P games.  Surprised to see it being removed such a short time after Microsoft had seemingly been pushing it.  It at least seemed more interesting than Warface.

not_even_goten
not_even_goten

I liked this game, it really needed to toned down on the microtransactions but.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

I completely forgot about this game, well it looks like I miss a game I will never play :-(

rasterror
rasterror

After 2 hours I realized it was an absolute grind fest. No loss here.

RossRichard
RossRichard

Preorder Cancelled!!

Ah wait, my bad. Been hanging out in System Wars too long.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Good they got rid of this money grubbing pos

skullscience77
skullscience77

@prince__vlad What, so you want a half-assed unfinished game on PC?  I had Ascend on 360, even though I am a PC gamer first and foremost, and multiple deadlines and promises were broken on various modes of the game.  Many never made it in at all despite being announced at launch.  I suspect this may be the reason MS removed it.  It was a shame, it had potential and as for PC version, it simply doesn't compete with bigger franchises on PC.

EXxile
EXxile

@rabbitcancer "I think this is more to do with Microsoft trying to push people onto their new console and nothing to do with the game whatsoever."


I highly doubt that this game's removal (of all games) will be what pushes people onto the new consoles, and I highly doubt that was MS's intention. Sure it was free, but does that mean you should play it? Not really. This game was hardly mediocre at best. If someone were to give you a piece of turd and label it as a "free toy", but wanted you to pay actual money for hats, clothes, and googly eyes for your turd toy would you play with it since it was free? No thanks.

label07
label07

@Janpieterzun Yup.  Signal really took a step backwards when they put that abomination out.  Terrible game!

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@AM-Gamer Which is why you generally shouldn't consider any $$ you invest in F2P as a long term investment.

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

@Dannystaples14  I agree with you even though there are some FTP games that is very good. Anybody that wants to spend real money ingame on items that are intangible and disappear when the game disappears that is their prerogative, I rather keep my money and buy things I can touch. Even some games that are not free to play can disappear even if you have a hard copy but it may rely on a third party like Steam that is online to finish the installation and if they disappear so does your game unless they patch it.

AM-Gamer
AM-Gamer

I don't, I consider it a rip off and actually pay for games I'll keep forever.

Khasym
Khasym

@lonewolf1044 @Dannystaples14 Not entirely accurate Lonewolf. It is true that services like Steam and GOG can kill a game if they decide to fold up shop. But the rights to those games, are a solid financial asset. If a service like that does go belly up, those rights will be sold elsewhere and more than likely whoever picks them up, will reactivate your game and invite you over. Only indie titles(which you take a gamble with as is) are really at risk, because usually they are self published and sold, unlike major studio projects.

EXxile
EXxile

@Selindrile @mdign Not true at all. I am Alive, Braid, Child of Light, Brothers, Call of Juarez Gunslinger, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, Iilomilo, Splosion Man, Portal: Still Alive, The Wolf Among Us, even TMNT Out of the Shadows didn't look bad.

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

@cannedstingray @Fartman7998  DOTA 2 is a Valve game, and Valve knows what they're doing, they do things for gamers and not for greed.  League of Legends is a victim of popularity, just because something is successful does not make it the best and/or of high quality; vice versa, there's plenty of games (or movies) that fail financially but are actually incredible.  I don't care for MOBAs so I'm admittedly a little biased, but still, LoL just happens to have gotten lucky I think

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

@Khasym @lonewolf1044 @Dannystaples14  With GOG they include the installer when you buy the games form them and after that you do not need them to install games. I back up all my installers I get from them. only time I would need them is if by chance I can't locate my installers and also any updates that might be needed. Yeah, I do see what you mean about Indie games and I am very selective of what indie game I DL.

cannedstingray
cannedstingray

@Fartman7998 @cannedstingray I'm not  a fan of free to play games, but there are plenty that do just fine and are well regarded.  How bout World of Tanks, Smite, DC Universe Online, Marvel Heroes, Neverwinter, Warframe, Tribes.  The list goes on, and to make a blanket statement that all free to play games are a scam or a joke isn't accurate anymore.

Personally I'd much rather just pay for a game upfront and be done with it.  I played Smite for free for a while and liked it enough that I just bought the complete hero pack which gives me all the heroes that are out and any that are released in the future, and I really like the option to be able to do that.  More F2P games need some sort of pay up front option that releases all content. 


However, I agree there are a bunch of games that aren't even the price of free and those games will get weeded out as they should.