Signal Studios Archive

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Signal Studios receives Toy Soldiers IP rights back from Microsoft

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Earlier today, Signal Studios, creators of XBLA hit Toy Soldiers, announced an agreement with Microsoft that transferred the IP rights back to the developer. This grants it more control over the franchise’s future, opening up further release opportunities across multiple platforms, including Toy Soldiers: Complete on Steam as an Early Access title.

DR Albright III, Signal Studios President and Creative Director, noted, “It took a while, but we’re extremely grateful to have received the rights to Toy Soldiers back from Microsoft. This was the studio’s first game, and we’re really proud of it. We’re finally able and very eager to start development on the future of the Toy Soldiers franchise.”

The future certainly looks bright for the studio and the Toy Soldiers series, and the comments about multiple platforms certainly have us wondering where or when we might get our next chance to jump onto the battlefield. Xbox One is a safe bet, but it stands to reason we’ll also be seeing sequel appearances on PS4 and PC.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul – XBLAFans’ Complete Guide

Ascend: Hand of Kul was developed by Signal Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released into public beta on September 25, 2013, free of charge. XBLAFans awarded the game a deserved Buy It! rating in our review.

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Welcome to our Ascend: Hand of Kul guide! This guide aims to provide information on the many unique features in Ascend. In addition to the core mechanics, you’ll find tips on making use of Ascend‘s varied equipment, items and spells. You’ll find comprehensive lists of each area in the larger world, the many dungeons that populate it, the achievements you’ll earn for progressing through it and the game’s “collectibles” in the form Lore Stones hidden throughout it.

As Ascend: Hand of Kul is ongoing and new content is being planned and added, we can’t guarantee our guide will cover all aspects of the title in the future. But for those looking to get a foothold in the game and learn how to make the most of their time spent hacking, slashing, looting and learning, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve yet to check out Ascend: Hand of Kul, you can find our impressions in the official review.

Many sections of this guide contain information that pertains to Ascend‘s story progression. Consider this a general blanket warning – this is spoiler country! Click on each image to visit that section of the guide.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul review (XBLA)

Ascend: Hand of Kul was developed by Signal Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released into public beta on September 25, 2013, free of charge. This review was conducted over a two-week period.

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There’s a grim stigma attached to the free-to-play moniker that seemingly paints any game foolish enough to hoist its colors as a second-class citizen. That sentiment might have carried degrees of credibility in the past, but a new wave of free-to-play titles have begun to surge, eroding away the lingering stain on the distribution model. Spearheading that effort on Xbox Live, Signal Studios’ action-RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul doesn’t so much prove that free-to-play games can be great, but that great games can be free-to-play.

You begin Ascend: Hand of Kul as a Caos, a newborn thirty-foot humanoid, crafted to serve one of the three new gods that have awoken to challenge the rule of the Titan. You’ll bind yourself to one of these deities, championing their cause and gaining powers associated with their alignment as you gain influence and convert the will of the people. You’ll battle other Caos and countless monstrosities, always pushing further toward the endgame – where allegiances are fickle and the real goal is the pursuit of your own power.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul out on Wednesday

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Ascend: Hand of Kul is a free-to-play multiplayer action RPG developed by Signal Studios. The game has been in closed beta over the last few months but is now ready for the masses this coming Wednesday, September 25.

Signal Studios, which previously worked on the Toy Soldiers franchise, is hoping to shed the stigma that is attached to many F2P games by offering a free game that has zero premium content. Instead, there are weekly and community challenges to entice players to come back consistently to further try to balance the powers between the three alignments: Darkness, Void and Light.

Players will quickly realize that even though they are playing a single-player story they are not alone in this universe. Having created a world in which players can seamlessly go from a single to a multiplayer experience, Signal Studios is hoping to attract the attention of players who are drawn to the MMO action-adventure genre.

Look for Ascend: Hand of Kul this coming Wednesday and also be on the lookout for community announcements from Signal Studios, as it’ll be posting ways in which players can unlock special rewards for competing in various challenges.

Source: Major Nelson

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Ascend: Hand of Kul updates beta ahead of public release

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The forthcoming free-to-play action RPG, Ascend: Hand of Kul, continues its quiet march toward an inevitable launch date. Since early July, players who were fortunate to score a coveted spot in the closed beta have plummeted the depths of Signal Studios’ impressive landscape, and clashed against one another in the name of their respective gods. As we previously reported, plans are well underway to roll the beta into open release, starting with the latest content update.

Signal Studios’ President D.R. Albright III took to the developer’s blog to announce the update as version 1.1, the changes/features/fixes therein, and outline the future of Ascend. “The 1.1 phase will be released to those who have already been playing first,” he wrote. “Within a few days after release, we will be expanding the beta in larger groups, approximately 15k players is the goal.” If you’re not yet involved in the beta, the next round of invitations could remedy that – head over to official registration site to toss your name into the hat.

For those already engrossed in the ongoing Crusade for total dominion, you’ll be happy to know the playable world has now been expanded, including a long-awaited crack at one towering titan. Additional considerations aimed at improving player experience include: lowered repair costs, spells automatically receiving legacy status, pre/post invader status screens, increased difficulty during boss engagements and additional stats to pore over with each new item acquisition.

“We also fixed over 800 bugs since we last met and probably introduced a few hundred more :)! Let’s all hop on this beta and report any issues to the forums to help improve the public release,” Albright added. “Rest assured, back at the mothership we are already working diligently towards the next phase of Ascend, which is the full public release!” The full collection of changes can be found in list form – everyone’s favorite form – right after the jump.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul will roll beta into release, reward testers

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Microsoft Studios, the digital publishing arm of the Washington-based mother ship, recently cleared some time on their Twitch channel to host the folks from Signal Studios and their upcoming free-to-play RPG, Ascend: Hand of Kul. For over an hour, Ascend‘s developers fielded general questions about the game, the ongoing closed beta and an eventual release.

While an exact date hasn’t been locked down, Lead Designer Ian Scott commented on the ballpark release window. “We don’t know specifically but I would guess over the course of the next couple of months,” Scott said. “More and more people will have access [to the beta] and then the game’s going to kind of gradually launch into open release.”

“We’re going through the process of doing another update which will open up more stuff to get to the end of the game,” explained President of Signal Studios, D.R. Albright III. “When we do that, which should hopefully be within a few weeks, we’re going to release the rest of the beta codes. Then we’re going to update again [based on] that information, and that’s when it’s going to go live.”

The Ascend beta has been running strong since the beginning of the month, welcoming players who originally signed up to get a taste of what’s to come. While we can’t get into specifics about the beta content, it’s a small sample of the early game and from what we’ve played, you should be excited to get your hands on it. But it’s not all fun and games.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul wages war on Xbox Live Arcade

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Signal Studios’ free-to-play action RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul is gearing up for war later this year on Xbox Live Arcade. In the meantime, the folks behind the ambitious hack-and-slash want you to steel yourself for the upcoming Crusade – Ascend‘s persistent multiplayer faction war for control of the world.

The new trailer shows off how every player aligns themselves with one of the new gods, the three entities vying for total dominion. In their names you’ll capture shrines, defend them from invading players and field an army of warriors who automatically attack and convert enemy territory. In this way, you’ll apply constant pressure to other players, without actually have to the pull the trigger yourself.

The other aspect of Ascend: Hand of Kul‘s seamless multiplayer integration allows you to interact with the shades of other players in their own realms. The presentation is similar to Dark Souls, with the added bonus of being able to curse those players with monsters gifted from your deity, banish creatures into their world or bless them with helpful spells, you know… if that’s your thing.

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Ascend: Hand of Kul begins closed beta

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The forthcoming free-to-play action-RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul has finally opened its doors for a closed beta. Developer Signal Studios today announced that would-be testers who previously applied to participate should be on the lookout for a confirmation email within the next 24 hours. In the event you’re not selected, fear not, this is just the first pass and future beta opportunities may become available.

Ascend: Hand of Kul, until recently titled Ascend: New Gods, is the highly-anticipated action title that pits your customizable character against enemies of all sizes — from mammoth titans to puny humans. The game features persistent multiplayer, allowing you to help or hinder other players in the battle for controllable territory all in the name of your god.

When you’re satisfied with your progression, Ascend offers the ability to go the route of ascension, converting your character into a powerful enemy that roams the worlds of other players. This sacrifice doesn’t just wreak havoc among the general population, ascending bestows additional powers and heirlooms upon your next hero, beginning the cycle anew.

Though there’s no official release date just yet, Ascend: Hand of Kul is slated to launch this year on Xbox Live Arcade.

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Ascend New Gods beta sign-up begins

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If you were looking to start your journey to Ascension early, you’re in luck. A beta for Ascend: New Gods has been announced, and sign-ups begin today. The beta application page can be found here; all you have to do is fill out the form the you’re registered to be selected. You can increase your odds of getting in by referring your friends to the beta; the more friends you refer the bigger your chance of selection. The date the beta begins has yet to be announced, but Signal Studios has previously stated they were hoping to release the beta in April or May.

Ascend: New Gods is a huge single-player RPG that also has an important online component and puts the player in control of a Caos (a giant warrior). The game includes many staples of the RPG genre, including a vast land filled with dungeons, a large variety of enemies that come in many shapes and sizes and plenty of loot to collect. What sets the game apart is its multiplayer, which allows a player to see other players progressing through their own separate world. While players can’t effect each other directly, they will be able to use their powers to send either help or hindrance into each others’ worlds.

Once released, Ascend will be free-to-play. You can find out more from our E3 preview here.

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Learn how SmartGlass wants to help you game on Xbox Live Arcade

Ascend_OracleoftheNewGodsFrom playing games, to watching movies, to listening to music, Microsoft’s all-in-one companion application, Xbox SmartGlass, continues to build a hefty catalog of ways to interact with your Xbox 360. For anyone still in the dark about inviting SmartGlass into their holy trinity of media consumption, or aren’t familiar with what exactly it does, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. His name’s Peter Orullian.

But first, what is Xbox SmartGlass? Consider SmartGlass the very best parts of a friendship without having to subscribe to that nagging social courtesy of considering their feelings. Too lazy to get up and grab your Xbox remote? No problem, SmartGlass loves being a remote. Need a quick tip about the game you’re playing? SmartGlass will show you in real time, and won’t ask to play or tell you what you’re doing wrong. Actually, consider Xbox SmartGlass to be like your personal virtual servant; a media genie that only likes what you like and never pesters you about freedom, or lamps.

In a series of tutorial videos released yesterday, Xbox SmartGlass Product Manager Peter Orullian has outlined the many possible ways you can enhance any experience with the SmartGlass application, including our favorite, Xbox Live Arcade. Giving us the first information on how we can expect to utilize SmartGlass with Signal Studios’ upcoming action-RPG Ascend: New GodsOrullian demonstrates the newly unveiled Ascend: Oracle of the New Gods, which acts as an interactive compendium, realtime dungeon map and stat tracker. All this while showing off some much appreciated gameplay footage. Check out the video after the jump.

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