It looks like an old free-to-play FPSMMO is coming back: Hi-Rez Studios' first game Global Agenda: Free Agent has made a surprising return to Steam.
These days, Hi-Rez Studios is best known as the developer of Smite and Paladins and the publisher of the 4v4 multiplayer game Rogue Company, the latter of which launched in mid-2020. However, these are far from the only games that were made by the company. Aside from an ill-fated reboot of the Tribes franchise called Tribes: Ascend, Hi-Rez created an FPSMMO called Global Agenda as its very first commercial product.
Global Agenda first launched in 2010 as a premium product. Set in 2155, players took on the role of "Agents" fighting against an Orwellian government known as the Commonwealth by participating in PVE missions and raids. The game's first expansion was released later in its first year.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as well as expected. The game eventually shifted to a free-to-play model, but that wasn't enough to save it and Global Agenda shut down for good in 2018 -- or so we thought. Now, it seems that Hi-Rez's very first PC game may be making a comeback.
Is Hi-Rez's Global Agenda: Free Agent Back for Good?
So, is Hi-Rez Studios' first game Global Agenda: Free Agent back? The answer is both "yes" and "no" as far as I can tell.
The very first hints of a revival happened earlier this year. As MassivelyOP reported, the game's servers were surprisingly brought back online -- a fact that was somehow discovered by the game's community. This was followed by Hi-Rez Studios' CEO commenting on the matter publicly.
"We duct-taped together a Global Agenda server on a potato server (no small feat) for a small test and somehow people found it," Hi-Rez Studios CEO Steward Chisam said in a tweet. "Made for a nostalgic evening :) Was a great game."
A handful of players were apparently able to log in to the game by downloading an old version of its standalone launcher -- no small challenge considering that the Steam version had been delisted for a few years now.
One would think that would have been the end of things, but it seems that this FPSMMO is slowly coming back online. As reported on Reddit, the game seems to be coming back to Steam.
Nothing comes up if you attempt to search for the game on Steam. However, the Steam Store page is back online, but it still includes the standard discontinuation notice:
Notice: At the request of the publisher, Global Agenda: Free Agent is unlisted on the Steam store and will not appear in search.
Recent changes highlighted on the game's associated SteamDB page show the return of several elements including categories, a description, and screenshots. While the game still does not show up in Steam search, going directly to the Global Agenda: Free Agent Steam Store page will allow you to download the client.
I played Global Agenda back when it launched in 2010, so I decided to see if I could log in with my old account. Much to my surprise, everything was still there -- my characters, my inventory, and my friend list. Even the Agency I belonged to and my premium status as an Elite Agent (for having purchased the game on launch) was still active.
Since I was able to log in, I decided to see if I could play one of the PVE missions solo. Surprisingly, I saw a handful of players floating around the Dome City hub zone and looking for groups to complete PVE missions together. I opted to go into a mission solo and was able to play a mission in short order.
However, we can't quite say that the game is completely back just yet. The game's official website and its associated forums remain offline and there is nary a whisper of anything new on the game's Steam News page. Since this game relied on a third-party launcher for managing accounts, that means that you can't create a new account. Furthermore, there is not yet an option to actually buy any in-game currency. There's no way to get into the game if you didn't already have an account and there's no way to make a new one -- at least, not yet.
The most interesting fact I've discovered, however, is all the way back up in that Agency vs. Agency image at the top of this article: note how the timer says that the next season begins in 1 day and 3 hours. This might be hinting at some kind of soft relaunch of the game.
We can't say what's going on for certain, but we'll be keeping an eye on the situation; for now, we've reached out to Hi-Rez Studios on the matter and will update this article when we receive a reply. Maybe this will be a success and someone will decide to bring back Defiance 2050, too.
Did you ever have the chance to play Global Agenda: Free Agent back when it launched? What's your favorite online game that has been shut down? Let us know in the comments below!