Hi-Rez Studios is making their entry in the fan-favorite Tribes franchise a free-to-play experience. Shazbot… and we mean that in a good way.

The trailer above serves as the premiere of this title's gameplay footage. In keeping with the qualities of Tribes, Ascend looks to be huge, lush, fast and brutal. Anyone who has played any game in the series will tell you that Tribes is all about being quick and fluid. There are those among us that could cap flags entire maps apart in a matter of seconds, something that's extremely frustrating when you're just trying to cruise the base and setup turrets near your generator.

If that makes absolutely no sense, then you haven't played Tribes before. You'll have your chance soon. The free-to-play model encourages two things: new players and microtransactions. And Hi-Rez are just another studio that's decided to take the free-to-play plunge in light of the fact that this type of gaming fiscally performs so well.

You'll be able to enjoy the game at its base level for free; however, if you want all the custom armor, faster movement and extra frills right away, you'll have to pay for them. Dollars at a time, of course, but the hope is that you'll do so a lot over a long period of time. From there, companies will rake in the dough while offering an otherwise free experience.

For now, Tribes: Ascend is a PC only title. Joystiq spoke with the developers about the potential of the game making it over to consoles; they said that it's not out of the realm of possibility. The only wrench in those gears is the fact that the free-to-play model may not work on either the PSN or Xbox LIVE platforms.

Tribes: Ascend is scheduled to release for the PC sometime later this year.

[trailer via IGN]