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Microsoft pulls plug on free-to-play Xbox 360 game Ascend: Hand of Kul

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Microsoft is shutting down the Xbox 360 version of free-to-play action-RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul in November, the company announced today, and has already pulled the game from the Xbox Games Store.

Developer Signal Studios said in an update on Wednesday that Microsoft discontinued support of Ascend and recently pulled the game from the Xbox marketplace. The change appears to have taken Signal Studios somewhat by surprise, as the developer said the discontinuation of Ascend "surfaced to us while investigating various issues players have been experiencing over the weekend."

"We are deeply saddened by this decision and the impact it has on our community," Signal Studios said in a statement. Ascend: Hand of Kul is still available in beta on Steam for Windows PC, the developer explained, and Signal Studios continues to update that version of the game.

"Effective November 18, 2014, Ascend on Xbox 360 will close and all Soul purchases have been disabled as part of the Marketplace shutdown," Microsoft said in a statement. "Players will still be able to play Ascend on Xbox 360 and use any content they have already acquired until the game closure date. This only applies to Ascend on Xbox 360 — Ascend will continue to be available on the Steam gaming platform. Thank you for your support and we hope to welcome you into our other gaming communities."

Microsoft unveiled Ascend at its E3 2012 press conference, originally under the name Ascend: New Gods. The game was renamed the following year and released on Xbox 360 after a beta trial period.

Signal Studios is currently developing a new entry in its Toy Soldiers series, Toy Soldiers: War Chest, for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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