GAMING BLEND

Tribes: Ascend Put On Back Burner, Hi-Rez Focusing On SMITE

By Pete Haas 2013-07-12 13:41:04 discussion comments
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Tribes: Ascend won't be getting any major updates for months, Hi-Rez Studios' Todd Harris announced today. The studio instead plans to put its energy into SMITE, the company's new MOBA.

Ascend is a free-to-play multiplayer shooter. Players can create customized, class-based loadouts of equipment and weapons. The game is characterized by expansive maps that players navigate with either vehicles or jetpacks.

In the months following Ascend's early 2012 launch, Hi-Rez introduced new maps, game modes and items. However, updates have slowed to a crawl in 2013. The last major patch, released in March, merely added two voice packs and a skin.

"Anyone in the community could tell you that based on what we've seen, HiRez has effectively stopped most development on the game," a player said on Reddit. "And yet we still have no official reason for this, or even confirmation that this is the case. We have APC and occasionally Kate responding to threads on this subreddit, but they (or anyone else from HiRez) have yet to give us a straight answer about the status of the game."

Harris responded to that open letter by saying the game would receive no major updates for the next six months as they work to polish up SMITE. That doesn't mean that they'll start churning out new content for Ascend on a regular basis again, though. After those six months, Hi-Rez is going to work on new games.

"For the next six months our primary development focus is SMITE. Beyond that it is Global Agenda 2. And beyond that a Tribes Ascend 2 would be more likely than a major update to Tribes Ascend; but to be clear no devs are currently working toward Tribes Ascend 2."

There are some additional maps for Ascend in development, though. These maps will be released "if time allows" along with some bug fixes. However, Harris declined to provide a time table.

"We continue to support TA servers, online community events, tournaments with prizing, bringing Tribes to offline events like recent RTX and upcoming QuakeCon, and live-streaming."

Although a free-to-play game, Ascend allows players to spend money on cosmetic items or quicker unlocks. Many players have dumped serious cash into the game, believing that it would receive long-term support from Hi-Rez. Some of this money was spent during the game's beta, when Hi-Rez was still adding and polishing content. Maybe these players didn't expect a huge amount of new content, but at the minimum they expected that the game wouldn't become an after-thought to its developers.

True, Hi-Rez had no concrete obligation here. It's not like they have a contract with players to create two years' worth of new content. Still, they're probably going to find it harder to convince players to drop money on Global Agenda 2 or another future free-to-play game. Why support a game if the developers aren't going to do the same?
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