So, in unfortunate news today, Hi-Rez is shutting down Tribes: Ascend support again. This week, they released their last support patch that adds a few guns, removes a few items, removes the Hi-Rez patcher and Flash installer requirements and does a few other balance tweaks. It’s not much of a patch but I’m sure some people will appreciate the quality of life changes for installing the game in the future. Or some might not. Depends on your point of view.
It’s unclear how long the servers will remain up but hopefully they’ll stay up a very long time. The servers stayed up between 1.1 and 1.2 for several years when Tribes: Ascend surely wasn’t making money for the company. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t let it to stay up for a while. That being said, they’ve given no guarantee that it will.
Tribes: Ascend had a rough history. Was it entirely Hi-Rez’s fault? Yes and no. Certainly many mistakes were made. The business model wasn’t great, the gun balance was lacking and there was some frustration with decisions made. However, Tribes was entering the market at a rough time for FPS titles as COD had wiped the floor with its mountain of sequels and clones. There just wasn’t much room for the game and the growing popularity of MOBAs were pulling people away from a tired scene. It’s only recently that the FPS scene has seen any signs of life outside of COD. If only by proxy of the current dominance of hero shooters like Overwatch, Paladins, Battleborn and others. Games like Siege and minor AAA multiplayer shooters seem to show that it’s coming back in favor, at halting strides.
The lead designer on the project left due to conflicting visions of Tribes and I wonder what that was over. I couldn’t even begin to guess which one of many scenarios it was. It could just be that T:A simply wasn’t up to making as big a splash as Paladins or that Hi-Rez considered it a dead project and the designer wasn’t willing to accept that.
I wonder if Hi-Rez will come back to Tribes after Ascend. I guess only time will tell. But with the current PC market, another Tribes game probably won’t be well received for several years. Not like how Hi-Rez did Ascend. I’m not sure that the license has all that much flexibility for an entirely new direction either. So, for now, we wait.
Thanks for reading.