Tribes: Ascend was unfortunately llama-dropped by developer Hi-Rez studios earlier this year, but now the community has rallied to build an unofficial software development kit and server hosting solution. As posted in a thread in the Tribes subreddit, this will allow the community to host and support versions of Ascend in place of continuing official support from Hi-Rez. Hi-Rez's reaction, however, is the big unknown: players using modded software and hosting modded servers could be vulnerable to bans or cease and desist orders from the developer.
As we reported in July, Hi-Rez is focusing on its new gods-battling MOBA, Smite. This left Tribes: Ascend, one of our favorite shooters from last year , somewhat out in the cold and its players upset. Hi-Rez said earlier this year that it will work on official map making tools , but updates on the effort have been sparse.
We spoke to Hi-Rez co-founder Todd Harris in July, when work on the community SDK was already underway. “I don't know enough about the details,” he said, “so we've kind of talked through that on a community show, and at this point, it's not clear to me whether that effort is trying to get around the server authentication and basically the monetization scheme or not. So, it has to get further along, and we've got to do some more discovery on our end to understand how compatible we could be with that or not. We support anything that's not enabling players to unlock content that would normally only come with time or money, that's getting unlocked for free. So we just have to understand whether there's a path we can work with that project to make that happen, and right now I don't know the answer to that.”
That unfortunately leaves the newly revealed SDK with a big, fat question mark hanging over it. We've reached out to Hi-Rez with a request for comment, and will update this post when we hear something back.