Hi-Rez studios have dropped the flag of Tribes: Ascend development, and don't seem to be in a hurry to pick it back up. In a statement on the free-to-play shooter's forum, studio co-founder Todd Harris answered a Reddit question asking about the lack of recent updates. He confirmed that no major patches were planned, while the developers ski off to concentrate on their third-person lane pusher, Smite.
Here's the full statement from Hi-Rez's Todd Harris:
"There are no major dev updates planned for Tribes: Ascend in the next six months.
"For the next six months our primary development focus is SMITE. Beyond that it is GA2. And beyond that a TA2 would be more likely than a major update to TA; but to be clear no devs are currently working toward TA2.
"Per the development blog on our forums, the recent TA work has been Kate developing some additional maps. If time allows then these new TA maps (along with some bug-fixes) would be finalized and deployed but no committed date yet.
"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."
Traditionally, multiplayer games are transitory. With a few exceptions, we expect them to eventually wind down as people move on to newer things. For free-to-play games, it's a slightly more complicated issue. To what extent do you need to run them as a continually expanding service? At what point do you move on if one isn't justifying its continued development?
To be clear, Hi-Rez don't seem to be abandoning the game. Although, in a competitive genre, that might just be a purely technical distinction. After six months, will there be much of a Tribes: Ascend community left to support?