Tribes: Ascend is finally being supported again. With absolutely no warning, the aptly named Out of the Blue patch was announced earlier this month. Currently playable on a new public test server, the update is going to revamp the class system, add maps, and make balance tweaks.
Much of the Tribes fanbase stopped playing a long time ago, feeling that developer Hi-Rez Studios had abandoned the game and its players in favor of supporting Smite, caring little about the state Tribes was left in. Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam told me today at TwitchCon that they've been wanting to come back to Tribes for a long time.
"None of us felt good about the state it was left in," Chisam told me, saying Smite had been consuming most of the studio's attention. Now that Smite has seen a considerable amount of success, they "finally got the chance" to restart work on Tribes, according to Chisam.
Even with the Out of the Blue update, and with more updates on the way, Chisam isn't especially optimistic about Tribes' popularity. "I don't think we'll ever make money off of it," he said, describing it as a "passion project" in comparison to Hi-Rez's other games.
I asked if they planned to continue updating and balancing Tribes: Ascend and Chisam told me "that's certainly the plan," as the game now has a small but dedicated team within Hi-Rez. "[We have] four or five people working on Tribes full time, and I'd love to keep that team around for a while ... It's starting to feel more like the old Tribes games."
Here are the patch notes for the second public test server, and the download instructions.