Tribes: Ascend planning map-making tools for the community

Last week, Hi-Rez's Todd Harris made a statement to the Tribes: Ascend community, informing them that the free-to-play FPS would not receive any major updates for at least sixth months . That, in addition to an already long period since the last major content drop, seemed to imply that the team were planning on eventually abandoning the game. Apparently that's not quite the case, as Harris has now revealed his desire to plant their development flag in the well-defended base of the game's community.

"The one thing we're going to be working on next is a path for users to basically add their own maps," Harris said in an interview with RPS . "We just feel like it's at a good point to have users maintain it. We feel that it's a complete experience, and we want to give users the tools to add their own maps – versus, say, us adding more guns that wouldn't benefit [the experience]."

Harris says that they're still discussing what form those user tools will take, and whether they'll get access to prescribed building blocks or a full SDK. "There's actually some community work toward an SDK that's been started," he continued, "and I expect more details from us in the next month. It's not anything that has a date yet or a full feature set, but that's the only real feature that we have in the works – aside from some small bug fixes."

"Ideally [we'll release the map-making tools] in the next six months. But it's a pretty fresh concept, so it doesn't have a committed date yet. There's a lot of ways we could go with it, as you can imagine. We just want to let people know that it's the next thing for Tribes Ascend."

Why drop development plans for Tribes: Ascend at all? Harris admitted that the team's experience juggling Global Agenda and Tribes taught them a lesson about spreading their development resources to thinly. "SMITE is growing incredibly fast and, as a studio, we've learned the value of focus," said Harris. "So other than Tribes mod/map support, our focus is all-in on SMITE for next six months."

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.