Hi-Rez Studios breathed life back into the Tribes franchise with the launch of Tribes: Ascend in April 2012. It’s a free-to-play first-person shooter set in a futuristic world originally established by developer studio Dynamix and Sierra Entertainment. Now it seems that the Tribes saga may have come to a close once again with the release of the “Parting Gifts” update for this latest installment
The update brings a number of changes to the equipment. For instance, the sidearms and automatics are all now located under one “Bullet” category across all classes. Another change applies to the Light Spinfusor and Light Blinkfusor weapons, with the direct hit damage and splash damage increased for each. The Honorfusor was added to Medium armor as well that provides direct hit damage only.
On a gameplay level, the update removes screenshake from the game. The lifespan of ammo/health pickups now resides at 15 seconds instead of 60 seconds, and the health gained from pickups now resides at 300, down from 400. The Grav Cycle and Beowulf vehicles received changes as well, such as a lowered gravity scaling for the former and a lowered base damage for the latter.
This is the first patch to Tribes: Ascend since the studio updated the game in January. That patch brought a huge list of changes to the equipment, vehicles, and overall gameplay. For instance, the patch enabled players to press “Q” to select the weapon previously held. The grenade throw speed was increased by 25 percent, and votekick was changed to require only 35 percent of the players on the server to vote in favor of kicking an annoying player.
Overall, Tribes: Ascend received regular updates since the game went into beta until the end of 2012. After that, the game only received three updates in 2013 and four updates in 2015. Notice that patches weren’t released in 2014, as that was the year Hi-Rez Studios released Smite for Microsoft Windows, with the Xbox One version in 2015, the PlayStation 4 version in 2016, and the OS X version launched in May as a beta.
That attention to Smite caused fans to accuse Hi-Rez Studios of abandoning Tribes: Ascend, thus the community reportedly slowly drifted away. Eventually creative director Sean McBride left the studio, who is mostly known for reviving the Tribes franchise with his work on Tribes: Ascend.
“As most know, the Tribes IP has been near and dear to me as a gamer and a developer and I’m greatly saddened to leave it behind,” he said in July. “I don’t know what the future holds for Tribes: Ascend, but before I departed we planned a small patch. Everett will follow up about that in the near future. Thanks everybody for the feedback and working with us closely over the last few patches. I greatly enjoyed my time working on Tribes: Ascend both before, and after the ‘Out of the Blue’ patch.”
A Hi-Rez representative previously stated that the “Parting Gifts” patch, version 1.4, will be the last major update to the game. However, the studio will keep the Tribes: Ascend servers up and running for the foreseeable future along with providing patches to fix game-breaking bugs and weapon balancing.