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Tribes 3: Rivals is out in Early Access now, for another shot at making Tribes popular


Firing a Spinfusor shot at a fleeing enemy flag carrier in Tribes 3: Rivals.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Prophecy Games

Tribes 3: Rivals is out in Steam Early Access now. The fast-paced, capture-the-flag shooter has been through several betas over the past year, and now has a post-launch roadmap of updates that includes new weapons, maps and class abilities.

Unlike free-to-play predecessor Ascend, Tribes 3: Rivals has an entry fee of £15.07 on Steam with its 10% launch discount. I think that's the right call for a series that has typically struggled to attract and to hold a large playerbase, and might prevent some of the microtransactional rot that eventually frustrated Ascend's fans.

Prophecy Games - the studio spun-off from Ascend developers Hi-Rez - outlined their development roadmap in a tweet. It includes a balance patch to come later in March, a Plasma Gun and a new CTF map called "Moonrise" to come in April, and then further balance fixes, class abilities, and a new map to come in the spring. Overall the hope is that Tribes 3 will remain in Early Access for six to 12 months.

This being a numeric sequel would seem to suggest Tribes 3 is harking back to the first two entries in the shooter series, and perhaps leaving memories of Vengeance and Ascend behind. I think the "Rivals" subtitle might be more indicative, however, given that Tribes 3 seems to do away with much of what I originally loved about Tribes 1 and 2.

Tribes, to me, was about having 128 players on a map, hugely flexible classes, a ton of vehicles, and then coordinating with teammates to overcome entrenched enemies, nab their flag, and make a daring escape. It was Battleifeld before Battlefield, and it supported sneaky, base-diving saboteurs as much as long-range grenadiers as much as skiing, spinfusing wunderkids.

Rivals focuses, as Ascend did, on the latter. There are no vehicles at all, and if the situation from the beta is the same now, player counts top out at 12v12. It's Tribes, sure, but it's not exactly Tribes 3 if I can't even fly a Shrike.

Your Tribes might be different than my Tribes, though, and James was impressed with its shooting and how it improved across its betas, so what do I know.

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