Hi-Rez Studios stepped away from Tribes: Ascend [official site], their free-to-play revival of the classic FPS series, in 2013 to focus on their MOBA Smite. When they recently announced a new F2P FPS, the MOBA-tinged Paladins, well, they chances of them returning to Tribes seemed even slimmer. And yet!
Over the weekend, Hi-Rez announced 'Out of the Blue', the first patch for Tribes since March 12, 2013. Emerging from between green and violet onto a public test server later this month, it'll bring a new map, balance changes, and more.
The game's creative director popped up on Reddit to announce that the test server will open on, on before, September 14th. The preliminary patch notes list changes like rolling its nine classes into only three - Light, Medium, and Heavy - with different loadouts. All roles will be available to everyone from the start, and loadouts that players once had to buy will be free. The notes go into more detail that doesn't mean much to me, but Tribers should take a good look.
"Prior to release on the live servers, this release will be made available for general public testing on a test server," sez Hi-Rez. "The purpose of this server is to allow us to gain end-user feedback and bug testing on the release before we fully finalize the release. In order to make this release as good as we can, we need the Tribe's community to help us test and to give feedback!"
As well as, you know, working more on a game they loved enough to make in the first place, Hi-Rez are probably partially trying to reassure folks that they won't give up on Smite once Paladins comes out, that they aren't forever chasing shiny newness. Which, given that Smite seems to be their first big success, I can't imagine they would.