At a Tribes 2 community event over the weekend, Sierra announced some changes to its plans for Tribes 2. The publisher had previously announced that it would release a new retail product, called Tribes 2: Fast Attack, which would add a new single-player dimension to the multiplayer team shooter. Fast Attack has been canceled, but Sierra is putting new weight behind the work of a few mod makers whose new maps and modes of play will be featured in a free update to the game that will be released in late September. A final patch in development at Garage Games will also be released at that time and is expected to clear up any remaining technical issues, improve performance, and further open the game to mod making. The Tribes 2 update is a part of Sierra's effort to extend the Tribes franchise.
Sierra's decision to cancel Fast Attack was said to be because the single-player missions wouldn't add much that was new as compared to the offline tutorial missions already in Tribes 2. Fast Attack was also to have a faster style of play, more like the original Tribes or Tribes Aerial Assault for the PlayStation 2. The upcoming update will integrate the faster play modes into Tribes 2.
The update contains 10 maps from the original Tribes that have been remastered for Tribes 2 and 13 maps from the comp mod, a mod developed for competitive players that speeds up play by changing weapon speeds, physics, and skiing speeds. There are five maps for the second mod included in the update, team rabbit 2, which is described as flag ball. There's a flag in middle of a map with two goals on either end. The point of the game is to score goals, but in the process it's important to pass the flag to teammates. The more acrobatic your passes, the more points goals are worth.
Sierra sees the update as a major change for Tribes 2, not least of all because of the Garage Games patch to fix the game's technical issues. Many who bought the game when it came out in the spring of 2001 had severe performance issues, but the patch is said to greatly optimize the code and bring performance boosts even to those whose systems were already running the game at a decent frame rate. Garage Games was formed from former Tribes 2 team members shortly before Sierra closed Dynamix, the internal studio that created the game.
Along with the free update for Tribes 2 owners, Sierra will reissue a retail copy of Tribes 2 that includes all the updates and new content. The reissued version will sell for $10. According to Sierra, Tribes 2 has sold 250,000 copies in the US. Sierra is also at work on new, undisclosed Tribes projects.
Check back in September for the Tribes 2 download. For more information, read our full review of the game.