When Hi-Rez Studios originally planned a console port of Tribes: Ascend as this Examiner can attest to as the early beta included support for the Xbox 360 controller. CEO Ezra Goren revealed Wednesday though that publishers didn't think the game would work on consoles without changes that would have made it something other than Tribes. The company founder also seemingly confirmed that the mod tools promised for the PC version of the game aren't happening.
"Tribes was also reviewed by outside publishers for both console port potential and other regions like China, the evaluations we received from numerous potential publishers was that it was too niche and difficult as a mainstream product (their words, not ours) and they were not interested in publishing it," Goren wrote on Reddit explaining the difficulties the company had marketing the game. "We would have had to significantly change the game-play which our current Tribes user base would disagree with (for example; much much slower movement, reduce or no skiing, instant fire, etc)."
Previously, COO Todd Harris stated that the game's free-to-play nature didn't make it a good fit for either PSN or Xbox LIVE. This was in a 2009 interview when both console online services were much more rigid than they are today.
Goren is right about Tribes being a niche product as there are few, if any shooters, that successfully combined the high-skill shooting mechanics with the speed of the original Starsiege Tribes or its successor, Tribes 2. Interestingly, Tribes: Aerial Assault was a 2002 port of Tribes 2 to the PS2 where it received decent review scores and stayed online through 2008.
As for the map-making and mod tools for Tribes: Ascend that was promised earlier this summer by Harris following a community backlash after Hi-Rez announced that more content wasn't coming. Goren appears to have put the brakes on that idea citing the expense.
"Some people have asked for us to provide more tools for community content creation, but our infrastructure and development platform does not support that ability well and the cost and time to develop those features is extremely high," Goren wrote.
Both Tribes and its sequel have lasted years due to community support. With Hi-Rez Studios ending support with new content and patches for Tribes: Ascend, it seems unlikely that the community will hang around without any mod tools.
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