In an interview following Hi-Rez Studios' recent revival of Tribes Ascend, the free-to-play retake on the iconic FPS franchise, creative director Sean McBride has pointed to Blizzard's launch of Diablo 3 as a factor in the death of the Tribes' player base.
The long-ranging interview with PC Gamer comes after Tribes Ascend got its first patch since 2013, a patch that effectively reset or removed many of the inclusions to the game that infuriated, and eventually killed, the hardcore community.
But part of the reason why many of those inclusions, such as loadouts, nine player classes instead of the original light/medium/heavy builds, bloated weapons, imbalanced or useless perks and more, was because the community nearly vanished months after release.
Ascend didn't have a stellar launch, and when Diablo 3 was pushed out a month later, McBride said it practically killed Ascend. "As soon as Diablo came out our numbers tanked and we never recovered from those numbers," PC Gamer quotes McBride as saying.
"That definitely wasn’t the reason we didn’t take off. We were already starting to dip, but once you lose the players it’s hard to get them back."
Timing is so often a crucial factor in the publication of games. It's been the core complaint levelled against Rise of the Tomb Raider — why launch on the same day as Fallout 4 — and many indies, which fail to gain traction because they launch on the same week as long-awaited AAA releases.
It'll be interesting to see just how much love and care Hi-Rez puts into Tribes now. Last time their efforts only lasted a year before the project was effectively dropped and focus shifted to SMITE. With Paladins on the horizon, could the same thing happen once more?