Hi-Rez decided to stop updating Tribes Ascend in favor of user mapmaking tools because the studio feels that the Tribes experience is "complete" as-is. In a follow-up interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Hi-Rez's Todd Harris has now discussed the development hiatus in more detail and answers some tough questions on extant issues with game balance. He argues that not only is the game complete, but it's already feature-rich and a bargain for the price.
Since launch, we added 54 new weapons. We added a new game mode, a new leveling system, custom servers, server browser, shielded base assets, 29 new maps – all free – and all that in a brief period of time. We also added an option for people to pay one price and get all the weapons. I don't know of any other free-to-play game, other than our own SMITE, that has that option. It's free-to-play, but it does have a twist. You can get all the gameplay elements for the price of a normal game. It's fairly complete in its content.Harris also tells RPS that a new tutorial would be only a "modest improvement as far as new people sticking with the game"; instead, he says, he hopes to facilitate community resources. But mostly, he appears to believe the game has already found its audience. "The days of major changes in the game are behind us," he says.
What about insinuations that the studio bit off more than it could chew? Harris explains that the studio has three small teams working on multiple games and has learned "learned the value of focus." According to Harris, Tribes has supported itself commercially and profits were always returned to the game's development. Even so, the studio is focused on the MOBA space: "SMITE is doing well enough that it's justifying a large amount of resources on it . . . we see the biggest studio opportunity on SMITE."