here at Ten Ton Hammer love online first-person shooters, so we became
delirious with joy when we heard the announcement of Tribes Universe.
This online multiplayer shooter is based on the Starsiege: Tribes
universe and will probably result in many missed hours of work when it
is released. Ten Ton Hammer sat down with Erez Goren, Hi-Rez Studios CEO & Tribes Universe Chief Designer, to tap into Tribes: Universe.
Question: Please tell us a little about Tribes Universe.
Answer: Tribes Universe is an online shooter that features massive PvP battles on large, persistent open spaces where there is an on-going struggle for territory control. The game is set inside the fictional game universe popularized by such classic and beloved titles as Earthsiege, Starsiege, Starsiege:Tribes, Tribes 2 and Tribes Vengeance.
Question: Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes II were favorites to many a LAN party. How do you plan on captivating that feel of a party shooter game and translating it into an MMOG?
Answer: I think that “LAN Party” feeling comes from a few different aspects: Really great game performance, “wow that was awesome” gameplay, the special shoot-em-’up competitive camaraderie that comes from playing with friends, and, of course, Nachos.
In Tribes Universe, we’re seeking to bring you all of those same things, but you’ll still need to bring your own Nachos.
Question: Are you focusing more on the shooter aspect of the game, or are you adding more RPG elements?
Answer: We are focusing primarily on the shooter element. In addition, we expect to add a territory control meta game and a high level of world immersion to ensure that players feel that they are participating in an evolving, persistent world and not just a shooter match.
Question: In terms of development, are you building a new engine, or using existing technology and knowledge from your work on Global Agenda?
Answer: We are using the Unreal Engine and many of the technologies we developed for Global Agenda. The Unreal engine is flexible and allows for many different game implementations.
The major tech work on this project, and it’s very substantial, involves a significant server-side re-architecting to better support very large battles. We’re also switching to Scaleform technology for our user
interface, which will allow for a significantly sexier UI.
"One difference from most typical shooters is that there are more roles to play and all players don’t have to be engaged in pure shooting. ."
Question: Dynamix and Sierra On-Line were powerhouses of development and game publishing in the 80s and 90s. How do you follow a show like that and meet fan expectations?
Answer: We are huge Tribes fans, and we certainly feel honored to own the Tribes Franchise, and are deeply aware of the expectations that carries.
Nostalgia is always a tough thing to work against, especially in gaming, and we certainly know it is a difficult line to toe between honoring the games that made the Franchise what it is, while also working to extend the Franchise into the future.
I think it has really helped us to be doing this right on the heals of Global Agenda, which has given us a solid technology foundation and a reservoir of lessons and experiences to draw from.
Question: We understand that it's a separate team working on the title and not the Global Agenda team. How much has this expanded the Hi-Rez offices?
Answer: We are adding additional people to the company, and are moving into new offices in December that will accommodate our growth. How many total additional people we add will depend ultimately on the progress we see over the next few months, especially as we finalize some of the core requirements.
Right now, we are organizing the Studio into two different teams -- one for Global Agenda and one for Tribes Universe. We have new people on each team, and Global Agenda veterans on each team.
Question: Are vehicles still going to play an important role in the newest Tribes game?
Answer: Yes, vehicles will be an important part of the game. They will mostly be designed for support functions rather than to be primary damage dealers. Support functions include transport, forward spawn locations, ammo replenishment, stationary defenses, etc.
Question: Will the game feature a "holy trinity" of healer, tank and DPS classes?
Answer: No. The game is designed around every player being able to do significant damage in addition to support functions. A player can wear heavy armor and shields and be more of a ‘tank’, or carry more repair devices as an ‘Engineer’, but there are no defined classes. There is also a lot less healing than is typical in an MMORPG game.
Question: Will the game offer PvE or is it primarily PvP?
Answer: Tribes Universe is designed primarily around large-scale PvP. One difference from most typical shooters is that there are more roles to play and all players don’t have to be engaged in pure shooting. For example, a player can specialize in transport of other players, focus on defense repairs, or focus on coordinating groups of players in a large scale attack.
Question: Two words can describe the original Tribes experience: Smooth and Fast. Is this the theme you're aiming for in Tribes Universe?
Answer: Smooth and fast will play an important role. Tribes Universe will also emphasize group strategy, counters, progression, specialization and tactics that are more extensive than anything a Tribes game has had before.
Question: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers at this time?
Answer: We’re very grateful and pleased with the reaction to our initial announcement of Tribes Universe. We’ve been flooded by enthusiastic Tribes fans, as well as fans of games like Planetside and, of course, Global Agenda, that are telling us this is a game they have always hoped would be made. We’re working as hard as we can to bring a great game to the Tribes Community and very much appreciate everyone’s support.