Tribes 2 (abbreviated as T2) is a sci-fi first-person shooter multiplayer video game developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra Studios. A sequel to Starsiege: Tribes, Tribes 2 was released for Microsoft Windows in North America on March 28, 2001 and Europe on April 13, 2001. A Linux port was released by Loki Games on April 19, 2001. On November 2, 2008, Sierra disabled the authentication servers required for its online multiplayer. In early 2009 an unofficial community project provided a patch and replacement server which restored online functionality.
Set in the year 3941 of the fictional Earthsiege universe, Tribes 2 allows the user to play as a soldier in one of several factions (referred to in the game as tribes), namely the Children of the Phoenix, the Blood Eagle, the Diamond Sword, and the Starwolf. Players can also choose to play a rebelling human-created soldier/worker race called the BioDerms. None of the factions differ from each other in strengths or weaknesses, but each has a distinctive look and background story.
Tribes 2 is a multiplayer online game, designed for Internet or LAN play with up to 128 players (64 vs 64) or bots per match, although a small single-player tutorial mode is included. The game may be played from both first- and third-person perspectives. Each match takes place on an Earthsiege-themed map. The Tribes 2 engine, an early version of the Torque Game Engine, is capable of both indoor and outdoor maps, with expansive play areas. Player movement about the map may be on foot, using a jet pack, or in various ground and airborne vehicles as pilot, co-pilot, or passenger.
Each match is played according to one of a number of possible game modes, which dictate the rules of the match. These modes include capture the flag, deathmatch, rabbit-chase, and others. Players are free to choose their own role, and may deploy various items of weaponry, vehicles, and emplacements. Many of these items can be left unattended to operate automatically, or control may be assumed by players. Each player may also choose from three armor types (which trade off various abilities, e.g. weak but fast, or strong but slow), and a weapon and equipment loadout, which may be reconfigured at any time during a match.
The large variety of equipment and deployable items results in many opportunities for creative play and tactics, from pure combat to stealth. Tribes 2 gameplay makes extensive use of jet pack-powered flight, which adds a notable vertical element to combat. As such, playing style varies dramatically from player to player, and from moment to moment, but Tribes 2 gameplay may be generalized as being fast-paced three-dimensional combat over a wide playing area. Player vs player combat is a central element of Tribes 2 gameplay, even in team-based modes.