Wednesday Hi-Rez Studios sent over a quick note announcing that it's now accepting applications for the first phase of the Tribes: Ascend closed beta which begins in a few weeks. Although the actual launch date wasn't given, Hi-Rez plans to grant access to thousands of "hand-selected" players worldwide.
"During this initial beta phase, Tribes: Ascend players will experience 4 multiplayer maps, 2 game-modes and 3 vehicles as they progress through 12 playable classes in fast-paced, high-flying online multiplayer matches of up to 32 people," the studio said. "Hi-Rez Studios will continue to increase the number of beta participants through the end of this year in preparation for a general game release in Q1 of 2012."
As noted, the game has been officially delayed, pushed back from its original Q4 2011 release schedule. However, when launched, Tribes: Ascend will be the first new Tribes game to be released since Tribes: Vengeance hit the PC way back in 2004.
According to the studio, Tribes: Ascend will be the official multiplayer successor to 2001's Tribes 2, and will be brought to the PC as a digital download using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. The game will also arrive on the Xbox 360 console, launching alongside the PC version when they both go live early next year.
To sign up for the closed beta, head here.