Realtime Worlds Enter Administration

By Kieron Gillen on August 17th, 2010 at 4:59 pm.

Oh, this is getting sadder. Following on the news of Yesterday’s redundancies than Develop report their company sources that the company has entered administration. If no new investor can be found before an unspecified deadline, the company will enter full liquidation. Develop say their sources say the game will likely live on, if only in the hands of another developer. Full story here. I’d also like to direct you to a comment which appeared in the RPS thread yesterday, from someone professing to be an “ExRTW”er talking extensively about their experience with the company and the problems it faced.

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113 Comments »

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  1. WiPa says:

    This is sad news. But APB could have been so much better. I think they rested far too much on the customisation, and not enough on actual gameplay.

    Plus, support during beta was horrible. People were reporting bugs and nothing was done about any of them. I managed to connect to the server twice out of about 50 tries, and those two times i had 1fps.

  2. ZIGS says:

    That’s what happens when you want a slice of the WoW cake. What’s more baffling is that this isn’t the first time it happens… nor will be the last I suspect

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Developing an MMO is now the game developer equivalent of lung cancer.

    Especially if you ignore the people that have been telling you for a year your MMO is shit.

    • Mac says:

      Agree … why have a beta if you are not prepared to listen to the testers?

      Even better – launch your game and tell the buying public that they do not get it, and are playing it wrong … sorry no, your game mechanics are shit …

      APB could have been great – if only it had delievered 10% of what was promised.

      Shame to see a dev go out of business, but it just goes to show how tough this business is.

    • Kadayi says:

      I think that’s a bit rich coming from you Meat given you never made one post during the entire beta.

    • WiPa says:

      I must have missed the rule that states everyone must use the same username no matter which website they are visiting.

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      KindredPhantom says:

      @Kadayi

      MeatCirus is hear just to the point the finger and go “I told you so”. Anything constructive is beyond him, like as you said he never bothered to contribute in the beta and in life too.

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      KindredPhantom says:

      Woops bad typo. By “hear” i meant “here”, lol.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Hush now, APB Defence League. It’s not my fault that it got shite reviews, and it’s not my fault that nobody’s paying for it, and it’s not my fault that RTW ignored the many warnings signs of impending doom until it was far too late.

      I wasn’t part of the beta, I’m only reporting what I was told by those who were. As it stands, I really, really wanted APB to be great (and in fact, still do), but it failed to live up to its lofty aspirations and expectations.

      I still think it could be the APB we were all hoping for and expecting, but it isn’t.

    • Kadayi says:

      @KindredPhantom

      I know dude, I just like to highlight his hypocrisy.

    • Meat Circus says:

      By my “hypocrisy”, presumably you mean your irritation that all those warning about APB being substandard have been proven correct?

      That’s not that accepted definition of the word, but I’ll let you run with it for now, because I can understand that as one of the four people that actually liked APB, you’re a little tired and emotional.

    • DrGonzo says:

      You were not in the Beta so you can not comment. I was. I was also going to buy the game at some point in the future. It wasn’t that I thought it was bad at all. It was fairly good fun and I could have seen it becoming absolutely excellent in a few months after a bunch of updates.

  4. Schmung says:

    Sad news :(
    I disliked APB, but it was obvious how much work had gone into it. Just a shame that it wasn’t what people expected when they played it and that it was such a letdown for so many. It’s had a lot of negative press and word of mouth since it’s beta and it’s going to be hard for it to recover from that, even with a new developer. A shame, as it had potential oozing out of it.

    Mr ExRTW in the comments thread yesterday were very informative – but after reading them I couldn’t help sort of thinking it was always going to be doomed.

    :(

  5. Legionary says:

    So sad. Gaming’s suffered a great loss if RTW go into liquidation.

  6. Bobsy says:

    Man oh man.

    Feel very sorry for them, but in all honesty their game simply wasn’t good enough.

    • Simon says:

      This. It’s unfortunate for everyone at RTW who doubtless slaved their hearts out over their game, but, well, the game generated far too much negative word of mouth too close to release with the whole free-to-play-and-then-not confusion, and the review embargo, and the unskippable VoIP adverts, and the driving/shooting being rubbish, etc etc…. I want to believe that there’s the core of a good game in there, and doubtless it can be polished up, but I think it’s too late for APB in it’s current incarnation.

    • Zogtee says:

      Turn it into a singleplayer game before it’s too late and the ship sinks.

  7. mr distended rectum says:

    a real project “Icarus”

  8. terry says:

    A shame, but not a surprise. Good luck to those affected :-(

  9. Tei says:

    Producing software is not a exact science, and you often have the proyect that get out of schedule, or the one that for some reason no one use. This can be a problem with normal software, but with videogames is a disaster.

    Seems RTW got 100M$ to make the company awesome, and made with that money 1 full MMO and about 60% of another one.
    And these two where very creative and original games, not the generic wow clones you get with other people (Bioware I am looking at you).

    Sad news, the game got bad reviews from journos and players. It wasis a good game, but the people that like it. Theres also some unstability on the client, crashes, is more demanding that in the box spec’s section, and is newbie unfriendly. As the kiss of dead. But… fuck you guys!. Is GOTY materials, and I will tell my childrens I played it. Normally I don’t condone nostalgia, but if theres something worth remenber is the awesomenes of APB.

    • mr distended rectum says:

      hey..

      pass over whatever you’ve been smokin..

      MUST BE REAL GOOD

    • Deston says:

      Tei smokes pure awesome laced with win. He’s the RPS comments mascot; pay attention to his wise words or we’ll run yer out of town!

      For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed APB too. I played through KttC courtesy of our RPS overlords giving away a billion odd keys, and then for about another month solid afterwards on the full game…. It was indeed flawed in a lot of areas, but despite all the problems I still had a lot of fun playing it with a group of friends.

      I don’t regret buying it at all, but I am disappointed that it didn’t match up to the lofty expectations it set itself – it had so much potential and was ultimately a very (overly?) ambitious project.

      Anyway, best of luck to everyone at RTW. It sounds like you’ll need it. :(

    • Jockie says:

      Had some great times in APB as well personally. Rolling out with friends, close fought fast paced games that sprawled across a city , ridiculous stunt driving paying off, last minute victories.

      Not a game that’s even close to being perfect or fulfilling it’s potential, but full of moments you won’t find elsewhere. Hope they manage to keep the game moving forward despite the difficulties.

    • mr distended rectum says:

      Ah… ok.. don’t run me out.. please…

      Wait a minute.. NO.

      Pass that win-doobie.. I need a toot of it.

      You guys are “trippin”.

  10. BigJonno says:

    I reckon that the lack of subscription-worthy features were as much to blame as the quality of the game. I’d certainly have picked this up if it didn’t require a fee; it was flawed, but a good laugh with friends. As it stood, there certainly wasn’t enough there to justify any kind of ongoing costs.

  11. Freud says:

    The MMO market is over saturated. Sure, from a publisher perspective it is of course awesome if customers not only pay a full price for the product but keeps paying each month. But then you need to deliver a product people want to play or you have a giant head ache on your hands.

    While I have sympathy for those losing their jobs, RTW going down is common sense. If I were to try to sell cheap white wine for the price of champagne I would also.

  12. Meat Circus says:

    The sad thing is, there was so much good will towards APB: we all really *wanted* it to be great. But with the best will in the world, five hours in the Keys to the City event was enough to show the me what APB actually was.

    It wasn’t full price boxed release + pay by the hour quality by a long shot.

    So, APB was in the end killed by a failure of quality control before release and a mind-numbingly stupid business model.

  13. airtekh says:

    Gutted.

    I was really looking forward to this game too. No chance of that mega-patch appearing now.

    • Meat Circus says:

      On the plus side, there’s a chance of whoever picks up the shattered remains of APB on the cheap “doing a Mythos” on it: take it offline, put it back into silent running, do the year of development work it needs to make it a good game, TEST, TEST, TEST (and listen to the testers) and re-release it in eighteen months, to much fanfare, polished and brilliant, with all-new shooting and driving, free to play and with a microtransaction-based business model.

      It might just happen.

    • Dude says:

      Well let see what the next patch will change as it already on the test server, maybe it will already make a difference in term of shooting and driving!

    • Matt says:

      Doing a Mythos? You mean transforming it into a Korean grindfest, and ignoring NA territories?

  14. Emphursis says:

    I’m not suprised to be honest.
    APB was a superb idea, but it was horribly implemented. Had they spent an extra six months polishing the game, they probably wouldn’t be in this situation right now.

    Hopefully whichever dev gets their hands on APB will know about the flaws and sort them out!

  15. JarHeaD says:

    I knew this would happen sooner or later. Even though I’m one of the ones that stuck it out and had good faith in them, deep down I knew it. Like I told my friends, its obvious they was to focused on the customization of the game. If they wanted a social game thats what they should have made. I doubt anyone will want to buy it considering the bad name and hardly anyone bought it. Also, why buy it then put money into it just to fix it. Be better off to make your own now that everyone kinda has an idea from APB. This way you can pick up the APB and exAPB crowd and possibly some new people. I just feel bad for the people that was pouring their hearts into it knowing RTW was f-ing up.

  16. Meat Circus says:

    Also, Dave Jones will find it much harder to deploy the “I invented Lemmings/Grand Theft Auto” gambit at dinner parties now.

  17. Navagon says:

    When everyone and their grandma is making MMOs with the goal of being the next WoW, you better be certain that you’ve got what it takes to compete. I don’t think that anyone really knows the full number of MMOs that never see completion. It’s a crazy market to throw yourself into without having an already stellar level of support from your fanbase.

    That said, when I first saw APB many moons ago, it looked interesting. Certainly interesting enough for me to remember it all this time. But it has changed a hell of a lot since then and its entry into the MMO market was perhaps the most ill advised of those changes.

  18. Redford says:

    When your users state there is something wrong with the game, listen to them. Realtime worlds thought they could pull a blizzard and ignore their userbase, and do whatever they wanted. Sadly they failed to take into account they are not blizzard first.

    Allods did something similar with their first major content patch. They have given people who payed into the cash shop +250% damage dealt at max favor level, and then complaining to their community that their game is not “buy to win” when people pointed this out. Of course, this is just par for the course where in the previous patch you could not actually operate at high levels without incense. They just shuffled things around so that there are different (and in fact more numerous) cash sinks in their new patch to make up for the removal of FoD.

    In the end, it really does piss me off when developers do this. They need to watch their community and react to what they suggest, as they are the ones playing the game. Most modern MMOs seem to be falling through the floor due to a complete lack of community support by the developers who are much to eager to follow through on “their vision” rather then what the people who play the game actually want or need.

    • Freud says:

      The whole free to play market is even messier. In an ideal world they would only charge for haircuts and mounts and so on. In reality only a few will then pay while the rest ‘leeches’, because there is no real reason to pay. Then when you start to charge for something that affects gameplay, your fanbase rages because they have gotten used to being as potent as the ones who pay that they feel like victims now. While paying zilch for the development of the game.

  19. Dean says:

    At least this sort of makes last week’s news easier to swallow. The way it read last week was that the MyWorld team had been made redundant as APB had underperformed, which must have stung. At least everyone is in the same boat this time around

  20. Kadayi says:

    Very sad news, but after the wide scale kicking APB received in the press not a major surprise. APB was never going to be more than a niche game (because not everyone is into co-operative team based online shooters at the end of the day), it’s just a shame that a lot of people didn’t (and judging from some of the comments still) understand that. A few more 7/10 reviews like EDGE gave it ( http://www.next-gen.biz/features/review-apb-all-points-bulletin?page=0,0) might of been beneficial, but it appears that for a large majority of the press comprehending that the game actually requires you to team up with other players to succeed was a bridge to far it seems (despite the fact it tells you).

    Here is hoping that all those laid off have prompt success in finding themselves new jobs.

    • Meat Circus says:

      As people have pointed out to you numerous times, “it’s better with friends” is really no justification. For a start, almost everything is better with friends, and secondly, most of the core criticisms of the game are in no way fixed by playing it with a few chums.

      And Edge? Well, they were just being Edge.

    • Schmung says:

      Hows that dead horse looking Kadayi?

      Perhaps about time to accept that the vision shared by (some of) the devs and yourself is not one shared by the public at large who’d be required to pay for the game in order for it to be a success and that therefore they would have been wiser to adopt gameplay that appealed more to a wider audience – as many people mentioned countless times.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Meat

      Meat you never even participated in the APB beta and you certainly never played it with anyone else, so in all honesty keep your assessment on what is and what isn’t about APB to yourself. As for ‘playing with friends’, judging by your measly steam listing I’m surprised you’ve even experienced it.

      @Schmung

      I’m sorry are you gloating over a bunch of people losing their jobs there?

    • Meat Circus says:

      Kadayi,

      Is the entire APB ‘community’ as unhinged as you’re currently projecting?

    • Kadayi says:

      Meat Circus

      Unhinged? I’m not the one promenading in every APB thread that crops up pretending to have been in a beta I was never involved in. Yesterdays choice comment in the redundancies thread: –

      ‘This is what happens when you ignore your beta testers. PEOPLE GET HURT.’

      You weren’t in it, and you certainly didn’t contribute to it, so you can hardly claim that your opinions on it were ignored. So to what great purpose was that statement made? Just to troll some developers whose product you had no actual investment in?

    • Jimbo says:

      I actually was in the beta from the start (which itself was badly run, so I wasn’t very active), but you didn’t need to be involved to know exactly what the beta testers thought of that game. They made no secret of what they thought was wrong with the game, and the media came to the same conclusions with the finished product. So again, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that the beta testers’ feedback was not acted upon.

      You were obviously more active in the beta than I was – did it seem to you that the consensus amongst the testers was that the driving, shooting etc. was well implemented?

    • Schmung says:

      @Kad : No. Don’t be so bloody absurd. A bunch of people lost their jobs because because people with decision making powers elected to ignore the feedback provided by the beta and decided that the small but very vocal minority of people of people saying ‘it’s fine’ all the time were correct and moreover represented enough of a sample of the potential audience for their game to support it financially. This is sad. The demise of a the developer, the loss of hundreds of jobs and personal impact on each and every one of those people is deeply unpleasant and probably doubly so for those involved that had some inkling it was coming – a fact I can personally attest to having had something similar happen to me in the all to recent past.

      Your continued insistence that the game is fine in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and your reaction to anyone with anything negative to say about APB is however deeply amusing.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Schmung

      There is always room for improvement within a game, and APB was no exception. I don’t think I ever denied that (I certainly wasn’t happy with the state of it when it went to release) but as someone who’d put the time into it as it was (and accepted it as was) instead of complaining about it not being Gears of GTA and then leaving in a huff. Plain truth of the matter is what you wanted to see (Headshots & Cover system) were things that ran contrary to the key principles of the games design (extensive player customisation coupled with a fast paced combat within a large scale environment). It’s all very well demanding things in games, but you have to comprehend how such things impact upon the design, and whether they are truly viable at the end of the day, or whether they’d break the game. The dirty little secret to game design is that what you see at beta is far less than what existed at alpha. If something isn’t there in the beta, it’s not because it wasn’t thought of, it’s because it was never going to work. A beta is not about radically overhauling what’s there, it’s about building upon what is there. Those are distinctly different things.

      As a team experience, the way I and my friends played it is up there with L4D2 in terms of fun factor. APB is Co-op heaven when people know what they are doing tactically. The game is less about the individual and more about that group cohesion. The more you play with others the more you learn, the better you get. The fundamental problem to the game as it stands is that is that it really possesses a steep learning curve, that requires a solid time investment from players in order to learn not only the best course of action within certain situations, but also learn the maps intimately. Financial district is a hell of a lot bigger than Dust 2.

      @Jimbo

      I’d say the biggest issue really was slow rollout of fixes. Exploits were raised that people were seeing abused every day ingame, but the actual response times to them (although apparently addressed in the internal builds) were glacial. Albeit might not of suited the programmers, from a feedback perspective it would of been far more sensible to patch as much as possible as and when issues were raised, rather than wait till the end of the month to release a mega patch. People need and want to see thing addressed. When they don’t see prompt results, they become disheartened and they lose faith in the developers.

    • Schmung says:

      I never said anything about a cover system and a headshots were but a minor issue next to the enormity of the incredibly broken hitboxes and poorly thought out weapon dynamics – but the issue is moot now, so no real point discussing it further.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Schmung

      Who exactly do you think your fooling here dude? 60 posts made, 28 arguing for locational damage because (to paraphrase) ‘it’s an essential requirement of any shooter’. Ignoring the fact that it would conflict with the underlying game philosophy? Quake 3 & TF2 (save the sniper and ambassador) seem to get by perfectly fine without it.

      What next? Go tell Gabe Newell that Half-life 2 Episode 3 better not have Gordons backpack of many guns because more than 2 guns is passé?

  21. kwyjibo says:

    Surprise, sur-fucking-prise.

    Really? Does anyone remember some of the Hellgate/Flagship post-mortems? You know, the bit about having confusing pricing options that no one really understands? That happened here. The bit about releasing a sub par product clearly too early? That happened here. The bit about having a confusing product that no one understands? That too.

    I mean, what was it? The elevator pitch is an MMO GTA, which sounds awesome. But then when you actually looked at what the game entailed, it looked like pitched shooty-drivey battles, like a crap Battlefield in a city, with stupider hair.

    RTW deserve to die with this debacle. What’s more ridiculous, is that by placing all their eggs in the stupid basket, they allowed Crackdown 2 to go elsewhere, to go to the staff that had the balls and vision to jump from this leaking ship.

    And then RTW announces that its next product is some kind of Second-Second-Life. I’m sorry, but Second Life already exists, and we got bored of it in 2008.

  22. Radz says:

    The internet, seemingly the only place where anyone considers it acceptable to make absolute statements about something which they have no knowledge of (w.r.t. the last 2 paragraphs, notably).

    • Dominic White says:

      Everyone seems really excited to be able to jump in, twist the knife a bit more and scream ‘I TOLD YOU SO YOU STUPID, STUPID FOOLS!’.

      Isn’t that what arseholes do? To the rest of people posting in this thread, I ask – and I’m saying this as someone who never played APB beyond a few days in the beta, so have no reason beyond being a nice person – to not be an arsehole.

    • Meat Circus says:

      It’s more a mixture of disappointment at how it all turned out, and confusion as to how RTW allowed history to repeat itself. Did nobody learn anything from Flagship?

      I guess games developers now have two lessons to fail to learn rather than one.

      Yes, it’s a shame that people have lost their jobs, but that’s business for you. They should be angry at Dave Jones and his corporate boys that screwed them over, or themselves for failing to come clean about APB’s problems. Raging at the Internets who are disappointed because they expected better benefits nobody.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Dominic White

      The thing is the biggest one shouting ‘I TOLD YOU SO YOU STUPID, STUPID FOOLS!’ wasn’t even in the beta dude.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Kadayi,

      Whence your obsession of my beta participant status? I never claimed to be in the beta.

      However, like all betas, rumblings leaked out about discontent. About poor driving and shooting. And then the Keys to the City event starts up and — holy of holies — all the things that beta testers complaine about were still unfixed.

      And then, to compound the error, Dave Jones goes onto Eurogamer and blames the players for “playing it wrong”.

      Still, if you really want me to say it, Kadayi, then yes. Events have proven that I was completely correct, and you, my angry young friend, have been proven wrong. I usally am.

      Unusually, I feel no more smug for having been proven completely correct, because I REALLY WANTED APB TO BE GREAT.

    • Kadayi says:

      Well if you weren’t directly involved I hardly think you can put yourself forward as a spokesperson for what went wrong as you seem to LOVE doing ad infinitum. What you perceive as the short comings of a game based on 3rd party commentary, and the realities aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    • Jockie says:

      MeatCircus is it really that hard to understand why people are getting annoyed that you’re shooting down a game they enjoy based soley on what somebody else told you?

      Any serious criticism based on personal experience is fine, there are issues with APB and people certainly make some valid points about negative aspects of the game. But to stand on a high horse and spew forth proclamations of it’s inadeqacy without ever having actually tried it yourself is pretty ludicrous way to go about things.

    • kwyjibo says:

      @Kadayi

      Who gives a shit whether who was in the beta or not. Maybe he didn’t partake in the beta, because the concept was so underwhelmingly unappealing that he didn’t feel like wasting his time. That’s the problem that APB had.

      Do you want to pay monthly for squad based shooty drivey? No? How about hourly? Wait, come back, where are you going?

    • Starky says:

      No, he isn’t going on what someone else told him alone – he did play the game, he just wasn’t in the beta – he said he played the key to the city event.

    • Starky says:

      That was @ Jockie btw

    • Jockie says:

      My bad, KTTC was part of the beta and I only read the above about not being in the beta.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      The KTTC hardly counts as genuine beta time. That’s like saying the music at the end credits of a film is really part of the score. Sure it’s there, but it’s not really where the real action is.

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      KindredPhantom says:

      Jockie sums it up nicely.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Jockie,

      I never said I didn’t play the game (I did), but I wasn’t part of the closed beta. This notion that opinions formed during the KttC event are invalid is, frankly, complete arse, because all of the negative opinions that the KttC elicited were *the same complaints* that beta testers had been higlighting for a year, and the *same complaints* that all the reviewers identified in the game’s reviews.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Meatcircus

      “his notion that opinions formed during the KttC event are invalid is, frankly, complete arse, because all of the negative opinions that the KttC elicited were *the same complaints* that beta testers had been higlighting for a year, and the *same complaints* that all the reviewers identified in the game’s reviews.”

      Care to quantify or are you just going to stick with broad generalisations?

  23. Dominic White says:

    Whenever something bad happens to a studio, it seems that all the biggest, most arrogant tossers on the internet come pouring out of the woodwork to tell anyone who liked the games that they’re bad and wrong and should be ashamed.

    Go back to your caves. Shoo. Nobody likes you.

    • Jimbo says:

      And this is a place for discussing games and the industry, not Samaratins.

      It’s sad they lost their jobs, yes, but there is also value in analysing just how exactly one game managed to sink the studio in a matter of weeks. At least as much value as saying “Aww, poor them, their game was just misunderstood!” And even if there isn’t any value in such discussion, people should still feel free to discuss it because that’s what the comment section is for.

      Contrary to what a couple of people may think, I strongly suspect that this game didn’t become one of the flops of the decade merely because it was a little bit misunderstood. That’s wishful thinking in the extreme. A couple of people may indeed like it, but they are evidently in the extreme minority. If a product manages to shitcan your entire business, it isn’t exactly crazy to suggest that said product might have been ‘bad’.

  24. wyrmsine says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things, people.

  25. Ayam says:

    Seems to be a bunch of “dashing everyone’s expectations”, but specifically what expectations over what APB actually is did people have?

    • Jimbo says:

      It seemed relatively ambitious at one point. A genuine MMO with twitch-based gameplay and a persistent world. In reality it’s a lobby system for team deathmatch. 100 people on a server isn’t ‘massive’, and you can’t even interact with most of those.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Jimbo

      I’m pretty sure that they were always transparent about how the game operated from the start (persistent world server with multiple instances) so I’m not too sure why you are griping.

  26. James says:

    Wow. This is sad.

    On reading the headline I immediately thought the opening sentence word for word. A strange but understandable occurance.

  27. JKjoker says:

    woa, not even two months before Flagshipping ? ouch, i didnt thought it was THIS bad, any chance they can learn from this and give the mmo craze a rest already ?

  28. goldcd says:

    Fell quite sad about it – but RTW really don’t have anybody to blame but themselves (and I mean the company, rather than any particular individuals).
    Omens didn’t look good for a while, I’ve been looking at those APB adverts for a very long time, without any actual sign of the game. Then there was the MS Crackdown sequel grab-back. I’d have assumed any publisher would have kept the game with the original dev, unless they ‘had their reasons’.
    Like many people I wanted (so so so f-in wanted) APB to be great, but it wasn’t to be.
    I’d guess that rather than the game being poor, causing the company to fold, it was the company folding that caused the game to be poor. If somebody wants their money back, you can maybe fob them off with the promise of a great game pay-day. If they start to say maybe that’s not going to be enough, you can fob them off with promises of WoW sales and hourly subs pouring in for years. Sooner or later they want their money though, you have to release the game and they suddenly twig they’re not going to see their money – and everything gets locked down before any more can be lost.
    Didn’t help it was PC only, either…
    …Still love Dave Jones. Maybe he can’t run a company, but with the original GTA and Crackdown he gave me two of my favourite games of all time. Both incidentally sold to me on the strength of the demos – I picked up his world and played it and WANTED MORE and literally ran out to hand over my cash. In a happy alternative universe, I’d be installing APB, falling in love with my first few free hours and signing the direct debit mandate right now.

  29. Duck says:

    First off, what is it that Meat Circus has against this game? He obviously doesn’t like the game, but he must have some sort of personal vendetta against it because on every RPS story about it he ends up writing a ton of comments, all with the same negative drivel. Pick any RPS story on APB and half the comments will be from Meat Circus, flaming the game.

    We get it, you don’t like the game. Stating your case once is enough. No reason to shove it down everyone’s throats. And I love how every time someone replies to you and says “I disagree, I thought some elements of the game were quite fun” you call them the “APB Defense League” or some other baseless straw-man claim and proceed to call them ignorant and stupid (all without having an actual argument yourself, of course).

    Bottom line, let everyone have their own opinion about the game. You can still have your own opinion, but you don’t need to spend 30 or so comments on telling everyone your opinion. And this is just nitpicking, but for the future, leave the horridly arrogant “see, I was right, and I usually am” rhetoric out of your criticisms of the game. Let others think for themselves. It seems like every time someone says they enjoyed even a small part of the game, you come on to say they are not allowed.

    I really just don’t understand people like you, but I can see that you get satisfaction out of flaming this game over, and over, and over. But, ask yourself, what are you actually getting out of this? The satisfaction that you told random people on the internet something they already knew (that APB wasn’t a perfect game)? It seems that the only impact you are making is on my time in writing this post.

    On topic:

    I thought the pricing model was horrendous, but I loved the game itself. The bait-and-switch subscription model was what killed it for me.

    • Meat Circus says:

      I called Kadayi the APB Defence League because he seems to have become the unofficial one round here.

      The truth is, from the moment I played APB, and had my hopes cruelly dashed, I’ve been watching this car crash happen in slow motion. All I could really do was say what I saw happening, and have sadly been proven correct.

      Kadayi seems to have taken any discussion of the game’s flaws as a personal mortal insult, which I don’t really understand. It’s only a game.

      I don’t have any especial vendetta against APB or RTW. But when one expects great things of a game, and then it falls way short, it’s perfectly reasonable to vent one’s disappointment and to ask “what went wrong?”.

      All I can really do is re-iterate what I’ve already said: I really want it to be good. It’s a fantastic idea for a game, with an impressive pedigree.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Meat Circus

      LOL. I’m not defending the game, or the games producers. I’m just marvelling at the absurdity of your statements. Plain truth of the matter is at the beginning of this thread you painted yourself out to be some grand prophet whose predictions had not been listened to by RTW and this was the inevitable biblical result, where as the reality is you actually had fuck all to do with it, and any information you did have was purely 3rd hand. Sure I’ll allow you to say you were ‘bitterly disappointed’ based on your measly 5 hours of KTTC playtime, but I don’t think you have any right to claim you know why things went the way they did based off of that. because the reality is your knowledge is extremely limited.

    • Chris D says:

      Deep in the bowels of cyberspace two warriors drawn together in eternal conflict.

      Crushed by disappointment and betrayal one fights for vengeance.

      The other compelled to defend a love that can never be.

      Coming soon to a blog near you

      The tale of two warriors locked in an unending struggle. Doomed to fight the same battle over and over for all of time itself. (or at least until there are no more threads about APB, whichever comes sooner)

    • Kadayi says:

      @Chris D

      You love me really ;)

    • Chris D says:

      Kadayi

      I think both you and Meat Circus have made a number of intelligent and interesting points. Just not necessarily on this topic ;)

      I am also curious as to what would happen if you two were to meet in real life. My hunch is that you’d both vapourise instantly.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Chris D

      Fava beans and a nice chianti I suspect.

      “I think both you and Meat Circus have made a number of intelligent and interesting points. Just not necessarily on this topic ;)”

      Even a broken watch is right twice a day, so I guess it’s possible that Meat might have said something vaguely intelligible at some point at RPS, but I’ll be honest it’s certainly not an event I can remember.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Oh Kadayi,

      Why hast thou forsaken me?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Gentlemen – be careful about getting too heated here. It’s easy to bait in this sort of situation, and baiting people who actually cared about a game is somewhat unsporting.

      KG

    • Kadayi says:

      @KG

      Posted elsewhere, but thought I’d post it here also.

      A lot of criticisms can be levelled at RTW, but I think it’s rather amusing that the Troll consensus is that ‘you didn’t listen to your testers!!!’ is the principal over everything else. Fundamentally the game works. Certainly though it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Dave Jones promised Counterstrike crossed with GTA and that’s actually a fair description of what APB is when you get down to the brass tacks of it mechanistically. 2 sides fighting over objectives, one side cast as the defenders the others the attackers, with the roles changing through mission stages. There are still some rough edges to it still, but it plays as intended (more so in a team).

      If APB is a victim of anything I’d say it’s a combination of weak PR and an ill conceived business model. One of the major misconceptions people had was that APB was going to be an MMO (which it isn’t) and that misconception was never really quashed effectively by the PR, to the extent that even now you are still finding press writers and gamers erroneously talking about it as such.

      RTW really needed to push the fact that the game was a persistent 3rd person shooter, as well as put the emphasis on it being a team game, far better off played co-operatively with friends than as a solo experience. Both L4D and Borderlands managed to pull this off successfully in their PR campaigns. As single player experiences they are fairly pedestrian, its when you have others players working with you that they come to life.

      The fallout from RTW’s failure to tackle this can be seen across a number of reviews, where in the majority of reviewers didn’t do more than dabble with teaming and subsequently condemned it based on a singular playing perspective. Albeit I don’t think APB would necessarily have achieved a significant rise in metacritic average (7/10 is probably a fair score for the state the game shipped in), I think at least if the RTW PR had gotten the press and public past this MMO misconception that had built up over the years, they would of managed peoples expectations better and there would have been far less angry internet man fallout from people complaining about getting cheesecake, when they thought they were going to be getting trifle.

      The business model I think was always going to be problematic. The general expectation was that the game would be driven by item fuelled micro transactions (which I think people were accepting of by and large, though it was never clear exactly how that was going to work in game given the finite number of cars/weapons/clothing items), so the pay per hour/monthly subscription model came as a bit of a shock, especially after the talk by Dave Jones of something different from the norm. Not helped by the fact that it was abundantly clear that rather than opting for any of the pay per hour options, you were really far better off just going for the monthly subscription. Needless to say people felt duped, and that is never a good thing.

      Future of the game? Who can say. There’s some impressive creative tech going on behind the scenes and as a team based game it can be pretty good fun. However once you maxxed all of the various organisations in the game there’s a big question mark hanging over what do you do next, and that was never successfully answered during the beta.

  30. Dominic White says:

    The last-minute change of pricing model, and the obvious fact that the game was rushed out early both point to the same underlying problem: Realtime Worlds were running out of money. It’s exactly the same thing that happened with Hellgate: London. If they’d had another six months, and another few million in dev budget, it could have been great.

    Instead, they had to release it early just to try and keep afloat. It didn’t work out, and the company had to break up. And that’s sad. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think this is sad – they think it’s either hilarious and/or a reason to get really angry at people on the internet.

    And that’s beyond sad. That’s tragic.

    • cruize says:

      No, what’s sad is that lots of people have to lose their jobs due to shitty strategic decisions.

      What is tragic, is that you have spent most of the thread repeating self important internet debate metacommentary, without addressing the topic. Still, if it make you happy.

    • Freud says:

      If the numbers of the amounts of money already plowed into the projects are true ($30M was mentioned), the solution isn’t someone adding another few millions. It is RTW using all the millions they had poorly. Of course every developer can always find a way to spend more money but at the end of the day you have to be able to keep a budget and produce a game with what you are given.

      I don’t doubt the creativity of David Jones, but perhaps he needs a little bit of Bobby Kotick in him to pull something like this off.

  31. Starky says:

    See I don’t care that much, this game screamed “do not buy”, I never played it and now it seems I never will – I don’t think I’ve lost anything.

    Sucks people lose jobs, but that is life when the company you work for makes a whole mountain of poor choices.

  32. Kid A says:

    Spent a lot of time in the beta, and was putting up with the faults because, well, it was a beta.
    When I realised they were actually going to release with the driving and shooting in the state they were… well, I could see this coming.

  33. Legionary says:

    Seems to me as well that the problem lays in three areas. Number 1, shed painting. Number 2, beta testing and number 3, money.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘painting the shed’ is a term in software development for obsessing over the details. The idea is that a group of developers are sitting around drawing up plans for a house and garden. One developer has a really cool vision of a shed for the garden, and wants it red. But another disagrees and says it should obviously be blue. Etc etc, and meetings are dominated by the issue of the colour of the shed. The design drafts cover the rest of the house and garden in tertiary detail, whilst the shed is redrafted and refined and eventually the plans are followed through resulting in a shoddy and unimpressive house and garden, with a beautifully painted shed (in deep burgundy.)

    Is this what’s happened here? Did RTW get obsessed with the customisation systems and spend so much design and development time on them that the core mechanics just didn’t receive enough attention?

    If you’re going to make a shooting and driving game, it seems to me that the areas you cannot afford to get wrong are shooting and driving. The baubles might impress, but if the tree they’re hung on is withered and unattractive they’re not going to rescue the situation. That’s why it to me seems like RTW got distracted from their core aims and poured design time, development time and financial resources into the creation of the customisation systems.

    In terms of the beta, they really mishandled it. The servers were nowhere near able to cater to the slew of people who were invited in March/April. This big influx of people were there to get a flavour of the game, not to test it, and RTW took a long time to fix the lag problems. By the time they did, a lot of these “first adopters” were pissed off with the game and felt it had terrible netcode.

    They also fluffed how they treated their testers. They created three groups during that expansion phase, and gave an unequal amount of time to each with one group getting vastly more play time. This was obviously going to generate bad feeling towards RTW and the game as it annoyed those who felt they were being unfairly treated.

    You need to be careful with betas. People who sign up to beta test something will be its ambassadors. They’ll be the ones who tell their friends and post on forums (and your NDA doesn’t mean anything), they’ll be the ones who start fansites and generate buzz. If you turn them off, there’s no core community to your game at launch.

    Finally, they made a big mess with subscriptions. I couldn’t see subscription-only working for this game; all it had was driving and shooting. With some progression and more interesting missions then I could see a subscription working, but nobody is willing to pay for online GTA gunplay.

    Microtransactions and a fee on purchase would’ve been fine, and there are no better games to include microtransactions in than APB. Think of the customisation! Think of the financial success The Sims makes of clothing packs. It’s a winner. New cars, new hats, new tires. And they can be cheap. A lot of people might consider paying 25p for a top hat and tails.

    The exact pricing model they chose was hugely flawed in general because it was seen as a disincentive to play. In other words, the more you played the more you payed. With the current subscription model as seen in WoW and countless other MMOs, there just isn’t that perception that it’s a disincentive to play.

    So many mistakes. And honestly, I loved the idea of APB more than almost any other online game I’ve heard of. I’d not been so excited for years. Online cops and robbers.

    It can’t fail… right?

    • Meat Circus says:

      @Legionary:

      That’s the thing. Like you, I was enormously excited by APB’s potential. I WANT TO BELIEVE.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Legionary

      Agreed about the beta. The 3 separate groups was a big mistake and the mass influx was quite damaging in terms of the beta forum dialogue, given most of the sensible posts got drowned in an ocean of spam very quickly as the new kids on the block powered up their post counts (visible beta forum start dates and post counts are disastrous ideas developers). Another mistake was the slow response time to issues. They really needed to be rolling out update patches on a daily/weekly basis rather monthly. On a couple of occasions they had to quickly roll out hotfixes because something in one of the megapatches would go have some hitherto unseen negative impact on wider beta release causing delays and downtime. Issues that would of come to light far sooner if they’d updated more often.

      Still what is done is, done. Hopefully there are lessons to be learnt from it all for those involved.

    • celticfang says:

      Agreed 110% Legionary. I too was invited into the beta, and it was a case of ‘you posted against RTW you TROLL, everything is fine its your system that’s faulty’ as far as attitudes went from both RTW and early adopters. I read the ex-employee’s comment with a high degree of skeptacism, then thought back to my own beta experience and agreed. APB was NOWHERE ready to be released at all. I noted copyright infringments, I told RTW, I got a reply ‘we’re not bothered about that right now’. I asked about release, I was told it wasn’t a big deal. Errrr………….okay so if somebody runs about in a RPS t-shirt and MS branded car, whie having NintendoSony as a name, RTW said it’s okay? Wow. Just wow. More reason to avoid RTW.

      RTW fucked up the beta extremely badly IMHO, and they’re paying the price now. The groups were a huge mistake along with post counts, (But, if done right post counts can work), a friend of mine talked to a dev in RTW who stated the groups were the plan all along, that they told FP to market is as an open beta and they’d give the beta testers more content, (And I could paste the chat here if anyone wants to see it) at release, and to quit whining about the issues as they weren’t issues at all, it was their computers/connections.

      My gods how stupid RTW was managing it. Fileplanet all but advertised it as open beta, then they had kids screaming about not being able to play and how FP said it was a ‘get your key and play’ beta event, leading to a lot of these types of posts:

      You’re not here to play, you’re here to test

      Go play something else

      It’s a beta

      That, IMHO, turned people off, RTW locked threads about scrapping the group system or improving group relations, which was needed.

      I fully agree with the painting the shed point, that is to me what happened, they got fixated over one thing, and forgot everything else. I honestly think going under would be the best thing for them. Just like IBM’s future systems project and Workplace OS, I’d put both APB and RTW in a category of software disaster. I just hope the ex-employees can get jobs and not be out in the cold.

    • celticfang says:

      Adding to my last comment as I don’t see an edit button

      The subscriptions model flaws were raised at least once in beta by people, and RTW’s response? Lock the thread or let it die and ignore people saying it wouldn’t work.

      It’s just flawed beyond belief that RTW/Dave J said one moment it’d be free to play, the next you pay by the hour, which pissed people off and drew comparisons to WOW and Eve, both of which are IMHO invalid.

      One theory being bandied about on the Steam forums is EA will take it over, and they were responsible for the price model alone, I wouldn’t be surprised

  34. Orange says:

    Sorry to hear people losing their jobs and as usual it tends to be top level decisions which lead to those lower down bearing the brunt of it.

    The game was top of my most wanted list for ages, but the beta and pricing system totally killed my interest in it as a preorder The thing is, I eventually did buy it in order to play with others and as a team game it has been good fun at times – still very flawed in some of the core mechanics and balance of the player upgrades, but most of these issues were fixable and due to be fixed a lot more in the patch now on the test server. Tragic that this happens right as the game could actually become recommendable as a buying choice.

    I also found the pricing system to actually be pretty fair once I actually got playing. The 50 hours took several weeks of solid playing to get through, as it only kicks in during the action times. Also getting 20 more hours for when I run out is only about 3 quid. Still, aside from the contradictions in PR, it was far too confusing and misleading a system to bring in. It should have been free to play with the extra charges saved for buying unlockable upgrades without having to grind, multiple character slots, special server access (ie chaos servers) etc.. Not this hybrid subscription approach.

  35. sortius says:

    add to this that they were intending on double dipping (ads in radio channels) and the prolific hacking, well, you have a recipe for a game failing.

    I really wasn’t impressed with the bugs and lack of support when in the “Keys to the City” event, so I decided against a purchase. I actually went back today to see if they had fixed the bugs, but the forums are rife with complaints about hackers (check youtube for some video of said hacks), which said to me “DO NOT BUY”.

    Really, RTW signed their own death warrant here.

  36. Kadayi says:

    @Chris D

    Fava beans and a nice chianti I suspect.

  37. jti says:

    I knew this would happen when the publishing date was released. You can’t turn the agricultural sideproduct into gold even if you wanted to.

  38. TeeJay says:

    Anyone want to hazard a guess how much it would cost to buy APB and keep it running?

    Presumably if RTW is liquidated the administrator will seek to sell off all it’s assets in order to pay back RTW debts.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Well, lets see, the game took about $100M to make, and apparently it didn’t sell $100M worth of units, so they’re probably looking for somebody nice enough to pick up the difference…

    • TheSombreroKid says:

      They aren’t in debt, the $100 million dollars was other peoples money, thier problems now is that they’ve got 250 people wanting paid each month and they’ve spent the $100 million they were given, apb not selling and not being able to sell off my World means no new revenue stream.

  39. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    Given how impressive the customisation was, someone could always turn that into middleware. Sure, a bit of software that allows for massive customisation and is 100% UE3 compatible isn’t as glamorous as making GTA the MMO, but it might at least start to pay the bills.

    • Tei says:

      I think the game is based in Unreal 2.5, and reusing part of it depend a lot of how modular it is. Also, what are the numbers of selling a tool? if sales are slow, maybe is not worth it.

  40. TheSombreroKid says:

    the rumors round the dundee games industry say they’ve only got enough money to last till November, that’d be the date i reckon.

  41. Tei says:

    In other news:

    APB is “Free to Play” sorta. With the ingame money you get, you can buy RTW points, and with these points buy 30 days of gametime.

    In other news:

    RTW as just opened PTW, this is the “test server” where new code versions are tested with real users. This version has not time limits *wink* *wink* *wink*, and is testing a future version more shotter-ish, with recoil, not hardcaps for bullets distance and COWBOY HATS

  42. Kid B says:

    I went into HMV Yesterday and APB was no.1 in the PC Games chart, and Starcraft 2 was no.4

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the person who updates the charts in this HMV store, isn’t doing his job properly

  43. Premium User Badge

    KindredPhantom says:

    I don’t think APB should be wrote off just yet, RTW may be in administration but this has forced the studio to shift the remaining staff and their focus to APB, this may end up benefiting the game.

    The latest patch for the closed beta – Play-tester World (http://eu.apb.com/en/news/2010/08/13/apb-1-4-1-is-on-its-way) has improved APB quite a bit, a couple of more patches like this one will fix most of the major gripes that came up in beta and in the reviews.

    If the RTW ship does sink then i would not be surprised to hear that APB has been picked up by another studio.

  44. manveruppd says:

    I just wanna chime in and say I was also enjoying APB a lot, and I’ll probably continue to do so (although news of RTW’s impending demise will probably cause most people to quit, so the servers won’t be as fun to play on anymore).

    I was by no means blind to its glaring problems: the ridiculous car handling, the abysmal shooting, the client’s performance problems, but I don’t think they detracted too much from the enjoyment I got from it. The unintentional comedy caused by the insanity of the “supermarket trolley on amphetamines” car handling, for instance, was such a frequent cause for side-splitting laughter on team chat that I seriously hope they never fix it!

    And while the shooting could be better, I don’t think it can ever be as smooth and tight as any proper shooter. With 80-people servers and maps the size of several large city blocks, there’s just too much lag. I’m sure they can improve it, but it’ll never be able to compete with an FPS played on much smaller 32-player servers in terms of responsiveness, accuracy and fluidity. It’s really not fair to expect this game to be as smooth as Quake Live, AND take place on a huge, 80-player, sprawling map!

    In fact, playing APB reminds me a lot of paintballing: horrible weapons that can’t shoot straight? Check! Unfit, slow-moving, unresponsive avatar? Check! Uniform hitbox where headshots don’t do extra damage? Check! Terrible aiming? Check! Traversing the map is slow and tiring? Check! But still, paintballing manages to be more fun than most comparable computer games simply because it offers fun, accessible co-op action, and it’s the same with APB!

    I seriously hope RTW gets bought up wholesale and most of their staff rehired so that their technology can be put to good use. If that doesn’t happen, then I hope t hat at the very least somebody buys APB and keeps it going. If that doesn’t happen either, then, well, thanks for the 50-something hours of fun you’ve given me to David Jones & co.

    • celticfang says:

      You’re onto something

      Turn APB into a city wide paintball F2P, market it as a live action cops and robbers paintball game

      And you just justified all the flaws there and explained why they exist