APB’s Last Bulletin

By Alec Meer on September 16th, 2010 at 5:16 pm.

Perma-troubled MMO APB is preparing to see its last cop shoot its last robber. While bankrupted developer Realtime Worlds’ second project, the social game Project: My World looks to have been rescued by a mystery US firm that may or may not be headed up by former RTW bossmen, All Points Bulletin has not been granted a similar second wind. Its impending closure has just been officially announced.

Quoth the community officer:

APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It’s been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome!
From all of the Realtime World staff we thank you for your continued support.

The servers are still up, so join the party and say goodbye.

Following poor reviews and poor sales, it’s unsurprising. But it’s never a happy day to see an ambitious project that an awful lot of people poured their hearts and souls into be so cruelly crushed. Perhaps, given time, APB could have corrected a lot of its problems. Perhaps it couldn’t. It’s still sad news for its creators, and for those who did enjoy the game.

Best of luck to all those affected by this.

EDIT: I was going to add this to the Sunday Papers, but since it’s relevant now, Ex-RTW-er Luke Haliwell’s blog is going through a multi-stage post about how it all went wrong. It’s just fascinating reading. On a personal note, while I feel for the RTW-ers, I can’t help but think about the consumers. Has an MMO ever burned out this quickly? As in, less than 3 months? This strikes me as one that’s going to be pivotal in terms of how people view MMOs now. Even the life-time subs to Hellgate got over a year of playing. – KG

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218 Comments »

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  1. truestory says:

    So now they even closed the forum ? Wtf ? I feel robbed.

  2. Jimbo says:

    @KG: The Cities XL servers were up for 5 months. I didn’t expect to see anybody beat that quite so quickly. CXL did have a lifetime sub in some regions though, which is at least a x3 shittiness multiplier.

    • Dean says:

      CXL also had a single player mode though no? So at least the box is still worth something.

      This is kind of the point, someone could have gone out and bought APB yesterday from GAME and now not be able to play it.

      If you want to sell games as a subscription-based service, you shouldn’t also be selling the box as a product.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Dean

      I’m pretty sure taking the game back to the retailer will result in a full refund, like most purchased goods.

  3. Tom says:

    such a shame this game didn’t deliver on it’s promise.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    A GTA MMO? Yes Please!

    Wait, a non-persistent world, where two teams square off in deathmatch? Err… don’t we already have plenty of these games?

    Wait, you want us to pay a subscription for this?

    Wait, your subscription options are as stupid as Hellgate?

    Fuck off.

    —-

    I can’t believe these guys managed to get $100m in funding with such as massively risky ridiculous business plan. I can’t believe these guys chose to develop this stupendously expensive pipe dream and turned down Crackdown 2.

    Rarely has failure been so well deserved.

    • Kadayi says:

      Where did they ever say it was a GTA MMO?

    • Starky says:

      Erm, in basically every single teaser, interview and press release from the start… they may not have said the words “GTA MMO” but god damn they implied it as heavily as could be without Rockstar suing their asses.

      Everybody I spoke to the game about was expecting a GTA MMO, everybody WANTED a GTA MMO, the Devs did nothing to discourage that and encouraged it everywhere I saw them speak.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      Can you provide some examples of where they encouraged that line of thinking?

    • Starky says:

      Basically all of the video’s on gametrailers…

      All of them are cut and styled like a GTA game, the world is styled on GTA, the action and combat is styled on GTA, the descriptions the devs make of the game sound like they could be GTA + customization + online.
      http://www.gametrailers.com/video/gc-09-apb/56287 there is one – the words “open world mission based city” alone scream “GTA”. 35 seconds in.

      I’m sorry but you are kidding yourself if you think for a second this game wasn’t trying to be GTA the MMO – and marketing itself as such.
      Hell if the gameplay was half as good as GTA (San Andreas driving and GTA 4 shooting) it wouldn’t have flopped as hard as it did.

      But the parts of the game it pushed forward as gameplay, driving, shooting, fighting as gangs/cops against the other, missions and all that fun stuff, it failed on in a spectacular level.

    • Dean says:

      Well they got the guy from Epic games in to help demo and promote it and the soundbyte he gave everyone was “If the Rockstar guys ever made an MMO out of the best version of Grand Theft Auto, this would be it.”

      http://www.apbforum.com/forum/official-apb-news/66-first-hands-impressions-apb-mark-rein-epic-games.html

    • kwyjibo says:

      @Kadayi

      Every single preview pretty much called it the GTA MMO. I doubt Realtime would actively use someone else’s game to promote theirs, but the problem is that it wasn’t even an MMO.

      It was a team deathmatch game. Which you have to fucking pay hourly for.

      I feel bad for their creditors.

    • Kadayi says:

      @kwyjibo

      A games Journalist tidily summarizing something nebulous is not quite the same as a press release I’m afraid. Hell, if we take Sparkys definition of MMO to mean any game with over 64 players in is an MMO then Battlefield 2 is an MMO, which is patently absurd. It’sd a multi-player online team based shooter. Massive Multi-player online is a distinctly different thing from multi-player online.

      Anyway let’s goto the source with Dave Jones here: –

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/realtime-worlds-dave-jones-interview

      ” Not that important. I think I said months ago that I knew they’d be all over the place. Some people had too high expectations. The game years ago was initially tagged as GTA MMO, which we’d never said. Obviously people put two and two together – our history and the fact it was online – and said, ‘Oh it’s going to be like a GTA MMO’. I think that’s set huge expectations. That’s not what we were building, so I was expecting that.”

    • kwyjibo says:

      Of course it’s not a press release, that’s not the point.

      People thought it was a GTA MMO, RTW shares the blame for that. Rolling back what the press has been saying for years as your game launches doesn’t change that. It set huge expectations that RTW did nothing to correct. It doesn’t matter about a press release, when the reality was that everyone, developer and all was going along with the GTA MMO descriptor.

      Oh, then it turns out not it’s not even an MMO.

    • kwyjibo says:

      More from your goto source.

      Eurogamer: Is that enough for Realtime Worlds in terms of sustaining APB over a long-term period?

      Dave Jones: Yeah.

    • Starky says:

      Also Kadayi don’t strawman me thanks…

      I will think you’ll find I said an MMO was more than just more than 64 players as a requirement.
      I also included a persistent world.
      A ongoing fee (after purchase).
      And no ability to play offline. No support for private, or custom dedicated servers, you can only play on the companies official servers.

      Battlefield only ticks 1 of those boxes.
      Starcraft ticks 1
      Guild wars ticks 2 and a half (sort of more than 64 players)…

      APB ticked them all, and thus it was an MMO.

    • manveruppd says:

      Sorry guys, but I seem to remember MANY SPECIFIC QUOTES of RTW going that it most emphatically is NOT a GTA MMO (including that post-launch Dave Jones interview on EG). People seemed to think that there’d be a storyline, and missions you get from NPCs to advance that storyline, and endless diversions, basically all the stuff that makes GTA except it’d be in a city with a few thousand other folks all doing the same thing. So a bog standard MMO, with NPCs with exclamation marks over their heads telling you to “Collect 20 PoPo’s asses yo” and everyone queueing up to do the same quest. Instead, they were making something much simpler and much more fun: cops and robbers online! I know that’s what *I* wanted, and all the people who were enjoying it, and it was something pretty unique.

      Starky’s “Everyone wanted a GTA MMO” basically sums up the problem with this game: wishful thinking. Reading that blog Alec linked to it’s obvious that there were innumerable SNAFUs in the way RTW did things. But I have a feeling that even if they had done everything right, they still would’ve had the same problem “selling” their game to the press and consumers, and they still would’ve suffered from horrible reviews and the weight of people’s false expectations. It would’ve taken a PR wizard to sell this game properly. I can sort of picture their frustration:

      “How many quests are in this game?”
      “Umm.. it’s not really quests, you just get matched up by the computer”
      “So it’s like Counter Strike?”
      “No,no, it’s set in the open world, and you might get asymmetrical matchups, you know, 3 lowbies against a stronger player”
      “Ah, so there’ll be boss fights?”
      “No, see, it’s all pvp, there’s no bosses or mobs, just other players”
      “So there’s battlegrounds and stuff? What if you don’t want to be flagged for pvp?”
      “But it’s ALL pvp! It’s just cops and robbers guys, like we all used to play when we were kids, you know, before computers, using sticks for guns and going bang! bang!”
      “Ah, so more like the ORIGINAL GTA than GTA4?”
      [PR dude shoots himself in the head in frustration]

      Sorry, but you’re all wrong. It was a fun game. It just wasn’t the game you had unilaterally decided it should’ve been. And 300 people are unemployed now, mostly because the company fucked up, but also, to a small extent, because people like you refused to see what the game actually was and threw your toys out of the pram because it wasn’t what you had decided it should be.

      (Tangentially, I’m reminded of the frustration I felt back when I was reading people complaining about Age of Conan back when it was released. The game was really buggy, terrible performance, full of imbalances, had a few big holes in content, Battlekeep sieges hardly ever worked, and there was no point to or reward for open-world pvp. But that wasn’t what people on the forums were complaining about. No sir. Instead, 9/10 people who quit did so because they were unhappy that they’ve been playing for 2 weeks now and still haven’t found a better sword or bigger, shinier shoulderpads! Now, I know all about the ever-dangling MMO carrot of gear rewards, I understand why it’s a great incentive and it works in getting people to keep playing, but the folks at Funcom had repeatedly been very clear and very vocal that Conan would be a game where gear wasn’t very powerful. Me and the people I was playing with in fact bought it BECAUSE of that! I mean, I understand why you like getting new and better gear every 10 minutes, so why did all these people buy this game and then slam it for not doing what it specifically said it wouldn’t do? The irony is that after all the gear-whores left, Funcom bumped up the power of gear to get them back – I’m sure that now the APB IP will be bought up and someone will make it into a GTA-skinned conventional WoW-clone MMO. For when the giants stole the secret of steel, Crom was angry, and he invented irony instead, and used it as a stick to beat on PC gamers.)

    • Tacroy says:

      Kadyai: I have to wonder, why does it matter to you so much that RTW never officially said the words “GTA MMO”? If so many people got the impression that what RTW was doing with APB was making a GTA MMO, and were excited for a GTA MMO, then were disappointed when APB was not in fact a GTA MMO, then doesn’t that say something useful about RTW’s marketing and their target audience (e.g, how horribly off-base both were?)

    • Kadayi says:

      @manveruppd

      Starky’s “Everyone wanted a GTA MMO” basically sums up the problem with this game: wishful thinking. Reading that blog Alec linked to it’s obvious that there were innumerable SNAFUs in the way RTW did things. But I have a feeling that even if they had done everything right, they still would’ve had the same problem “selling” their game to the press and consumers, and they still would’ve suffered from horrible reviews and the weight of people’s false expectations. It would’ve taken a PR wizard to sell this game properly.

      Agreed on that front. I think that getting Journalists to play collectively as a team (as Valve did when it was pushing L4D) rather than on a singular basis might of gone some way towards battling the problem, but fundamentally they were facing a constant problem of every preview article starting with ‘GTA style MMO APB…..’ which set up false expectations as to the final product. If you take it as intended, purely as a game and ignore all the other crap, by and large it delivers as promised by RTW. Buggy? Sure, Broken? Hardly.

      Still no doubt we are in for lots of hand wringing articles from various Journos about ‘what went wrong with APB’ over the coming days, though I doubt any will consider their own misrepresentations about APB being a GTA MMO being an influencing factor.

    • Starky says:

      manveruppd, yes there were lots of quotes near and post launch trying to distance themselves fro the GTA MMO perception – probably when they realized they weren’t going to deliver anything close to that.

      But at the start there was a LOT of nodding and winking whenever Journalists mentioned GTA and MMO in one sentence.
      All of the trailers they cut, especially the early gameplay trailers went out of their way to look like GTA, especially with the riding around in cars shooting out windows and such.

      Maybe you can blame the press and the companies PR tactics combined, but the result is the same.

      At the end of the day though, even if it failed to live up to the GTA MMO thing but was still a good and fun game with solid gameplay, it would have done well enough.
      It wasn’t, the gameplay sucked. Most 6/10 rated Xbox 360 3rd person shooters are more fun to actually play.
      Not to mention it was buggy, unoptimized, and a resource beast – most of which you expect from a new MMO – but not from a TBS.

      Still it tried to charge too much for too little – I like many people would have probably given it more of a chance if it was simply pay by the hour, but download the client free (so no £30 purchase, just a £5 for 20 hours fee).

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      Please hooker the only nudging and winking going on is that in your lucid imagination. Go back and really look at what they said and when I say ‘they’ I mean RTW, not the Journalists looking for a quick byline.

      Seriously this mythologising about the APB being ‘promised’ as a GTA MMO is up there with WMDs in Iraq in terms of reality.

    • manveruppd says:

      @Starky maybe at some point, under pressure for a soundbyte, they might’ve said “sort of…”, and it “sort of” was, in that you had cops and robbers, shooting each other online. But it wasn’t a GTA-style game in that it doesn’t have a storyline and discrete plot-driven missions. So the press managed to completely misrepresent the game to those people who expected something plot-driven and more akin to a conventional MMO.

      The other half of the discontents were the ones expecting CounterStrike on a bigger map, and they were disappointed too. I’m not gonna defend the shooting, it needed a bit of work, but, as I’ve said before, I don’t think it could EVER be as tight as an FPS, not with a massive map with 80 people in it. Plus it was designed from the start to offer asymmetrical matchups, so you would occasionally get the odd unfair matchup there until you managed to find backup, and that frustrated FPS players too.

      I have a feeling it could’ve been one of those titles that would’ve been a lot more popular with casual gamers than with people with pre-set expectations formed from their favourite genres.

    • Starky says:

      Kad, seriously mate go F… yourself, you are clearly a blind little fanboy and while I was expressing a civil opinion you decided to attack me personally.

      As for the opinion that it was a GTA MMO, sorry but I’m hardly alone in that impression, blame whoever the feck you like for that – the press, gamers, yourself for all I care… you can deny that the devs had any blame in this misconception all you like, but I was at the London Expo when a few of the devs were talking about the game exactly like it was going to be GTA4’s multilayer just expanded with massive customization.
      No one was expecting plot, or mission based plots (that I spoke too), but a Eve like freedom in a GTA style environment – which is what I think everyone was expecting for the first year and a bit.

      That may have changed but it was NOT well communicated, gamers were left in the dark about a lot of the game right up until the end, so those initial impressions were firmly entrenched, and by the time the makers got their finger out their asses to start trying to let people know what the game would be like, it was too late for anything but crushing disappointment.

      And once again, bottom line is, the shooting and driving sucked… which kind of automatically kills a game that is about shooting and driving.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Re: Kadayi

      You seem so stuck up on the GTA MMO thing. It wasn’t even an MMO.

      Regardless of press “misrepresentations” that RTW did nothing about, forget the GTA bit (which I think it actually fucking is), it wasn’t an MMO.

      They wanted you to pay monthly for a team deathmatch game.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      Unrepentant fanboy in what way? By simple virtue of the fact that I disagree with your knee jerk assessment of what went wrong and how? I’m not condoning anything RTW did (it reads like a complete cluster fuck), nor have I ever claimed that APB was or is some sacred jewel of a game (it needed work, but on the most fundamental level it worked). The only thing I’ve actually said is that the actual game got misrepresented by the gaming press to the wider public (GTA MMO) and that misrepresentation was never effectively dealt with. Hell, got back to this: –

      http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6186547.html

      Dave Jones is there rallying against the term MMO because of of all the RPG connotations it draws. Outlining that he views APB as a MOG, (Multiplayer Online Game), for very specific reasons. Yet barely about 4 comments in people are once again throwing ‘GTA MMO’ out there again, and hyping themselves up.

      I think the inherent problem is that when presented with something new, peoples tendency is to reach for what they know in terms of description and Journalists are no different in that respect. The issue is that MMO is a term that unfortunately does generate certain expectations (principally of RPGs like WoW) and it was never a good fit for what APB was at the end of the day.

      @kwyjibo

      I’m actually the one saying it wasn’t an MMO mate. Starky is the one saying it is.

    • Starky says:

      It’s still an MMOG – I don’t care what he says trying to get away from WoW, I don’t care that most people can’t differentiate MMOG and MMORPG.
      I agree that it isn’t and wasn’t a MMORPG, I said so in one of my first comments.
      It was a MMOG – It was massively multilayer. A term that has connotations beyond simply having lots of players… If someone hacked a Battlefield 2 server that had 256 players per side, so 512 player total – it still would not be a MMO-. Maybe it is a poor term, but it is the term that has come into common usage, and thus even if illogical it is valid language.

      Persistent world/characters, character customization, avatar/character based (you make a character, not just play on a team, it might be cops vs. robbers, but your robber is Jim the slim), item trading, loot, auction house/market place and monthly subscription/pay-to-play, centralized developer ran servers with no lan/private play supported – all firmly place it as a MMOG.

      Maybe massively is debatable, call it a MOG if you like, either way it is bullshit semantics about what classifies as massive – if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck it’s a frigging duck.
      Multiplayer games, even some with some persistence (such as Diablo 2, and Guild wars) don’t charge on going fees and that’s the bottom line.

      Granted it blurs the line, but even in that article you link it talks about him talking about WoW and then saying “compared to that we’re doing something different” which ironically only firms people’s opinions about it being a MMO – because that is the same kind of thing “WoW does X, but we’re doing Y instead” we’ve heard from every single since mmo being developed since WoW.
      By doing all those comparisons to WoW and then saying why APB was different, and what it was doing different it sill firmly linked everyone into the “Oh like WoW but without the grind and more action twitch based? So like Planetside?”
      If they wanted to distance themselves from WoW they should have been comparing themselves to other games, never even mentioning WoW, or any other MMORPG.

      Either way it doesn’t matter the results were the same, everybody expected GTA the MMO, GTA meets counterstrike, meets need for speed with MMO style character customization, persistent world and “quests” (missions) and they were either complicit with that expectation (at least at the start), and/or failed to a spectacular degree to communicate what their game was, leaving this misunderstanding to fester until it was too deep to remove.
      Personally I think a bit of both, the former at the start and the latter towards the end.

      MMO not MMO aside the only other thing I disagree with you on, and it’s the major factor in why I did no buy the game – and why I wager most people didn’t is this…
      “it needed work, but on the most fundamental level it worked”.

      I think the vast majority of people would disagree with this, on it’s most fundamental level (gameplay) it fell flat on it’s face – it just wasn’t fun to actually play. To drive or to shoot.
      As it stood GTA 4’s lacklustre multiplayer was more fun, as was the San Andreas multi player hack/mod.
      Not that any of this matters anyway, the game could have been the best game in years, sold a million copies and still probably ended up bankrupting the company.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      “I think the vast majority of people would disagree with this, on it’s most fundamental level (gameplay) it fell flat on it’s face – it just wasn’t fun to actually play. To drive or to shoot.”

      Well like most things multi-player, a lot depends upon how much you are prepared to put into a game in the first place. APB as a solo experience, not that much ‘fun’ it has to be said. APB as a team experience however, different matter entirely.

    • Starky says:

      Team play makes a lot of things better, but it doesn’t improved basic flawed game mechanics – it might allow you to have fun without them – but it doesn’t matter “how much you are prepared to put into [the] game” the driving was crap – like moving a brick around a ice rink.
      The shooting was floaty and horrid, and honestly about as bad as I’ve experienced in a modern game. Except for maybe mass effect 1, but given that was an RPG…

      It’s also the oldest and worst of MMO arguments “you need to join a guild/clan/corp to have fun”, people you know and would like to play with are not always around, if a game can’t hold up playing alone/with strangers in pugs, then it just fails.
      Community should enhance a title, not be a crutch for it.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Starky

      Exactly how much time did you put into APB? The more I read the more I get the impression you’re one of the ‘I played 2 hours of the beta and then quit’ types. I mean did you team up? Did you even use the ingame VOIP system to co-ordinate your teams actions? When faced with a difficult situation did you have the presence of mind to change your approach/your load out? It seems to me that your expectation of what a game should be is one where you’re winning from the offset, which is an unrealistic expectation in an open world game that is purely PvP, and more specifically one that is ideally meant to be played as a team experience. No game can moderate ‘fun’ when the challenge is outwitting other human players at the end of the day. As I said before you get out what you put in. If you put minimal effort in you can hardly expect good results.

  5. Kaiji says:

    I’m stunned to see people saying this was a “shame”.

    They sold a shitty product and their business failed. Isn’t that how business works?

    The people who bought the shitty product were disappointed at how shitty it was. Shouldn’t they have read reviews or something?

    What would be a “shame” would be if games this shitty sold millions. PC gaming is in too much of a mess for people to lament when bad games fail.

  6. Buemba says:

    I owe RPS for scoring me a beta key. Without it I’d probably have bought the game.

    But it would be a shame if the tech behind the game just disappeared – Just imagine if next Sims game used APB’s character creator and customization options.

  7. JimmyJames says:

    Yesterday they said they’d be patching in the much asked for Pureskill ruleset (no gun/character upgrades) today.

    I hope no one re-subbed because of that.

  8. Heliocentric says:

    If it had been a pay once shooter it would still exist. Stupid really.

  9. zipdrive says:

    This strikes me as one that’s going to be pivotal in terms of how people view MMOs now. Even the life-time subs to Hellgate got over a year of playing.

  10. Heliocentric says:

    Accidentally posted my last post as a reply.

    In short, how long until HMV stops selling this game for £30?

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      They should have already stopped otherwise they will have some angry customers.
      I do remember seeing some Hellgate London copies in my local gamestation a few months after Helgate London went under, so it is possible some retailers will still sell the game.

    • Cyrenic says:

      I was just wondering about that. There’s really no precedent for an online game to shut down this quickly. so retailers are probably going to leave the game on the shelf for months.

  11. truestory says:

    Should people that bought it ask EA for a refund or some compensation ? Its a MMO, we paid for something we CANT play.

  12. Valentin says:

    Not fair, makes me sad to see a game burn out this quickly. It ran poorly on my PC, a PC on which I can run Mass Effect 2 medium settings on 1650×1080, so that was unforgivable but still, i came out only a couple of months ago.
    This could had been a much better game with voice acting and a single player campaign.

  13. Chaosgabe says:

    Just a minute ago the server went down, i suppose forever . . .

    And i would chime in to the “Its a shame” crowd, because you really could have fun in this game. It had its failures, true. But i saw a way to right those.
    Ah well, AutoAssault and APB down, PlanetSide and EvE still running. 2 outta 4 isn´t too bad.

  14. Kadayi says:

    From the launcher before it went down (as the forums are kaput): —

    APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It’s been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome! From all of the Realtime World staff we thank you for your continued support. The servers are still up, so join the party and say goodbye! – Ben ‘APBMonkey’ Bateman (Community Officer)

    “I truly wish we had the chance to continue to craft APB into the vision we had for it. It has been a
    long & difficult journey but ultimately rewarding to have had the chance to try something bold and
    different. APB holds some great memories, from the last night of the beta, to the clans and individuals
    who amazed us with their creativity and sense of community. I am so sorry it had to end so quickly but
    hopefully the good memories will stay with us all for a long time. Thanks to all the team for the years
    of hard work, and to the players who contributed so much.” – Dave Jones

    Please spare a thought to all the thousands of brave men and women of San Paro who despite knowing the odds, still dared to cross the street. They will be sorely missed.. – Johann van der Walt (Software Engineer: Living City)

    Thanks for sticking with us through the hard times guys, we put a huge amount of our lives into APB,
    but unfortunately we.re not going to get the chance to make it the game we all knew it had the
    potential to be. Thanks.” – Rob ‘bobbyd’ Anderberg (Technical Lead).

    “Thanks for being a creative and imaginative community, the cookies, feedback and ideas were
    appreciated.” . Ben ‘ Giefster ‘ Skelly

    “Working on APB was rewarding, frustrating, amazing, depressing, exciting, and overall, surreal. I’ve
    never experienced anything quite like it, but I.ve enjoyed it all the way. I hope the players enjoyed
    the time they had despite the short comings, and will remember the game in a good light for what it was meant to be, not quite what it turned out to be. Now just to get started on that Xbox version…” – Jon
    McKellan (the guy who did the loading screens)

    I had the great pleasure of working with some extremely talented people in both the Dundee and Boulder office, and for the longest time APB was our lives. It is truly sad that it ended this way … but when you aim for the stars, you sometimes fall on your face.. – Ben Abbott, Live Producer.

    “Press F to apply for Jobseekers Allowance.”- Ben Hall (Development QA)

    “In every way APB was a dichotomy. I have witnessed the project alter from a fragile and delicate
    entity used to show the world the depth of our vision through to the sturdy beast we released to the
    public. There were the unusual errors and crashes which are to be expected but it worked. Once in the hands of our community I have never seen something elicit such a polarisation of people. It was
    dismissed as overhyped and broken or else taken to heart to be loved and cherished, buoyed on by a
    fanaticism I was proud to have played a part in bringing to the world. Although still again among our
    players APB brought out both the poles in human behaviour. I bore witness to raw hatred and fury,
    arrogance and mean spirits but I was also delighted to experience the kindest side of human nature as players came to the aid of others when in a tight spot or they created works of art with the tools
    provided.

    In all APB was a fantastic experience with an incredible team and it is one that I will always cherish
    and has added to who I am. Thank you everyone involved from our excellent players to our incredible dev team.”- Conor Crowley (Senior QA, System design assistant, Tech support, in-game support, Overall CS, 1 man Publishing QA team, Tea Boy, Morale Officer)

    “I’m sad to see the project go. Of all the games I.ve worked on, APB was probably the one with the most potential. I genuinely believe that given more time, we could have turned APB into the game we all wanted it to be. I.d like to thank the community for all their support, the good times I.ve had playing
    against them, and for the amazing (and often hilarious) user-generated content that they.ve created.
    I’d also like to thank the rest of the team for all of their hard-work, and for generally being great
    people to work with. ” -Bryan Robertson (Gameplay Programmer)

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      APB.com seems to have gone down too now, it’s all over.

    • Dolphan says:

      I suppose it’s long past the point where I can worry about coming out as ex-RTW, so: APB – meh, and it always was. Conor Crowley and the rest of the RTW Pub QA team, back before August when there was a rest of the team – awesome.

      There were a lot of good people who worked hard on this project; it’s sad that our time was wasted. RTW will stand as an example of why you shouldn’t get caught up in your own hubris (KG – 50 mill to develop a counter-strike clone isn’t quite accurate; the money was supposed to let RTW turn into a major online publisher with server infrastructure etc, with APB as a flagship product alongside others, MyWorld and potentially games from other devs – when you think about it, that’s actually worse).

    • Kadayi says:

      @Dolphan

      Hope things go well for you.

    • Slaphead says:

      @Dolphan

      Well it did turn out to be a Flagship product in one sense. I bought an APB box too, and never even got to log in. At least I got to play Hellgate: London for half a year.

      Best of luck in your future endeavors in any case. I’ve worked for a startup killed by hubris too, so I can sympathize.

  15. [21CW] 2000AD says:

    Man, I gotta thank RPS for helping me dodge a bullet on this one. When it was first announced and then when I saw the promotional stuff I was excited and almost pre-ordered.
    Then I got a beta key when RPS did the give away and decided it wasn’t worth it.

  16. n3gs says:

    Well shit. I hope they compensate everyone somehow, cause I still have some 48 hours left – I bought the game but never had time to play all that much.

    • Grot Punter says:

      I hope for compensation as well, and not some manner of half-assed in-game “last hurrah” event, I want my money back.

      I pre-ordered this, played in the beta, found it to be shite, and then never touched it upon release. Considering how fast it died, there had better be a refund.

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      Hard Luck i guess, i can’t see refunds being given out now.

    • Dean says:

      Well you won’t get anything from RTW as they’re in receivership. Fairly sure you can get your money back though, just fight the toss with the shop you bought it from. Tell them you got it ages ago and never played it and now it won’t work so it’s not fit for purpose.

  17. XM says:

    I was part of the Beta and the main problem was they didn’t listen to us if you were not in the first group they just didn’t listen.

    Every time I or any new members posted what was wrong with the game the first group just called you a noob all the time. Then they said all along it was going to be free and I understand somewhere down the road we were going to have to pay something. But just before release they came up with the worst costing system in MMO history.

    It was ment to be ground breaking, well it was job breaking if nothing else.

    For these MMOs to work they need to have a good game to start with then have 3-6 months free to get you up and running then if you like it (hopfully hooked) you’ll be happy to part with your money.

    I hope the elites on the Beta forum are happy now they killed their game they said was too good to fail.

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      No RTW killed the game when they failed to act upon the beta players feedback, when they mis-managed the game, the fund for the game and finally the game itself, failing to even advertise it properly.

      I won’t be buying any of there future games.

    • kwyjibo says:

      This game and company was fucked way before the beta.

  18. Starky says:

    They killed the game when they focused almost utterly on style over substance…

    All that customization while great didn’t mean crap with bad core mechanics and gameplay.
    Thanks to RPS (keys to the city thing) I got to play it for a few days and it saved me the cost of buying it.

    It’s the same mistake spore made, though even that had better gameplay.

  19. Chizu says:

    Apparently there is a Private server for APB (not sure if its actually running yet)
    So I guess that’s something for those who actually want to play a game they expected to be able to actually play.

  20. novariua says:

    There are plenty of safe areas in Eve. Sure people can attack you anywhere, but in the safe areas they tend to die for it.

    But I do agree with a more EVE style game. Especially if they had made each neighborhood slightly unique and player run/contributed/setup.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I played EVE for about 2 years solid. No where is safe. I’ve ganked people in 1.0 sec systems without war declarations active (things have probably changed now as CCP likely increased the CONCORD response since then but with enough people & equipment it should still be possible). A guy in my old corp ganked the pod of Marko Debreault the then CEO of Outbreak in a 0.9 sec system. Boy was he pissed.

      It’s all about taking a calculated risk. Losing a few battlecruisers or a couple of battleships to pop some ISK farmer’s Exhumer with T2 Strip Miners or a mission farmers pimped out Navy Raven was worth it because the cost of the cheap ships & modules you used were replaced easily with half an hour’s ratting in null sec plus the loot from the victim. Using a Tech 1 frigate to pop someone’s pod who has tens if not hundreds of millions of ISK worth of implants plugged in doesn’t even require much thought especially when you don’t particularly like that person.

  21. Legionary says:

    When MMOs go down there ought to be a legal duty for the developers to ensure the game remains playable, whether that’s with releasing dedicated server software, releasing a specification for said software, or patching the game so as much as possible of it remains accessible.

    After three months they really are, in my view, failing to provide their end of the contract formed when you purchase a product.

  22. Junior says:

    On an unrelated note, you’ll be happy to hear APB was only $5 at Gamestop today!

  23. Jorum says:

    I imagine one issue here would be that RTW is in receivership, and source code, server software and specs etc. would probably be considered assets. The receivers job is to try and salvage as much value as they can from this trainwreck. Software and code still potentially has value (theoretically someone may buy it to try and restart APB or modify it for something else, theoretically…) so they couldn’t just give it away for free to the community.

    • Legionary says:

      That’s true and I’m not suggesting that the game is made open source immediately. I’m just saying that, should no buyer be found (and it’s unlikely that one will be, by RTW’s own admission) there should be sufficient information released so people can continue to use the product they bought.

  24. Wulf says:

    The sad part about this really is that they likely have licensed libraries making up their servers, if they didn’t then they could sell their server software and everyone would win. I don’t know whether some agreement could be reached with their license holders really to see if they can arrange a situation where they could sell the servers, but if more companies did this then MMOs wouldn’t be quite such failures, in general.

    We could let the fans hop on and pay a subscription for as long as it lasts, then when it dies the developer could sell the server software and that could be picked up, people could run their own servers then, for their personal use (single-player), for use with friends, or to run public servers. Then even if a game dies it could live on, and anyone who enjoyed the game could keep playing it. Also, having access to the servers opens up all sorts of fun modding potential.

    There are all sorts of MMORPGs I really, really wish this happened with, but again, I think there are probably things that stop this from even being a possibility. It is a shame though, isn’t it? And hell, if they could release the sources as well as part of a purchased package, then people could continue to develop the game, even, often a community is better at the upkeep of a game than the developer is, so much so that they can take a completely broken game and polish it until it becomes something really special and shiny. (See: Gothic III.)

  25. Kadayi says:

    Judging from the eurogamer article: –

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-09-16-apb-plug-to-be-pulled

    It sounds more like the game is likely to re-emerge at some point once it’s been sold, but none of the parties who expressed an interest in purchasing it wanted to buy it as an active project with it’s current commitments in place (server upkeep and responsibility to the existing player base).

  26. iamseb says:

    Anyone in the UK who purchased from a UK retailer should return their copy to the retailer they purchased it from for a full refund under the Sale of Goods Act, regardless of whether or not they purchased time or used it all. As the product is no longer functional, it’s not fit for purpose and thus we’re legally entitled to return the product for a refund.

    Sadface about RTW. Couldn’t they have given some of that money to me?

  27. Graeme Strachan says:

    I’m quite sad actually, I had planned to pop in and check out the latest update to see if it was any better.
    Now I’ve got a game taking up a chunk of my hard drive, and an account for a non-existant MMO i played for about 8 hours.
    If I’d been a paying customer I’d be righteously angered over this. as it stands I’m just a bit peeved.

  28. JKjoker says:

    what a shock, what an absolute shock

    the only thing im surprised of is how fast they bankrupted, even the pioneers to overhyped AAA mmo epic fail, Flaship, lasted almost a year, i guess they released the game in that state because they had no more money to burn in it

    well probably start seeing this kind of news often with all the new mmos trying to crash the overloaded mmo party with a game that by its very definition discourages the gamer from playing (or even trying) other games at the same time after they invested so much time into it

  29. manveruppd says:

    Just a quick note to the people criticising the game’s payment model: I too was convinced that it was a ripoff, but a few days after I got it I was shocked at how slowly the hours were ticking down! I was playing it for 2 months (almost every day, at least 4 times a week) and haven’t paid a dime beyond the box cost, and I still had a few hours left today when they pulled down the servers!

    TBH I probably could’ve gone on for a couple more months without paying too, cause my character had earned so much in-game money I could’ve funded my game time by selling it! I also made a few items of clothing that had netted me a few RTW points, and a couple of short tunes using the in-game sequencer. It was pretty cool getting killed by someone and hearing the theme tune YOU made playing – always whispered them to thank them for their business! :p

    In short, it was an INCREDIBLY generous pricing scheme, and they did an atrociously shitty job of communicating this to consumers (compounded by D. Jones’s monumental fuckup of telling people it wasn’t gonna have a subscription at all a few months earlier). It was yet another of the many ways in which they screwed up, but it was a PR fuckup, not a bad pricing scheme in itself.

    • JKjoker says:

      err, had the game been as fun as it was supposed to be, you would have spent a higher percent of your time in the paid area

      personally the main thing i didnt like about the price mode was the way it was announced and the doors it opened for the future rather than the actual cost

      i had to use internet paid by the hour for a few years, the feeling of watching the clock 10 times per minute and rushing to do everything as fast as possible was horrible, every time someone forced me to waste time felt like a slap in the face, even if i ended paying less than i pay now with plain fee, i have no doubts that (at least with my personality) paying by the hour would kill any possible enjoyment i could get from any game

    • Tei says:

      You could have opted for the 30 days unlimited play. 10€ and you play all you want the whole month.

    • manveruppd says:

      Nah guys, it’s shooty, actiony gameplay, there’s no way you can play it for more than a couple of hours without feeling exhausted afterwards. It’s not your typical, slow, click-the-icon 1,2,3,4,5 MMO.

      The amazing thing is that I read an internal report somewhere (in fact, I think an ex RTW employee posted it in one of these comment threads here on RPS) which said that the 4 hours a day average was much less than they expected players to be spending, and I was absolutely flabbergasted! It’s obvious that the guys who drew up their expectation of how many hours they wanted the players to spend in the action districts didn’t spend any time at all playing their own game!

  30. pipman3000 says:

    hahaha its like hellgate londom in super speed.

  31. Hazza says:

    Ive still got a fair bit of unused gametime that i planned to use when i upgrade my pc to a 64-bit version of windows 7. What the hell am i supposed to do now? I guess it just sucks to be me. >.>

  32. Moonracer says:

    Not surprised it is dead. I am surprised at the lack of information. They could have left the forums up and just locked them so no one can post any more. They could have stated how long the servers will be up. I logged on just for the hell of it and it said I had infinite play time till December 12 of 2020!!! I’m Guessing the servers won’t be kept up THAT long! :P

    bummer the game is officially dead but I haven’t had the urge to play again. I did feel I got my money’s worth out of it though.

  33. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Sad for the people who’ve lost their jobs, sad for the customers who don’t get to play a game they’ve paid for, but not sad at all that a developer that proved incapable of developing and marketing a game of sufficient quality won’t be wasting development talent and investor cash any more.

  34. Shadowcat says:

    This is why I’ve never bought an online-only game (and why I hate internet-based DRM above all).

  35. Shadowcat says:

    damn you, reply button.

  36. wyrmsine says:

    Tremendously saddening. I’d very much like to see an RPS Wot I Think on this.

    • Kadayi says:

      I don’t think any of the hivemind put any time into it tbh.

  37. bit_crusherrr says:

    I’m a bit gutted. I wanted to buy the game after they had fixed all the problems I had with it in beta :(

  38. Bill says:

    If I’m losing any sleep over this it’s just for lost jobs. RTW as a creative entity is something I can entirely do without, thanks. As an employer, it’s a shame to see it go, but ultimately it’s obvious it wasn’t sustainable.

  39. Onwards says:

    So Dave Jones had success in in sweet-talking investors but spectacularly failed in both creative and business leadership,

    What’s his next project?

  40. google says:

    Google are now expanding its “hobbies” to every expect.