Good news everyone! All Points Bulletin, the upcoming cops’n’robbers MMO from Dave Jones, he of GTA and Crackdown fame, will not have a subscription fee. That’s right – it’s doing the Guild Wars thing, or at least something like it.
It’s as fascinating a move as it is welcome, especially given that this is an MMORPG that’s reportedly grind-free too. The classic MMO subscription model hasn’t worked out terribly well for the vast bulk of games seeking a piece of Warcraft pie, and in a few cases it’s even seemed that the pursuit of recurring payments has blinded MMOs to what they should be. Warhammer Online, for instance, would be better if it was solely a combat game, almost a fantasy Counter-Strike, rather than surrounding that with lacklustre PvE to pretend it was a true online world. Tabula Rasa could have been a great singleplayer RPG, but instead swathed itself in dull grind to try and justify monthly fees.
So, this strikes me as a bold statement that APB is about the game, not about the subscriber count. Hopefully it’s the first of many MMOs to discard the desire to WoW and get on with building something fresh.
Of course, it may well yet turn out to be full of nasty micro-payments or something, but I’ve got a good feeling about this. Jones and Real-Time Worlds demonstrated a healthy interest in letting people have fun with Crackdown, and I’m sure that underpinds APB too.
Additional: APB is now accepting beta applicants. Though it’s a sort of pre-registering interest thinger, so don’t convince yourself you’re definitely getting a place right off the bat.