I was going to open this post by saying 'Remember APB?', but Graham already did that in 2013. Um. Do you remember remembering APB? It's the cops and robbers MMO that launched in a shonky state back in 2010, causing Realtime Worlds to sink just weeks after launch. Then the game got picked up by GamersFirst, who turned it free-to-play, slapped 'Reloaded' onto the name, and made it...a little less shonky?
This week, the story continues. Little Orbit have bought GamersFirst, and their CEO is promising to look after the somehow-still-existent APB community with big content updates and a shift to a newer engine. Will it be enough to make those cops worth robbing and the robbers worth copping?
You can read Orbit CEO Matthew Scott's letter to the community for yourself here. He's keen to emphasise how open the dev process is going to be from here out, and wants to shake up both the world of APB and the tendrils outside the game itself:
"In the next 30 days, expect to see GDPR updates for GamersFirst including new privacy policies, code of conduct, and term & conditions. We will also be cleaning up the social pages, implementing a new forum, showcasing a general roadmap for the game and announcing a significant change to our banning and cheating policies."
"This is all critical for setting up an environment where you can give us feedback.
"After that we’re going to focus on content. I'll be working on an exact roadmap that we can publish soon, but over the coming months we would like to add a new mode, maps, clothes, guns, vehicles and a new matching system for competitive play. Alongside all of that we are committed to upgrading APB Reloaded to the Unreal 4 engine."
He also warns that the engine change is likely to take a long time, and - more strikingly - that he doesn't expect the change to make much difference in the short term.
"Personally I don't think Unreal 4 is going to have a big impact on the look or speed of the game", he says, adding that "it may not even be noticeable to some." The move is really about ensuring the game's "long-term viability", says Scott.
I haven't played it myself, but everything I've heard suggests that most of the game's problems are ones that content updates won't take care of. As Brendy puts it: "Presented as Grand Theft Auto meets MMO it had neither the confidence of the former nor the lifespan of the latter. It was ambitious but also doomed. Poor driving controls, humdrum shooting matches and a lack of variety couldn’t save it from the ire of heartless critics."
You can find more of Brendy's heartless, accurate criticism in his review.