Posts Tagged ‘realtime worlds’

Have You Played… APB Reloaded?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The story of APB is a twisted games industry tale that makes us all squirm with discomfort. 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, myself included, not even when Realtime Worlds collapsed and the game was bought and relaunched as APB Reloaded. Read the rest of this entry »

Citizens On Patrol: Arnold Tsang’s APB


This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills.

Not only can I straightfacedly say that I enjoyed playing APB, I even have this document to prove it. Being what felt like a voice in the wilderness back then wasn’t what was frustrating, though, it was knowing that the trolls so vocal in the game’s own chat channels weren’t wrong. Such were this MMO shooter’s problems – the anarchy not just of game, you felt, but production – that no amount of charity was going to save it from the bloodlust of gloating critics.

As someone who loves a good character editor and was floored by APB’s ambition, I had a hard time dealing with the bait-and-switch of the game’s customisation modes. (What you built in the editor looked next to nothing like who you played in the game.) Clearly the game couldn’t deal with it, either, which is why much of its landscape is wallpapered in the work of a concept art dream team assembled by Webzen and Realtime Worlds. Read the rest of this entry »

APB Reloaded Is Reloaded (Onto Steam)

Black veils all round.

It’s a strange sight, seeing APB back on Steam, a year after it went away. Of course this is the new version, brought back to life by K2 Networks, reinvented as a free-to-play game. Which as of today can now be played-for-free via Steam. So, you gonna?

And here’s a sweet thing – the image above is captured from the new version of the game’s opening video. Is it sweet? Or is it slightly creepy? I can’t decide. Cheers Craig.

EG: The Fall Of Realtime Worlds


Our chums over at Eurogamer are running an article about the catastrophic failure of APB:

After receiving the news, most of the former employees left for the pub straight away. But a core of the now jobless staff remained at the studio well into the night. Though the studio was finished and APB was effectively dead they didn’t want to say goodbye, to each other or the game.

“We stayed on, even though we knew we were fired,” say Bateman. “We were running the servers, trying to get contingency plans in place, so we could try to do stuff from home. It was like the Titanic was sinking but people were trying to patch it up just in case.”

It’s large, comprehensive, filled with insider quotes, and worth a read.

You’ll Never Take Us Alive: Epic To Buy APB?

The BBC mention the possibility that the remains of APB may be purchased by Epic. This actually squares with the reports from Gamesindustry.biz where Les Able of Begbies Traynor said that despite 300 parties having interest, none of the shortlist of six were “comfortable with buying it as a live operation.” So, APB is dead and there’s certainly six places on that list for Epic. Some more information, speculation and thoughts on the APB close follows…
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APB’s Last Bulletin

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.
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Americans Own MyWorld

A little bit of politics, etc.

While there’s no news on APB, the BBC broke news yesterday that the administrators of Realtime Worlds have found a buyer for MyWorld. Staff had been kept on MyWorld in hope of them doing exactly that, so you have to chalk this up in the pro column for them. Who’s the buyer? It’s a secret. “One hundred per cent confidentiality has been imposed by the company.” said the administrators about this mysterious American company, “MyWorld has been sold and unfortunately we cannot disclose any further details of the sale.” Who is it? Well, the obvious guess would be someone working in the social-networking sphere though sources speaking exclusively inside our heads tell us it’s the Bavarian Illuminanti. We must ignore the voices, else we kill again.

Activision Aims To Recruit Ex-RTW Staff

Good luck, chaps.

There’s a peculiar bit of news for all those Realtime Worlds employees who have found themselves out of a job in the last week. As an anonymous insider told us, “It’s a shame… as Dundee can’t absorb the level of game dev redundancies that are about to hit, which means the Dundee scene gets that little bit smaller.” It seems that Activision is attempting to absorb at least some of them, by launching a recruitment drive of ex-RTWers in the city tomorrow afternoon.

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Realtime Worlds Enter Administration

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.

Redundancies At Real Time Worlds

Sad news broke on Friday. Firstly, with rumours that in addition to previously announced scaling back of the APB team post-launch, the whole team of the recently announced Social Networking Game MyWorld would be laid off. Later, speaking to Develop, Studio Manager Colin Macdonald confirmed that the further redundancies had been made, and that those cuts were made to the MyWorld team, but stopped short of saying the project was cancelled and they “were still looking at options for it.” However, APB would continue…
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Realtime Worlds’ Next Project: The Anti-APB

I’m going to show you a trailer in a second. Before you watch it, remind yourself what Realtime Worlds’ last game, APB, was like: gangs, murder, crime, tattoos, joyriding, mercilessness…

If Darren Aranovsky had followed up Requiem For A Dream with My Little Pony: The Movie, it’d probably be less of an about-face than RTW’s new game, currently known as Project: MyWorld.
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APB Gets List Of Stuff To Be Improved


Despite some middling reviews, and a certain amount of internet grumbling, all is not lost for APB. It is set to be improved over the coming months, at least according to this post by the lead systems designer. Things that are to come under scrutiny include issues with camping, problems with cheaters, changes to rulesets, the improvement of vehicle handling, the look and feel of combat, the accuracy of match-making, and the strategic nature of missions. Which I am guessing encompasses most of what people have mentioned being concerned with. We’ll look forward to seeing how this stuff is addressed in forthcoming patches.

APB Review Embargo Set Week After Release

Two naive customers unaware of the game's state, yesterday.

Review embargoes are a very normal part of games journalism. Companies will put restrictions on when publications are allowed to talk about games before they’re released. For previews this is done to control the dissemination of information. For reviews it’s to allow certain publications to have an exclusive, or more muckily, because they don’t want negative reviews to appear too much in advance of the game’s release. It’s potentially murky territory, but since it’s their game, they get to choose the conditions in which they make them available to magazines and websites before commercial release. It’s not unusual for everyone to be told, “Reviews of game X may be published at 5pm on the 26th”, and then you’ll see all the sites have their reviews appear at once.

What’s far more rare is a company attempting to control the publications of reviews after a game has been released. Especially not ten days after. This is what Realtime Worlds are astonishingly trying to enforce for APB.

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48 Hours (+2): APB Pricing Plan

When the examiner said he'd failed the driving test, he figured 'fuck it'.

The APB Pricing model has been revealed and it’s not quite what we were expecting. Previously it was stated it would be subscription free. And it still kinda be. Basically, buying the game comes with 50 hours of actual shoot-and-driveage. After that, there’s other options, varying from seven dollars for an extra 20 hours, to a play-as-much-as-your-want (gasp!) monthly subscription fee for ten dollars. I’m going to quote the full current FAQ answer below, because there’s some stuff which is worth highlighting and talking about. Join me!
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APB: New Wave Of Beta


Realtime Worlds send word that “Massive” online shooter APB is taking another round of beta test signups to expand the testing. You can sign up here. It’s still a closed beta with limited places, so there’s no guarantee of getting it, but it’s got to be worth a shot.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of new players to San Paro in the coming weeks.” said Dave Jones, Creative Director at Realtime Worlds, “As APB enters this final stage of closed beta testing, we’re anticipating a huge surge of interest with gamers from all over the world applying to take part and provide invaluable feedback to the development team preparing us for launch.”

APB: Actual Game Footage


The first not-filmed-by-wobblecam game footage trailer of urban crime no-subscription fee MMO-shooter APB turned up on Gamespot this morning, and I’ve posted it below. It’s got cars crashing and smashing, dudes getting shot, doors getting, er, opened, and a funny joke about dancing in MMOs at the end. Well, it’s kind of a joke, I suppose.
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Develop ’09: VG247 Vs Mr Jones On APB


Internet info-king Pat Garratt of VG247 has bagged an interview with APB mastermind – the man who created the GTA series – Dave Jones. The Realtime Worlds bossman talked at length about the mechanics of the game, and even has a few words about the GTA series. You can watch it below.

APB, in case you weren’t paying attention, is a forthcoming 100-man online gang combat game set in a contemporary city, and one of the most intriguing developments in the MMO space for several years. It was also, if our own John Walker’s account is to be believed, the most exciting game shown at E3. You probably want to watch this one, eh? (In other Develop news, Kieron says: “The Unreal Flesh Engine sex stuff is the best stuff of the show. I couldn’t believe it. Bosoms will never be the same again.”)
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RPS At E3: APB – The Most Important Game At E3

A gang, in a street, yesterday.

Of everything I saw at E3, APB stood out as the project with the greatest concentration of inspiration. Ignore the surprisingly crappy images that have been released so far – this one deserves your attention. During the presentation a colleague sat next to me leant in and said, “Bloody hell.” A minute or so later I replied, “This is the first original idea I’ve seen all week.” It’s very easy to think of APB as an online GTA. It certainly is a game focused around either committing or preventing crimes in an open city. But what makes APB stand out is just how damned smart it is.

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