Eurogamer: How have you found working with EA as your publisher? How has EA impacted on the game?
Dave Jones: Well they haven't. We worked with EAP [EA Partners]. They came to the party late last year when we were pretty far along. We wanted a good marketing and distribution partner. It's not a publishing deal. They've been there to support us at retail.
Eurogamer: How do you feel about the support they've given you on a marketing level?
Dave Jones: I mean that's been fine. It's been a challenge because the game is [laughs] very different. I know it's always difficult trying to position something that's a new IP that's unique, a bit like Crackdown was as well. Until people actually got to play it, no matter what we said... People said, 'Ah, it's just going to be another urban-based GTA rip-off'.
APB suffers from that a bit. People weren't quite sure what it is. How do you tell people in words what it is? Until they get in there and try it, it was always going to be difficult. But they certainly helped us build the awareness for the game. Now anybody who knows about it and can come and give it a try.
Eurogamer: So you're happy with the support EA has given the game and Realtime Worlds?
Dave Jones: Yep.
Eurogamer: Let's talk about the reviews. We've seen some scores that are lower than some had anticipated. Are review scores important to APB?
Dave Jones: 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.
Secondly, because it was so different I knew some people would take to it immediately, and some people just wouldn't. But I've never done a game that hasn't been like that, polarises opinion. I don't think that's a bad thing. When you do something different it's always a challenge. It's nothing more than I expected. Nothing more than I communicated internally to people. You'll read some people who love it one day and some people who hate it the next.
Eurogamer: I get the impression that you haven't let APB's review scores get to you too much. Some developers let them upset them quite a bit. But you come across as someone who's not going to let that happen to them.
Dave Jones: No. I remember on GTA 1, people laughed at it because it was a 2D game when Ridge Racer appeared. They laughed at the screenshots. They said, ‘These guys are crazy releasing a 2D top down game'. But once they played the game a fair bit they go, ‘Well actually it's kind of good fun'. And they saw past that. Crackdown was the same.
Every game - I think it's a bit of a curse of mine. We just try and make sure we do something different every time. This one's no different. I knew, as I say, it would be all over the place. But then again, I've got guys on accounts - we can check on how players are progressing - who have played it since October in beta, have 300 plus hours on their accounts.
I still play the game every night. It's just a great, fun, multiplayer game with a bunch of friends. It's different. It's got some marketing challenge, because it is multiplayer. You have to come with the frame of mind that it does take time to learn. It's very tactical. People assume they die a lot, it's just because the combat's not very good. They don't quite understand it. Therefore a little bit of frustration creeps in.
Eurogamer: You suggest people should stick with it and give it a bit more time?
Dave Jones: It's not for absolutely everybody. If some people are diehard FPS guys and Modern Warfare is their life, they're going to struggle to make the change. But Splinter Cell players, or guys who are in to more tactical combat, and they just love being online with their friends in a multi-player game, we're finding we're really resonating with those guys. There are a lot of misconceptions.
Funnily enough I'm just reading the Eurogamer one just now, and there are misconceptions about more powerful characters and more powerful guns. There are no more powerful characters and there are no more powerful guns in the game. But people die and they see a rating on a player. Rating has nothing to do with the kind of equipment they have. Our weapon system is exactly the same as Modern Warfare. We don't have more powerful weapons. We just have a different range of weapons.