Eurogamer: You're going to have 100 players per city, but if you were stuck in a particular instance, then you might potentially end up with only 10 people online. How does your instance structure work?
David Jones: Our game supports 100,000 per world. So the actual worlds are big. And then within the world we have, say we have 10,000 players on at any time, then we have those split over 100 cities.
The way we engineer the game is that when people come in, most of the time they say take me to where my friends are, or I want to join this kind of city. And behind the scenes we intelligently put them where is the best - there are 80 players here, that's the best experience for you. We only ever fire up new cities when we've picked out some other players. We quickly fill them.
But if players want to, they can go anywhere they want. If they want to go to a quiet city because they like that kind of small intimate atmosphere, then they have that option as well.
Eurogamer: Do you have any opportunities for a metagame - particularly for clans?
David Jones: For the clans, as I say, mostly to be honest now it's league-based. That's initially where the metagame is.
But APB is going to evolve. Day one for us is really about come into APB, make your clans, decide who you want to be, start progressing through the game. But we have a plan mapped out for the city of San Paro which includes some unique events down the line which really grow the metagame.
We have a three-year plan for it. For me it's like GTA to GTA III. It takes time, you can't do it all on day one. We have a plan, we'll actually build that into the storyline as well. There are some very unique long-term metagames coming that are much more in line with the style of game we are.
Eurogamer: It's a fairly unstructured PVP game, and often in those games players like to get involved in their own metagames - EVE Online for example. Can you see those player-led events happening in APB?
David Jones: Absolutely, we have one just now, on our forums in beta. If you've seen The Wire, or any TV show where they start to put up pictures of all the bosses - somebody's done that for all the criminals in the game, and we have a thread right now with screenshots of every player that's been arrested.
It's amazing, because there's a bunch of criminals now that no Enforcer in the game has yet managed to arrest. And they've created this metagame where they want a picture of every one of them. That's not something we did.
I absolutely believe there will be a lot of metagames like that, and that's what we want to support as well. It's very much not what we want to do, it's what the players decide.
Eurogamer: I think a lot of players would be interested to see that in an action game, because at the moment that style of play is mostly only accessible to hardcore RPG players.
David Jones: And I think our technology supports it, because we can basically do anything we want to per 100-player instance, so we can change the rule sets for every 100 players.
Longer term, what we really want to do, if you're talking about the metagame, well if you're a good clan and you're winning stuff, what we'll reward you with is the opportunity to decide. You get your own district, and you can decide the rules. Anybody else comes to that district, they play by your rules.
You see all this stuff about dedicated servers and the PC community up in arms about games removing them because what they really liked doing was changing the rules. What I want to do is give that power back to them, but in a very structured way, because we pay for those servers. Give them the right to earn the right to have their own servers.
Eurogamer: So you're talking about quite high-level community involvement in game features...
David Jones: Huge. Huge. Within a month this game could be very, very different because we tried out this rule-set in a district and people loved it to death - and as you know a small tweak to the rules can make a very different game - and that's what people gravitate towards. If that's what's popular, we'll just keep on firing up more of those kinds of servers.
Eurogamer: Do you envisage doing more content-heavy, expansion-type updates? As DLC perhaps? Or are we getting back into the business model discussion we can't have?
David Jones: All of the above. We have a three-year plan. We'll be doing the regular patches, some new content, some new weapons, vehicles... All I can say, I think the main thing is: here's a new city with new kinds of rules.
It'll be slightly different to what's out there. But we will have big expansions as well. When we talk about the metagame, it will be about these big things that happen to the city or these big new characters, new plotlines.
There's a lot of big things we have planned and likewise there's a lot of small, reactive things we want to do as well. We'll be very dynamic, down to a month-to-month level, with some big seismic events.