Back in 2008, Realtime Worlds was sitting pretty. A year after the release of the well-received Crackdown, the Dundee-based studio's founder and GTA creator David Jones managed to net $50m for its pet project, the ambitious MMO APB: All Points Bulletin. He was positive about its chances, and given the interest in the project and the pedigree behind it he had every right to be. APB would be the company's first big online game, he thought. Instead, it was to be Realtime Worlds' last.
"APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running, APB is coming to a close."
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APB, the action MMO from Dundee-based developer Realtime Worlds, launched in the UK on Friday. Great things were expected, not least because of the pedigree of the developer behind it. So Eurogamer's review, which criticised the game's combat, vehicle handling and matchmaking before dishing out a less-than-stellar 6/10 score, came as some surprise.
"The biggest obstacle I think APB faces, period, is the difference between what people have put in their heads already and what APB is - because it's so simple and it's so easy to make a comparison to what's out there, to say, oh, it's a GTA MMO."
David Jones, boss of Dundee's Realtime Worlds, is hanging out on Epic's thronged, buzzing, walled-in stand on the Game Developers Conference show floor. He's been helping Mark Rein hawk the Unreal engine by running live demos of the Unreal-powered APB, direct from the online crime game's beta servers.
Mark Rein, star of the maddest thing we've ever published, is a lot of things. He's a former id Software play-tester. He's a vice president of Epic Games. He's a shameless promoter of Unreal Engine 3. He's a fantastic conversation. Today though, Mark Rein is a cop.
Let's start with the hardest question to answer. Is APB (All Points Bulletin), the new online game from the makers of Crackdown, an MMO?