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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 2:44PM Darkdust said

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I'm highly sympathetic to the claims of the former employees. No back pay and getting dumped on the street? Terrible.

That said, the problems here went far beyond just the business model. At best, they didn't get the proper resource allocation to deal with things like in-game security (anticheats), and at worst they had significant technical competence issues. Like most things in life, I suspect the problem lies in between those two extremes.

Even in those cases, though, it sounds like the senior management had lots of problems. I wish the best for the rank and file folks left in the lurch here.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 2:48PM AlluvianEstEndrati said

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In its launch state, APB may have done well it it had released several years back. However there really can be no excuse for pushing a game live with such awful driving mechanics and third-rate combat. When the basic elements of your game don't hold up, you should know something is very wrong. They tried, they failed and the project is sinking and burning.

APB had some promise. It was aiming in the right direction, but fell far short. With proper leadership and some decent developers, another year or two could have made it a really great game that perhaps could have survived. Maybe.

Unfortunately APB's failure means that my dream of seeing a sprawling open-world Saint's Row style MMO may be dead as well. Nuts.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 2:50PM claytondora said

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Firstly, I am sorry for the good people at eye who are being laid off. It's Always a shame when higher ups make decisions that scrap years of work. APB's business model is highly unattractive to me, although I enjoyed the core gameplay. The Dev was right, with all the free-to-play games out there, few are willing to pay the hourly rate for APB's extremely shared, sparsely populated world. I've said before, when APB was fresh, it wouldn't be long for it to go ftp.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 4:21PM Controlled Chaos said

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Sounds like everything just went wrong in all the exact ways that it was going to bankrupt them. The game is doomed and the company likely is too, but hopefully the folks who had to work on it and got canned with not much else will find some decent jobs elsewhere.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:01PM Its Utakata stupid said

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This seems to be turning into a pitch that "all games should go F2P with MT's" rather than an informed analysis of what actually went wrong. I very much doubt their business model was the only contributing factor to Realtime's downfall, as unique of a snowflake as it was. Quality of the game most likely being the biggest issue. One that players went, "meh." And no type of business model may have saved them from that.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 7:20PM dudes said

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I can imagine it was very upsetting. The Devs were, are, obviously a talented crew.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 8:08PM J Brad Hicks said

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"Is anybody working on gameplay?" "I don't know, but look at all these cool multi-million dollar art assets!" "Yes, yes, those are lovely art assets. Is anybody working on gameplay?" "But, but ... look at these art assets!"

I have a radical proposal to make to game development teams: develop the expletive-deleted gameplay first, using art assets that came with your 3D modeling tool or rectangular solids or plain cylinders. Once the gameplay is good, THEN spend tens of millions of dollars on art assets.

(Tetris didn't have an art budget of $30 million. Neither did Bejeweled. Neither did Farmville. MMO developers need to remember that what they're making are GAMES. Yes, it's nice if they're pretty, but it doesn't matter how pretty they are if they aren't fun to play.)

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 11:11PM cray said

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Brad,

I agree with you, gameplay and mechanics should definitely be the first priority for any type of game being made. I do think that a lot of game designers let the theme dictate how the gameplay & mechanics turn out.

It's not a bad thing to have birds run and dogs fly if the gameplay is beneficial. The problem here is birds fly, dogs run and gameplay is crap....yet they do it anyway because the theme makes sense regardless of the quality of gameplay. That's how studios justify things, it's a cost-effective decision. Usually a very poor one at that.

In the case of APB, I don't think they had any deep priorities in terms of game play, I think they thought they had the mechanics set in stone, but would make adjustments once everything was put together. So there was obvious abandonment of re-valuating the mechanics during the whole building process.

It's all very sad because I thought APB was a standout in graphical design, it's so unfortunate people couldn't say the same about the gameplay.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 8:48PM jwoelich said

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"Then a few things happened. Facebook. Farmville. The iPhone. Nintendo's resurgence. Casual gaming. Free-to-play. It started to feel like Realtime Worlds was a massive dinosaur, building these massive things that nobody wanted,"

...and without realizing it, he just described the state of the MMO genre for the past few years as well as the forseeable future....

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 9:24PM pcgneurotic said

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I just love the picture with this post, someone has a sense of humour I can dig. :D

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 10:42PM Graill440 said

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Some people can never be told what they do is wrong, they are the center of their own world, a primary reason things DO go wrong. If you cant take advice, and you cannot stop a trainwreck, then you shouldnt be in a position of leadership.

Bad choices and poor descision making get worse as they roll down hill....in my experience.

I told these yahoos along with quite a few others during beta (such a joke) this game would tank out the gate, not because of the money model but because of the choices in game mechanics, hard head, soft asses, never listen.

Lets hope the bad devs are seperated from the good ones and these folks get new gigs, maybe the bad ones can find work at Micky D's or something. (grin?)

Posted: Aug 26th 2010 12:25PM Regault said

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A dev was posting anonymously on 4chan, and apparently the programmers and other low men on the totem pole had been bringing up the game's problems at least a year before beta, and the lead designers kept blowing them off with "It'll all come together at launch."

By the way, the two people with most creative control over APB were also responsible for the Star Wars Galaxies NGE, and one of them has landed on his feet and gotten a lead designer job at Ubitsoft Singapore.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 10:50PM Theeinferno said

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This is turning into a UFC fight.

Posted: Aug 26th 2010 3:51AM (Unverified) said

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The subscription model was fine for APB, who cant afford 10 a month? If the game was F2P it would have had more people, but wouldn't make the cash needed. The real problem with APB was that it was rushed out of beta to fast and did not offer a free trial to attract customers. If there were a free trial right now I bet it would attract new customers instantly because the game is a ton of fun and very unique as a shooter and a mmo.

I have played since early beta and have seen the game evolve from ok to great. The next upcoming patch is moving that up from great to awesome. I know there are a ton of shit planned it just takes time as the game was rushed out of beta to fast and next patch is the patch that makes the game ready for live play.
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 8:49AM Snichy said

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@ jgramm25, your comments are suspiciously contrary to the rest of the community who have played the new patch, including me.

Whilst some problems have been marginally addressed, a whole new series of problems have arisen and the new patch (which was supposed to be the saviour of the game) needs a lot more work before it goes live. I really do hope it pulls through but this mythic "game-changing" patch is not game-changing in a good way. Yet!
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 5:08AM wufiavelli said

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People need to get this in their heads. Sub MMOs are not dying, all that is happening is the F2P and casual farmville market is expanding. Sub might not be the hot sht currently but its still far from dead. Most major MMOs coming out within the next few years will be sub based.

Posted: Aug 26th 2010 4:28AM (Unverified) said

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I play games for entertainemt. Pretty graphics are a nice touch, but it's only one of many qualities I look for when choosing to pay for a game. If the core gameplay is non existent, why would anyone waste time and money on it.

My sympathies to the RTW devs, I hope other game development teams see this massive failure as a reality check, a polished turd is still a turd.

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