APB creator Realtime Worlds be leavin’ the hizzle, dawg. Various outlets report that the company has entered administration, which I guess is kind of like bankruptcy but politely British. Despite a reasonable amount of pre-release interest in the gang-banger MMO, the game imploded almost immediately upon hitting shelves, thanks to a disastrous public beta and lukewarm reviews.
It’s sad that Realtime Worlds is likely going away (no word yet on what’s going to happen to the eleven people currently subscribed to APB), because that company also created Crackdown, one of the pure joys of 360 gaming. Unfortunately, the firm’s apparently ill-advised decision to move into the MMO space, plus the fact that it appears to have spent more on concept art than actually making the game, have dealt what appears to be a fatal blow.
In many ways this is surprising. I wasn’t sure what to expect of APB. No one thought it would topple World of Warcraft or anything like that, but as a team-based shooter I honestly thought it might do okay. Unfortunately the game was not very good – as evidenced by the public beta. One danger of a huge public beta is that the world will realize your game is bad before they buy it, and then they… won’t.
But in a time when various MMOs are struggling but surprising, the supernova speed of this collapse is unexpected. Aion, Warhammer Online, D&D Online, Age of Conan, they’re all trudging on; some are even profitable. At the very least I expected the same fate for APB.
But it’s not to APbe, alas. Ave atque vale, Realtime Worlds. Crackdown will never be forgotten.
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