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Realtime Worlds enters administration

Realtime Worlds enters administration

APB developer Realtime Worlds has entered administration and is set to close for good.

The Scotland-based developer of MMO APB, Realtime Worlds, has entered administration, according to sources within the company.

Alarm was raised after a staff member tweeted the news, with anonymous sources within the company later confirming that they had been told to clear their desks by Friday.

Sources speaking to Eurogamer said that the news was broken to staff by CEO Gary Dales. The US offices of the company are also thought to be closing, while senior management are understood to have had a day's warning via email.

The news, while sad, doesn't come as much of a shock – just last week Realtime Worlds was reported to have made as many as 60 developers redundant overnight, starting fears that the company was in trouble.

Further information coming out of the developer suggests that a core, skeleton team may be kept on in order to maintain APB, the latest project to escape the studio.

Check out our APB review for more info on RTW's latest game.

Let us know your thoughts in [url=http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=192884]the forums[url].

12 Comments

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Hovis 18th August 2010, 01:55 Quote
APB is the best game that I would never recommend. Personally I love it, always have done, but it's so brutal, so unforgiving, so painful at times that I could never in good conscience send somebody into it, even if money was no object for them. It's a serious problem for a game that costs that sort of money that it is so relentlessly harsh on its new players. Planetside, another under-appreciated classic, had the same problem. These are games where the learning curve is akin to being thrown as a baby into a shark tank and told to swim.

But I don't think this has been the downfall of RTW with regards APB. In my observations it's come down to three pretty huge issues that they have never really worked around:

1. They should never, ever, in a thousand years, have let the letters 'MMO' be used in relation to APB. And they should not have invited their use. APB is not an easy game to define, but it's nowhere near an RPG and it's not a persistent world game. Having a customisable character who levels up and gets rewards etc does not make a game persistent. EVE is persistent, Planetside is persistent. They should have called it a shooter and left it at that.

2. Payment models. This was insanity from way before even day one. Unless you are making an orthodox life-sink MMO then the words 'payment model' should not enter any conversations at all about a game.

3. For what the game ended up as being there is absolutely no way in hell it ought to have cost what it cost to develop. I've seen small scale indy games that have been much better produced with much more content that haven't cost a tenth of the money sunk into APB. I think this as much as anything was the killer, because the game was always going to be at most a niche game, and you can't spend $100m on a niche game and make money.

Without the guff about subscriptions, without the ill-fated flirtations with terms like MMO and with better value for the development money the game, even in its present form, would have been much better received and RTW might have avoided disaster. I wonder if it will die off completely or if somebody will step it to run it. Hopefully the latter, if only because it's a unique game and doesn't deserve to die while half a dozen WoW clones still live.

Oh dear, that was something of a ramble. :D
Toploaded 18th August 2010, 01:56 Quote
Guess that's the final nail in the coffin for APB and any improvements it may have gotten, glad I decided to wait on the purchase of it.
Xonar 18th August 2010, 02:15 Quote
That's a damn shame, I met a few of the RTW people at a gaming conference in Dundee a year ago and they came across as if the company was doing pretty well and had a lot of aspirations for future releases, APB being the big one at the time as well as others.

I leaves me worried about the future of UK based game developers, my sister is in her second year studying games software development in Dundee with the hope of getting a job up there as that's where the majority of Scotland's developers are based.

However considering RTW were easily one of, if not the biggest developer based there, who have now gone bust, it's not looking great. I really hope the bill aiming at giving UK based developers tax relief goes through and this is a prime example of what's going to only become a trend in this country. Sad day indeed.
Luckz 18th August 2010, 03:12 Quote
Well, I was rarely ever so hyped up about the potential of a game (MP large-scale GTA!) to then find it to be such incredible ****.
Oh, and I thought Planetside was a fantastic game, just suffered from lag and, well, SOE. Plus not enough players to have combat everywhere at once, as it was designed to be.
liratheal 18th August 2010, 08:34 Quote
APB persistently annoyed me, which is why I classed it as an MMO.

Very personal, yes, but still. I'm not at all surprised it stands a chance of going down the pan.
Plugs 18th August 2010, 11:52 Quote
a sad shame, but not a surprise

Lots of staff, long development = high costs
average reviews, weird pricing = low revenue

you dont have to be an expert in economics to see something isnt going to be around long
TWeaK 18th August 2010, 12:39 Quote
MMO: Massively Multiplayer Online

APB might not be an RPG but it is definitely an MMO, even if the player base didn't turn out to be as massive as they hoped.

It's a shame to see RTW go under (although there's still the hope that someone will buy the company) but they pinned all their hopes on APB then made a long list of mistakes with it so it's not surprising.
Glix 18th August 2010, 12:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xonar
That's a damn shame, I met a few of the RTW people at a gaming conference in Dundee a year ago and they came across as if the company was doing pretty well and had a lot of aspirations for future releases, APB being the big one at the time as well as others.

I leaves me worried about the future of UK based game developers, my sister is in her second year studying games software development in Dundee with the hope of getting a job up there as that's where the majority of Scotland's developers are based.

However considering RTW were easily one of, if not the biggest developer based there, who have now gone bust, it's not looking great. I really hope the bill aiming at giving UK based developers tax relief goes through and this is a prime example of what's going to only become a trend in this country. Sad day indeed.

Not to worry, plenty of iPhone App/Game developers still going strong in Dundee.
PQuiff 18th August 2010, 13:10 Quote
WTF!!!

Wow, im glad i don't work in the games industry. 2 Games (crackdown and APB)? and there going bust. I thought realtime worlds was one of the steadier games companies.

I would love Bit-Tech to investigate why so many of these companies seem to start so well then disappear down the pan.

Well good luck to all the staff.
Hovis 18th August 2010, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
MMO: Massively Multiplayer Online

APB might not be an RPG but it is definitely an MMO, even if the player base didn't turn out to be as massive as they hoped.

It's a shame to see RTW go under (although there's still the hope that someone will buy the company) but they pinned all their hopes on APB then made a long list of mistakes with it so it's not surprising.

I'd say the two big reasons why it is not an MMO are these:

1. It's all instanced, and not big instances either. Eighty players is not a hell of a lot. Planetside capped out at four hundred and fifty in one region back in 2003, not bad at all for a shooter, and other games have hypothetically allowed for entire server pops to converge in one spot.

2. There is no persistent quality to the world beyond the character levels and design. You can't capture anything or stuff like that. In Planetside or Pirates of the Burning Sea or EVE you can change the game world, in APB the game world resets itself very quickly.

I agree there's a lot more to it than a regular lobby-to-match-to-lobby team shooter but it's a way short of precedents in MMO gaming that go back several years.
Pieface 19th August 2010, 03:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
MMO: Massively Multiplayer Online

APB might not be an RPG but it is definitely an MMO, even if the player base didn't turn out to be as massive as they hoped.

It's a shame to see RTW go under (although there's still the hope that someone will buy the company) but they pinned all their hopes on APB then made a long list of mistakes with it so it's not surprising.

Is it not 80 people per region? Not really an MMO then. Just a server based shooter. Battlefield 2 could hold 64 (Or something along those lines) people on one server and there was never a payment model.
Hovis 19th August 2010, 04:21 Quote
http://www.digitalbattle.com/2010/02/20/top-10-most-expensive-video-games-budgets-ever/

I think this article, albeit from February this year, pretty much nails the problem and puts it into context. They report APB as being one of the top ten highest budget games of all time, and they quote costs of $50m, which we now know to be quite a bit lower than the actual cost.

You look at the games on that list they are mostly console games, mostly absolutely massive ones to boot like GTA 4 and so forth. APB is a niche PC exclusive (although to be fair it made itself niche through it's pricing and attempts to call itself an MMO, they could have gone mainstream). Point being on that budget you need mass market appeal, you need to rock across all formats and you need, basically, to offer a whole lot of game. I've got a lot of love for APB but I honestly have no idea how the hell they spent that much money on it, I mean it doesn't even have it's own engine. The production values, the level of content, all that is more in line with an indy title in a lot of respects, as is the fast and furious, yet not exactly universally friendly gameplay.

If around $100m spent in development in the UK only builds you APB then maybe companies are right to leave.
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