Friday, September 17, 2010

All Points Bulletin Listed Dead By The Coroner, BUT! It May Be Revived?

Barely 3 months out of the gate, and APB has been pulled by their developer Realtime Worlds. Coincidentally, the announcement came the same day that they were to release a patch that would fix some of the issues in beta that were never addressed. The studio was already struggling just as the game released with a massive set of layoffs and the company was in the process of being restructured. But the lack of players in APB only helped to further the closure of the game. At least some of the staff are keeping the situation light:

"Press F to apply for Jobseekers Allowance."- Ben Hall (Development QA)

“Please spare a thought to all the thousands of brave men and women of San Paro who despite knowing the odds, still dared to cross the street. They will be sorely missed.”  - Johann van der Walt (Software Engineer: Living City)

That's probably not something that people currently paying are ok with reading, but sometimes you have to laugh during the worst of times in order to get through it.

I'm not really surprised that the game failed.  They needed to make a lot of fixes prior to release that they didn't get around to, and that hurt them. It had potential, but needed to get the kinks worked out. The issue that I'm seeing is on two fronts: EA and Beta. I think that since they were purchased by EA, that they had to live up to their standards of pushing the game out on time, and that killed APB from being fixed. The other is in Beta, so many people played the game and never provided feedback to help improve it. I don't think people understand what a beta is all about. It's to help test a game and find the bugs/weaknesses, and inform the developer. Why? To help make a better game. I've been reading people saying "oh it's just a beta, it'll be better." But that's the issue. It can't become better until you inform the developers of what's wrong. And guess what? They'll listen! Because they know if they can't fix the game, it's going to fail.

But in a Hollywood twist, APB may already be given a second chance less then a day after being shut down. Epic Games, the guys that make Gears of War, are looking into buying the rights for APB.  Apparently the big bosses at Epic and Realtime are good pals. So it might not be a bad deal. Epic has the money to help redevelop APB and fix the problems with the game.

I still stand by that APB was a good idea. It just needed more time to be nurtured. But the push of EA and lack of beta contribution by gamers kicked it to an early grave.


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