The developer of Crackdown and APB, Realtime Worlds, was recently hit with layoffs. Members of the APB team were axed, as was much of the team developing social gaming software Project MyWorld. So, what happened to the promising studio?
According to a commenter at Rock Paper Shotgun going by the name ExRTW, claiming to be a former employee of Realtime Worlds on the Project MyWorld side, it wasn't just one thing that contributed to the studio's demise. The game was delayed multiple times, it didn't have good driving or combat mechanics and was "really a product of fairly directionless creative leadership."
The "real killer," ExRTW writes, was the business model, a decision that was "out of the team's hands."
"The game has issues, but I think if you separate the business model from the game itself, it holds up at least a little better. The problem was that management looked at the revenue they wanted to generate and priced accordingly, failing to realise (or care) that there are literally a dozen top quality, subscription free team based shooters. Many of which, now, have progression and persistence of some sort – for free."
The alleged former employee further blasts Realtime Worlds' management for failing "spectacularly to manage expectations," citing confusion about the game's subscription model, a too-buggy public beta and an intense focus on APB's standout character customization.
"RTW tried something bold, and fucked it up," ExRTW writes. "It tried to make what amounted to two MMOs at once, as well as self-publish. I have to hand it to [studio founder David Jones]. He's ballsy. But in the end, we couldn't do it, and I think the whole company will go under sooner rather than later."
If an accurate portrayal of APB's development at Realtime Worlds, it's a fascinating, disheartening read. But it could also explain a lot.
Redundancies At Real Time Worlds [Rock Paper Shotgun]