Saturday, 18 September 2010
MMO shooter APB shut down after three months
"Only three months after its catastrophic launch, following negative reviews and financial woes, troubled online game APB has been shut down by its Scottish creators.
Ben Batemen, APB’s community officer, wrote on the game’s now-shuttered forums, “Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close.”
The game, a massively multiplayer online shooter that pitted heavily armed cops against street-racing robbers, a little like an online variant of GTA IV, met financial failure upon its launch on PC, in June this year. Said to cost over $100 million (about £63 million) to create, and with a lengthy development period of five years, it was a risky game to put out in a troubled economic period.
Worse still, reviews lambasted the game for being plagued with broken systems, outdated play mechanics and being generally unfinished. Gamers, too, weren't impressed with extra-money making systems, on top of the monthly fee, like audio adverts over the voice chat.
Realtime Worlds, the Dundee game studio made famous by Xbox 360’s Crackdown and headlined by Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones, went in to administration just weeks after releasing APB in shops, and made 60 staff redundant.
Now, with the game’s servers switched off, the developer's office has been emptied of its last few staff members. Only seven employees, out of the 250 who made the game, remain on a temporary basis to completely close down the game and studio, then turn the lights out and shut the door.
APB has been pulled from both retail and digital shelves but Paul Dounis, joint administrator of Begbies Traynor (the businesses rescue agent dealing with Realtime Worlds) said that disappointed players should contact their retailer for a refund.
However, the latest chapter in this dismal saga offers a faint glimmer of hope. Epic Games, creator of Gears of War and Unreal, has hinted at snapping up the MMO and continuing to develop it. UK spokesperson Dana Cowley said that Mark Rein, Epic's vice president, absolutely loves APB, but said any talks would be confidential.
APB follows in the footsteps of a long line of unsuccessful MMORPGs to be killed off within a scant few months of opening, following dismal sales and failing to capitalise on the success of MMO behemoths like World of Warcraft. The Sims Online remained online for about six years, Tabula Rosa got a couple of years in and Auto Assault barely scraped a year. None have closed as fast as APB." wired.com