APB closes, Realtime Worlds insider admits it was "always going to be a gamble"

With Scottish uber-dev Realtime Worlds (the creator of Crackdown, headed up by original Grand Theft Auto designer Dave Jones,) closing down following the failure of its long-in-development MMO-shooter APB, the news has hit that the game itself is also done and dusted. A message now on the official APB site regretfully announces that "despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close". That's it. Game over. Server shutting down.

While it's obviously very sad indeed to see such a well-established British game house go under, many will now be turning their thoughts to what the hell happens to the people who bought the game. After all with server support for a purely online game now disappearing, they're essentially in the possesion of nothing but a £40 tea coaster. With a hole in it. Official word from Realtime Worlds is that the developer (who published the game itself) cannot help you.

"Customers should revert to the entity from which they bought the game in respect of their entitlement to any refund", is the advice being given. And thus, our hearts go out to all the game retailers who are going to have a very messy day tomorrow.

In an effort to try to get some more perspective on this saddest of situations, we've today been in touch with one of RTW's ex-employees. He's asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but we promise you he does exist and isn't just some convenient 'source close to the company' that we've just made up.

On why partnering with the mighty EA didn't keep the game alive, he told us,

"APB was published by Realtime Worlds, not EA, they were just the distributors. EA did have some concerns about how ready the game was to be launched in that June/July period, but it was a date that RTW were obliged to hit. The game had been in development for a very long time by that point, and just keeping the company operating was an expensive business"

And on how and why the game failed so hard and fast:

"Before the game launched there was a sense that it could go either way. RTW had never self-published before, never made an MMO before. The business model was very different to most other games. It was always going to be a gamble, but we knew we had incredible customisation tools and a shooter experience that could be a lot of fun"

But while all looks dark and grim, there are possibly a couple of tiny glimmers. The BBC today reported that Gears of War House Epic Games is rumoured to be interested in buying the game. There's no official word from Epic, and we haven't been able to ascertain anything officially or unofficially, but we'll keep you posted. Our source did though, confirm that he'd heard the rumours of Realtime Worlds exec Ian Hetherington quietly buying the rights to the company's other IP, the newly announced social game MyWorld. Realtime has confirmed a sale, but stayed resolutely shtum about the buyer, so all is speculation on that front at the moment.


  • Heyexclamationpoint - September 19, 2010 4:05 a.m.

    How exactly are people going to get a refund from the developer if said developer doesn't exist anymore? If you bought the game, then you might as well shove that game disc up your ass.
  • philipshaw - September 18, 2010 11:23 a.m.

    I would be asking my money back from the developer and not the retailer because it is not the retailers fault that the servers shut down,I can anticipate many a retailer not giving out refunds to people who want to return APB
  • xerroz - September 18, 2010 2:31 a.m.

    They dug their own grave. I was in the closed beta about 5 months before the game was released andons of people made wall of texts explaining what was wrong with the game, what needed to be fixed, how they could make the game more fun. But guess what? They never implemented anything, they took the community's suggestions as a grain of salt so they never fixed the weapons, never improved the awful driving (if you played Just cause 2, multiply that bad driving by 50 and you get how APB's was, no lie.), we gave them suggestions of other different missions types that would be fun and some people went as far as giving them a story. Tbh, they deserve what they got, they didnt listen to the players and thats what they get. At the start i was really hyped about the game, so much that I was gonna buy it without playing it but after that happened, i completely changed my mind and became a hater of this awful donkey shit. Hopefully developers learn a lesson from listen to their community and not be so arrogant about your game because even though they might think their game is good, we know their game is bad.
  • screamfourme - September 17, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    i knew it!! why did they turned down crackdown 2 to make this? so sad indeed :(
  • crumbdunky - September 17, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    AnonymouZ-the billing might have worked if the games wasn't JUST a great character customiser and little else of merit. The review embargo, the pre release free to play beta taster and the alleged duping of(and telling porkiesn to) the media sure didn't help the game's chances muc either but had it been an amzing experience that we all wanted to play? Would still be around like RTW themselves would be today, imho, the quality, or lack of it, killed APB. We waited too long, had it pulled from too many platforms along the way for us to just assume it would all be ok and when we'd got to play it ourselves to find it wasn't what we'd wanted what hope was left?
  • AnonymouZ - September 17, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    redeater, like someone said above... we pc'rs KNOW there's no returns on our games, so if you buy something like this, with horrible reviews and basically not thinking about your purchase, then you is a sucker. personally, what put me off the game was their subscription system. i don't wanna pay by the goddamn hour. ever. except at the arcades, but that's even less than an hour so it don't count. xD sounds like all those defending their billing system can eat their words now.
  • Redeater - September 17, 2010 8:22 p.m.

    Well that is another nail in the coffin for PC gaming. It is bullshit things like this that have switched me from pc to console. I think EVERYONE should be allowed a refund and if the stores don't provide it then realtime worlds should.
  • Ashkael - September 17, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    The funny thing is that the servers shut down mere hours after the announcement. Can't even let your sub run out or anything.
  • Evil_AppleJuice - September 17, 2010 5:58 p.m.

    I was gunna mention that Steam would probably keep trying to sell the game, but i discovered it took it off the store. Huh. Woulda figured they would try to squeeze some more money out of it. Guess they're not the evil "Wal-Mart of the Internet" I thought they were.
  • grumpyDinosaur - September 17, 2010 5:47 p.m.

    @spacegrass you know it's funny you mention those, I played since launch and never heard a single advertisement
  • GLCoolJ - September 17, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    That's a damn shame, I was actually thinking of getting this game. But hey, servers shutting down don't lie, I guess.
  • Spacegrass - September 17, 2010 5:06 p.m.

    They deserve this. I was interested in this game until I heard about the voice chat advertisements, and that they wanted players to pay extra to turn them off. It was then that I decided not to buy this game, because buying it would tell the developers that it's okay to screw over their customers that way. I hope other developers will learn that being greedy can cost you a lot of money.
  • frmonth - September 17, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    @AISwearengenHatesCocksuckers Good point that was certainly a bad idea.
  • VaneTrago - September 17, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    Anyone who has ever purchased a PC game knows there are no returns.... Way to fuck over your people.
  • FenrirKar - September 17, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    So the servers ARE going down. Thanks for the heads up, now I can snatch the copies off the shelves when I get to work today. Thanks for the heads up, lulz
  • AlSwearengenHatesCocksuckers - September 17, 2010 4:43 p.m.

    I think the worst thing they did was give EVERYONE a free pass to play it before it came out. That killed all the potential sales when people actually got to play it and see how shitty it was for free.
  • InFeRnOg - September 17, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    I was turned off to this as soon as I read about the shooting mechanics (i.e. a bullet hitting anywhere is the same as a headshot). That is an utter failure to me and instantly made me not care at all about this.

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