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Three years ago developer RealTime Worlds appeared to be headed for stardom. The company’s first release, Crackdown, was a hit, and it also had an awesome open-world MMO in development, called APB, which promised relief from the genre’s fantasy obsession.
What a difference three years can make. APB, the developer’s golden child, received terrible reviews and has been spraying red ink across company balance sheets as if its carotid had been severed. This has forced RealTime Worlds to enter “administration,” the UK equivalent to bankruptcy. Most of the staff has been told to clear out by Friday.
Above: Craptastic World Economy 1, RealTime Worlds 0.
The future of APB is murky. An “administrator” named Begbies Traynor (who is also rumored to be a character in Fable III) has been given the task of saving the company. This means finding someone willing to buy the studio. If no buyer is found liquidation is likely. That’s great news if you’re in the market for cut-rate office supplies, but bad news for everyone else.
Rumors (and common sense) suggest that a skeleton crew will be kept on to maintain APB until the future of the company is known, but APB’s long-term fate is a mystery. It seems that the game once considered to be among the most exciting new MMOs may soon be given an unceremonious burial.
Aug 17, 2010