What APB got right, and why it initially failed

Evan Lahti at

The action-MMO first known as APB lives on as APB Reloaded. But if your memory serves, you'll recall that the urban, massively-multiplayer shooter had a quick death: APB shut down just months after launching at the end of June 2010, coinciding with the dissolution of developer Realtime Worlds.

The prolific Dave Jones (Grand Theft Auto, Lemmings, Crackdown) was creative director on APB, and while talking with him about his new project—ChronoBlade—I asked Jones to reflect on what he thought APB did well, and what went wrong with its MMOification of cars, cops, and robbers.

APB Reloaded review

Rich McCormick at

Not revamped, not rejigged, not redesigned. Reloaded. APB’s new suffix is apt, as this free-to-play reincarnation of 2010’s deflated cops and robbers MMO is a retread of the same ground. The same drab city, the same hollow combat, the same lopsided results.

The original city of San Paro has been left standing, a monument to badly judged level design and the colour grey. The first game’s devs, Realtime Worlds, intended the place to live and breathe. Instead, it spluttered a few times before its life support failed. Its resurrection is a miserable one.

APB Reloaded scores 3 million players in one week

Henry Winchester at

The dust has finally settled on APB’s Reloaded reboot-up-the-arse, and it’s racked up a none-too-shabby 3 million registered players in the eight days after its release on Steam, according to Gamespot. The original, ridiculously troubled release apparently notched up a mere 130,000 players, but we heard rumours that this number was actually far lower.

It's also currently sitting at number 15 in the Steam charts, making it the second most popular free-to-play game after the evergreen Team Fortress 2. 3 million isn't such a bad number, too - it's obviously dwarfed by the likes of Skyrim, but it's almost up there with Battlefield 3's 5 million copies. It's also just over a quarter of the uber-popular League of Legends' player base, too.

APB Reloaded open beta hits Steam, play now for free

Tom Senior at

Multiplayer cops and robbers game APB has broken out of its cell and barged rowdily onto Steam. For more than a year, GamersFirst have been rebuilding it as a free to play game after APB's first run came to an abrupt end after its creators, Realtime Worlds, went into administration.

It's now called APB Reloaded, and you can download the client for free now. GamersFirst say that this is an open beta phase. They'll continue to fix bugs and refine things as players go to war. You get to create a cop or a crook using the fantastic character creation suite, and then roam the city of San Paro in squads, where you'll be assigned missions designed to dynamically match you up with players of a similar level. Will it work? Has it improved since it we gave it 55 in our APB review back in summer 2010? There's only one way to find out. Are you playing it? What do you think so far?

APB Reloaded closed beta is about to launch

Matt Purslow at

Invitations encouraging gamers to sign up for the closed beta of APB Reloaded have been sent out, signalling that the event is due to start soon. Read on for the details.

APB Reloaded will be protected by PunkBuster

Matt Purslow at

In the latest APB Reloaded Developer Blog, the team reveal how they'll be clamping down on cheaters with PunkBuster. Read on for the details.

APB player customisations will be preserved for Reloaded

Matt Purslow at

If APB was notable for anything, it was the vast levels of customization that it allowed. Literally, if you could think it you could probably do it. GamersFirst are assuring players that the many hours they put into their creative endeavours will be preserved for when the game is resurrected as APB: Reloaded.

APB: Reloaded beta scheduled for February

Tom Senior at

Cops and robbers MMO APB is due to be reborn this year as a free to play title at the hands of GamersFirst, who bought the game from the ailing Realtime Worlds last year. They've just announced that a closed beta for APB: Reloaded will be kicking off in February.

APB: Reloaded to have Premium Accounts, will charge for customisation options

Tom Senior at

GamersFirst boss Bjorn Book-Larsson has been talking about some of the things we can expect to pay for when APB is relaunched next year as a free-to-play title. He talks about some of the differences between free and premium accounts, and about plans to charge for advanced customisation options.

Interview: GamersFirst on bringing back APB

Tom Senior at

As reported last week, cops and robbers MMO APB has been bought by GamersFirst, who have announced that the game will return as a free-to-play game in the first half of next year. We've had a chat with GamersFirst CTO and COO, Bjorn Book-Larsson about the next chapter for the troubled MMO, discussing the game's potential, the new features GamersFirst will be working on, and the reasons why APB failed in the first place.

APB finds buyer, could be up and running by end of the year

Tom Senior at

Realtime World's struggling cops vs. crooks MMO APB has found a buyer in the form of the K2 network, who has purchased the game for $1.5 million. K2 owns the GamersFirst service, which runs a series of free-to-play MMOs including War Rock and 9 Dragons. There's no news yet on whether or not APB will be part of this service, but K2 mention that the game could be back up and running by the end of the year. We'll know more later this week when the official announcement is made.

EA offering free game to APB players

Tom Senior at

If you bought a digital copy of APB and feel let down by the game's recent closure, you can claim compensation from EA in the form of a free replacement game.

Rumour: Epic Games might buy APB

Jaz McDougall at

Epic Games have been highlighted as potential buyers for APB, the massively multiplayer shooter from recently bankrupt Dundee studio Realtime Worlds. APB was built upon Epic’s Unreal engine, and their Vice President and co-founder Mark Rein even helped present APB at 2009's Penny Arcade Expo. When asked if Epic had plans to buy APB, spokesperson Dana Cowley didn't say no. Her quote's below.

APB to close tomorrow

Jaz McDougall at

Cops vs crooks MMO APB is officially closing, as reported by our occasional drinking buddy, EDGE* and confirmed by APB's official announcement. It's garnished by a broad swathe of bittersweet quotes from the development team. Here's the initial announcement:

"APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It's been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome!

From all of the Realtime World staff we thank you for your continued support.

The servers are still up, so join the party and say goodbye!

- Ben 'APBMonkey' Bateman (Community Officer)"

[via Edge]

*He mostly refers to himself in the third person.

Why Realtime Worlds failed - an ex-dev's account

Jaz McDougall at

Luke Halliwell, a former employee of Realtime Worlds who was let go when they went into administration, has posted the first in a series of his attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding the company's catastrophe earlier this year.

APB doing quite well. 130,000 PC gamers agree.

Tom Senior at

As we recently reported, Realtime Worlds had entered into administration on the back of the poor performance of their urban sandbox MMO, APB. Today, Realtime Worlds released APB's player statistics for the first time, and it's not doing quite as badly as everyone thought.

23 Realtime Worlds devs re-hired for MyWorld

Jaz McDougall at

Twenty three former Realtime Worlds employees have been offered their jobs back. They've been asked to resume work on Project: MyWorld, following interest in the social game from investors.

APB fights for survival: test new features right now

Jaz McDougall at

Following yesterday's news that Realtime Worlds had entered into administration, we got lots of comments lamenting the death of their urban sandbox MMO. As if in response, they've upt up a public test world with a mass of new features. We've got the meatiest chunks of the patch notes below. And it seems the developers are listening to customer complaints - improving the well known weaknesses within the game. Radical weapon rebalancing, improved vehicle handling, and new weapon audio are all on the patch notes. Have you played the test version? We'd love to know how the improvements feel in-game. 

APB developer Realtime Worlds ready to close

Jaz McDougall at

Realtime Worlds, the scottish development studio behind Crackdown, APB, and the newly announced MyWorld, has entered administration. The company now has a short period of time to find more cash or it'll be forced to close.

Realtime Worlds announce MyWorld

Jaz McDougall at

I'm about to show you a video, but first, let's have a moment of silence for the APB fans. Just, you know, bow your head or something.

Alright, here's Realtime Worlds' new game you can explore "early next year."