APB: Reloaded's Road To Recovery: A Comeback Tale

By William Usher 2011-10-31 13:22:35 discussion comments
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A new interview has emerged talking with a few of the studio heads from GamersFirst’s team over in Edinburgh, UK, where topics include APB’s fall during the RTW days, as well as its Phoenix-like rise under G1’s new design approach to bringing the game up to its full potential.

The feature story over at GameIndustry.biz is an interesting one, detailing the remarkable idea of bringing an open-world game to the MMO space, or rather, trying to fit an MMO into an open-world game.

GamersFirst CTO/COO Bjorn Book Larsson, talked extensively about breaking a 200 man team from RTW down and only re-hiring about 23 or so people to work on the core mechanics of the game. Larsson also discusses role-arrangement…how a QA personnel was given the title of lead designer due to his acute perception of what needed to be fixed on the game and what wasn’t fixed in the game by the time it launched under the RealTime World label.

The interview also covers key development choices, and how the team is actively looking over ways to make the game a long-lasting free-to-play MMO title, as well as continually address the concerns of gamers.

One of the more interesting quote about the game is from G1’s Art director from Reloaded Productions, Jack Oakman, who said that…
"We're coming to realise, as APB moves on, that you can dress it up as a gritty crime thriller all you like - ultimately as soon as you give people the option to just wear pants and paint their body red and run around, that's exactly what they're going to do. So that illusion can only be sustained to a certain degree. It's kind of an interesting experiment as we develop, in trying to sort of embrace all of the beauty of what customisation means to a player, but also at the same time create a context which at the same time seems viable, credible."

It’s interesting because the game plays out only the way players play it. A shootout in the game can take a thousand different directions based on who is involved and what sort of playstyle they aspire to. Having played the game, it’s true that sometimes firefights and encounters will play out like the Michael Mann film, Heat. Other times I found myself teamed up people who look like Super Saiyans, where the battles were more goofy and light-hearted. There was even one epic scenario where there about 30 criminals and 30 enforcers locked in a heated firefight in the middle of the street, everyone trying to get inside of a storage lockup that contained a vital mission item. The point is, the game has unlimited potential that G1 definitely wants to tap.

In the interview they mention that the core mechanics, cheating, balancing and network infrastructure are pretty much complete. The next step is basically in ushering in new content, vehicles, customization options, and most importantly…new districts.

You can check out the entire interview over at GamesIndustry.biz. APB: Reloaded is currently in open-beta and signing up to play is completely free. The game is expected to head back to retail this December, and will include new missions, maps, and content.
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