APB: All Points Bulletin

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This article is about the 2010 video game. For the 1987 arcade game, see APB (1987 video game).
APB: All Points Bulletin
All Points Bulletin.jpg
European boxart
Developer(s) Realtime Worlds (former)
Reloaded Productions (acquisition)
Publisher(s) Realtime Worlds
K2 Network (acquisition)
Distributor(s) Electronic Arts
K2 Network (acquisition)
Designer(s) David Jones
Engine Unreal Engine 3[1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA 29 June 2010 (2010-06-29)
  • EU 1 July 2010
  • UK 2 July 2010 [2]
Genre(s) Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

APB: All Points Bulletin[3] is a multiplayer online video game for Microsoft Windows[4] developed by Realtime Worlds and was acquired by Reloaded Productions, which is part of the GamersFirst company. Based in urban sprawls and featuring two factions, Enforcers and the Criminals, players can form sub-groups in either faction and carry out missions. The game design was led by David Jones, who created the original Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown, and was developed by Realtime Worlds. It was released on 6 June 2010 in North America, and Europe.[2]

On 17 August 2010 Realtime Worlds was placed into administration. The administrators intended to keep the company trading whilst they attempted to find a buyer for the firm. If a buyer could not be found then the long-term future for the game was uncertain.[5] On 16 September 2010 Realtime Worlds announced APB servers were to be shut down "soon" with no specific date given.[6][7] On 11 November 2010 online games company, K2 Network, purchased APB for £1.5 million. No time frame for re-release or reactivation of servers was announced.[8] On 16 November 2010 K2 subsidiary company Reloaded Productions, announced that APB will be relaunched during the first half of 2011 as a free to play game,[9] renamed APB: Reloaded.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

The game takes place in the modern-day city of San Paro where there is a constant battle between Enforcers and Criminals, and the player will need to decide to which faction they want to belong.

Gameplay typically consists of the two sides fighting one another in missions, where one side must complete a series of objectives with the other side attempting to stop them doing so. For example, several Criminal players may rob a convenience store within the game; the game will then seek out one or more Enforcer players of equivalent skills and other criteria and will issue an all-points bulletin for them to stop the robbery and apprehend or eliminate the Criminals. Players earn money for participating in these missions, which can then be used to upgrade weapons, vehicles, and their character appearances, all of which influence the game.[10]

The game is played in the third person perspective. Upgrades, equipment, weapons, vehicles and clothing can be purchased from various contacts around the city (or can be alternatively bought through terminals in the social district), while ammunition is bought from vending machine-like terminals. Both the contacts and the "vending machines" are scattered throughout the main three districts of the city. Two of the districts feature their own fully persistent portions of San Paro, with their own pedestrian AI and a dynamic day/night cycle, along with certain contacts and missions. The third district acts mainly as a social component, being much smaller, having no pedestrians, restricting weapon and vehicle access, and featuring garages, auction houses, music studios, and several other NPC terminal shops. While in the third district, players, even if they're from opposing factions, cannot harm each other and may only interact through chat. In the other two districts, players are allowed to attack each other (so long as they are from opposing factions) during certain mission scenarios and/or if a player has a bounty on his head. When outside of these missions players can still draw and use weapons, but bullets, grenades, etc. will not work on other players, even those from an enemy faction. This prevents deathmatching and griefing.

There are also two other districts under the category of "fight club." These feature pure PvP environments for more experienced players and clans.

Depending on faction, players will have either a Prestige or Notoriety level, going from 0 to 5. This level goes up as the player successfully performs actions that help their faction's cause, such as killing players of the opposing faction, completing missions successfully, or by engaging in activities unique to their faction. Such unique faction actions include mugging pedestrians for Criminals, or arresting Criminals for Enforcers. The level decreases as the player hinders their faction; for instance, team-killing, dying, and destroying city objects as Enforcers.

  • 0, a player is free to do as they please, and will not have enemy players dispatched against them.
  • 1, the player receives slightly greater rewards from missions, and enemy players will be dispatched against them if they witness them performing certain actions.
  • 2, the rewards are increased even more, and enemy players may be dispatched against their missions.
  • 3, enemy players may be sent against the player regardless of actions, and rewards are increased further.
  • 4, the player will receive increased rewards, enemy players will still be dispatched against them.
  • 5, the player has a bounty put on their head, which allows them to interact with any player on the server. They can be killed by any Criminal or Enforcer, but a bounty player can kill anyone on the server. All rewards are greatly increased for a person with a bounty for being able to achieve goals while under extreme pressure. When someone kills a player with a bounty, unless they are an Enforcer killing a fellow Enforcer, the killer receives a large money and standing reward for being able to kill such a high-threat player. A bounty can be removed by death, or by reducing Prestige/Notoriety enough to reduce the level to 4.

Also revealed was the ability to synchronize music from your hard drive to the in-game radio. If another player owns the same song being played, it will appear as an ambient sound from your car. However, if the player in question does not own the song: Last.fm will automatically match the track with any similar artist.[11] The import ability has recently been updated to automatically add all imported music to an 'Imported' playlist

Development[edit]

APB has been described by Realtime Worlds executive Colin MacDonald as being "the bastard child of everything we've been striving towards over the 15–20 years" and a culmination of "what [David Jones has] always wanted to do from GTA and before Crackdown and APB."[12]

APB was planned as early as 2005, initially as a Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 title, and intended as the flagship title for the then-newly founded Realtime Worlds studio created by David Jones.[13] Then, it was planned that the Xbox 360 release would be in 2010. In the interim time, Realtime Worlds developed the video game Crackdown, released in 2007, which bore some resemblance to the concepts that were to be in APB.

At the 2008 Game Developers Conference, David Jones stated that APB would be released in 2008.[14] Jones noted that APB would be more like a multiplayer online game with players interacting with up to 25 other players at the same time. He also noted that the game compared well to the typical style of fantasy or sci-fi "multiplayer online" games such as World of Warcraft, but did not expect to compete with those games, as the concept was different. On 14 April 2008, Realtime Worlds announced that it had raised $50 million for APB and other future projects.[15] However, he also confirmed that Realtime Worlds was now looking at a 2009 release.[16] In this same announcement and subsequent interviews, the company stated that that game was now scheduled for release on Microsoft Windows in 2009, and with options for eventual versions on the Xbox 360.[17]

On 21 April 2008, Realtime Worlds announced that it had reacquired the global distribution rights for APB, significantly amending the arrangement made in 2005 with Webzen Games.[17][18] An industry rumour suggested that Realtime Worlds planned to sell the game to Rockstar Games in order to re-craft it as a massively multiplayer Grand Theft Auto, though Realtime Worlds denied these rumors.[19]

In June 2009, Andy Eddy from teamxbox.com reported, "Not only did a spokesperson indicate to me after the EA announcement that the title was being developed for Xbox 360, during today's presentation [at E3 2010], Realtime's Dave Jones said that the first consideration would be the PC release, and then it'll come to the console side. So, while what follows isn't strictly for the Xbox 360, it seems that Realtime Worlds sending the game our way is a definite. If everything that I saw today actually comes to our favourite system, we should all be very, very happy."[20]

In July 2009, EJ Moreland from Realtime Worlds made it clear that APB would be a PC release only for the first release, but they would be looking at the possibilities for a console version.[21]

A PC closed beta ran from 19 October 2009 to 4 June 2010.[22] This was followed by an open beta which ran from 12 June 2010 to 19 June 2010.

On 30 April 2010, a press release was published by official fansite APB Evolved that included pricing information and release dates: 29 June 2010 in North America, 1 July in Mainland Europe and 2 July in the United Kingdom.[2] A subscription-like system was used, where players purchase game time for action districts, either by purchasing hours or by opting for an unlimited playtime option for 30 days. Players were required to purchase a copy of the game which included 50 hours of initial game time.[2] Both the game and the website were available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and English.[23]

Development costs were in excess of $100 million.[24]

Music[edit]

The game houses an in-game music system similar to Grand Theft Auto. It features established acts, but also emerging artists including Honey Claws, Atlas&i, Avosetta and Pendulum.[25]

The game allows players to import music into the music player. If other players also have the same song imported to their music player, they will hear the music on the player's car radio. If another player does not have the same song imported, Last.fm will select a similar song to play instead.[26]

You can also create your own music using the music editor options available in the social district

Review embargo[edit]

APBs release was met with some criticism due to a review embargo, planned to last until a week after release. Whilst review embargoes are commonplace in games review, the length caused a large backlash in the reviewing community. John Walker from Rockpapershotgun.com stated "Whatever their reason is, they've crossed a very obvious, very ridiculous line. When anyone anywhere can post a review to their blog, a comments thread, or a site's reader reviews section, it's beyond daft to think that the site itself cannot." [27] Realtime Worlds responded by stating "Before finalizing reviews, we want you to experience the full, rich experience of APB as it is meant to be seen. We want you to see wild customer customizations, player progression and clans making an impact on the living, breathing city of San Paro. This key code also therefore grants you, along with our pre-order customers, VIP early access before the official launch day; 26 June in North America and 28 June in Europe." [27]

Administration[edit]

On 17 August 2010, six weeks after the release of APB, Realtime Worlds entered administration. Former APB staff spoke to the press about the development process, including a lack of management focus and desire to ignore negative comments from beta-testers, and the substandard quality of gameplay including poor driving and shooting mechanics.[28][29]

Shutdown and relaunch[edit]

On 16 September 2010 Realtime Worlds announced the shut-down of APB.[30]

Servers remained online the following day, during which time an unknown source apparently close to the RTW development team sparked rumours that Epic Games, creators of the 'Unreal Engine 3 on which APB was based, were showing interest in the APB intellectual property rights. Dana Cowley, spokesperson for Epic, neither confirmed nor denied the idea, stating:

"Mark [Epic Games CEO] absolutely loves APB, and everyone here loved what they saw. We've got our hands full of Gears of War 3, Bulletstorm and the recently announced Project Sword. If any talks like that are going on, then they would be confidential." [31]

On 11 November 2010 online games company, K2 Network, purchased APB for £1.5 million.[8] On 16 November 2010 K2 subsidiary company Reloaded Productions, announced that APB will be renamed APB Reloaded[3] and relaunched during the first half of 2011 as a free to play game.[9][32]

On 24 February 2011 invitations to apply for closed beta were dispersed. A selected few of these applications will receive actual entry to the closed beta portion of APB.[33]

On 4 March 2011 APB Reloaded closed beta keys were sent to 5,000 applicants more keys were expected to be sent out in the coming months.[34]

On 15 March 2011, 10,000 more beta keys were sent out to applicants for the 3rd closed beta testing phase.[35]

On 21 April, 1.5 went live and they're inviting the full Closed Beta Applications during the week (totalling 150,000).[36]

On 22 April, they invited an extra 35,000 applicants close to that 150,000. Getting closer to Open Beta.[37]

Open Beta's original date 18 May 2011 was canceled at the last minute due to an error causing players to crash every two hours.[38] The open beta has been released on 23 May 2011.[39]

On 7 December 2011, the game was added to Steam under the Free To Play section.

Reception[edit]

Reception to APB has been mixed with the game currently holding a 56% average on Metacritic.[40]

Initial reviews included PCGamer giving the title 55/100.[41] and Eurogamer giving 6/10[42] 1UP awarded APB a grade of D[43] and Destructoid giving 35/100.[44] Other reviews were higher, with IGN giving 77/100 [45] and Edge granting 7/10.[46]

Publishers[edit]

APB: Reloaded is published by Gamersfirst in every country[47] except in Brazil, which is published by the Brazilian developer and publisher Hoplon Infotainment[48] and Russia, which is published by Innova Systems [49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "End of Week 3 Update : Patch 143 (Closed Beta) Status". apbreloaded.blogspot.com. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Press Release: Release Date, Payment Model & Pre-Order Incentives". APB Evolved. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "APB renamed APB: Reloaded, goes free-to-play from GamersFirst". VG247. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "All Points Bulletin Official FAQ". Realtime Worlds. 
  5. ^ "Realtime Worlds Has Entered Administration". 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Realtime Worlds announces the closure of APB Updated". Massively. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Robert Purchese. "K2 Networks buys APB MMO News – Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Wesley Yin-Poole (16 November 2010). "APB to relaunch next year as F2P News". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "APB Company Line". Realtime Worlds. 16 November 2007. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  11. ^ McInnis, Shaun (4 June 2009). "APB E3 2009 Impressions – PC Previews at GameSpot". Gamespot.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Rossignol, Jim (5 August 2008). "APB Is Twenty Years Of Striving, Kinda". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 5 August 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  13. ^ Thorsen, Tor (25 June 2009). "APB coming to Xbox 360 in 2008". GameSpot. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  14. ^ Magrino, Tom (21 February 2008). "GDC '08: APB out on Dave Jones". GameSpot. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  15. ^ Faylor, Chris (14 April 2008). "Crackdown, APB Developer Raises $50 Million". Shacknews. Retrieved 14 April 2008. 
  16. ^ French, Michael (15 April 2008). "Dave Jones says APB could generate revenues in the hundred millions". Develop UK. Retrieved 16 April 2008. 
  17. ^ a b "Realtime repurchases APB rights". GameSpot. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  18. ^ "Realtime Worlds Regains Global Distribution Rights to APB Following Second Round Funding". IGN. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  19. ^ Purchase, Rob (8 May 2008). "Realtime downplays GTA Online talk". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  20. ^ "APB Preview (Xbox 360)". Previews.teamxbox.com. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "APB Podcast Episode 6: Q & A". Realtime Worlds. 
  22. ^ "APB Closed BETA Begins". Dailygamesnews.com. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  23. ^ FAQ – APB – All Points Bulletin[dead link]
  24. ^ Stuart, Keith (27 August 2010). "Realtime Worlds: an inside story". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  25. ^ "APB All Points Bulletin: Atlas&i and Avosetta star". BBC Norfolk. 30 June 2010. Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^ a b "APB Review Embargo Set Week After Release". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  28. ^ Stuart, Keith (27 September 2010). "Realtime Worlds: an inside story". Guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "How APB 'Torpedoed' Developer Realtime Worlds". Kotaku.com. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  30. ^ Johnny Minkley (16 September 2010). "APB "plug to be pulled" within 24 hours MMO News – Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  31. ^ Emery, Daniel (17 September 2010). "BBC News – Massive multiplayer game APB to shut down". Bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  32. ^ "Report: APB Returns From the Dead". IGN. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  33. ^ "End of Week 15 Update : The Closed Beta Has Arrived". apbreloaded.blogspot.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  34. ^ Bjorn / TechMech (4 March 2011). "APB Reloaded: Double wave now going out. Another 5,000 people admitted to San Paro". Apbreloaded.blogspot.com. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  35. ^ Bjorn / TechMech (15 March 2011). "APB Reloaded: Doubling the community again – 10,000 more invites just sent". Apbreloaded.blogspot.com. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  36. ^ "Version 1.5 is Live!". APB: Reloaded devblog. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  37. ^ "The Next 35,000 invites going out – and the giant virtual currency leased weapon debate!". APB: Reloaded devblog. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  38. ^ Bjorn / TechMech (18 May 2011). "APB Reloaded: Open Beta on temporary hold while we evaluate a player disconnection issue". Apbreloaded.blogspot.com. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  39. ^ Bjorn / TechMech. "APB Reloaded: Open Beta Set for May 23 6:00am PST / 9:00am EST / 14:00 UK / 15:00 CEST". Apbreloaded.gamersfirst.com. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  40. ^ "APB for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  41. ^ "APB review". PC Gamer. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 3 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  42. ^ Rob Fahey (2 July 2010). "APB MMO Review – Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  43. ^ "APB Review for PC from". 1UP.com. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  44. ^ "Review: APB". Destructoid. Archived from the original on 7 August 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  45. ^ Kolan, Nick (9 July 2010). "APB Review – PC Review at IGN". Pc.ign.com. Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  46. ^ "Review: APB – All Points Bulletin | Edge Magazine". Edge-online.com. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  47. ^ "APB: Reloaded Retail Edition Available in North America Tomorrow". Ten Ton Hammer. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  48. ^ "Press Releases – Hoplon Infotainment presents releases and news at Brasil Game Show 2012". Gamasutra. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  49. ^ "GamersFirst Selects Innova Systems as Exclusive APB Reloaded Publishing Partner for Russia – IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/". Prnewswire.com. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 

External links[edit]