server bear, server bear, does whatever a server bear does

the server bear has been found. having been recently made redundant by Realtime Worlds, server bear has taken to wandering aimlessly through DIY stores looking for his old buddies and a new purpose in life. having spent the last 7 years of his life being the “behind the scenes” bear taking the strings of code produced by the hardworking coders and turning it into on screen magic, normal day-to-day life just doesn’t compare.

having now found server bear we at shiel yule studios have invited him to join the team and cast some of his magic over our work. watch this space . . .

the truth behind RTW demise

so was there any intention to try and make APB work? I’m having my doubts. After all Dave Jones created GTA which wasn’t that great a game from what I remember and sold it to Rockstar who turned it into an amazing game. Maybe that was the intention all along for APB – make something that had potential and then sell it to someone who could actually make that potential happen.

Having worked for RTW I didn’t come across anyone who had that potential and the mood in the company April to June was one of desperation. In as much as trying to get the game out the door even though everyone knew it wasn’t up to scratch. It was a strange business decision but if you look at it like this:

a. the game had slipped 3-4 times in regard to publishing dates and already had one big backer pull out
b. EA had given an ultimatum in regard to publishing this summer or not at all with them (there was no one else waiting in the wings)
c. RTW was hemorrhaging $2 million a month between January to May in operation costs
d. there were some great aspects to the game but overall it just didn’t come together
e. the gameplay was not up to scratch compared to other titles
f.  there were some fat bonuses on the table for “just getting the game finished and published”
g.  the above coupled with a company wide contempt for the gaming world that made them think they had this revolutionary game that everyone was just going to rush out and buy making it number one game and re-fill the empty RTW bank accounts

then I think there was a realization early on this year that the economic crash had finally hit the gaming world and this game that had taken 7+ years to develop and in excess of $100 million really wasn’t that different than the other games being released. Coupled with a nasty double cross of EA – waiting until last minute to take back online publishing rights – right before launch and a confused marketing campaign meant no one other than hardcore gamers knew the game had launched. Include some internal politics – mainly from the senior producers and art department – leading to stale advertising material and negative beta campaign the game never really had a chance.

So the best thing that could happen was to get it launched, meet contractual agreements (the last thing they could afford was being sued), reduce costs to a minimum (remove all overheads i.e. staff costs), put the company into administration (stopping any creditors calling in debts and forcing liquidation)  and hope that someone will buy it.

We will have to wait and see who will buy it and what they will do next. Fingers crossed it is someone like Rockstar or Ruffian (Microsoft) who can actually develop and publish a game successfully.

R.I.P. APB, MyWorld and RTW