[Updated!] And it’s official – industry site Gamasutra have spoken to the PR firm associated with UK ‘corporate recovery’ firm Begbies Traynor, who have confirmed they’re handling the administration of the developer – as in, Begbies Traynor must now decide whether they can get Realtime Worlds back in shape by selling off their various assets to raise money, or whether the best course of action would be to shut down the company entirely. Sad, sad news, whatever your thoughts on APB.
Only a short time after unveiling ambitious social MMO gaming space Project MyWorld, rumours are mounting that the end is nigh for developers Realtime Worlds. Despite senior staff members’ repeated claims they’re backing cops and robbers online shooter APB to the hilt despite its disappointing critical and commercial reception (BeefJack gave APB a 6.9 – read the review here), the evidence is getting a lot stronger the studio are in serious trouble.
Industry website Develop have reportedly been informed by several sources the entire Realtime Worlds US satellite in Colorado is about to be shut down – with the CEO supposedly flying out to deliver the news in person – and even more drastic, that the entire company is apparently on the verge of closing its doors. To restate, these are currently rumours – but as Develop point out, news of the recent job losses at the developer’s Dundee headquarters was also leaked ahead of time.
MyWorld has supposedly been shut down altogether, with the studio exploring options for what to do with the project. A commenter on PC gaming blog RockPaperShotgun claiming to be an ex-Realtime Worlds staffer laid off when MyWorld was essentially cancelled expressed bitter disillusionment with what he saw as APB’s critically mishandled development and publicity surrounding its launch.
Develop also note Realtime Worlds have cancelled their scheduled lecture at GDC Europe on the Making Of APB, and fans may no longer purchase long-term subscriptions.
No doubt many of the people involved would be able to find employment elsewhere in the industry… but this is a terrible state for any developer to find themselves in all the same. After Crackdown it looked as if founder Dave Jones and his staff could do no wrong, but even if this latest bad news is just a rumour, it’s not going to help public perception of Realtime Worlds.