In November last year, online game publisher GamersFirst announced that it had purchased the intellectual property rights to Realtime Worlds' abandoned online multiplayer shooter APB, announcing that the relaunched free-to-play title, APB Reloaded, would finally see the light of day sometime in 2011. The studio then opened a public beta for the game in February this year.
Now it looks like ABP Reloaded will also be getting a retail release, with North American publishing and distribution company IGS picking up the rights. According to the Facebook page of IGS CEO and founder Paul G Lombardi, the retail version of ABP Reloaded will be released during this year's holiday season, with a price of US$29.99. As for why a gamer would purchase a boxed copy of a free-to-play game, Lombardi noted it will include $45 worth of unspecified "value."
APB first launched in late June 2010 to tepid critical reception, logging some 130,000 users by late August. Following the game's release, developer Realtime Worlds collapsed, and the game was shut down indefinitely.
Since GamersFirst took over the abandoned project, the publisher's subsidiary, Reload Productions, took charge of the development and maintenance of APB Reloaded.
[UPDATE] After the publication of this story, Lombardi pulled his note from Facebook and GamersFirst has since provided GameSpot with the following comment:
"Given that APB Reloaded has been the most talked about online game this summer and its unprecedented growth in open beta players, it has become very attractive to large institutions in the game distribution business. In just six weeks of open beta the game has attracted over 600,000 users and over a quarter million fans on the game's fan page on Facebook. As a result of this success, we've been approached by retail partners to launch the title on retail shelves. Although we are evaluating our options, we have not picked a potential partner as of now. GamersFirst is also committed to the Free2Play model and any retail strategy will be guided by those principles."
[CORRECTION]: In one instance, this article originally referred to Lombardi incorrectly as the CEO of GamersFirst instead of IGS. We regret the error.