GDC 2010: APB Updated Impressions

Tattooed homicidal freak or square-jawed do-gooder? It's up to you how you play in Realtime Worlds' upcoming massively multiplayer online action game.

Whether you're a hardened criminal or a crime-fighting enforcer, the world of APB will have plenty of options for adventure. The upcoming massively multiplayer online action game from Realtime Worlds is looking to make some significant changes to the MMO landscape, thanks to obsessive levels of character customization and a mission structure that is dependent not just on non-player characters, but on fellow real-life players. Realtime Worlds' Dave Jones gave a brief demo of the game during today's media briefing at the Epic booth on the floor of the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

It's cops and robbers on a massively multiplayer scale in Realtime Worlds' upcoming APB.

Jones kicked off the demo by showing a menu featuring three of the areas that will be in the game: the waterfront district, the financial district, and the social district. The demo focused on the latter pair of districts. Jones explained that the social district will be where hundreds of players can gather together to chat, form clans, and dive into the game's deep customization tools. Seemingly everything can be customized from the ground up; Jones showed off the system of changing a character's physical characteristics such as height or weight, as well as designing unique clothes that he or she will wear by applying vinyl shapes. You can do the same with your ride as well--painting your car to your heart's content and adding vinyls to give your vehicle a look all its own. You'll earn vehicles either by unlocking them or by purchasing them outright with cash you earn in the game. You'll be able to build a modest, but not unlimited, car collection with a limited number of slots in your personal garage.

Customization doesn't end with cool threads and a pimped-out ride--Jones also showed off a simple sequencer that lets you create custom tunes in a variety of styles that you can then assign to your car to play as you drive around town. You can even create and assign a song to play when you kill a fellow player in APB--sort of a musical equivalent of teabagging.

You'll be able to sell clothing or cars you design in the game, and in the social area, you can buy designated spots in the world to display your wares in the hopes of getting people interested. And statues strewn around the social district will recognize the top players around the APB world and memorialize them, at least temporarily.

With the customization options out of the way, we were taken to the financial district where Jones and a fellow Realtime Worlds developer were unleashed in the world, with one character playing as a criminal and the other playing as an enforcer. Whether you are considered a criminal or an enforcer in APB will depend entirely on your actions in the game; if you start beating people down and robbing them, your notoriety level will rise and you'll gain a criminal rep. Likewise, if you shut down crimes in progress, you'll eventually become known as an enforcer.

It's the PVP interaction between criminals and enforcers that forms the basics of how missions work. In the demo, Jones' character joined a party of like-minded thugs and started spraying graffiti at certain spots around town. Before long, a group of enforcers were alerted to the crime in progress (via an APB, naturally), and a posse of enforcers showed up to stomp down the bad guys. A huge gun battle emerged as the criminals tried to get their graffiti message spread and the enforcers looked to blast them to bits.

When a player is killed in APB, he or she will respawn a few hundred yards away. Enforcers will also have the additional ability to arrest criminals--slapping the cuffs on them and essentially keeping them out of action for 15 to 20 seconds, considerably longer than it takes to respawn after dying. The dynamic matchmaking and the constant push and pull of enforcers and criminals look to balance the gameplay throughout APB--and both factions will have specific mission types. For example, criminals will be able to capture VIPs and plant bombs, and enforcers will be able to kick off mission types with things like escort missions and defusing bombs. Up to 40 players can be involved in a single mission (with 20 players per side), and teams can call in for backup should they find themselves outnumbered.

Cops and robbers might be one of the oldest genres around, but it seems that Realtime Worlds is casting the well-worn trope in a new light with APB. We look forward to jumping into the world with the tattooed homicidal freak we've created in our mind when the game is released...whenever that may be. Look for more on APB in the near future.

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Discussion

132 comments
isshiah
isshiah

the xbox logo was on the trailer i saw so i hope i comes to the console. the customisation options are awesome.

lilbadboy1430
lilbadboy1430

I gotta say it....This game game would have topped all if it was for the xbox 360 PC and ps3. I mean come on the guy who created GRAND THEFT AUTO MADE THIS GAME!!!! I would get it but it's not for the xbox 360 or ps3 what they should at do is make the game for xbox360 and ps3 then publish it later. Come on you know you agree with me

carbon247
carbon247

is there a beta we can play to try the game

Rafiky77
Rafiky77

i am beta testing APB, have been for a few months, ofcourse its all under NDA at the moment, but it is superb!

edgiz99
edgiz99

the xbox couldnt handle more than 32 players online so i doubt its commin to xbox

Barighm
Barighm

Player driven quests...okay, that is a cool concept. The criminals get out of control? Enforcers get special quests only available in such a situation. Enforcers overpowering the criminals and enforcing their brand of oppression? Criminals get special missions that only appear in that situation.

StiffZombie
StiffZombie

This is one of those games that sounds too good to be true. I've been following it for the past year and I haven't seen one video or any kind of demonstration. We'll see. I hope it turns out to be as epic as it sounds.

xMagic1Luigix
xMagic1Luigix

Musical Equivalent of Teabagging? Hmm... This game now has my attention.

caityful
caityful

I agree with Alex_09. If it's not an xbox release, forget about it. Looks good, but I'm not about to start PC-ing it up for it.

Alex_09
Alex_09

This feels like age of conan... I doubt I'm going to keep tracking this, an xbox release seems less likely every day.

Io_ACE_oI
Io_ACE_oI

@lokfan... PC or 360? It will be on BOTH.

Io_ACE_oI
Io_ACE_oI

I hope it has some structure. Grand Theft Auto 4 online had cops and robbers and it was horrible. Mainly cause everyone just ran around doing their own thing. I will keep this game on the radar for sure. Graphics are looking pretty good so far so I can't wait!

lokfan
lokfan

is this 360 or pc?

PS3MATRIX
PS3MATRIX

WATCH THIS ON YOU TUBE ITS AWSOME

NND1
NND1

This game has been in the works for like FOREVER NOW!!

samsomah
samsomah

anyone know way to get beta am rely want badly

SweetVibes118
SweetVibes118

Dang, I was stoked until now. TheVlaka, i think your right.

TheVlaka
TheVlaka

and trusting gamespot mmo previews has paid off in the past...NOT. Take Champions Online, Aion and that crappy Aussie made one. Hyped up by gamespot but ended up fail.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

It's a mmoag, a massively multiplayer online action game. People asking for single player are either dumb or blind.

redmachine
redmachine

i do like the look of it. It seems like it has potential. The car was sliding around a little too much though.

FahlazadDelOra
FahlazadDelOra

If it has single player it would be cool because multiplayer sometimes can be laggy and choppy.

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

I don't know what to expect from this. Maybe, just maybe this can turn out to be fun. I liked what I've saw up until now.

NinoSwaG
NinoSwaG

@True_Chaos_UK Yeah that scares me. I hope they can get 360 a copy since it does look like it would be loved by a younger generation most of which don't have an awesomely suped up computer. If it doesn't come out on 360, i'ma just have to fork up the money to upgrade my pc.....which will cost more than all the consoles combined....:(

True_Chaos_UK
True_Chaos_UK

What happened to the 360 version after we gave Realtime Worlds plenty of love for Crackdown. I hope they have some form of 360 build shelved ready if the PC version does ok.

Bluppis
Bluppis

@SDBusDriver1979 So, youre saying there allready is a GTAIV mmo? Damn how can I have missed it?

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Yeah, I'm going to pass. Sounds better as a solo game with a few tweaks.

jadefury27
jadefury27

very ass. i have bad flashbacks of a lil piece of @!#$ called 25 to life. pass.

SithChampion
SithChampion

@Racerturken I followed your advice. Horrible, horrible, horrible beta. I have to say I'm not surprised though. I didn't expect much from this game and even more so now.

MasonChaos
MasonChaos

@ xxnax no, you cant play if offline.

xxxnax
xxxnax

can i play it offline???

Racerturken
Racerturken

i played it last night and it was a REAL DOWNER one of the worst beta i've ever played. if you want to complain about my opinion, play it first then say that i'm wrong

luciotss
luciotss

WAIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTT VERSION PC!

bossmon19
bossmon19

it well come to xbox real time is making it ms owns them

fish919
fish919

@redmachine I heard there will be only PC version for now. But if the game sells well, they consider releasing x360 version.

da2g
da2g

sounds confusing... either it`s going to be a hit or mega crap... what system is it going to be relased for anyway?

AlienwareOne
AlienwareOne

I'm a beta tester and I've just played yesterday a 2 hour session. It's extremely incredibly awesome. the customization is insane as well as the action.

CyanideV
CyanideV

@iboo01 YOU look like YOU'RE gonna fail big time (mature response, i know)

iboo01
iboo01

It looks like its going to Fail big time

redmachine
redmachine

its not coming out for xbox 360 anymore is it? If it does, i'd be interested in the work they are doing over there. But I have to be shown more visually.

xReikenx
xReikenx

It's got quite a bit of customization which is fairly new in most games. Plus GTA4 multiplayer kinda blew ass. Also it's pretty hard to do something new with games nowadays.... Then the new thing comes out and everyone rages on it until it's accepted and then they cry to everyone for not having it. So.... =D

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

This sounds so much like GTAIV multiplayer gone mmo. I hope that when this game ships or if it ever ships that it will do something new.

tripplecripple
tripplecripple

THis game looks sweet its what GTA should of done along time ago. I hope it is pay to play, this would make the over all quality better especially over time. Free to play game take forever to get patches and they dont care as much when it come to hackers and botters. Nothin like a Bot with a sniper rifle pew pew head shots.

gamefreakwill
gamefreakwill

This game looks great. I just hope they don't have a monthly fee to pay for it.....especially if they make the xbox 360 version that was promised

Kaelken
Kaelken

Funny, from all the people posting, not a single one knows what APB promised when it started out -- as well as computer-controlled gang members you can recruit. As a gang leader, you'll apparently be able to create your own custom gang with its own custom colors and uniforms, and you'll even have a custom Web page created for your gang by the game. These pages will keep track of every gang's membership and exploits and will be a great resource for any ambitious gang leaders looking for their next target--or looking for recon on the gang that just ambushed their turf while everyone was offline. Apparently, APB will be built around turf wars. According to Jones, the world itself will consist of some 30,000 different territories that you and your buddies will be able to seize by engaging in urban battles against rival gangs to seize their territory. When your gang's territory comes under attack, APB will e-mail you and send an SMS message to your mobile phone. Each territory will act a bit like a resource and will be able to produce "goods"--you know, like Uzi submachine guns, which you can use to equip your fellow thugs or sell on the black market. Some territories may even have a "chain-linked" effect that will offer even better advantages when you control certain nearby territories all at once." " Really, too bad they killed the strategy part

wilson336
wilson336

I checked out the beta a few months ago, and while the graphics were nice, there was very little to do except repeat the same few quests, and most items had not been implemented yet. There was also very little in te way of a tutorial, so you had to figure out stats and crafting on your own. PvP was also a free for all knife fest, where all knife strikes were one hit kills, but you could take 10 bullets, so if you were shooting against a knifer, you lost. If they nail down those issues, it could be a very fun game.

AKADreyadigg
AKADreyadigg

I love games with several customization options, and this one is promising PLENTY... I cannot wait for the full release... so many choices available in this game... but the hardest decision for me would be choosing the good guy or the bad guy lol- looking cool vs. being the good ones