Realtime repurchases APB rights

Dundee-based studio parts with Webzen on upcoming gang-warfare MMOG in wake of $50M funding; PC launch in 2009, beta later this year.

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Last week, Crackdown creator Realtime Worlds officially announced that it had secured $50 million in funding for the "continued growth and expansion as the company develops new creative properties and brings innovative online gaming experiences to market." A specific use for that cash has emerged today, as the Dundee, Scotland-based developer said that it has repurchased the distribution rights to its urban-warfare massively multiplayer online game APB from Webzen.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing sheds some light on the particulars. Under the original deal, Webzen, which signed on to distribute APB in February 2005, was to pay out to Realtime Worlds 10 percent of all online revenues and 20 percent of all retail revenues for a period of five years after the launch of the game in exchange for funding development time on APB. With the change in contract, Realtime Worlds will now be paying Webzen 15 percent of all net receipts for three years following APB's commercial release, and the former distributor of the game will "retrieve some of the development cost at the first year."

While APB had initially been slated to appear for the Xbox 360 and the PC, a Realtime Worlds spokesperson told GameSpot that the PC edition was the developer's priority and will be the first to market. Noting that Crackdown was the only game to fall under the exclusivity contract the studio signed with Microsoft in 2005, the RTW rep said that if it does proceed with console editions of the game, both an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version are on the table, confirming rumors sparked last week concerning a possible edition of the game on Sony's console.

Development on APB is led by Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones. Similar to the franchise most closely associated with Jones' name, APB deals in contemporary, open-world, gang-fueled warfare, where players operate on both sides of the law to build street cred. The game is currently scheduled to be released for PCs in 2009, and Realtime Worlds has said it plans to launch a closed and an open beta later this year.

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