Honest Post from Realtime Worlds
This is a painfully honest – and very interesting – post looking at what when wrong at developer Realtime Worlds. For those who don’t know, the studio just went under and a lot of people lost their jobs (including a couple of people I know…). How did this happen?
The complacency showed through in so many ways. We were complacent about game design, papering over APB’s obvious shortcomings and telling ourselves it would somehow come together at the last minute before release (an argument that was strengthened by the experience of seeing Crackdown do just that). We were complacent about business planning, deciding to spend all our investment getting APB to launch, assuming that we would sell zillions of copies and over-spending on server hardware. When we were told we were being made redundant, we were told something along the lines of “the market is just so bad right now … we could never have predicted this … even our worst sales projections were so much higher than this”. I think that was supposed to be consolation but it was just complacent, and dumb.
It’s a gross generalisation to say the whole company was complacent. It’s deeply unfair to a few pockets of incredibly passionate, hungry developers that worked their socks off and created some amazing stuff – like APB’s character customisation system, and its super-reliable back-end software, to name just a couple (apologies to all the other good examples of work I missed). Sadly, it was not enough to overcome the problems.