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 Crackdown  House Realtime Worlds Goes Into Administration
Crackdown House Realtime Worlds Goes Into Administration
August 17, 2010 | By Kris Graft

August 17, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC



Dundee, Scotland-based All Points Bulletin and original Crackdown creator Realtime Worlds has hit financial hardship and entered into administration, Gamasutra can confirm.

A staffer for the PR house representing UK-based corporate recovery group Begbies Traynor said in a phone call that the firm is handling Realtime Worlds' administration, confirming reports that originally appeared on UK-based Develop Tuesday morning. An official statement is forthcoming, the rep said.

As administrator, Begbies Traynor will decide whether Realtime Worlds can continue on as a company in light of financial difficulties, or more likely if the studio can recover more money by selling off assets or liquidating entirely.

Calls to studio founder and creative director Dave Jones and the studio's Boulder, CO-based online support office went unanswered Tuesday morning.

The move into administration comes less than two months after the launch of the studio's online action MMO, APB. It garnered a lukewarm reception from game reviewers, although Realtime in July categorized the launch as "very smooth."

About a month after the launch of APB, the studio issued a statement saying that it would be "shifting staffing emphasis" in order to provide more live service for the online game. Realtime said the shift involved a "small number of redundancies" at the company.

Last week, the company confirmed it had to lay off workers, but did not confirm a report that said 60 had been let go. In May 2009, Realtime said its headcount hit 250, and offices covered 34,000 square feet of space total; in August 2009 it opened a new office in Dundee, shooting to grow to 300 employees by year end.

Realtime recently unveiled the social virtual world Project: My World. Prior to APB, the studio had released Crackdown, published by Microsoft Game Studios, for Xbox 360 in 2007, gaining a loyal fanbase. Realtime spinoff studio Ruffian Games developed Crackdown 2, released this year and published by Microsoft.

The studio was founded in 2002 by Jones, originator of the Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings franchises. He was also co-founder of DMA Design, which became current GTA house and Take-Two subsidiary, Rockstar North.

[UPDATE: Appeal PR, the firm representing Begbies Traynor, issued an official statement to Gamasutra Tuesday that said Realtime "has gone into administration in the face of lackluster demand for its latest online 'cops and crooks' game APB: All Points Bulletin."

Paul Dounis with Begbies Traynor said that his company is "currently involved in a consultative process with the 200 staff employed in Dundee." He added that the administrator will employ "some" of the 42 staff in the U.S. office to assist in selling the business.

"Our intention is to continue trading the company while we attempt to find a going concern buyer which will safeguard the future of the business," Dounis stated. He also said he hopes any buyer will continue to develop APB.

Richard Wilson, CEO of video game trade body TIGA said, "This is a very sad day for Realtime Worlds, Dundee and for the Scottish and UK video games industry. ... Despite today’s terrible news, Dundee and Scotland remain good places to do games business."]


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Comments


Lo Pan
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You would think by now smaller studios realize the urgent need to produce quality and then launch their product strongly. In the MMA Octagon that is now the game industry, if you don't come in battle...you get knocked out.

Finlay Thewlis
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whats your definition of large then!?

Lo Pan
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Large is over 100 devs with two+ teams.

Daniel Piers
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@Lo Pan: "In May 2009, Realtime said its headcount hit 250, and offices covered 34,000 square feet of space total; in August 2009 it opened a new office in Dundee, shooting to grow to 300 employees by year end."



~300 people working on APB and MyWorld = large studio.

T K
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they bet all their eggs on APB and it was a bust. they thought it would be GTA version of WoW. this again shows how hard it is to make AAA MMO's a success.

Jonathan Jennings
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I heard the biggest issue with APB was that it fails on a technical level , it's hard to justify any game running poorly but particularly an MMO. the consensus was it was a well-designed concept poorly executed , and that to me is the biggest tragedy possible in developement. something that sounded good on paper and could have been great but ultimately fails to live up to what it could be.

Bobby A
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It's a shame because the game is full of good ideas, and can be a ton of fun with a good group of players.

Maurício Gomes
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YASCFBOTTMYAMMOG:



Yet Another Stupid Company Folds Because Of Trying To Make Yet Another Massively Multiplier Online Game.



Seriously, when companies will realize that MMOs are REALLY risky and unless you are SURE that you can do it right, you should not even try?



I mean, making MMOs is another level of work, it is BEYOND AAA

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jeff Zugale
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Owwwch. That smarts. Best of luck to the staff...

Ian Uniacke
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@mauricio: I agree with what you're saying. I'd even extend it to say, that unless you have the capital to fund the project and still survive even if you lose 100% of your investment, than you shouldn't be making an MMO.



But still I feel sorry for all the devs who lost their jobs, or are probably soon to lose their jobs. That is the real tragedy.

Chad Rode
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I played though the beta up until release.



I wouldn't say the game failed on a technical level. It ran quite well even considering I was in Canada and playing on a European server. The combat and missions were very badly designed to start with and continued to be bad even with the majority of the testers reported how poor it was.



On the positive side, the level design of the city was very high quality as was the car and avatar customization. Some company could easily take this over and make a much better game out of it.

David Hobgood
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This is sad, but realistic of our time in the economic phrase. Even MGM can't afford to put out another Bond movie, they are having financial issues as well. So sad the very people who supported the present admin, are now subject to closing their doors. We need Capitalisim in order to sell our products guys and gals. Otherwise, we might as well go back to making Nickelodeons. Without it, who can afford the games we wanna make, or the movies we want to produce. Or there will be more gaming studios going out of business; even the big guys are not exempt.

Frederico L
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1. Thanks to their upgrade system and pitching new players against fully upgraded players, new players were instantly put off the game.

2. "Old" players (if almost two months can be thought of as old) rather quickly saw/unlocked 99.99% of the content (the rest is locked into a few unrealistic areas)

3. "Good" players soon ran out of opponents due to being able to pick your fights (who fights against players that haven't lost the last 30+ missions? right, only the new players, who then get smeared across the floor, and then leave the game...)



You can not have a working everyone vs everyone in an only PvP game that offers progression in items. It just won't work, except for the early adopters and those players that are really excellent. (and through the items become gods)

Victor Perez
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The problem started when companies raised huge money from capital Risk and invest insane money in something that never gave so much money... but the question was to be big and sell it quickly to big distribution.

Now the quality, salaries all is huge to support even for the big one.. Videogame is becoming a no-business area.

How you can risk so big money in concepts? It is not movie that with FX is fine, you know the script can be crap… videogames need to be fun or the player will quit as fast as he can..

10 years tech is fine right now for online products… and you will offer much better products than web games.

Mark Morrison
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@ mauricio. you make some insightful posts at times, albeit often putting people down. why? what if your parents kicked you out of their basement and took your computer away? and, then people on the street called you stupid?



we could use more developer unity in situations like this. why not feel a little compassion for the hundreds who have to pay their bills without income now. i'm just saying....


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