InterviewsAll Points Bulletin: Interview with Realtime Worlds' Walter KongInterviews - RSS 2.0
While All Points Bulletins should be familiar to fans of the Grand Theft Auto series, it definitely has its own unique twist. Players can play as either criminals or law enforcement in a fully 3-D, fictional city. The details of the game are still sparse, but Kong did give some insights.
"I think another area where the team is really pushing the envelope is the concept of using players as content." He explained that most games are either player vs. environment (PvE) or some kind of eternal player vs. player (PvP) battle. In APB, they bring these two concepts together.
"What we're trying to achieve is really to take the PvP experience and craft missions around it," he said. In this way, players have missions and goals - which is to say a directed experience - but their enemies are real human players, not just AI enemies. In effect, players can create content for each other, and it all naturally fits within the context of the criminal vs. law enforcement premise of the game.
"I think that's going to bring a new experience," he said, "and while it's broadly in a similar setting to a game like GTA, I think the dynamics are going to change quite a bit and what will come out of there are unique gameplay experience."
Nonetheless, when David Jones is the CEO and the game is an urban, sandbox-type crime game, comparisons to Grand Theft Auto are inevitable. Kong doesn't believe, though, that people will get confused.
"Grand Theft Auto IV is a product that I as a consumer have been looking forward to for some time, and am especially eager to try out the online modes of that game," he said. "If the online play resonates with gamers, that's obviously good for us."
He believes that the themes of APB are distinct and feels there is plenty of room in this genre for more than one big player. And perhaps he has a point; it's not like the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises cannot co-exist in the shooter arena, despite similar themes and styles.
For some time, RTW has been quiet about their game. There is virtually no art out there, only a handful of approved images and a trailer Webzen put together for E3 2005. However, that quiet shouldn't be mistaken for lack of progress.
"[APB is] in a fairly late stage where we've solved the majority of the development challenges, we think that we have some good core gameplay in place and we're aiming to really be able to bring this product to closed beta sometime in the second half of this year," Kong told us.
The focus is purely on a PC launch, which should be good news for shooter purists who will see GTAIV come out, initially at least, as a console exclusive. They have not announced any console plans - despite their obvious relationship with Microsoft through Crackdown - but did not rule it out, either. "Any console versions would be subsequent to the PC version," Kong noted.
Now armed with full control over their own destiny, expect to hear more from Realtime Worlds and All Points Bulletin in the coming months as they move closer to Beta and launch.
"Depending on the period necessary to refine the product, get it really right, we hope to launch the game commercially some time in 2009," said Kong.