EA 'anticipated' APB's review scores
Real Time Worlds' troubles are "sad all the way around, not great for the industry" – DeMartini
EA Partners boss David DeMartini has expressed sympathy for the staff of Realtime Worlds following the news that the Dundee developer entered administration earlier this week.
However, he has claimed that EA, which provided distribution support for the studio's title APB, did foresee the mediocre review scores the cops'n'robbers MMO garnered upon release.
"We did suggest that where it landed from a review score standpoint was where we thought it was going to land from a review score standpoint," he told GamesIndustry.biz today.
"We were having a lot of discussions with them about where we thought the title was, at least advising them so that they could make a decision. I imagine they think they could have done some things differently at this point, but hindsight's always 20-20."
Hinting that the game perhaps needed more time in development, he nonetheless felt that would not have been practical.
"Everybody thinks that they should have just hung onto it a longer time, but 300-400 people cost a lot on a monthly. I don't know the specifics of their situation but you need to have financial backing in order to have your enterprise up and running, so it certainly wasn't our decision."
Although confident that EA's upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic would be "huge", he claimed that creating an MMO was a gamble: It's a really hard category to make a game. You spend tens of millions of dollars and that's a lot of a risk."
While the studio has not formally closed as yet and continues to look for a buyer, DeMartini offered his condolences to staff likely to be affected.
"I feel bad for David [Jones], I feel bad for everybody on that team," he said. "It's not the outcome that they wanted. 300-400 people are now going to be working somewhere else, have their lives uprooted, their families are in a bit of turmoil right now as they try and catch on with another games company.
"It's just sad all the way around. It's not great for the industry either because the team gets tarnished, the game gets tarnished, customers aren't exactly delighted with the experience that they got."
However, he felt the title was not a disaster. "It's got some elements in there that are probably worth the money, the customisation, the character creation capability – unparalleled.
"It's an idea that had such tremendous promise, but didn't have an opportunity to get to the finish line that everyone had hoped. It's just unfortunate the way it worked out."