Realtime Worlds enters administration

APB developer's future in doubt following the online game's commercial problems

Dundee-based APB developer Realtime Worlds has entered administration, can confirm, following the failure of the online title to draw in strong enough subscriber numbers.

The company is currently being advised by Begbies Traynor Group's Edinburgh office. It is understood that CEO Gary Dale is now at the Dundee head office following a trip to Colorado to speak to staff there.

The game, which was worked on by a very large team for several years, was met with mediocre reviews following a strained launch process that had games press initially embargoed from scoring the title until after it had launched.

But after that confusion was cleared up, gamers failed to take to the PC title, and a first round of lay-offs from the company was announced last week, while the developer's other project - MyWorld - was reportedly rejected by two publishers earlier in the year.

However, despite that action, sources hinted at further trouble, claiming that Dale had flown to Colorado to 'strip the staff' from that office.

A full statement from Begbie Traynor is expected later today.

More stories

APB's Second Life

GamersFirst's CCO talks why, how and when for the APB relaunch

By Alec Meer

K2 Network buys rights to APB

Company behind GamersFirst service snaps up Realtime Worlds MMO for rumoured 1.5m

By Matt Martin

Latest comments (44)

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D11 years ago
Here's to RTW - hopefully you guys will somehow pull through and emerge out the other side leaner and stronger. There's still time for a buyer to be found, and you're a good proposition at what will be a cheap price.

And if you don't, hopefully those affected will find other roles soon as.

All the best.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 11 years ago
Oh dear God...I hope you guys find a buyer, this knocked me back into my chair.

Good luck to all of you.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
All the best indeed.

Perhaps a right partner can be found.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (44)
Darrell Blake Programmer, SUMO Digital11 years ago
Sad news for yet another UK studio.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Josef Brett Animator 11 years ago
Really sorry for all you guys. Good luck finding a new job and keep trying to push forward.

It may not have been the success you all hoped but it was a damn good idea with so much potential.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Alex Wright-Manning Head of Recruitment, Splash Damage Ltd11 years ago
Awful news. Yet another UK studio in difficulties. I really hope that an investor can be found; APB really looked to have had something going for it, if only the devs had time to iron out the kinks.

Without appearing predatory, if anyone has been affected, please feel free to drop me a message. I have a strong portfolio of positions globally for experienced games industry professionals, so would be only too happy to discuss options with those unfortunate enough to have found themselves out of a job.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd11 years ago
I remember this happening to our parent company Argonaut. It was a very difficult time for us all but I believe most if not all people landed on their feet in good places or new directions in life. There's always a silver lining. Best to everyone involved.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Gregory Keenan11 years ago
Thats a shock.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D11 years ago
Tameem's comment about a silver lining is so true of this industry. Every time a studio goes under, new ones always spring up. It's good to see Ron Ashtiani's Atomhawk and Bob Troughton's new Pitbull rising up in Newcastle. Awesome blokes, both of them. Should the worst come to the worst, then here's to a new studio (or two, or three) being in place in the not too distant future.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Britton Taylor Quality Assurance Tester, TimeGate Studios11 years ago
Best of luck to all the Devs!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Mark Knight Lead Sound Designer, Codemasters11 years ago
All the best to the guys up there, especially the ex. Visual Science peeps who went through this only a few years ago :(
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tursan Raja Artist, Jagex Games Studio11 years ago
Very sad. I was particulary excited by the real life avatr creation recently. Best of luck for the whole team.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Pier Castonguay Programmer 11 years ago
APB was ambitious and a great idea, but they chosen bad technology for the project when they were in design phase so it took them way too much time to create a product which was not what they really wanted. They probably knew they would fail before releasing the game. After the release of the game, it seems they went back to ground basic gameplay design (just see their homepage). Something obv got wrong.

Unfortunately for them, the MyWorld project don't seems really interesting neither, maybe the designers should work a bit harder?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham11 years ago
Best of luck to everyone there! It's awful when this happens.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Phil White Head of Online Operations, Crytek11 years ago
Very sad news and I wish everyone at RTW success in finding new positions.
There is some great tech behind APB so I hope they find a buyer for the whole product or be able to sell off pieces of the tech.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Finlay Thewlis Studying Game Design & Production Management, University of Abertay Dundee11 years ago
Totally devastating for everyone in the UK, especially dundee. Realtime has always been the company that makes you feel relaxed just because you know its there. They helped alot out for university projects and this sort of input is rare and highly valued. Hopefully this isn't the end!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Pedro Castro GE Senior Analyst, Electronic Arts11 years ago
Good luck to everyone! Hope you find success in the near future.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jonathan Lindsay Creative Director, Playomic11 years ago
First of all, to everyone affected, I wish you all the best and strongly advise you to see this as an opportunity to do what ever you really want to do.

I was lucky enough to be given a student placement at RTW during the summer of 2006 and worked on APB as some kind of assistant producer. I was fired after 2 months for critizing management on an agile development forum. From the start I was really shocked by the then project manager's attitude, he was clearly the wrong person to be leading such a large and ambitious project. RTW eventually parted company with this PM, but the damage had been done.

From my point of view, which is based on my own experience and that of several friends who have worked their, the project lacked design direction and focus. APB is about player to player interactions, but even in 2006, all key people would talk about was customisation. This attitude can even be seen with their 'human avatar' PR stunt. The focus must always be on the core interaction, which in this case is shooting other players. I don't know what caused the lack of focus; maybe too many chiefs and not enough indians, too many inexperienced people in high positions or a lack of willingless to hear critisism due to the companies famous history. The answer is in there somewhere.

Also, I often hear people saying that the base concept of cops and robbers is awesome. Maybe it is, but much more is needed (not just customisation, real gameplay!). For me, it was just too simple a concept, which when considering the problem of lack of focus is a little bit ironic.

Lastly, all is not lost of RTW, they will have to prove that the continuation of APB is in the best interests of their creditors, which might be possible, depending on the games running costs and revenue. I just hope their is some soul searching by those in high positions, else history will be repeated.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 11 years ago
Sad to see this happen to such a graduate friendly company. I hope the company ethos carries on with it's former employees. Good luck everyone.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Alan Stock Game Designer, SCEE - Evolution Studios11 years ago
Sorry to hear this, best wishes to all at RTW.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Demetri Detsaridis General Manager, area/code11 years ago
Best of luck, RTW vets. Lots of ambition and ingenuity at this studio -- as Fran said above, even if the worst comes to pass, it won't be long until something(s) rise from the ashes.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Wilson , TIGA11 years ago

This is a very sad day for Realtime Worlds and for the Scottish and UK video games industry. Realtime Worlds has an exceptionally talented team, management and board of directors. TIGA has been proud to both represent and to work with Realtime Worlds over the last two years. On behalf of everyone at TIGA, best of luck to everyone at Realtime Worlds.

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Another UK studio in trouble! This is a tragedy for the UK industry, even more so for the Scottish video games industry. They were the only Triple A developer that was private up here. Now, someone as big as RealTime could go down under really has affected our "comfort zone". Just like my university colleague Finlay said, Real Time Worlds let some of their senior staff out to help with our projects, giving us their wisdom and advice. Developer-Student Interaction like that is very, very rare! I really hope they come out stronger after this blows over.

All the best to those who are affected.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Khaled Al-Hurby on 17th August 2010 6:01pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 11 years ago
That`s very bad news, hope they find a buyer or the people at least soon a new job.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Michael Rowland Live Producer, Ubisoft Annecy11 years ago
I would also like to give my best wishes to the guys up at RTW, especially to some of my former colleagues.

Best of luck guys and hope you all find your feet soon
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Russell Social Games Designer, Soshi Games11 years ago
As a (former) employee of Realtime Worlds i'd like to thank you all for your kind words of support.

A large number of people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and it's a great shame that it ended this way.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Chris Murphy Community & Live Manager, Ubisoft11 years ago
Jaypers. I'm somewhat lost for words. Despite the rocky start I would have thought it would have been possible to push on through for some time yet. I certainly didn't expect this to happen. As some have mentioned, it is a bit of a shock to hear that such a high profile studio has been hit so hard.

I sincerely wish anyone affected by this the best of luck in finding a new job.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments11 years ago
Very sad news. RTW had great talent and I enjoyed APB, it's a massive shame. I wish all of the RTW staff the best of luck with finding new jobs.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Stewart Gilray Managing Director, Just Add Water11 years ago
Let's up there is a silver lining and the guys land on their feet quickly.

I suspect it won't be in Dundee, as 2/3 of games jobs have just been lost there :(
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard11 years ago
This is really bad news for Dundee and for the UK in general. I seriously hope that the government starts to take things seriously - Realtime Worlds created some fantastic games. Sure, APB didn't do as well as people would've hoped - but don't forget about all the great things that the studio created previously.

I sincerely hope that a buyer is found - and that these jobs can be saved.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 11 years ago
Well MMO games are never bug free and working perfect when they come out. I remember playing some popular MMORPG years ago when it came out and the first 6 month or so it was bugy and had very unstable servers with frequent shut server crashes and buged quests.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
*snip* Terrible news once again from a Scottish Studio. I hope people find new jobs soon. Most people will probably need to move south as this is a large number but as i have posted in the last few days Firebrand Games (Glasgow based as well as a Florida studio) are hiring. *snip*

For those who wish to stay in Scotland, Firebrand is debt free and profitable, as well as stable and with a great order book. *snip*

Good luck.


EDIT: This isn't the place for specific job ads - for that please use this page:

Edited 2 times. Last edit by a moderator on 18th August 2010 10:03am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Stephen Hallett QA Manager, Tarsier Studios11 years ago
Isn't it a little inappropriate to still have that flash advert for jobs at RTW on every page?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Phil Elliott Project Lead, Collective; Head of Community (London), Square Enix11 years ago
We're aware of that - it's subject to a contract, which is due to expire shortly.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steven Anderson Studying Computer game technology, University of Abertay Dundee11 years ago
Makes you wonder why any studio would gamble so much on one game.
I hope everyone at RTW finds new employment quickly, there are plenty of opportunities out there for talented people and i'm sure you will all be in demand.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Ben Bateman Senior User Acquisition Manager 11 years ago
Thanks for all the kind worlds. In related news Activision Blizzard are holding a recruitment event on Thursday for everyone involved the redundancies. Head over to for more information
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kyle Hatch Software Engineer, Pennant International Services LTD11 years ago
its such a shame for all the people at RTW, but alot of question have to be asked about the big decisions taken in the last few years. I won't be asking them however, i may however be making a trip down to the apex thursday night.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Looks like some Activision aid/rescue is at hand.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Mark Faulkner Game Manager, Market Spring Pad Ltd11 years ago
Good luck to all at Real Time Worlds, and not to be too mercenary about matters. SPIL Games is recruiting at the moment. *snip* If you feel like getting into the online/social gaming market place with a company thats going from strength to strength and like the idea of working in the Netherlands then drop us a line.

EDIT: I don't mind general notifications of companies hiring, but we do have a jobs page for anything more specific than that. Linking to any roles posted there is acceptable.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by a moderator on 18th August 2010 9:56am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
I just want to echo the sentiments above: good luck to everyone affected, and hopefully there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it -- I hate how one under-performing game can put a relatively big developer out of business these days.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 18th August 2010 9:50am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Laning Co-owner, Grendel Games11 years ago
Best of luck to everybody involved. Times will changes for the better.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
indeed and the RTW has a big impact in Scotland/UK.

In contrast, the risks were large, the staff were large, ad the potential for profit was large.
Still, lets see what silver lining there is .
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Stuart Trevor 3D Generalist/Art Director 11 years ago
Another sad day for the British games industry, all the best to everyone who's affected.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive11 years ago
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.