Usually, when you subscribe to an MMO, you expect that it's going to stick around long enough that you don't feel like you've, well, been robbed. Unfortunately, such was not the case with Realtime Worlds' short-lived cops 'n' robbers MMO All Points Bulletin, whose tombstone sadly reads “2010-2010.” Between subscription fees and the initial price tag, then, one could certainly understand why players are getting off the ride and immediately asking for their money back. Unfortunately, for a little while, it looked like no one planned on ponying up.
"Customers should revert to the entity from which they bought the game in respect of their entitlement to any refund,” joint administrator Paul Dounis said.
Ok then. Steam, what say you?
"As with most software products, we do not offer refunds or exchanges for purchases made online as outlined in the software license," said Valve.
Wait, that didn't help at all! But look! What's that in the sky? It's a bird. It's a plane. No – it's a large multimillion dollar corporation, swooping in to save the day with free stuff.
According to a Steam thread on the subject, players who've gone to publisher Electronic Arts with their disgruntled mumbles and grumbles have come away with $20 vouchers, refunds, and even free games. We suppose it's just like the old saying: “You can't spell 'apologize fre' without 'free.'” Hey, we never said it was a good saying.
Seems like only yesterday that All Points Bulletin hit the mean, crime infested streets. Oh yeah, that's because it basically was. The cops 'n' robbers MMO launched on June 29 of this year, and, well, it had some issues. Not nearly as many issues, however, as its developer Realtime Worlds, who recently put an entire development team on the chopping block and declared bankruptcy.
And now, after failing to attract a buyer, it looks as though All Points Bulletin's gone straight from the cradle into the grave.
“APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It’s been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome!” wrote Realtime Worlds community manager Ben Bateman.
According to anonymous sources, APB's servers will be going dark tomorrow, never to see the light of day again. Which is a real shame, seeing as Realtime Worlds had a pretty solid roadmap in place for how to fix the game. Unfortunately, life's great Game Over screen appeared, and they didn't have enough coins to continue.
Those of you with virtual homes, possessions, and families, let this serve as a cautionary tale for you. They could all be snatched away – just like that! Now shower them with affection. Show them just how much you love them. Huh? You have to go tell your kids a bedtime story? The nerve! Can't they wait? You're in the middle of something important, after all.
An action-oriented, highly customizable MMO that’s not about elves, spaceships, or elves in spaceships from some of the minds behind Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown? If some games look “good” on paper, then All Points Bulletin is a drawing of the world’s most beautiful supermodel. Unfortunately, that too-good-to-be-true concept got in a fender-bender with a little something called “reality,” and All Points Bulletin’s release failed to set the world on fire. But don’t count the cops ‘n’ robbers MMO out just yet.
“Over the last number of months, through closed beta and then KttC, we've collected a huge number of issues, complaints, suggestions and requests covering all aspects of the game. Because of the focus on getting the game stable and going through the process of launch, many of these may appear to have fallen through the cracks. But they didn't - they've been sitting in our rather copious 'to do' list, waiting for us to have the time to begin to address them properly,” a Realtime Worlds dev wrote on APB’s official forums.
Apparently, that time is now – or, more accurately, in “the coming weeks.” And while we have no idea how long the process will actually take, Realtime Worlds has certainly charted a promising course. Vehicle handling and “every aspect of combat” are in for overhauls, as are rulesets, matchmaking, missions, cheating, and plenty more.
The ultimate goal, according to Realtime Worlds, “is to grow APB into the game that its players want it to be.” So basically, watch the public test servers like you’d watch a ski mask-wearing man in a bank. All Points Bulletin may not be the game you’d hoped for right now, but that certainly doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
We live in a world where not one, but three separate videogames about the Burger King exist, so this really shouldn’t surprise us. For some reason, though, it does. See, cops ‘n’ robbers MMO All Points Bulletin is going where no series of in-game ads has before: your ear canal. Does that even qualify as in-game anymore?
Don’t worry too much, though. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. You will not, for instance, find yourself coordinating a heist with your buddy, only to have him reply that there’s no need for a life of crime, because the prices over at Wal Mart are an absolute steal. Foremost, this is due to the fact that audio ads only occur when you first enter a district. And even then, the voices in your head will only switch from telling you to kill things to telling you to buy things every three hours. In other words, there’s a very good chance you’ll only hear one ad each time you play. There are also subscription tiers that remove the ads altogether.
So that’s a relief. Now we only have to worry about that other, potentially more annoying thing voice chat is used for: talking with other people. (We kid. Except for when said people are 12 years-old, rapping, or -- and especially -- rapping 12 year-olds.)
EA recently released its Q3 fiscal statement, and it’s a magnitude seven doozy. Not to be a downer, though, but first on the release schedule is The Waiting Game, as most of these titles won’t be out until the second half of 2010.
First up, Crysis 2’s positioned itself deep within the overgrown jungles of 2010’s holiday season with an October-December 2010 release window. Medal of Honor and massively multiplayer cops ‘n’ robbers sim All Points Bulletin, meanwhile, are both dropping between the months of July and September. As if three whole games weren’t enough, EA also announced a new Dragon Age title for early 2011.
It’s not all good news, however. For some mystifying reason, the mega-publisher’s decided to release Dead Space 2 on every platform under the sun – even handhelds! – except the PC. Well, whatever. We don’t need the pants scared off us. We’ll take off our own pants. That’ll show ‘em.