Realtime Worlds CEO Dave Jones has outlined to Develop his studio's ambitious online strategy, saying that new MMO All Points Bulletin proves that in the online space there is still a big opportunity for developers to succeed - even in the face of Blizzard's domination with World of Warcraft.
The studio confirmed it had gained a $50m investment earlier this week to support its online plans.
In the first part of an exclusive interview, available to read here, he outlined what the money would be spent on.
"We’re spending a fair bit of time on APB. It’s our first online game and we have another online game in the works that is in its early stages. But online-focused games are expensive to make, they are a step above traditional games. So we want to make sure the company is positioned well and ready for the online space," he said.
Blizzard's World of Warcraft is one of the most successful MMOs, with 10m subscribers worldwide, which has lead some to say that the market is all but sewn up - but Jones is confident that Realtime Worlds' APB can provide a different kind of appeal thanks to its content and genre.
He explained: "I think it’s going to be tough to go into the RPG space and compete with Blizzard, absolutely. But with APB we are saying there are many other genres out there that developers can go into. And remember, online is still pretty new – there’s not a lot in that space outside of RPGs, let’s face it. There are still tremendous possibilities with the right product to open up new markets.
"But remember, the market really is just in its early stages. Even for Blizzard’s WoW figures, that 10 million; half of it is in China, with 2.5m in the US and 2.5m in Europe, which is really just on par with a good console game. So I think there are lots of players out there still to take to online gaming that will enjoy it. The potential market is pretty big."
APB is designed from Jones' new 'Players as content' philosophy which hinges much of the player control on customisation, user-generated content, and team-driven missions.
"That’s an important thing – in GTA and Crackdown, people can go in and they have their own story to tell because the open nature means many aspects are not linear. We’re trying to bring that to the online space – I play a lot of online RPGs, but they’re still quite linear as well. It’s you versus the system and it’s PvE. And let’s face it, the AI in these games isn’t that sophisticated either – so you end up doing the same thing over and over and things become mundane. It's the grind," he said.
"What I wanted to do with APB was use the players against the players – but in a unique way. It’s not just PvP where you’re trying to kill each other; it’s trying to think of ways to pit people against each other, but create more of a mission structure around it. That’s exciting because that way you can play a mission over and over again, but depending on who you are playing against it will be different – it means personality becomes involved, and introduces real human element into missions."
In the full interview, Jones also explains what designing that kind of experience means for his studio and other customisation elements in his new game. Click here to read more.