APB: Reloaded Much More Than A Simple Relaunch!
By Nic van 't Schip, OnRPG Admin
Back in November of last year we broke the news that APB was making a comeback under the capable wings of GamersFirst. Today at the, Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, we have seen that this is NOT vaporware.
APB is back under the great name APB: Reloaded and GamersFirst is doing some fantastic work the core mechanics of the game, which means They'll only bring APB back, but they'll bring it back a much better game than before!
The driving got a complete overhaul. Not only the core driving physics were reworked to feel much more genuine (and, let’s just say it, more like GTA), but GamersFirst also completely remade the starting vehicles from scratch.
The way Realtime Worlds envisioned the driving, was that gamers would progress through the game and get their hands on increasingly better handling cars. The result of this was that most people’s first impression of the game was that the driving was horrible, simply because the first car, they were given to drive was shit.
The new starting vehicle handles much better turning driving into a real skill game. There is of course still room for progression as cars you get access to later in the game will still have better acceleration and top speed. Tully, who reviewed APB for us back in July was able to drive around with the new starting car and he confirmed that the driving experience has completely changed. After a couple of failed attempts he was soon drifting the car around corners and he felt he a lot more control of what his car did.
The other core mechanic of the game, the shooting, wasn’t forgotten either. With the highly successful MMOFPS War Rock, GamersFirst has already proven they know their way around an FPS. This experienced is helping them greatly with the complete revamp of the weapons as well as the underlying mechanic of shooting stuff in APB.
The recoil caused quite some controversy in APB’s first iteration, fortunately this has been much improved. Producer Jon-Enée Merriex said: “We’ve reworked the weapons, shooting physics and recoil system to make it more attractive to fire in short bursts as we wanted to get APB away from the spray and pray mentality.”
Some of the changes include increased damage from bullets. This time around when you get hit you’re going to feel it! Weapon types will also play a bigger role, and weapons are no longer effectively different skins with the same effect.
In the previous version of APB, character progression was convoluted at best and GamersFirst is looking at completely redoing it. It will be simplified and there will be a lot more information accessible about what to expect from missions in terms of difficulty, as well as rewards. Some other improvements like improved information in tooltips will really help make progressing through the game a lot easier.
Roles have been reworked and will now be your direct path to unlock access to different kinds of weapons. Achievements will no longer grant rewards and it’s much clearer what you need to do to unlock them. Down the line titles may be unlocked by achievements but for now they’re purely there for bragging rights.
Other mechanics that GamersFirst is looking at is an improved Turfwars system, a revamp of the spawning system, proper races and even a brand new zone “The Asylum”.
Free to Play!
Perhaps the most important change is that APB is going fully Free to Play! GamersFirst are an F2P company at heart and have many successful games in their lineup to prove that they “get this”. As such APB will be truly free to play. There will be a cash shop that will sell vanity items as well as different guns. Jon-Enée made it really clear however that this doesn’t mean people can “buy better weapons”. Instead the store will have different variations of weapons but none of these will be designed to be “better” than the guns that are freely available, just different.
There will also be a Premium account option which gives access to more layers for designs, higher % chances of getting unique designs to drop etc. While the final cost of the premium accounts have not been determined yet the non surprising amount of “9.95ish” was mentioned.
Former APB Players : Rejoice!
We had one tough question left for the GamersFirst team: What about the thousands of players that felt robbed the first time they invested in APB only to see it shut down a mere three months after it launched? Producer Jon-Enée Merriex smiled and answered: “We are ready and committed to welcome these players back with open arms. There WILL be character transfers and players WILL get their names, avatars and designs back. Because cars and weapons have been completely overhauled we will not be restoring them but the essence of their characters WILL be restored to their former glory!”
And in addition to this, Jon-Enée mentioned that they will soon announce an “olive branch” that will be offered to all former APB players, one that they are sure will excite them!
Unfortunately, this was as much as we could get them to commit to at this stage. but all in all it’s a very satisfying answer further confirming that APB is in very good hands with GamersFirst!
We'll soon have a proper re-review up for APB: Reloaded so watch this space!