The Industry's Seedy Underbelly

The Industry's Seedy Underbelly
The Rise and Fall of Realtime Worlds

Greg Tito | 2 Nov 2010 11:48
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The small size of the development team at Realtime Worlds allowed Jones to tinker with his game to make sure that it was good. "It was clear that Crackdown benefitted from having a much smaller team. I got the impression Dave could try out ideas in Crackdown faster than in APB," Halliwell says, adding that a few, key members of the team like co-designer Billy Thomson were able to challenge Jones to refine his ideas, strengthening the final product.

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"[Dave's] relationship with Billy Thomson was good for the game. Billy was an incredibly no-nonsense guy and had known Dave for a long time, so I suspect he was more able to speak his mind. I think, at times, some of the APB team made the mistake of trying to say what they thought Dave wanted to hear." After Crackdown, Thomson left Realtime Worlds to form Ruffian Games and work on Crackdown 2.

Crackdown sold a respectable 1.5 million copies in its first six months and went on to win several BAFTA awards including Best Action & Adventure and Use of Audio. All of the awards and critical acclaim were seen as a proof of concept for Dave Jones and Realtime Worlds. A consortium of venture capital firms invested more than $50 million in the company so that Jones could create his ultimate vision, the MMO that would be APB.

Halliwell now sees that event as the turning point; the climax of the tragic fall of Dave Jones' company. "For a long time, Realtime Worlds cultivated an air of success about the office," wrote Halliwell on his blog in September 2010. "Raising $100 million sounds pretty cool on paper. We all walked past the Crackdown awards cabinet each morning. The press was excited about APB and we had Dave, who apparently could do no wrong."

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