Designer Shines a Light on the Fall of Realtime Words


There’s not quite as much stabbing as you might find in Oedipus Rex or Hamlet, but the collapse of APB developer Realtime Worlds was no less a tragedy.

There are few things more frustrating than knowing something is falling apart, and being powerless to stop it. That’s the position that Luke Halliwell found himself in at Realtime Worlds, and in Issue 278 of The Escapist, Greg Tito speaks to Halliwell and discovers how RTW’s hubris brought the once successful studio crashing down to earth.

In Greek drama, there is a chorus who is able to witness and comment on the tragic events portrayed on stage, but is ultimately powerless to alter them. Luke Halliwell was hired as a Senior Software Engineer at Realtime Worlds in 2004 as it was working on Crackdown. He was not a part of the design team, so in many ways he was able to watch the company grow and change better than those in power. When APB failed, Halliwell was among the first former employees of Realtime Worlds to understand just what went wrong.

“The biggest problem,” Halliwell told The Escapist in a recent interview, “was not with the business guys specifically, but with people, many of them in development, who felt we needed to imitate big corporations in order to become successful. They confused what success looks like after the fact, with how you become successful in the first place.”

As the roots of the new corporate structure dug deeper into Realtime Worlds, the studio edged further and further away from the practices that made its earlier success possible. You can read more about it in Tito’s article “The Rise and Fall of Realtime Worlds.”

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