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APB: All Points Bulletin
File:All Points
European boxart
Developer(s) Realtime Worlds
Publisher(s) Realtime Worlds
Distributor(s) Electronic Arts
Designer(s) David Jones
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA 29 June 2010 (2010-06-29)
  • EU 1 July 2010
  • UK 2 July 2010 [1]
Genre(s) Action adventure, third-person shooter, sandbox
Mode(s) Multiplayer online game
Media DVD
System requirements
  • Windows XP or later, Dual-core 2.13 GHz or equivalent
  • 2 GB RAM
  • nVidia GeForce 7800; 256MB or equivalent
  • 15 GB hard disk space
  • Broadband internet connection

APB: All Points Bulletin was a multiplayer online video game for Microsoft Windows[2] based in urban sprawls and featuring two sides, Enforcers and the Criminals. Players could join either the Enforcers or the Criminals, and form sub-groups in these. The game design was led by David Jones, who contributed to the original Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown, and was developed by Realtime Worlds. It was released on 29 June 2010 in North America, Europe, and in the United Kingdom.[1]

On 17 August 2010 Realtime Worlds was placed into administration. The administrators intended to keep the company trading whilst they attempted to find a buyer for the firm. If a buyer could not be found then the long-term future for the game was uncertain.[3] On 16 September 2010 Realtime Worlds announced APB servers were to be shut down "soon" with no specific date given.[4][5] On 23 September 2010, APB game servers were officially shut down.



The game takes place in a modern-day, fictional city of San Paro where there is a constant battle between "Enforcers" and "Criminals", and the player will need to decide to which Faction they want to belong.

Other activities involving missions within the game allowing the player to earn extra money, which can then be used to upgrade weapons, vehicles, and their character appearances, all of which influence the game.[6] For example, several Criminal players may rob a convenience store within the game; the game will then seek out one or more Law Enforcement players of equivalent skills and other criteria and will issue an all-points bulletin for them to stop the robbery.

The camera focuses on the character from above the shoulder in which the currently equipped gun is held, allowing the player to peek around corners before they lean around to shoot. The player can also zoom in using right click for better aim. Weapons cannot be bought straight away from NPC contacts. The player must achieve different goals to unlock the purchase of weapons, varying from completing a certain number of missions successfully, to achieving a high enough standing with a contact or organization. Contacts sell upgrades, equipment, weapons, vehicles and clothing. Ammunition can be bought from Joker vending machines, scattered around the 3 districts. Players cannot normally attack each other unless they are enemies or allies in a mission. This prevents death matching and griefing.

Depending on faction, players will have either a prestige or notoriety level, going from 0 to 5. This level goes up as the player successfully performs actions that help their faction's cause, such as killing players of the opposing faction, completing missions successfully, or by doing actions unique to their faction. Such unique faction actions include mugging pedestrians for criminals, or arresting criminals for enforcers. The level decreases as the player hinders their faction; for instance, teamkilling, dying, and destroying city objects as enforcers. At level 0, a player is free to do as they please, and will not have enemy players dispatched against them. At level 1, the player receives slightly greater rewards from missions, and enemy players will be dispatched against them if they witness them performing certain actions. At level 2, the rewards are increased even more, and enemy players may be dispatched against their missions. At level 3, enemy players may be sent against the player regardless of actions, and rewards are increased further. At level 4, the player will receive increased rewards, enemy players will still be dispatched against them. At level 5, the player has a bounty put on their head, which allows them to interact with any player on the server. They can be killed by any criminal or enforcer, but a bounty player can kill anyone on the server. All rewards are greatly increased for a person with a bounty for being able to achieve goals while under extreme pressure. When someone kills a player with a bounty, unless they are an enforcer killing a fellow enforcer, the killer receives a large money and standing reward for being able to kill such a high-threat player. A bounty can be removed by death, or by reducing prestige/notoriety enough to reduce the level to 4.

APB also claims it will be the first multiplayer online game title where the player's skill determines the character's progression, as opposed to the normal model of time investment.

At Game Developers Conference 2009 it was announced that Vivox would be providing voice chat for the game. The software allows players to customize the voice of their characters with voice fonts, and to communicate using 3D positional audio.

It has also been revealed that you will be able to synchronize music from your hard drive to the in-game radio. If another player owns the same song being played, it will appear as an ambient sound from your car. However, if the player in question does not own the song: will automatically match the track with any similar artist.[7]


APB has been described by Realtime Worlds executive Colin MacDonald as being "the bastard child of everything we've been striving towards over the 15-20 years" and a culmination of "what [David Jones has] always wanted to do from GTA and before Crackdown and APB."[8]

APB was planned as early as 2005, initially as a Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 title, and intended as the flagship title for the then-newly founded Realtime Worlds studio created by David Jones.[9] Then, it was planned that the Xbox 360 release would be in 2010. In the interim time, Realtime Worlds developed the video game Crackdown, released in 2007, which bore some resemblance to the concepts that were to be in APB.

At the 2008 Game Developers Conference, David Jones stated that APB would be released in 2008.[10] Jones noted that APB would be more like a multiplayer online game with players interacting with up to 25 other players at the same time. He also noted that the game compared well to the typical style of fantasy or sci-fi "multiplayer online" games such as World of Warcraft, but did not expect to compete with those games, as the concept was different. On 14 April 2008, Realtime Worlds announced that it had raised $50 million for APB and other future projects.[11] However, he also confirmed that Realtime Worlds was now looking at a 2009 release.[12] In this same announcement and subsequent interviews, the company stated that that game was now scheduled for release on Microsoft Windows in 2009, and with options for eventual versions on the Xbox 360.[13]

On 21 April 2008, Realtime Worlds announced that it had reacquired the global distribution rights for APB, significantly amending the arrangement made in 2005 with Webzen Games.[13][14] An industry rumour suggested that Realtime Worlds planned to sell the game to Rockstar Games in order to re-craft it as a massively multiplayer Grand Theft Auto, though Realtime Worlds denied these rumors.[15]

In June 2009, Andy Eddy from reported, "Not only did a spokesperson indicate to me after the EA announcement that the title was being developed for Xbox 360, during today's presentation [at E3 2010], Realtime's Dave Jones said that the first consideration would be the PC release, and then it'll come to the console side. So, while what follows isn't strictly for the Xbox 360, it seems that Realtime Worlds sending the game our way is a definite. If everything that I saw today actually comes to our favourite system, we should all be very, very happy."[16]

In July 2009, EJ Moreland from Realtime Worlds made it clear that APB would be a PC release only for the first release, but they would be looking at the possibilities for a console version.[17]

A PC closed beta ran from 19 October 2009 to 4 June 2010.[18] This was followed by an open beta which ran from June 12, 2010 to June 19, 2010.

On 30 April 2010, a press release was published by official fansite APB Evolved that included pricing information and release dates: 29 June 2010 in North America, 1 July in Mainland Europe and 2 July in the United Kingdom.[1] A subscription-like system was used, where players purchase game time for action districts, either by purchasing hours or by opting for an unlimited playtime option for 30 days. Players were required to purchase a copy of the game which included 50 hours of initial game time.[1] Both the game and the website were available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and English.[19]


The game houses an in-game music system similar to Grand Theft Auto. It features established acts, but also emerging artists including Atlas&i and Avosetta.[20]

The game allows players to import music into the music player. If other players also have the same song imported to their music player, they will hear the music on the player's car radio. If another player does not have the same song imported, will select a similar song to play instead.[21]

Embargo controversy

APB's release was met with some criticism due to a review embargo, planned to last until a week after release. Whilst review embargoes are commonplace in games review, the length caused a large backlash in the reviewing community. John Walker from stated "Whatever their reason is, they've crossed a very obvious, very ridiculous line. When anyone anywhere can post a review to their blog, a comments thread, or a site's reader reviews section, it's beyond daft to think that the site itself cannot." [22] Realtime worlds responded by stating "Before finalising reviews, we want you to experience the full, rich experience of APB as it is meant to be seen. We want you to see wild customer customisations, player progression and clans making an impact on the living breathing city of San Paro. This key code also therefore grants you, along with our pre-order customers, VIP early access before the official launch day; 26 June in North America and 28 June in Europe." [22]


On 17 August 2010, six weeks after the release of APB, Realtime Worlds entered administration. Former APB staff spoke to the press about the development process, including a lack of management focus and desire to ignore negative comments from beta-testers, and the substandard quality of gameplay including poor driving and shooting mechanics.[23]


On 16 September 2010, as the administrator was unable to find a buyer, Realtime Worlds announced the shut-down of APB.[24]

Servers remained online the following day, during which time an unknown source apparently close to the RTW development team sparked rumours that Epic Games, creators of the 'Unreal Engine 3 on which APB was based, were showing interest in the APB intellectual property rights. Dana Cowley, spokesperson for Epic, neither confirmed nor denied the idea, stating:

"Mark [Epic Games CEO] absolutely loves APB, and everyone here loved what they saw. We've got our hands full of Gears of War 3, Bullet Storm and the recently announced Project Sword. If any talks like that are going on, then they would be confidential." [25]

It was reported that some who purchased the game have had success obtaining a downloadable title, credit, or partial refund from publisher EA's customer support.[26]


Reception to APB has been mixed with the game currently holding a 58% average on Metacritic.[27]

Initial reviews included PCGamer giving the title 55/100.[28] and Eurogamer giving 6/10[29] 1UP awarded APB a score of 25/100[30] and Destructoid giving 35/100.[31] Other reviews were higher, with IGN giving 77/100 [32] and Edge granting 7/10.[33]


  1. ^ a b c d "Press Release: Release Date, Payment Model & Pre-Order Incentives". APB Evolved. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  2. ^ "All Points Bulletin Official FAQ". Realtime Worlds. 
  3. ^ "Realtime Worlds Has Entered Administration". 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Realtime Worlds announces the closure of APB [Updated". Massively. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ "APB Company Line". Realtime Worlds. 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  7. ^ McInnis, Shaun (2009-06-04). "APB E3 2009 Impressions - PC Previews at GameSpot". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  8. ^ Rossignol, Jim (2008-08-05). "APB Is Twenty Years Of Striving, Kinda". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  9. ^ Thorsen, Tor (2009-06-25). "APB coming to Xbox 360 in 2008". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  10. ^ Magrino, Tom (2008-02-21). "GDC '08: APB out on Dave Jones". GameSpot.;title;1. Retrieved 2008-02-23. [dead link]
  11. ^ Faylor, Chris (2008-04-14). "Crackdown, APB Developer Raises $50 Million". Shacknews. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  12. ^ French, Michael (2008-04-15). "Dave Jones says APB could generate revenues in the hundred millions". Develop UK. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  13. ^ a b "Realtime repurchases APB rights". GameSpot. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  14. ^ "Realtime Worlds Regains Global Distribution Rights to APB Following Second Round Funding". IGN. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  15. ^ Purchase, Rob (2008-05-08). "Realtime downplays GTA Online talk". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  16. ^ "APB Preview (Xbox 360)". 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  17. ^ "APB Podcast Episode 6: Q & A". Realtime Worlds. 
  18. ^ "APB Closed BETA Begins". 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  19. ^ FAQ - APB - All Points Bulletin[dead link]
  20. ^ "APB All Points Bulletin: Atlas&i and Avosetta star". BBC Norfolk. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b "APB Review Embargo Set Week After Release". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  23. ^ Stuart, Keith (2010-09-27). "Realtime Worlds: an inside story". Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  24. ^ Johnny Minkley (2010-09-16). "APB "plug to be pulled" within 24 hours MMO News - Page 1". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  25. ^ Emery, Daniel (2010-09-17). "BBC News - Massive multiplayer game APB to shut down". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  26. ^ Kohler, Chris. "Report: Complain About APB, Get Free EA Game". Game | Life. Wired News. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  27. ^ "APB for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  28. ^ "APB review". PC Gamer. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  29. ^ Rob Fahey (2010-07-02). "APB MMO Review - Page 1". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  30. ^ "APB Review for PC from". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  31. ^ "Review: APB". Destructoid. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  32. ^ var authorId = "" by Nick Kolan (2010-07-09). "APB Review - PC Review at IGN". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  33. ^ "Review: APB - All Points Bulletin | Edge Magazine". 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 

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