Realtime Worlds Talks APB Characters
Jimmy O’Ready, character art team lead at Realtime Worlds, spoke at the Develop conference in Brighton today about designing characters for the studio’s upcoming MMO title All Points Bulletin.
O’Ready said that Realtime was aiming to create an original look for APB’s characters, noting that it didn’t want them to end up appearing similar to those in Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row games. He said the look of APB’s characters was more influenced by metal than “clichéd” hp hop styles.
“We wanted to differentiate the game from other games, so that when you look at a character you don’t go, ‘Oh, look, there’s another one of those online shooter games’. We want you to look at our characters and think that it is All Points Bulletin.
“We also decided to aim for a technical quality similar to the characters in leading single player games at the time. That’s a pretty lofty ambition because we’re an MMO. The characters [in most MMOs] are very simple and they don’t look like anything like the characters in a first person game on PS3. We want to make characters in an MMO that have that visual quality.”
Following his session we asked O’Ready if Realtime was worried about too many gamers choosing to play as criminals in APB, potentially unbalancing the gameplay.
“It was a big focus two or three years ago,” he said. “We thought about how that was going to play out visually and in gameplay terms. Design wise there are a few things you can do if you’re an enforcer in the game that you can’t do when you’re a criminal, which are exciting. Basically we want to make sure that people have just as much of a fun time and that it’s obvious that it’s as cool to be an enforcer.”
O’Ready noted that gameplay tweaks were ongoing, inferring that the appearance/abilities of APB’s two factions could still change, before revealing a new challenge Realtime had run into.
“In fact, now we have more of a different problem in that we’re thinking that the enforcers look too much like criminals and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate them.”
However, O’Ready said that APB’s criminals and enforcers will have gameplay icons that mark them out from each other as you approach battle scenarios.
Yesterday, Realtime Worlds founder and creative director Dave Jones spoke his desire to forge a new genre with APB.
Electronic Arts is to market and distribute APB in North America and Europe on PC in early 2010.