Many MMO gamers look to LotRO as the great free-to-play conversion success of the industry, but truth be told APB: Reloaded is perhaps an even bigger success story. Since the game was pulled out of the proverbial fire, publisher Gamers First and developer Reloaded Productions have pulled off some amazing success with APB; a success they hope to push to the next level with the unveiling of APB: Vendetta.
We recently sat down with the team from Reloaded Productions to discuss the new game, how it will expand the APB universe, and the impact it will have on the current live game. What follows are five of the biggest things to know about APB: Vendetta based on our discussions.
Two games, two teams
A major concern for current players is that development for Vendetta might somehow cannibalize the current live team for APB: Reloaded. The good news here is that couldnÂt be further from the truth. The live game team currently consists of 36 people. Out of that group, 32 of them remain wholly focused on Reloaded, while 4 of them have split off to begin working on Vendetta as a prototype.
Obviously a team of 4 isnÂt going to be large enough to build the entire new game, but the hope here is that the current Kickstarter goals will be met which will allow that core group to expand and begin building out more of the feature set for Vendetta. Again, this will allow the current live team for APB will remain entirely intact, so current and future APB players need not worry that the live game will see less support in the future.
Reloaded players will also benefit from the new game in the sense that the long term goal is to take some of the features being built for Vendetta and find ways to work them into the original game. This wonÂt happen right away of course, and will naturally be based on what can be done due to any technical limitations of the original engine.
NPCs: TheyÂre not just contacts anymore
IÂve always like the diverse and unique personalities of the key NPCs in APB, but also always wished that there were some deeper interactions with them beyond ranks and unlocks. One of my favorite things about Vendetta is that my wish will finally be granted, as the key NPCs from Reloaded will form the initial cast of playable characters in Vendetta.
The movement system is definitely inspired by games like MirrorÂs Edge, but unlike that game it wonÂt be based on building up momentum. As such, your archetype will instead help determine just how acrobatic your character can be in combat.
The three current archetypes are light acrobatic, medium mercenary, and heavy juggernaut. The idea is that each character will fall under one of these three distinct archetypes based on their movement capabilities. So light acrobatic characters will be highly mobile but wonÂt be able to survive as much incoming damage, while heavy juggernaut characters will still move really fast but wonÂt be able to do certain things like wall running.
New tech, new possibilities
Part of the decision to create an entirely new game set within the APB universe really boils down to the technical capabilities of the current engine. While there are a lot of awesome things the team would love to be able to add to the live game, they have certain limitations that helped drive them to the conclusion that a brand new game like Vendetta would make the most sense.
So the idea here is that Vendetta will be able to take advantage of newer tech thatÂs come into existence since the original game was built. And based on whatÂs been described so far for the movement and combat systems that certainly seems to be the case.
Imagine some of the wacky environmental movement from MirrorÂs Edge (vs. Brink which was a bit stunted in the movement department) combined with some of the awesome action sequences from a John Woo film, and youÂre getting close to what Vendetta will bring to the shooter table. Now imagine throwing a skateboard (roller skates anyone?) into the mix and youÂre getting much closer to what will set Vendetta apart from the original game. For example, the skateboard is actually one of the special weapons for Zombie, so he can do a Âskate-byÂ shooting.
In fact, each of the playable characters will have special moves, kind of like what youÂd find in a fighting game. The skate-by is one of them, or another example includes a raven that can steal other peopleÂs guns. So things like companions are also a new possibility in Vendetta that simply arenÂt possible in the original Reloaded.
Your server, your rules
When Vendetta ships it will come bundled with a toolset that lets players tweak certain aspects of the game to their liking. The idea here is to allow players some freedom in terms of the custom rule sets they want to employ on their own dedicated server. For example, if you wanted to create an antigravity server, or make all characters run backwards, youÂll have the power to do so.
While there will no doubt be a lot of players who prefer to stick to playing Vendetta on its own terms, giving players tools to create custom rule servers can really help extend the longevity of multiplayer shooters. For example, I grew pretty bored with Smash Bros. Brawl early on, but can still have a blast with it once I dig into the options to set up matches involving invisibility or other wacky variables.
One thing we discussed is that, since your accounts for the two games will be connected, theyÂre aiming to create an exporter so that you can take your character from Reloaded, and put it into your own custom mod. So even though you wonÂt be able to import any game changing items or progression, you can still play Vendetta using characters youÂve grown attached to in Reloaded.
ItÂs also worth noting that if you purchase Vendetta, youÂll also gain something for your characters in Reloaded. While no specifics were discussed on how this will work, a future update to the Vendetta Kickstarter may help shed some additional light on how this will work. Speaking of KickstarterÂ
Dreams do come true (if you back them)
The short term goals for APB: Vendetta really boil down to how successful Reloaded Productions is with its latest Kickstarter campaign for the game. For the sake of full disclosure here, as a general rule we typically shy away from doing any form of direct promotion of Kickstarter stuff.
Occasionally though, a project pops up that we feel is worth at least helping make our readers aware of, and we certainly think you should take a few moments to check out how the APB universe may be expanding, and how you can help make it happen. The APB: Vendetta project page gives some additional details on what the game is all about, but you can be certain that weÂll be following the gameÂs progress with much interest from here on out.
While nothing is set in stone just yet, thereÂs also a bigger picture to consider in terms of what Reloaded Productions has in mind for the APB setting. One thing we discussed is that there is a very real possibility that if Vendetta takes off, a third game that combines the open world of Reloaded with the expanded combat systems from Vendetta and forms an all new MMO. Mind you, this wouldnÂt happen for quite a while yet, but IÂd love to see it become a reality at some point.
In the meantime, our team has been actively playing APB Reloaded and have been pretty intrigued by some of the emergent gameplay happening there. To give you a taste of what IÂm talking about, IÂll close with an awesome fan video that shows some of the community creativity we can look forward to in Vendetta.