APB Reloaded – A GTA Story?
Bjorn Book-Larsson talks about the fundamental concept of APB, and how it is NOT like a multi-player Grand Theft Auto game (aka how it is NOT “GTA Online”), at least not yet.
When the team designed APB back in the day it appears one of the goals for the game was truly to create a Grand Theft Auto “Online” inspired game with two opposing sides duking it out for supremacy. No problem with that in theory. Except that a multi-player GTA clone that preserves any semblance of story progression (or Red Dead Redemption clone for that matter) is a really hard thing to pull off for one basic reason; people on the “opposing” side will never do anything that resembles “story-line-reenactment,” and more fundamentally, the whole GTA concept, while open world-ish in nature, is still at its core a story-driven progression with a logical beginning and end. The great stories themselves is really what make the GTA games brilliant on their own (after all, how many old ladies can you run over before you want to put the rampage behind you and start experiencing some story progression?). As an aside, I am still a bit confused about the story-value of the Zombies in RDR’s Zombie update after the brilliant first act of RDR – but that’s a whole different discussion.
So to put it in perspective, imagine yourself being one of the NPC characters in one of the GTA games, ie – not playing a protagonist like Niko Bellic in GTA 4 or Claude Speed in GTA 2, but instead playing the guy who works with Governor Johnny Rotten, or working for Jerkov in the Russian Mob. If you in fact PLAYED that character, you would basically sit around and do nothing 99% of the time, while waiting for your “scene” to occur, at which point you would add your cool flavor to the game and then get shot. No sane gamer would actually want to act out that role (it would be like a really boring version of a Civil War reenactment). But that kind of single-player progression design is what makes those games brilliant from the protagonist’s point of view (and duds for the NPCs). One of the complaints about APB was the fact that sometimes one side in a conflict were basically asked to act as story progression for the other side, and that didn’t always seem to work out very well.
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