We've heard and seen a lot about customization and combat, but how does the idea of celebrity factor into the game?
Chris Collins: Celebrity really is the culmination of the customisation and combat. Players can strive to be the best in their field, on their server. They might become a famous clothing designer, whose brand is the best selling set of items in the game, or the most sought after. Clans might become the most notorious for their skills on the streets (or how ridiculous their uniform is). An individual player could simply be the player who's died the most.
We take all of these in game statistics and place them into one of the hundreds of leader-boards that will ship with APB. These get displayed in game and on our websites, allowing the players to show off their achievements in a number of ways.
Clans will also form rivalries. Maybe the top clans on each server will continually battle for dominance. This could lead to some really intense combat on the streets and it can all be recorded using the in game recording tools. Players can take this footage and create videos to share, forever documenting the fight.
All these tools should allow players to stand out from the crowd, if they really want to.
What's Realtime Worlds' approach on interacting with the community at large both pre and post-release day, and will we ever see official forums for the game?
Chris Collins: The community really is an important part of APB. We've already seen many fansites created, such as www.APB-Evolved.com, who we do our best to support with exclusive info. The community team is also on the site regularly, to help answer questions or concerns.
Obviously, we're in a pre launch period now, where we're calling on those fans to help with our beta efforts and we'll continue to do so.
Moving past launch, yes, we will be creating a community site, complete with forums. These will act as the central source for info on the game and the latest goings on. They'll also be the central place for players to check out who's currently topping any of the leagues, so it's really going to act as an important hub once APB goes live.
We're also going to be listening to the players closely, as APB will be developed horizontally as well as vertically. So any ideas for new content, balancing, etc will all be taken from the community. We have our ideas, but at the end of the day, we want people to have fun in APB and sometimes, it's good to listen to the players.
Beyond the impressive character creation process, what can a person playing APB for the first time expect to see within the first 15 or 30 minutes of gameplay?
EJ Moreland: We place you into the action quickly. There is a short tutorial/introduction to the basic gameplay concepts such as getting missions, interacting with the world, and understanding the various interface elements. Because this is an introductory experience, we waive the ability for PvP until the player is at least basically comfortable with core gameplay.
From there, we allow the players to remain in a slightly protected environment to acclimate to the direct PvP nature of APB – think of it as the wading pool... no sharks allowed! From there... it's right into the mix.
How much would you say APB's future content is predetermined and how much of it will be based on player feedback?
EJ Moreland: Much of APB's future content (and features) will be based directly on player feedback and response. Our community team as well as the development team will be interacting with the game's community to ensure that this happens. We certainly have some initial ideas we're planning early updates towards, but both beta feedback and post-release feedback will play a large part in planning and execution of these ideas and the ideas gathered from the community.