Massively: How would you describe the state of the current beta and what's the next step?
Chris Collins / EJ Moreland: We're in a very important stage of closed beta right now. All Points Bulletin is something technically new and original, so it's important for the development team to make sure we're getting the feedback they need. That's why we're being extremely selective over who we're choosing and making sure they're staying a part of the community.
We're currently finalizing our planned-to-ship feature-set and preparing to start the polish and iteration phase based on existing and upcoming beta feedback. But, looking forward into the later stages, we'll be adding more people to this pool and eventually opening it up to a much larger audience closer to release. For now, we have specific goals we're looking to hit and we're making sure we attempt to reach them the best way we can.
What's been the most challenging design element of APB to nail down properly?
EJ Moreland: Stickiness past the initial experience with an action-focused game. As with any persistent or achievement-based game, it is important to provide aspirational goals for the player – new "shinies" to progress towards. These have to be valuable and give the player a sense of consistent improvement but be balanced against the fact that functional rewards can significantly impact action game balance.
Given all the media and coverage seen so far on APB what do you think people will be the most impressed with when they finally get their hands on it?
Chris Collins: It's hard to say really. APB is a set of tools, combined with an open world game. We give players the building blocks to have fun and everyone enjoys something slightly different. Some people will simply love the fact they can get their hands on customisation tools that let them show off their creative skills, be it visually through our character and vehicle tools or aurally through our music and theme creator.
Others may simply love the fact that they can show off their gaming skills in the fast paced action game that makes up the core of APB. Others may simply be impressed with the level of detail the developers have applied to San Paro itself. From the strategic design of the districts, to the organisations that players work with, there's really a lot of depth to the world that has been created. The more you drill down, the more you'll find!