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Final Realtime Worlds employees let go, US branch also shutting down

Though reports last week seemed to indicate that a buyer would swoop in at the last second and save the faltering APB developer Realtime Worlds, the studio has revealed that its remaining 50 employees have been terminated. Sixteen temporary positions are still active to finish shutting down the Dundee studio. The company's US branch, based out of Boulder, Colo., is facing a similar fate, letting go of 33 of its staff, leaving behind a skeleton crew to bring the branch to a close. A Realtime spokesperson told Develop that the studio is "now likely to apply for Chapter 7 Protection."

Begbies Traynor, the firm responsible for the company's administration, is also under fire from a handful of sources both internal and otherwise. Develop reports that a number of ex-Realtime employees claim they've been denied their redundancy pay -- a claim which a Begbies Traynor spokesperson responded to by saying, "redundancy payment will be made in accordance with current UK legislation."

Begbies Traynor has also responded to the game's player base, some of whom aren't crazy about the fact that the MMO they invested money in has been shut down so abruptly. "Customers should revert to the entity from which they bought the game in respect of their entitlement to any refund," a Begbies Traynor spokesperson said earlier this week.

As has been most always the case in the Realtime Worlds saga, there remains a (fairly dim) glimmer of hope for the APB brand. BBC News reports that a source close to the game suggested that Epic Games is interested in purchasing the intellectual property rights. A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on these reports, but did say that "Mark [Rein, Epic Games CEO] absolutely loves APB, and everyone here loved what they saw," and added, "if any talks like that are going on, then they would be confidential." We've contacted Mark Rein for further comment on these rumors.

For an insider's perspective on the fairly hasty fall of one of Scotland's most promising development studios, we suggest checking out the blog of former Realtime Worlds programmer Luke Halliwell. His posts highlight the reasons behind the studio's string of bad luck -- it's a fairly interesting, comprehensive read, provided you're not already super bummed out by the whole situation.

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