flagship-studios posts

Mythos launches in Europe; US players welcome

Yet another MMO game that once was lost has now been found. Today marks the official public launch of Mythos Europe. The free-to-play fantasy MMO game started life at Flagship Studios but that studio's closure in 2009 caused the game, still in beta, to be shut down. Korea-based Hanbitsoft bought the rights to Mythos and together with partner Frogster helped bring the game back to life.

Apparently, folks in the US can download and play the game from its European servers. That's good news for US Mythos fans as we are still waiting for our own version of the game. The US Mythos web site hasn't been updated since July 2010 and there's no word on when, or even if, a beta test will begin, much less the game's official launch.

Mythos launching in Europe in April; still no word on US release

The long saga of the free-to-play fantasy MMO Mythos continues to be a fairly melodramatic one. Originally developed by Flagship Studios, the game shut down along with Flagship back in 2008 while it was still in beta (most of the creators of the original Mythos went on to form Runic Games where they made the terrific action-RPG Torchlight).

In December 2009, Korean-based Habitsoft announced plans to relaunch Mythos under its Redbana USA developer sometime in 2010. However, the Mythos curse hit once again with the game still not yet launched in the US. The most recent info from Redbana on the game's official message board was back in January 2011 and states, "There have been further technical delays which have pushed the game back even further than we had anticipated." So far there is no word at all on when Mythos' will launch even in beta form.

However these issues have not affected plans to launch Mythos in Europe. Partnering with Frogstar, the European servers have been in closed beta for some time and will launch its open beta on April 12 with the official release coming on April 28. A box copy of the game will also be made available and will allow players to sign onto the game two days earlier.

Bill Roper talks about the death of Flagship Studios and his future plans

Last August Bill Roper, formerly of Blizzard North and then infamously part of the failed Flagship Studios, announced he was leaving his last regular game development gig at Cryptic Studios. In a new interview at Gamasutra, Roper goes into detail about what happened at Flagship where he and the rest of the team launched the online action-RPG Hellgate London and then watched as the game fell victim to launch bugs and poor reviews that caused Flagship to shut down completely less than a year after the game was released.

Roper states in the interview that in his opinion, "The biggest failure with Hellgate is we just tried to do too much." That included having a game with a single player component, a free online component and a subscription-based online component in one game. He also says, "I mean, I think when Hellgate: London came out... we knew it needed another four to six months." However the game's publishers, Namco Bandai and Electronic Arts, were unwilling to give Flagship that extra time, according to Roper.

And what is Roper doing now that he has left Cryptic Studios? He states, "I've been talking with a lot of different companies. I've been doing different game designs and talking with everything from publishers to investors." However he added that's its been hard to get investors to fund his ideas, saying, " .. they were all like, 'Wow, that's a really awesome idea. I would totally play that game. You'll never get funding right now.'"

Hanbitsoft obtains full worldwide rights to Hellgate London franchise

US fans of the original Hellgate London will be able to play a new version of the online action-RPG very soon. Today Habitsoft has announced that it has obtained the publishing rights to the Hellgate franchise from Namco Bandai for both North America and Europe.

The original game was first developed by Flagship Studios and released in 2007 but the game had a number of issues that made it unplayable for many. Flagship shut down in 2008 and Habitsoft then bought the rights to the series. However it was unable to relaunch the game in the US and Europe due to Namco Bandai's previous publishing agreement. Now that barrier is no longer an issue and Habitsoft plans to relaunch the game in our neck of the woods in the near future. A revamped version of the game, titled Hellgate Resurrection, has already launched in Korea.

Hellgate Tokyo? Yep.

We've already reported this week that the now defunct Flagship Studios' casual MMO Mythos is getting a new lease on life. However, the developer's main title, Hellgate London, is also getting its own revamp very soon along with an expansion. Unfortunately, we here in the US won't get a chance to play it.

As we reported over a year ago, the rights to Hellgate London were bought by Korean-based Habisoft, which turned the game into a free-to-play online title. On December 8, it plans to launch an open beta for Hellgate Resurrection, the newly retitled version of the game set in a modern world overrun by extra-dimensional demons. That's not all - according to a trailer posted on GameTrailers.com (which you can see after the jump), the game will be getting an expansion in March 2010 called Hellgate Tokyo. We presume the demons can jump across continents.

US and Europeans still won't be able to play this new version game. Namco Bandai, the company that holds the publishing rights to the game in both territories, shut down the local online servers for Hellgate London earlier this year and have apparently shown no interest in selling those publishing rights to Habisoft.

Mythos coming back to US audiences

The shut down of Flagship Studios over a year also caused their in-development free MMO Mythos to be sold off to Korean publisher Habitsoft. At the time it looked unlikely that the publisher would allow Mythos to be accessed by US players. That changed today with the announcement that the game's new developer, Redbana USA, is prepping the game for a US launch.

The announcement today also comes with the launch of the new US-based Mythos web site which at the moment features a YouTube teaser video with gameplay footage. At the end of the video it shows a "2010" release date (you can check out the video after the jump). At the moment the game is in closed beta in Korea but there's no word on when that will happen for the US release. In the meantime you can check out a brief Q&A on the game's relaunch at our sister site Massively.

As a reminder, Mythos' original development team at Flagship Studios are not in charge of this new version; they have since gotten back together as Runic Games. They have already released the successful single player action-RPG Torchlight with an MMO based on that game now in the works.

Former Blizzard North exec to lead Marvel Universe MMO developer

A few months ago we reported on the official public launch of the stealth Gazillion Entertainment, a multi-studio developer that worked mostly on MMO games. Today the company announced that one of their various studios, Gargantuan, will be lead by David Brevik who previously was the president of Blizzard North.

Blizzard North, as many of you may know, created the first two games in the Diablo action-RPG series.Brevik and several of the team's members later left the company to form the now defunct Flagship Studios. Brevik will now lead Gargantuan's efforts to make the upcoming Marvel Universe MMO, the long awaited massively multiplayer game based on the Marvel super hero universe. He will also be attending this week's San Diego Comic-Con where he will be participating in an MMO panel on Thursday.

Mythos to live again . . . but will US residents get to play it?

The shut down of Flagship Studios caused the development company to close down their plans for a free-to-play MMO title Mythos. However Korean-based developer HanbitSoft announced early on that they acquired the rights to continue the game's development. Today they sent out a press release announcing that they are working to re-launch the game, stating, "MYTHOS is in good condition where it's being reconstructed to become more suitable as online game. We are trying to keep the strengths that the game used to have, and make them even stronger, while eliminating its weaknesses."

At the moment, the official Mythos web site is almost entirely in Korean which makes us wonder if the game itself will be playable for US residents. Meanwhile the original Flagship Studios Mythos team has reformed as Runic Games and announced recently their own original free-to-play MMO Torchlight.

Former Mythos team members reveal new project: Torchlight

In the wake of the shut down of Flagship Studios last year, members of the team's Seattle branch reformed last August to create Runic Games. The team members all worked on Flagship's free-to-play MMO Mythos that went into beta testing but shut down alongside the company before it could officially launch.

Today it was announced that Chin-based publisher Perfect World has signed on to publish Runic Games's first project. Not surprisingly it's an MMO game with the title Torchlight. The game itself is described as being an "Action-MMORPG" with characters that are " in search of the magic ore that imbues their equipment with power, yet imperils their very existence." No release date for the game was announced.

Hellgate London: Still dead in US and Europe

If you live in Asia, you will soon be able to access the latest online update for Hellgate London. The multiplayer action-RPG, first created by the now shut down Flagship Studios, has some new life thanks to Korean based HanbitSoft and the game's new developer, the San Fransisco based Redbana USA.

A new 1.5 patch for the game will be released in the near future which is supposed to improve the games Player Vs Player features. But in a new press release issued this morning, HanbitSoft repeated what has been reported before; US and European players can't sign onto their servers to play the game. The press release states, "We cannot open up the server in Korea to allow access by US and European players as this will constitute infringing upon Namco Bandai's publishing rights in the US and Europe." Namco Bandai shut down those servers earlier this year and so far the publisher doesn't seem interested in giving up their territorial rights to HanbitSoft.

[via email press release]

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