hellgate-london posts

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.'"

Namco Bandai Games to lay off nearly 10 percent of work force

The earnings season is in full swing and the next game company to get hit with bad financial news is Namco Bandai Games. The publisher, which recent sold off its North American publishing rights to Hellgate London, has predicted it will post a loss of 31 billion yen (about $342 million) by the end of its fiscal year in March, according to a report on Kotaku.

The company has already lost about $195 million for its first nine months of its fiscal year compared to a $99.4 million profit for the same period a year ago.. In order to cut cost Namco Bandai plans to lay off 630 team members or just shy of 10 percent of its total work force, by the end of March.

Feature: The Top 10 PC Game News Stories For January 2010

It's a new year and the first month of January 2010 was a busy one for PC gaming news. Part of the reason was the annual Consumer Electronics Show where there were a few interesting announcements that concerned PC gaming. However there were also plenty of other news items in the past 31 days that will affect us in the coming year.

In fact our normal top 10 list was so full of things we could report that we managed to stick in a couple of extra items as honorable mentions. If this list is any indication 2010 will be a very busy year for news in our industry.

Click on the image above to continue reading The Top 10 PC Game News Stories For January 2010

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.

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]

Hellgate London now shut down; still awaiting revivial

As promised a few months ago, Namco Bandai has officially shut down the multiplayer servers for Hellgate London. The action-RPG from the now disbanded Flagship Studios. The game's official web site is also shut down. Fan site Hellforge reports on the game's final online moments this past weekend as players gathered to play the title for the final time.

Again, Namco Bandai has insisted it has the US and European rights to the game and that there will be no revival in those territories. However, Korean-based HanbitSoft has insisted it owns the Hellgate London IP and plans to relaunch the game globally as a free-to-play title. We will see if that happens and if so if players in the US and Europe will be allowed access.

[Via Blue's News]

HanbitSoft claims it will continue Hellgate London as free-to-play game

The specter of Hellgate London continues to haunt us. The multiplayer-oriented action-RPG launched in October 2007 via Flagship Studios but the game was released it such a buggy state that few people wanted to buy it. In the summer of 2008 Flagship shut down its operations and the game's publisher Namco Bandai announced that the online servers would be shut down on after Jan. 31 (that's this Saturday, by the way).

But now Gamasutra reports that Korean based HanbitSoft will launch global servers to keep the game alive as a free-to-play game. Previously reports were that a new US based developer, Redbana USA, was working on new content for Hellgate London for HanbitSoft's Korean audience but that apparently has been expanded to include the entire world. HanbitSoft claims it bought the worldwide Hellgate London rights along with its source code and engine from the failed Flagship Studios. However, Namco Bandai has stated in the past it owns the Hellgate London publishing rights for North America and Europe. It remains to be seen if Namco Bandai will fight HanbitSoft if HanbitSoft allows US users to sign into their Hellgate London servers.

Feature: 10 games that didn't rise above the hype

The folks who write about games for a living can be very guilty at times for hyping a game before its release. Sometimes theymake it sound like it's a done deal that it will be the greatest game ever made when it come out.. Heck, some folks even give out awards at E3 for games that are not even completed or just shown in trailer form. So you have to expect that on occasion a game comes out that, for whatever reason, doesn't quite live up to all of its promise, previews and PR.

In the past decade there have been many such PC games like we have described. These are titles that are not bad per se (that would be Daikatana) but just didn't have what it took to live up to the expecations that gamers and especially game journalists had for it. Big Download decided to pick 10 such games from the past 10 years that, for one reason or another, had high hopes but just couldn't cut it.

Click on the image above to continue reading 10 games that didn't rise above the hype

Two former Flagship Studios members form Gravity Bear

The shutdown of Hellgate London developer Flagship Studios earlier this summer continues to be felt in the game industry with its former team members either joining established teams or forming their own studios. It's the latter case today as Shacknews reports that two former Flagship execs have joined to form the dev studio called Gravity Bear.

The CEO of Gravity Bear is Phl Shenk who was a lead artist at Blizzard on Diablo II before moving to Flagship Studios to serve as art director on Hellgate London. Another former Flagship member, Kevin Klemmick, has also joined Gravity Bear as its technical director. There's no word yet on what projects the company will be making and Gravity Bear doesn't even have a web site yet.

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