Cryptic lassoes Roper, Hellgate relaunching?

Former Flagship CEO resurfaces as design director of the forthcoming PC/360 superhero MMORPG Champions Online; Korean publisher HanbitSoft reportedly working on new expansion.

It's been a roller coaster year for former Flagship Studios CEO Bill Roper. After overseeing the October 31, 2007, launch of Hellgate: London, he looked on as it struggled to carve out a niche in the market. However, despite decent reviews, the title never gained traction. The game's dwindling support forced Flagship to lay off most of its employees in July, and copublisher (with EA) Namco Bandai announced last month it would shut the game's servers down on January 31.

In August, some of the Flagship castaways announced they were forming a new independent studio, Runic Games. Today, Roper revealed he has landed a new gig of his own at Cryptic Studios, developer of City of Heroes and the forthcoming Star Trek Online. The San Francisco Bay Area-based shop hired the veteran developer to be design director of Champions Online, its forthcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the classic pen-and-paper title.

"Cryptic has experienced huge growth over the past year and has exciting opportunities ahead of it," said Roper in a statement. "The company knows how to choose compelling IPs that have rich histories such as Champions and Star Trek. I'm looking forward to working with the team."

Roper gained notoriety working on Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft while working at the pre-World of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment. First hired as part of the now-Activision-merged developer-publisher's audio department, Roper rose quickly through its ranks, eventually becoming vice president of Blizzard North and a director of Blizzard itself. In 2003, he left Blizzard to found Flagship studios and work on Hellgate and the still-unreleased Mythos.

Speaking of Hellgate, this week also brings news the game may live on after Namco pulls the plug on its servers in January. In two separate posts, Korean publisher and developer HanbitSoft claims it now owns the Hellgate IP and is working on a new expansion for the game. The posts say work on the expansion is being done at a "newly established studio in the US." A July Gamasutra report pegged the studio as a San Franciscan subsidiary of Asian publisher T3 Entertainment, which was also continuing development of Mythos.

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Discussion

50 comments
Frosty192
Frosty192

msilver67 well if you think about it, for the time it was out till the time that it ended, you would have paid that much anyways so i guess you "kinda" got your moneys worth

greighopkins
greighopkins

ah please, oh please, oh please, bring back Hellgate This game is beyond awesome with a rich ambience and lore that we haven't seen since WoW or Oblivion. all we see these days are games rolled-out for the sake of a new game-mechanic or movie release. Hellgate is unique and deserves another shot in the west.

msilver67
msilver67

Well if Bill Roper's name has anything to do with future gaming, everyone should expect something wonderful to come about..oops that is right he ripped me and 249,999 other Hellgate Clients out of our $149.00 lifetime subscriptions..wow I almost awoke the eternal damned from the ripped off souls of HellGate Online..wheffff

leoleez
leoleez

:( focus on hanbit should focus on mythos (i hate to leav it in their hands) and cryptic should focus on champions, which seems like a funner alternative to the boost in scifi MMOs

necronaux
necronaux

As long as it doesn't effect other titles they're working on, it's their money.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

For the love of all things good on planet Earth, focus on Star Trek. Champions is just a poor mans City of Heroes.

_DeadlyFred_
_DeadlyFred_

Ok so, if you don't like or even play Hellgate... why do you even care? Some people enjoy the game and for them this is great news--go be a killjoy somewhere else.

Harwood
Harwood

I have been enjoying Hellgate for the past few months. I have no real crash problems, but I don't play online. I enjoy just jumping on the box and wasting targets in what is, at least on my hardware, a fantastic visual. The loss of the servers is not a big deal to me. The possibility of an expansion and the implicit support for the title is comforting. I wonder what they want for the servers though?

Pete5506
Pete5506

The game is gone, let it be

liljimy
liljimy

Okay, i never really judge a game by who made it but it's always been "bill roper and diablo..." so i figured if him and his team made the coolest multiplayer RPG game then i shouldn't have to worry about it then, right? Soon enough it turned into: "bill roper hopes this..." "bill roper fails that..." this guy tried to get a good hype going by saying he was apart of the development of the diablo series. He was basically degrading the diablo name by comparing it to a boring wayyyyy below average hackn' slash game. He worked at blizzard for how long? He should know that blizzard almost always delays every game they make by months to be sure that the release is ideal. So why go ahead and release based on a given deadline when there are still months of work that is still needed to be done? obviously he didn't learn much. I was 9/10 ready to pay the founder's subscription because i couldnt wait to get all that cool stuff but within a week of playing it-- well you've played the game, right? well then i dont have to say another word. :-D

omnifas
omnifas

Hanbitsoft is gonna be wasting development dollars on Mythos. Mythos was getting better every month because of the Developer Community relationship which I highly doubt Hanbit can even come close to matching.

jpmose9
jpmose9

i just remember that I installed this game i'm uninstalling now hoping that the expansion never come out

bojan_sokol
bojan_sokol

Hellgate only has great intro movie thats all

tudyniuz
tudyniuz

Champions online doesn't sound very good or interesting but I'm waiting on more information:D

buzzguy
buzzguy

Champions Online could be really, really good. Especially if it plays as well on consoles as on PC's. Can't wait!

n64nut
n64nut

Leria, I played the demo too and it ran just fine. The retail version, however, was a complete nightmare with frequent crashes and glitches that made it near unplayable. Even at 30 bucks, I still feel really screwed out of my money. Should have gotten Crysis, even though my PC would probably hate me forever.

Leria
Leria

Uh, Sins...... I played the demo for Hellgate, and I didn't see any bugs, crashes, glitches, etc. None at all.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Seems a lot of people on here got flagshipped including myself. The game was never going to be a hit with so many broken things. The inventory was from 1998, the weapons rating was just horrible, a few tile sets, point A to B maps, and all the bugs disconnects crashes gliches. And whats worse is if they tried to make a patch, it would break something else.

HufflePuff-TLH
HufflePuff-TLH

ffs hellgate expo...? how lame, shut it down and keep it down. Make a new game, that works..

SentientGames
SentientGames

The biggest problem I had was that the setting was so cool, but the characters in the game were all a joke. Kind of like American politics.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

As for Hellgate being bought by HanbitSoft, I'm not sure what to think of that. It's a Korean company. From what I read, their US development team is working on the Hellgate expansion, but hopefully they keep American gamers in mind. Because if MMO's are any indication, Korean games really aren't that great, at least to American gamers. I'd play WoW, or any other MMO before I even thought of wasting my time with the shovelware free to play MMO's that flood the internet.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

Hellgate failed for two reasons. The first being the mediocre game play. It had some awesome ideas and concepts, it was just executed terribly. What probably killed it though was the subscription model. Even though you could still play the game for free online without the subscription content, a game like Hellgate really has no place for a subscription fee model. Seriously. Hellgate was not an MMO. Not by a long shot. There was no basis for a subscription model other than to milk people of their money. And now, those who paid for a subscription are having all their work flushed down the toilet because they are going belly up. The extreme disappointment of the outcome of the game combined with people being completely turned off by Flagship's decision to charge for premium content was a recipe for disaster.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

HGL failed, FSS collapses, yet they want to make an expansion for it? Surely just about everyone has given up with this game by now. I've had it from launch, played through the first few bug ridden months, then gave up as it just stopped being fun.

GabrielN
GabrielN

Cryptic are a competent studio. I'm sure they can find a good use for Roper that doesn't involve ruining an almost finished game.

endocrine
endocrine

Your studio fails so what do you do? Create a new one....Maybe its time to look for a new direction instead of trying to capitalize on something he was good at 10 years ago.

Trenchman
Trenchman

The fact that Hellgate may be able to get improvements and make it great makes me quite happy. Although the game didn't live up to most people's standard, mine included, because it was constantly compared to Diablo, which I believe is one of the main reasons that it failed, I believe it has a lot of potential and with some additions and tweaking it could be an even greater game.

Nec0Machina
Nec0Machina

I was really looking forward to Champions Online, but alas I will not be buying it now. I will not buy another product that Roper is even remotely tied to.

lev_six
lev_six

Thanks for informing us that we need to avoid Champions Online like the plague. Roper will never get another dollar from me again.

Oafmwl
Oafmwl

I tryed hellgate and played with a friend. I thought it was a good game but after you beat it there was no point in playing it again. I say let the game die. It was fun for a little bit but end up short.

A1B2C3CAL
A1B2C3CAL

Anything that Bill Roper touches will never get my money again...bad move cryptic.

ace1580
ace1580

To Adam_the_Nerd: i once heard someone remark about how Bill Roper was the creative genius behind the starcraft, diablo, and warcraft games, which i am inclined to believe. But when he moved over to his own studio, he took mostly the blizzard employees who were also the creative group, and left those actually responsible for putting his ideas into action with Blizzard. This makes a lot of sense when you think of all the promises left unkept with Hellgate, and it's also the reason why I'm not absolutely terrified by his involvement in Champions. I've been looking forward to it for some time (As I'm an avid City of Heroes fan) and a lot of development has already gone into it, which would suggest that a team is already on it, as such, hopefully Roper will resume the roll he served at Blizzard, creative input without having to figure out implementation. Faced with this information however, I'm still just left hoping for the best.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

Let Hellgate die. And I say that having paid $65 for the CE.

elozl
elozl

what? more recycled stages? or will there be a good change this time? i hope so!

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

HanBit Soft got the IP for Hellgate? Wow.. That is What the hell.

playtoy
playtoy

kinda hope they both get back into developement. Mythos and Hellgate!

shaedar
shaedar

For all its faults (particularly bad at launch, I'll admit), Hellgate has kept me playing for a solid year, which I basically never do with any game. it was a bit of an odd duck - trying to blend A-RPG, MMO and shooter mechanics, making it the figurative platypus of video games - lots of bits you recognize that don't fit naturally. some people go for that kind of thing. Personally, I've never given up on it, and the possibility that it could live on makes me happy

PEELEDbanana
PEELEDbanana

Man, i hope Mythos goes back into development. I was looking forward to it.

nemesi609
nemesi609

@Adam_The_Nerd he is also the guy behind starcraft, warcraft(not world of) and diablo, so anyone could have a bad game. and will the champions game have a subscription fee, and will it be more likd guild of wars, in the way of having main hubs where players can meet up, but go out into the game with only your party? i just dont want a game where i will have to fight over mobs and treasures and stuff.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

hmm, good for Hanbitsoft. They recently stopped sponsoring their professional Starcraft team (it's now called Woongjin Stars instead of Hanbit Stars) so I thought they were doing bad financially (maybe they still are, I don't know)

Miicrox
Miicrox

champions better be good if its the first MMO to be realeased on a console besides FFXI it better be good

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

aww crap, the guy behind Hellgate is gonna be working on Champions? mannnn

NemesisLives
NemesisLives

They will have to do a lot of work on the game for me to get back into it.

Riddick123
Riddick123

"However, despite decent reviews, the title never gained traction." Because it's boring and repetative.

gzader
gzader

I liked hellgate but thought it could and should have gone father. The random levels were fine but needed more design variety. To some degree, london does look the same as you go but there still should have been more run-down-flair to give X street a more unique look compared to Y street. Still, I'd like to see it continue, even if only to sell my game used to someone else. :)

Whirlbat
Whirlbat

I'm just glad it's not going to die after all. :)

eric_neo3
eric_neo3

They wanted us to buy the game and pay for online and full content use. the game didn't take off because of the bugs and the FACT THAT THERE WAS NO LAN FUNCTION! And now they screwed over all the people who bought "Life time memberships"

Subacetylene
Subacetylene

Well the launch for Hellgate London was horrible. Some of those bugs were terrible causing major problems such as system crashes. Who wants to play a game with that many glitches? They should have taken more time to resolve the issues before rushing to release it. The game could have done much better otherwise in my opinion.