Hellgate: London Updated Impressions - Early Levels and Last-Minute Updates

We get an updated look at this first-person hack-and-slash game and come away with a few new details.

It was probably hard to predict the tremendous success of 1996's Diablo, the hack-and-slash action RPG that led to the 2000 sequel Diablo II. Both games would be responsible for countless wrecked computer mice as players clicked endlessly to lead their fantasy warriors and wizards to victory by hacking away at hordes of monsters in a dark, demon-infested world. What was perhaps even more surprising was that Diablo II was a very hard act to follow. Few other games dared to follow in the incredibly addictive sequel's footsteps, and arguably, none of them was up to the task. Now, the creators of the original Diablo series have returned as a separate developer, Flagship Studios, and Hellgate: London has finally been dated and set for release next month. We had a chance to catch up with the always-upbeat studio head Bill Roper at a recent press event and take a look at a near-final DirectX 9 version of the game's earlier levels.

The game itself looks much more complete than it has on previous occasions. It takes place in a postapocalyptic version of London in the wake of a demonic invasion, and the environments look more complete and more lived-in. The game's character and weapon models have also benefited from several additional layers of polish and detail, as has the game's interface, which looks much more streamlined and perhaps less overwhelming. A full tutorial has now been added to the content-complete game that will walk beginners through the basics, but make no mistake--Hellgate: London will have a lot of stuff to play with. For starters, the game will have lots of different customizable weapons with modular components that you can swap in and out to power them up, as well as one-handed and two-handed weapons your character can dual-wield. You'll also pick up several different types of armor your character can wear. Furthermore, in order to avoid making your character look like a multicolored clown who wears an orange helmet, a brown chestpiece, and purple boots, the game will have an "eyedropper" tool you can use to make every piece of your character's attire have the same color scheme.

Hellgate: London will also have lots of different character skills you can unlock and develop as your character gains experience levels, and even lots of randomly generated, "instanced" environments (that is, environments will be treated as separate areas that exist only for you and any other players who have joined you in an adventuring party). The game will even have "rare" sublevels that may randomly be generated in various areas, such as a sewer level hidden under a surreptitious manhole cover that may or may not spawn in the next area you explore.

At the event, Roper also confirmed details for the game's much-discussed paid subscription service, which will eventually offer new content to players in the form of new items, new quests, and even new playable character classes. However, the game will be fully playable in single-player, as well as online, without any need for players to sign up. The Flagship chief also confirmed that players who purchase the game but do not subscribe to its monthly service will be able to play online with paying subscribers with no restrictions, as well as form adventuring parties online. Roper said that the studio "remains committed to giving people a great experience right out of the box." From what we've seen, with the huge depth that Hellgate: London's weapon, character, and random level systems will offer, players should get plenty of bang for their buck. The game is scheduled to launch this Halloween.

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Discussion

98 comments
oksvart
oksvart

5 days to go... Wtb time machine Also, I wonder if it is possible to pick up pre-paid, erm, subscription? As that feature has become more and more populart as of lately (but then again, I haven't tried any pay-for-service games before '04)

eunuchwarlock
eunuchwarlock

I have waited a long time for this game to be released. I ordered it in 2005 and all I can say is it looks awesome. Is it October 31 yet?

dead_god86
dead_god86

Yeap this game looks truely awsome, Hunter:Marksman FTW, c'mon blowing S#!T up. as for the extra content you can pay for...meh, i might pay see how i go normally i guess... ...ahhhhh i need a new game WoW is boring the hell out of me after 1.5 yrs

BloodReaperZ
BloodReaperZ

waterwizard it set in the future, the way technoligy is advancing. I think that high tech look fits well. Seing holy knights in power armour smack around demons is a great idea. Worked in Dawn of War: Warhammer 40K with Grey Knights and Chaos Marines with demons.

waterwizard2005
waterwizard2005

I looked at the screenshots. I don't like the scifi imagery. It doesn't belong with the diablo imagery, and its making the game look like a knockoff of Tabula Rasa which can't be a good thing. I tried out Tabula Rasa and it was awful. I think that a classic historical london theme would have meshed better with the diablo imagery than the scifi theme which is looking very artificial.

graavigala
graavigala

getting the extra content is samekind of thing like in all MMOs, you grind for hours for one place and hope for it to drop :D

gaz-420
gaz-420

Been waiting for this one for a long long time!!! I want it, I want it, I want it!!!!!

drone001
drone001

The lifetime subscription only costs $ 150 and is available until 30 nov

ethanas
ethanas

I will probably purchase the core game, then wait a month or two to see what comments that people (who has the spare cash to pay monthly) have about any expansions and stuffs. I seriously don't mind paying if the extra contents are good and well worth the money. But I'd rather pay for a true MMO than a single player online game's extra contents. But thats just me, an average working man.

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

Wow some people just don't get it ..If you don't want to pay the $10.00 a month..here it goes...DON'T PAY IT! I would pay a regular mmo subscription fee if they required me too ..this game looks that good! . It looks way better then wow does and its cheaper to boot =) If $10.00's a month is a lot money for you , you have zero business playing video games..ZERO!

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

This looks awesome...I can't wait. $10 a month is well worth it =)

pepsantos1
pepsantos1

the bonus items you get with the paid subscription have no advantages over the normal items.. They will just look cooler. And all the new content that paid subscribers will be getting, everyone else can get when the expansion comes out. If you dont want to wait for an expansion, go for the paid subscription. oh yeah, and paid subscribers get to create clans. There will be no problem with balance between paid and regular players

FISHERBAN
FISHERBAN

yep plain and simple its free until you want the really cool stuff good I like this plan

spankmealotus
spankmealotus

Seriously people, it's not hard to understand. When you buy the game you can play single player AND multiplayer online for FREE just like you could in Diablo. If you should decide to pay the OPTIONAL subscription fee you get BONUS material. Am I really the only one that understands this? I thought it was perfectly clear the first time they explained it.

MaxPower15
MaxPower15

Diablo 2 gets updated based on the money generated by advertisements. Sure, only a couple of people are working on them...but the advertising is an option. Hellgate won't take off as fast they think it will.

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

Tisk tisk this or Tabula Rasa i cant decide

erikgorm
erikgorm

Bill Roper: ... So if you stop or cancel for whatever reason, you have access to those three [free character slots], but not the rest [addtional character slots]. Those other characters won't get deleted, you'll never lose them, you just can't use them. Cu hellgate, welcome Conan! (better just give money to a game where players aint "prioritated", and has alot more to offer.)

erikgorm
erikgorm

subscribtion my ass, they better just spit alot of xp-packs out than having ppl paying a monthly fee...

Ychi
Ychi

Roper is desperately trying to blur the lines and get people to buy his game then sucker them into paying a subscription shortly afterwards. Dead are the days of Diablo. He wants so badly to be pulling in the subscription 9 million subscribers x monthly is all he can think about. The thing is: what was so unprofitable about Diablo I & II ?? Nothing its just pure greed on Ropers part....

mars1212
mars1212

so single player and multiplayer is to be payed online to play with friends and updates? did i misunderstand?

necro311
necro311

gunnyhath u are wrong roper stated that the people that pay wont actualy be better but u will get items that might look cooler or might ave diffrent effects there prolly be a few better items if u pay but he says that it wouldnt make a big diffrence that if u dont pay u will get ur a$$ kicked so its up to the player pay and get cooler items or dont pay and do w/e

iseeundead
iseeundead

hook HG:L to an IV ans stick it in my vein

imrlybord7
imrlybord7

You can pay and get extra benefits, or play for free (like in runescape sort of)

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

You pay for the extras but you don't have to, is more apt. The thing is all the paid guys will have better items.

MKOwnzU
MKOwnzU

So wait I don't get it....you have to pay to play, but you don't have to actually pay?

valcrist09
valcrist09

please please bring me back to the amazing diablo times... Dont let me down Flagship studios!! blizzard already did when they went to stupid WOW

theirishfly
theirishfly

I really hope this game is all that they said it will be and yes first bioshock, then crysis and soon hellgate london but I will also add that stalker was trully a great game

FISHERBAN
FISHERBAN

looks awesome! truly cant wait for it just hopeing to upgrade computer by then

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

What does this have to do with bill gates?

swordking148
swordking148

First bioshock(Which is so far the best pc game yet) Now this i want to kiss bill gates

SirWeymont
SirWeymont

drooooooools............................. wonderful year for PC gamers! can't think of a better one!

grafkhun
grafkhun

sweet, looks awesome, i hope my PC can run it, it is a piece of crap :( but this doesn't look like Crysis (if i brought that in the same room as my PC, it would just explode) so i think i may have a chance :)

Mohamed_h
Mohamed_h

Great game ... at least that's what I hope !

Smiley451
Smiley451

In response to burnupblade; no it won't kill your graphics card. Hellgate will be playable on almost any rig. The whole point of this game is to give a great game to everyone weather they have low end hardware, can't pay monthly fees, would rather play single player, and down to what kind of character they would play.

burnupblade
burnupblade

Thats service...i would love to play online...hopefully it doesnt kill my graphics card >.>...Hunter FTW

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Hey, it's been a long wait ... can't wait anymore ... must have my helllllllgate!

kn0w1
kn0w1

They really need to clarify how this really works with people that don't subscribe and what happens when you stop subscribe (forever or for a while). Right now this whole subscription thing just sounds like a huge cluster. "The Flagship chief also confirmed that players who purchase the game but do not subscribe to its monthly service will be able to play online with paying subscribers with no restrictions, as well as form adventuring parties online." So if i didn't pay, but i join w/ someone that did i get to go into that level too? But i don't get the elite items? but how would that be fair? I'm guessing the monsters then are balanced against the party's armor/skills/etc. like Diablo? If I stop paying then i no longer have access to my elite items.. so I assume I can still move them around in my inventory/bank, but still taking up space.. can i still sell/destroy them to make room? Stop paying and lose access to the extra character slots, but you get to keep playing the top/regular 3 slots, so do i get to pick which 3? Most games I've seen don't let you sort the character list ... Is the elite content playable offline? after I stop paying? Can I still use elite items offline?

xxXxxMCRxxXxx
xxXxxMCRxxXxx

i think i saw a preview of this in G4 and it ROCKS!!

Sim_1945
Sim_1945

It's Almost the same Pay system as Dungeon Runners , Where by you can play the game without any subscription but its soo adictive that it will make you go and sign up and pay for it. I think this is what Hellgate is Trying to achive. Only Drawback with that is that Right off the Word go you are already sort of handicaped as in the way thata really cool Weapon will drop and it will say "Members item". now thats just frustrating... but some how you will soldier on or Subscribe and pay :P I personaly think that Runescapes pay system was ingenious it was made so that you could play right up to lvl 50 or more (Somthing like that) then there was a members area of which you can explore, new weapons , armour , content and go even further without really affecting "noobs" so to speak with getting items that is not useable.

arnaob
arnaob

It will be coool. I can't wait for playing this.

Osirisman91589
Osirisman91589

I have no issue with them charging people for extended content. I understand that to keep the game fresh, you'd have to keep developers paid in turn producing and developing more content. However, if they're going to do that, then they should have a particular option for those who start Online Games for Hellgate. The option being to exclude extended content from being used in their particular game. If I'm going to play online play for free, then I do not wish to have some fool who has the money to spend each month for better, newer, perhaps even better looking equipment flaunting his gear in my face. I've got no qualms against the idea and I understand where they're coming from, but I'd love to have to the choice to exclude a player's participation. I'm not sure, perhaps only I think this is a good idea.

lovemuscle13
lovemuscle13

Monthly fees don't exactly partain to server operation and upkeep, especially on a game like this, where one can play offline if they so choosed. This isn't world of warcraft, where online play is mandatory. Flagship has established exactly what you're getting with fees: A better gaming experience. Sure, they could of included all of those features that are made available by monthly fees as a staple instead of a premium, but these companies know that the hardcore will pay to play, so boycott if you want, but you'll have people, like me, who will play ball. I'll hate myself later. Right now, I'm waiting to get screwed over on monthly fees and giggle like a girl while I dance on a horde of dead demons. I knew the score when this stupid thing was announced.....and I still want to play it like no other.

Chris23
Chris23

Is it just me or does the character look like they are just swingingly randomly during all the sword play? it doesn't look like they are attacking anything.. just swiping air and some how killing stuff..

Andre23
Andre23

I hope nobody subscribe to make em deliver new content for free. To subscribe at this point and allowing it to be a success to Flagship Studios will make other developers to do the same thing for profit and make the gamers bow to their will. To say that it is necessary to pay to keep servers going on is really stupid because we dont pay to play diablo 2 and still we can have a great multiplayer experience.

Andre23
Andre23

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dzimm
dzimm

I think the game will be worth it even without paying the monthly fee. If anything, those of us who plan not to subscribe will be getting the better deal in the long run since our content won't eventually become inaccessible. That said, I really hope Flagship plans on releasing retail content packs so that those of us who don't want to pay a monthly fee can still get our hands on the extra content.