Hellgate: London Updated Q&A - Story and Characters

Flagship CEO Bill Roper tells us about the setting and story of this upcoming action role-playing game.

At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much story in Hellgate: London. In the game, you run around a deserted London and battle endless waves of demons, using spells, firearms, or high-tech melee weapons. This is, after all, a game from some of the key developers responsible for Diablo, the most famous of the hack-and-slash action role-playing games. However, there will apparently be a purpose to all the carnage that you'll inflict in the game. To learn more, we turned to Flagship Studios CEO Bill Roper. Hellgate: London will launch later this year.

GameSpot: What's the story behind Hellgate: London? Demons invade London and you kill them, but what caused the demons to appear, who is your character, and where does the story ultimately lead?

Bill Roper: Well, without giving everything away... In its desire to eventually decimate every world, demonkind is drawn to London because it is a center of power. This is the reason they establish a Hellgate there and use it as a center of operations. You play a survivor of the invasion, one of the last representatives of humanity. Your goal is to find some way to stem the tide of the demonic alteration of the earth.

There are plenty of characters to interact with in Hellgate: London.

GS: We noticed that there are Hellgate novels available in bookstores. Are they a novelization of the game's story, do they serve as a prequel to the game, or are they something else entirely? How much can you glean of the game's story by reading them?

BR: The novel trilogy serves as a prequel to the events of the game, providing readers with some of the bridge between when the world was more as we know it today to becoming overrun with the forces of hell. The novels introduce the main character factions of the templar, cabalists, and hunters. We also get a closer view into the motivations of the demons themselves, as well as seeing some of the different skills, spells, and weapons of the game in action. Our goal was to create a series of books that would be entertaining in their own right and would not require a previous knowledge of the game or world to enjoy.

GS: How prominent is the story in Hellgate? Is it mainly a pretense to kill lots of demons, or is it deeper and richer than that? Was the story something that was developed first and used to guide the rest of the game's development, or was it something that was molded to fit the gameplay?

BR: The story is definitely a key component in the game, and it was an interactive part of the development process. This means that some of the main components were mapped out in the early stages of development, others were created during the time the game was being created, and others were results of interaction between Ivan Sulic (our story writer for the game) and the quest designers and programmers. The story is easily the most interesting of any we've told in the Diablo series, and we think that players are going to be really surprised at what they get to do in terms of progressing through that story.

GS: What kind of ways do you convey the story to the player? Will everything be told to you through character dialogue, or are there expansive cutscenes that will transmit significant plot details?

BR: We use a combination of prerendered cutscenes, in-game sequences, character dialogue, and quest design to get the story across to the player.

GS: Let's get to the single-player campaign. There seem to be numerous human factions in the game, like the survivors you meet at various London Underground stations. Who are some of the major characters in the game?

BR: We have a variety of characters in the game that the player will interact with across the three main factions. There is Lucious, the insane cabalist, and his darkly comical assistant, Techsmith 314. The templar have everything from their bravest champion, Aeron, to the fanatic zealot, Brandon Lann. There are also several hunters of renown, such as the brash Rorke, head of the hunter operations in the Underground. Then there are others not directly associated with these factions, such as the ever-helpful Murmur, medics and healers like Doctor Salus, and those, such as the merchant Bodger, who find opportunity even in the midst of the darkest situations.

GS: You maintain a reputation with each faction depending on your actions. It's fairly easy to generate goodwill, mainly be pursuing quests for that faction, but will you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between factions? Is there any advantage to not making friends with a certain faction?

BR: While you can go on missions for different factions in the game to increase your reputation with them, it isn't always easy. Also, you can definitely do things to lower their trust in you, as well as sometimes having multiple options in terms of which faction you gain a reward from when questing. Gaining a level of trust with the differing factions has its benefits, but you will need to make choices as to whom you work with in order to gain the benefits that best suit your character and your style of play.

The marksman is a weapons-heavy class, so if you like guns and even bigger guns, go with it.

GS: Generally, how long are you finding the single-player campaign to last? How many difficulty levels are there, and how do they differ? How much replayability is being built into the game?

BR: We haven't timed out the storyline as of yet, but we expect a single run-through to last 30 to 40 hours. As for replayability, that's what our whole game design is about! With all of the dynamically generated content and randomization, you can play through the storyline with a different class and have a vastly different experience. We will also have a higher difficulty level for experienced players that will greatly extend their playtime.

GS: Finally, is there anything else that you'd like to add about Hellgate's single-player campaign or story?

BR: We have spent a huge amount of time and effort in crafting a compelling, challenging, and exciting storyline for players to experience. We all believe that gamers are going to be pleasantly surprised as to what we're able to accomplish with an action RPG in this regard, and especially how inventive some of the associated quests are. It's a blast to play through in test right now, and with more polish time ahead, it's just going to get better.

GS: Thanks, Bill.

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Discussion

125 comments
Diggfinger
Diggfinger

This game looks slapping! Great!! Definately on my wish list at the moment..(but do I really need it?)

Ninjafanatic
Ninjafanatic

Its a futuristic version of Diablo! I need to upgrade my comp! Argh~~

mario_bros64
mario_bros64

looks awesome i hope it has good gameplay

PicoFry
PicoFry

Ohhhh, this game is great. Damn NDA

gp3tron
gp3tron

absolutely awesome story and setting. just having looked at the trailers, I dream about having this game, I already wanna see a movie about this! LOL...

klinsi
klinsi

Hm... I hope this game will : 1. Have good gameplay min as like Diablo series 2. Have good creepy, awesome, magnificent enemies like Diablo series in that era 3. Have good & dramatic plus cool story like Diablo series 4. Have cheat codes to ease the pain for being frustrated by 3 points above 5. Have superb multiplayer modes 6. Not a huge PC specs eater 7. Have good friendly AI, pathfinding & big awesome weapon Why ? Cuz this game supposedly comes from the KEY developer pf Diablo so as long as they can make this game with any mix of potion of Diablo awesome point, this game will be no problemo

icedfacekilla57
icedfacekilla57

the UI looks nothing like WoW, its based off the Diablo 2.

decoy1978
decoy1978

The UI is similar to WoW, but its definitely a FPS Diablo game. You can say you hate WoW but 8+ million people don't. All in all I can't wait for this game to come out.

DryvBy2
DryvBy2

@Ariketh No, the multiplayer is going to be like a hack-n-slash, not an MMO. I doubt we're going to quest with millions in one server.

diablos_gun666
diablos_gun666

i have to disagree with smashhero this game is gonna be good but WoW has 9 million users i dont fink any game can compare to that

Frogman_7
Frogman_7

I pray this game comes out this year although I doubt it, and I haven't heard anything about a public beta but I would soooo like to be a part of that, this game is gonna pwn.

drtydvn
drtydvn

WOW is a great game i dont care what. I dont play anymore but i have nothing bad to say about it. 8 Million people say you are wrong anyway =P NEway this game looks freakin sweet! I really hope they have the same things that made D2 so great...tons of items and sweet drops! D2 is a treasure hunt, thats what makes it so addictive.

doff1
doff1

Can't wait for release! :D

Ariketh
Ariketh

To dudemanbro22: It's got a multiplayer similar to Guild Wars, so it's more like an MMO than you may think. It just happens to have a single player as well, which means it's not your traditional MMO-type game, kinda like GW.

gawakami
gawakami

I like having lots of people in mmorpgs. This is a bold and weird turn for the whole mmorpg industry. I'll just see how it works out.

smashhero
smashhero

Its gonna rape WoW, Just like how Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 raped the whole RPG gaming industry.

dudemanbro22
dudemanbro22

why are you guys talking about wow? that's an MMORPG where millions play online together. this is an action RPG where you're just gonna be playing with yourself. it's gonna be awesome, but it's not gonna rape wow.

kairoyurei
kairoyurei

Looks promising...I hope it'll bring in some new elements and experiences without loosing the same immersive atmosphere as Diablo had.

FISHERBAN
FISHERBAN

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dom1000
dom1000

OMG get off WOW it suck.

dom1000
dom1000

World of warcraft is the worst thing that happen since world war 2.This game looks incredible and im sure they will sell lots of copy..

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

i dunno about this game with all the awesome looking games coming out but I do hope they pull it off. It sort of seems like a future apocalypticish version of dungeon siege with randomized levels and more action based game play. I don't think anyone will put down wow for this as sad as that is ...

mkurts
mkurts

London as a center of power ? Is that some sort of joke ? I hope the game won't be filled with ridiculous Cockney accents.

marco0798
marco0798

tbh looks like a cheap rip-off of Diablo the diablo series is amazing and dresing up hellgate london to be something its not is just silly. i still log onto my DLOD account to c how things are going and im still amaz ed at how many people are stll going at it. do not get your hopes up too high.

wiirdawgs
wiirdawgs

Helll yeah Biotches this game looks sick.

elozl
elozl

Im waiting!!!!!

Ninja_RaVeN
Ninja_RaVeN

THIS GAME IS GOING TO BE AWSOME!!! I just hope that they will stick with the summer 2007 realease date...

kevdm10
kevdm10

Game looks and sounds awesome, can't wait

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

So far so good in all honesty. The game play video that we saw look good, the fun of Diablo certainly feel back. With updated visuals, a bit of a sci-fi and good characters choices, this could be a very well done PC gem. As of right now I'm pleased with Single player and it's length, I'm not so sure about online, as not all specifics were released over it. Even if multiplayer fails, I'll get it for a good single player RPG experience.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Kazie, Wouldn't really see this as an RPG like Oblivion, I think of it as an FPS shooter first and foremost, and only a LITE RPG, which most so-called RPG's are nowadays (Jade Empire is a good example of this)!!

eljono
eljono

bad demon!! thats a bad demon!!!! then I hit it with a stick. or sword. or 8 round sawed off shotgun... why wont demons stay in hell?

LinkinPark_X
LinkinPark_X

Man... There r too many games that i wanna buy on PC... I just cant get 1 mill$ to buy them all im gonna get Broke!!! lol TOO MANY GAMES!!! AND NOW THIS!! Sigh.... T_T

mazare
mazare

Never liked Sci-fi RPGs, but this looks nice.

Furiousxr
Furiousxr

looks really good . Cant wait

thesovvolf
thesovvolf

Nice to see a game set in england :0)

Dust24311
Dust24311

Can't wait for this and Bioshock. Great times for the PC ahead!

gozyaj
gozyaj

thank you bill!!!

Hikiera
Hikiera

Good to see that the original Diablo designers are falling back on there vast experience. I can't wait for this game. But as long as they do as good a polish job as possible this game will be the best release all year! :)

thanatose
thanatose

I have been anxiously awaiting this game ever since PC Gamer ran it's frist preview on it. I'm really hopeing turns out great.

Questlove711
Questlove711

I wasn't excited about this game at first, but now I just keep getting more and more excited about it.

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

this game looks so solid, with the plethera of genre defining rpgs hitting this year and next i will finaly have a reason to return to this genre besides oblivion. can't wiat these guys know what's up and i can't wiat to see/play the final game.

Xerran
Xerran

I can assure you guys the game will look and play awesome because i played an early build at either the DigitaLife expo or the NYC Comic-Con (sorry i can't remember which one but i work so many events at the Javits convention center in NYC) and the game was awesome in the early build i played it in. I even saw a video demo of the incredible DirectX10 smoke, rain and shadow effects that were shown at the GeForce 8800 launch party late last year, gametrailers.com and nzone have the video.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

In the interview he made a point of saying the game had been written for anyone with a 3-4 year old PC to a Vista DX10 monster and it wuld grade accordingly. As someone who thinks that the number one reason that PC game sales are way down over the last three years is the hardware demands of PC games that force constant upgrading. People cannot afford it and do not want to go down that route. So any hardcore gamer that thinks that if all games are going to need DX10, 4 gigs of RAM and VISTA to suite them, they are also going to be part of the reason for the demise of PC gaming!

Edcase
Edcase

this sounds so cool cant wait to play

lv46
lv46

If this is anything like diablo, then it should be amazing. That'll be enough for me.

Oni
Oni

Thank you Bill Roper for Keeping PC gaming alive with great exclusives like this. PC gamers forget alot of the developers who made all the past great PC games have either started making console games or dumped PC games all together to focus on consoles.

burnupblade
burnupblade

They did something other games should do...well its more like korean mmorpgs...pay to play for mroe content...other than that you can play online for free but have a less advantage than the ones who pay...and the game isnt close to being finished and looks done already...these guys helped make diablo 1 and 2(or which ever)...so thia game is going to be as promising as diablo 2 when it first came out...i so cant wait to play as an engineer