Namco Bandai keeping Hellgate open?

Hellgate: London developer Flagship Studios receiving support from Japanese publisher amid job losses and subscriber uncertainty.

Last week, San Francisco-based developer Flagship Studios announced it had not only laid off the majority of its employees, but it also shut down subscriptions for its online action game Hellgate: London. Many suspected that this may be the death knell for the company and its games, but Flagship insisted it was moving forward with the core management and founding team members still in place.

While things continue to look uncertain for the developer created primarily by ex-Blizzard North developers, at least its game looks to be getting support from its international copublisher Namco Bandai. Zack Karlsson, Namco Bandai Games America's senior director of business development, headed to the game's forums to reassure players that the game was still running despite all current subscriptions not being billed. "The game is up, the servers are not going away in the short term and any major changes to status will be communicated in advance."

Karlsson also confirmed that the publisher was still in business negotiations with Flagship Studios, although he didn't reveal any specifics. "I know everyone is looking for an announcement, and we'd love to make one," Karlsson continued, "but right now, many things are in flux and we don't have all the information yet. As soon as we do, we'll post on the forums, on the website, and anywhere else we can find you."

EA Games, who published Hellgate: London in the UK, refused to comment on either the game or its developer when contacted by GameSpot. Namco Bandai could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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Discussion

60 comments
SonicEXE
SonicEXE

siephanax is correct, most views are on original products. I myself even am guilty of seeing this game as poor after playing for a month and a half or so after launch (from launch day till then) but looking at the updates now i'm curious to mess with it again, i'm kinda sad it's being shut down now =/

siephanax
siephanax

Everyone talks about the release version of the game...which was yes lacking. But the nay-sayers never seem to speak of the games current version, which I enjoy greatly. Basing your views on a demo or the intial release just seems stupid to me without considering the current product.

jznjzn
jznjzn

Hellgate London, multiplayer, in HCE mode, is hands down the most fun multiplayer game on the market today. It would be a tragedy if they closed the servers. Just try playing multiplayer hellgate sometime, it is insanely fun.

trollkind
trollkind

It would be too bad if this company and game just die. I picked up Hellgate again and still enjoy the superb weapon effects, it's just fun to obliterate the monsters with the vast variety of special fx. I wouldn't subscribe for a full mmorpg fee but 3€ would be ok if there's additional content from time to time. About the downloadable character for XBox users: incredible what money can do, right guys. No money from me, Microsoft. About Mythos, I enjoyed that too but was disappointed when they changed away from the map=level system, I thought it was convenient, fun and set them apart.

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

While we are on the subject of Namco, take a look at something I just read about online: "Namco just confirmed two things: Namco has confirmed that there will be an Xbox 360 download of the Darth Vader character for the Xbox 360 version of Soul Caliber 4! Namco also confirmed that there will not be a download of Yoda for the Playstation 3 version of Soul Caliber 4! I am so happy that I am going to get the Xbox 360 version! I want to be able to have Yoda and Darth Vader fight each other, and that means only the Xbox 360 will let me do that! I'm a happy camper right now! I think I will know who wins, though. 1up said in their review that Yoda is a lot better character than Darth Vader. That's fine with me, because I always thought Yoda was smart and cute."

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Too bad about all this. Hellgate:London was one of the games I was greatly looking forward to.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

From SupaTrupa: "Lifetime subscribers should either get a refund or be able to sue the developer for difference. The game was actually fun in a manic, action sense, but they missed terribly on the story, environments, variety and RPG elements ultimately. Bill Roper = FAIL" I agree. Ironically, all the stuff they got right in Diablo I and II they got horrifically wrong in Hellgate: London. The Storyline was terrible, the characters weren't very fun, the gameplay was totally lacking in variety and the environments got stale fast. Basically, it needed several months more polish, and what we got in the end was basically a Beta rushed to launch.

Saranis
Saranis

I shoulda known this game would be junk when Best Buy ran it on sale for $20 a week after its launch. I just wish they would have finished mythos before folding.

Erebus
Erebus

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

ShadowGryphon
ShadowGryphon

Sadly, I'm not too surprised by this. I was in on the beta and liked what I had seen and felt that if the beta was as good as it was, the finished product would be amazing........ too bad the retail release was the unfinished beta. And I agree with SevenofEleven, the respawn was ridiculous , I stopped playing when it got to the point that I'd enter a map and be killed right off the bat with no chance at defending myself. The subscription idea was poorly thought out and really screwed over the non-subscribers. Remember folks, if you're going to offer free play along side subscriber play....... you can't let the subscriber have -all- the good stuff, you'll just lose potential users.

SevenOfEleven
SevenOfEleven

Too bad about Flagship, I tried multiplayer but it was a bit too buggy then. Felt funny walking up to strangers and clicking on them, that could get me in trouble. Also whats the logic behind just allowing people with the same skill sets to be in a group? Did they fix that rule later? Having some melee fighters with engineers or summoners for support would be great. Summoners and engineers have pets that can heal team members. Bought the game when it came out, wish it was finished. The first single player patch changed the NPC dialogue from crazy to safe for the tiny tots, too bad. Demons invade the city and people are driven underground, I could expect some people cracking from the stress. Did not like when monsters returned back to a cleared area when you returned from using a portal. that sucks because now you are in the middle of a horde of creatures and if you are a non melee char its almost a death sentence. Bring back a few but not every monster. Its a game at normal difficulty give the player a break. SInce I paid for it, I will finish it and off to the trash it will go.

laifox
laifox

Well, they had it coming...Hellgate was a mayor letdown, if you start a new company, your first product CANT be a half baked cookie, it just cant. They should have started with Mythos, way more fun, FREE, no subscriptions, and it could have been (or will be) huge, even to compete with WoW. It really sucks for all of those who payed the life-time subscription or just the normal one, but paying for an online game so buggy, that you cant even patch or download a stand alone patch file, and most of all, kinda boring, was beyond me. I even feel bad about the fact that i kinda lost 40 bucks buying the game. Any ways, good luck to Roper and the team with their next proyects...and i hope all of this at least helps them learn from their mistakes, and get a better product and business proyect out there next time.

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

its a shame i see how flagship wanted to make a game that diablo 2 fans could relate to (since diablo hasnt been touched by the industry for a long long time till d3 announcement) but the problem was that it was so rushed they were so eager to get it out it wasnt polished the game wasnt refined well enough i am a long time fan of diablo 1 / 2 and i waited anxiously for this game only to be playing for hours and hours confronting bugs, laggy servers, and the train that killed me and i couldnt ever get back to that area and i quit... only a few months after i bought it im disappointed...and i just forgot about flagship i just hope that if they ever make a second game they learn from this because as ex-blizzardees... they have the ability to make great games... it's just the time they put in it oh wait i forgot... twas touched by EA.... **** man i wish they didnt touch it and didnt have such rushed release dates -.-

firedrakes
firedrakes

the main thing that killed this game was all the dam bugs in it

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

well at least diablo ii is own its way... i don't think people who play this will bother then

SupaTrupa
SupaTrupa

Lifetime subscribers should either get a refund or be able to sue the developer for difference. The game was actually fun in a manic, action sense, but they missed terribly on the story, environments, variety and RPG elements ultimately. Bill Roper = FAIL

canis_rah
canis_rah

I preordered the collectors edition and stood ready to fight for the living... I wanted to be a die-hard, was sold on the concept. Unfortunately, it was a crap game - just rubbish, in every respect. I played it for a couple of days and never loaded it again. Felt ripped off.

brian_13un
brian_13un

Yeh! sorry for the other gamers but i agree of what other wrote this game is not worth playing! it even doesnt entertain me after playing it for 2 days

runstalker
runstalker

That team certainly has/had some really talented people, but I have a feeling they weren't accustomed to breaking the "when it's done" rule. It was clear to any beta/early player that Hellgate sputtered to release in shoddy, rushed form. I remember beta forum polls where 85% of people agreed (that still happens?) HG:L needed to be delayed to fix a half dozen or more standout flaws. Somebody somewhere refused to authorize more development cash flow, squeezing the release, forcing the gamble.

Riddick123
Riddick123

The game wasn't that good, glad I didn't pay for any subscription. I lost interest after 3 weeks of playing it. In fact all my friends that got me to play it with them all quit as well. Just wasn't that fun.

Diernes
Diernes

Blizzard just needs to hire these guys to fix diablo 3. *cough* World of warcraft 1.5*Cough*

PieCrusher
PieCrusher

Sadly this game had great potential but they should've added more content. It felt more like a demo then a full game.

Henninger
Henninger

They need 2 bring this game 2 a console cuz i don't do PC games. It looks good & i would like 2 try it but not on a PC.

Megawizard
Megawizard

I half-pity the people that bought the lifetime subs. Partly because of their loss and partly because they should have known better.

mcerdas
mcerdas

The servers are still on, and I'm having a blast playing this game. In fact it's the only game I'm playing right now For the Living!

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Not my thing... but any chance of Beautiful Katamari being ported to PS3, Namco-Bandai?

Pete5506
Pete5506

I never got in to the game, I got to try it but it was not fun

dzimm
dzimm

Sins-of-Mosin: "Don't forget they kept the nazi mods on their forum. One of the worst forums I ever been registered on." No kidding: deleting posts, deleting threads, banning users, and all without explanation. I was banned for a month without explanation, and then just before the month was up, they turned it into a perma-ban, again with no explanation. Give me a break. Now with Flagship all but closed, the moderators have no oversight and can do pretty much whatever they want. That's why I call Flagshipped.com my home. Best Hellgate: London fansite on the internet.

InfertileNinja
InfertileNinja

It wasn't very fun, but it was also their first foray into MMOs, so I guess we have to cut them some slack.

ptown58
ptown58

My son still subscribes and plays. hope it stays up longer.

elozl
elozl

oh come on, you gotta give some credit to the recyclers err programmers of the super 4 stages that we saw in the hall game, and oh yeah, i hated the ending...

Vambran
Vambran

I bought this game, forced my self to beat the single player story then threw it in the garbage cause it was unworthy of staying in my video game collection.

StillWingless
StillWingless

Hellgate had its flaws, but it was still fun. Subscriptions weren't required to access 99% of the content, and if you played it like any other MMO or team shooter (with Ventrilo running lol), you never noticed the weakened social aspect. I'm still playing it right now. I'm glad they haven't taken it completely down yet.

Wolfcp11
Wolfcp11

Horrible Game. All he grind of an MMO, without the social aspect. I glad that it is dead.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

MortorVos - Whatever skill they had back then is gone now. If they joined the D3 team I would not be getting that game.

zeecorner
zeecorner

They had a lot of things going for this game, but it sounded like a bogus subscription method and some bad gameplay decisions brought it down. I still want to play it though.

codepunk
codepunk

I played Hellgate. It was fun. Just didn't want to pay a subscription fee for a pseudo-MMO (if you can even call it that)

Jason_Morris
Jason_Morris

As so many have said - this is the importance of a good opening. Hellgate SHOULD have been one of the biggest games of the year, had it been in a better shape upon release.

Savage_Jason
Savage_Jason

Yeah, it's great that these guys are going out of business and dozens of people just lost their jobs! Take that! I mean, who cares that they might have families to take care of and they might have really LOVED what they did, you deserve to suffer for making a bad video game!

Me_Ann
Me_Ann

Bill Roper and gang got a little too cocky just cuz they think they are from Blzizard, they can release a good game/fans will follow them anywhere.

concord9
concord9

Good. Thats what the scum get for releasing a buggy game with a subscription model. Pathetic thing was they actually thought they would get away with charging people extra for stuff that is free in every other game. Excellent, I hope this and the recent GFW announcement sends a message to anyone trying to rip PC Gamers off.

runstalker
runstalker

The game would`ve done very well had it been released during the winter lull, around Feb this year. Could have provided another 4-5 months of polishing and filled a gap. The results for Hellgate and Flagship would have been so different. That half-baked Halloween release with a silly hybrid MMO revenue model was so poor. This game always should have been as free as Guild Wars, with expansions you pay for--yet a full-featured game for everyone. You even had to pay for guild features in Hellgate! Har.

MortorVos
MortorVos

blizzard should get them ex north guys working on diablo 3 with them

amefford
amefford

Appears the game is officially headed for the scrap heap. Too bad because I have been playing the heck out of this game since I purchased it in January. They killed themselves by releasing it to early. Those early 7.5 reviews would have improved by a point or a point and half had the game been released in its current patched form. Thats why blizzard does so well with its games, it delays until they are absolutely ready and then makes sure to follow up with patches if they are needed or just to add to the game. Beyond the early release, I felt the skill trees didn't offer the same multi build opportunities that you saw in Diablo.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Don't forget they kept the nazi mods on their forum. One of the worst forums I ever been registered on. The article should also remind people of the Asian company who is claiming rights to the IP and taking FSS to court. FSS will burn and it will be fun to see how hot the flames get.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Now that HGL is all patched up and fixed up its actually a very rewarding game, just waiting for the next few content releases :D im more excited about Mythos though so im really hoping that shows back up on the radar soon.

Gammit10
Gammit10

Now that it's been patched to hell, I love this game. I hope the multiplayer servers don't die before I finish.

ps3thabest
ps3thabest

o gret ea in a damn article again

jedikevin2
jedikevin2

this game just didn't go off well. To many bad bugs like beastly drops in beginning killed it. I remember getting the game and got some ridiculous uber electric rifle that hit for more then 3000 damage when I was level 2 lol. Small bugs plus subscription fee killed it.