CES 07: Hellgate: London Updated Impressions

Flagship's Bill Roper shows off the fast-paced action role-playing game at CES on the same day that the company announces a launch window.

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LAS VEGAS--After years of development, Flagship Studios' debut game will finally launch this year, according to CEO Bill Roper. That game is Hellgate: London, and if you needed another reason to be interested in this game beyond its beautiful graphics and fast-paced gameplay, Flagship was founded by key veterans of Blizzard's Diablo teams. Roper was at the annual Consumer Electronics Show to show off Hellgate: London at Microsoft's vast booth.

Hellgate: London will let you battle an army of demonic monsters in the gutted ruins of London. Set sometime in the future, you'll be able to play as a templer, which is basically a high-tech knight; a cabalist; a spellcaster; or a gun-wielding hunter. Roper explained that the cool thing about Hellgate: London is that you can play it as a single-player game, but there will also be an option to turn it into a subscription-based multiplayer game if you want to play with others and enjoy lots of new content.

Roper walked us through character creation. You can create a male or female character with an extensive amount of customization options, ranging from body features to build and height. Then he showed off the opening levels, including a beginning quest to recover a prosthetic leg for a poor little boy. The only problem is that the leg is the possession of a giant demon. You'll have to venture to the surface and battle hordes of demons to recover it, and that gave Roper a chance to show off the randomly generated levels, so each game of Hellgate: London won't play the same way twice.

The big news is that Flagship officially announced Monday morning that Hellgate: London will ship this summer. Roper told us that the company plans to launch a closed "friends and family" beta test by month's end, with plans to expand that to a broader audience afterward. Asked if he felt good that Hellgate's release is on the horizon, he explained that Flagship won't have much time to rest because the company plans to create a steady stream of new content for subscribers in the form of monthly and quarterly updates to the game.

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