Hellgate golden

Flagship Studios' postapocalyptic shooter-RPG hybrid in mass production for October 31 PC release; single-player demo lands later this week.

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It's common knowledge that when the gates of Hell do, in fact, open, they'll part on the aptly prophetic day of October 31. As a precursor to Armageddon, Electronic Arts and Namco Bandai Games announced today that Flagship Studios' Hellgate: London has gone gold and will commence its North American retail invasion on October 31 for PCs. A European release will subsequently follow on November 2.

Hellgate: London is the first project from San Francisco-based Flagship Studios, which formed in 2003. The studio boasts an impressive pedigree of developers, including Bill Roper, David Brevik, and Max and Erich Schaefer, who earned their reputation at Blizzard North on such projects as the original Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft.

Often likened to a postapocalyptic Diablo, Hellgate: London melds fast-paced shooter action with role-playing game item collection and character development. After the game's initial $49.99 purchase (a $59.99 collector's edition will also be available), the game can be played through in both single-player and multiplayer modes, and can also be upgraded to an Elite subscription account at $9.95 a month for further massively multiplayer functionality. GameSpot's previous coverage has more on the M-for-Mature game.

A single-player demo for the game is currently available on GameSpot. In it, gamers can sample Hellgate's storyline, as well as take on a few side quests on the mean streets of London's Holborn Station as either the blademaster or the marksman.

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