Tobold's Blog
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Flagship studio closing?

Flagship Studio, makers of Hellgate: London, and currently developing Mythos, are apparently closing down for financial reasons. I didn't post the first rumors of it yesterday, but now at least the new owners of the intellectual property are making statements to that effect, even if Flagship Studio itself is still in denial. Players report that the Hellgate: London account page is down, so you can't cancel your subscription. I am not a lawyer, but I'd think that in this case you could tell your credit card company to refuse payment, if you really want to. But then, both Hellgate and Mythos could be run in the future by the new owners, so I wouldn't panic until the servers shut down.

I think it is fair to say that Hellgate: London wasn't a huge success. It was nice enough to play for a couple of hours, but didn't really have what it takes to justify a monthly fee, which in any case was relatively high for a relatively small upgrade from the non-subscriber version. Mythos looks a lot better, but is still in beta. I sure hope somebody will make the effort to apply the final touches and release that game. Somebody will soon make a statement blaming WoW for the failure of Hellgate: London, but the truth is that game companies fail if they make mediocre games, with or without Blizzard. The only thing you can blame Blizzard for is showing the world that quality games *can* be made.
The game was a good idea but poorly executed, missing many standard features at launch (mail, auction house, organized PvP). The game gave few reasons to actually group so it felt like playing a single-player game online.

I see rumblings they may form a new company within the next week, and if they do I hope they learn from their mistakes.
This is very demoralizing given the fact that Mythos MMO really looked like it had some promise. Hopefully it won't get canceled and will get picked up by a reputable company.

What's perplexing is that Flagship was founded by Bill Roper and some other ex-Blizzard people; you'd think that they would have brought some of that Blizzard "magic" with them.
What's perplexing is that Flagship was founded by Bill Roper and some other ex-Blizzard people; you'd think that they would have brought some of that Blizzard "magic" with them.

Just having talented people is not enough; a good organisation, project management and goals that are in line with your budget.

Blizzard likely has all of that which makes it possible for them to be consistent in delivering quality products.

What's perplexing is that Flagship was founded by Bill Roper and some other ex-Blizzard people; you'd think that they would have brought some of that Blizzard "magic" with them.

A few years back, some ex Blizzard employees left to create their own company. Their first and last game was basically Diablo in a feudal Japanese setting. The game sold poorly and they went under.

Blizzard "magic" cannot compensate for lack of funding.

What killed Flagship was their suicidal decision to stamp a monthly fee on their game.
Much was done wrong and something done right with Hellgate: London. As for what the future holds, looks like we'll have to wait till these coming weekdays to see what's really going on.
make a game while you get wages for 3 or 4 years and then sell up and make another with the experience gained from the last. i say good luck to them :)

Hellgate London was an unusual beast of a game.

It reminded me of Duke Nukem meets Diablo. That being said the game had some problems tremoring throughout the gameplay. One thing was the ackward guns and melee they had going on and another was the gear itemizations which felt meaningless. Everything was lackluster besides the skill trees and boss/lvl concepts. I was hoping the game would gt a few patchs and improve greatly, but with this news it looks like it is much worse.


What is funny, and sorry to go off topic, but it is slightly on topic.

Funcom shut off login to the cancellation page at for AoC after Fridays patch.

Too funny
(ps: it is back now though)
I was all set to at least buy Hellgate and give it a chance based on the limited hype. I tried the demo and it was okay, nothing groundbreaking but was probably enough to sell me on it. Then I reached the end of the demo, where the demo never officially ended and you just wandered around trying to figure out what you'd missed and I immediately decided I'd never buy the game. I mean, this is your demo, this is what you're using to try to sell your product, this is your best foot forward, and you couldn't bother to take 5 minutes to throw up a "I hope you enjoyed Hellgate" splash screen when we killed the last guy? Instead you tell us to exit the area but don't include an exit door? I might be alone in this bothering me so much but I figure if you can't be bothered to make your demo right then you probably made the game poorly as well.
In some countries, they still sell this game. Do you think they should maybe at least WARN US before selling us this game, more than one year after the online servers closed? And do we still wonder why WOW has so many customers and other UNFAIR companies dont? There is such thing as a business model, and trying to go to "retard eastern european countries" and sell the few last copies of an unplayable game is among the business models that make me content such people fail and go bankrupt.

Let me tell you a short story:

I am from Romania, medium salary: 4-500 euro. Last week i wanted some games, went in some fancy shop to get some games, they dont have Dragon Age Origins yet, they don't have Football Manager 2010 yet, they have a lot of WOW cards and when I ask about some other MMORPG, I am convinced by the guy there with quite a lot of arguments to buy Hellgate London. At a price of 40 euros, which in my country is quite expensive, but ok I'm employed and i understand that others are not working for beans either and lets be fair, so I prefer, when I afford, to pay for games instead of taking them from torrents.

When i come home, I try to read a bit about it, during the install. First thing i find out? That the online servers shut down. Not last week. LAST YEAR.

The same people who cheated me into buying a game that I won't be playing are the ones ccomplaining that we steal games. WELL... maybe they think AGAIN about it, really.

I'm incredibly pissed that i've just thrown 40 euros off the window and i swear it will be a long time before i play anything else than WOW, at least there i know what i pay for and i am not cheated.

The number of customers for a game is not dependent only of the quality of the game, but also on the business model. A FAIR business model would imply the obligation of mentioning somewhere on the cover, or instructing shops to tell customers, such things as "our servers have closed, you can play a few hours offline, sure, but not online".
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