Monthly Archives: August 2008

There was a MASSIVE topic here on Lan at one stage when it was announced that it wouldn’t be in HGL…

So thought some people might like to discuss what repurcussions if any would

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exist in Diablo 3 for not having it as per the latest announcement by Jay Wilson.

Link

This is from a translated interview by diablo3.4gamer.de

(more…)

With the ‘death’ of Hellgate: London and Mythos, the collective staff of Hellgate Guru have shifted our focus to the one game that holds the most promise in all of our hearts and minds: Diablo III.

With that in mind, we’ve created Hellforge — It is not your average Diablo III fansite. To us it’s all about the community. At Hellforge, you tell us what you want to say and share your views with our

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outspoken host, Adam Sessler has taken it upon himself to tackle the haters of Diablo 3′s art direction with some very harsh words of his own.

The video can be watched at Hellforge.

His vitriolic words are aimed towards those with ‘unreasonable’ complaints against Diablo 3′s art direction, and each of the player complaints are addressed one by one in the video.

Electronic Arts’ David DeMartini has granted an interview to GamaSutra about his plans with EA Partners, and he also touches upon the subject of the failure of Hellgate: London, a game that EA heavily invested in.

“We’re certainly sad with the results for Flagship and what’s happened with Hellgate, because at the time we signed it, we were trying to get involved in a very complicated relationship between Namco and Flagship.

We were coming late to the party, and trying to do whatever we could to sprinkle the game magic on the project and get it headed in the right direction.

I think that’s an example where all three parties had the best interest of the game in mind, and sometimes the game doesn’t work out. Hellgate is still an incredible concept.”

EA certainly performed its due diligence with the game, but DeMartini believes that at that point it was already too late for the damage to be undone, as most of the game’s fanbase had simply left. DeMartini elaborates:

“We were co-publishing with Namco. I’m not going to dodge a bullet — we had people who were actively working with them on the title.

We thought it would have been slightly higher quality than it turned out to be, and I think the problem with the game was that by the time it got really good, we were four to six months post-release. That was too late; we’d lost the fanbase.

It was strictly an issue of the gameplay and game

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quality needing to be higher at the start. Unfortunately, Flagship was in a situation where they weren’t in a position to hold the game any longer, and the situation kind of took over.”

So there you have it.

A new studio

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called Runic Games has arisen from the ashes of Flagship Studios’ demise. I managed to get a hold of Travis Baldree, founder and president of Runic Games and formerly the creator of Mythos, to ask him a few things about his new studio and the plans he has in store for it.

Check it out here.

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once Blizzard Guru is now Hellforge.

Hellforge is not your average Diablo III fansite.

We offer a more fully featured way for you to discuss Diablo III. Look, to us it’s all about the community. Any old fan site can post news, content… the typical stuff. But there are not a lot of sites out there that accommodate your opinions. None, in fact. To most sites, it’s all about listening to the staff and what they think.

With us, it’s about you. You tell us what you want to say. Just create a blog, and write a post. Put your opinions out there and be heard. It’s as simple as posting on a forum.

You can upload your own videos as well as images for all to see. Writing your own blog, responding to one, or simply posting on a traditional forum?

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Flagship Studios CEO Bill Roper has finally come out of hiding to grant an interview to 1up.com regarding the immenent closure of the aforementioned company, and a breakdown of the events that transpired during all these recent months, from the rumors that the company was in trouble, the fiasco over the Hellgate: London IP, and to the mass layoffs that took place most recently.

Roper was up-front about the problems with Hellgate: London, beginning with their failed revenue model:

“…when we originally came up with the concept of doing the game, the whole idea of continuing content was pretty amorphous. How that was going to happen, who pays for that — we all kind of assumed that would come out of the revenue. The subscription money we did get, we all poured directly into keeping the game online, keeping it up and running. But the development demands far outstripped the revenues. There just wasn’t a good contemplation early on of how that would work.”

Roper goes on to blame the ‘PC market’, among other things, for the failure of Hellgate: London, despite repeated press releases about the game’s supposed success in Korea. Never mind the fact that Blizzard and Valve managed to move several million in sales of their respective titles through traditional boxes as well as digital distribution (like Steam and Direct2Drive) in that year alone.

“Some of them were just bad timing in the PC market. The PC market was lousy last year. Some of it was the fact that we were an independent studio. We didn’t have unlimited money, and we had to ship when we had to ship. Part of it was because we overreached, and that was a design problem that was totally our fault. We tried to do too much. We tried to be a standalone game and a free-play game and an MMO and an RPG and a shooter. We were trying to be something for everybody and ended up really not pleasing many people at all….”

It’s true Hellgate: London saw over a million sign ups for its open beta in South Korea, but it’s readily apparent that only a small margin of these sign ups ever subscribed to the game, most of whom stopped playing the game. Hellgate sits at an abysmal 69th place with a less than 0.1% market share, according to the Korean game chart tracker.

Bill goes further in depth about the company’s failings as well as his personal reaction to the entire fiasco.

“I think that’s a thing that the general world never sees. They just assume, “These guys make games. They have this business. They did it. It didn’t work out. They move on.” It’s amazingly difficult from an emotional standpoint. You don’t start a company, two companies, and pour five years into doing something and not become emotionally attached. It’s impossible. For me, personally, it’s been incredibly difficult, because this is the first company I’ve ever started, you know, and been a part of. I kind of always lived and died by the games. As anybody could tell you, during the last days of Flagship, I was pretty much a wreck.”

“It’s pretty disappointing. I understand that, unfortunately, the Internet seems to be a haven for people who like to

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just get out there and throw out the most vitriolic and aggressive stance they can. But there’re no secret piles of money that the company’s somehow magically making. I haven’t been paid in almost two months, and I’ve been putting money out to try and get people taken care of. That’s the flip side. When people think, “Oh, wow, these guys are starting their own company. They’re gonna sell it. They’re multibillionaires!” They don’t really see the other side of it, that when that doesn’t happen, you continue to invest your lifeblood into it because that’s why you started it in the first place. When we started Flagship and the first nine of us were there working at Tyler [Thompson]‘s house, we had to pay the guys minimum wage so they could legally be employees. None of us were sitting on tons of cash. We were burning through savings to get the company started up. The unfortunate ending on the other side is not that we made a good-but-not-great amount of money, so we let everybody go and kept that good amount of money. I think that we, again, were probably thinking more with our hearts than our heads, and any money that came into the company at all was turned around into chasing Hellgate — trying to make it better, doing the patches. We didn’t get a lot of support financially. We poured pretty much every penny the company had into doing that.”

In the great words of TF2′s Heavy:

cry some more

Much, much more of the debacle can be read here for those with interest. It’s an eight page interview, so brace yourself!

While not strictly related to Blizzard, we’ve been following the progress of the former Flagship Studios’ developers, so this is relevant.

GameCyte has a new interview up with two of them who have started a new studio, Runic Games, who are Max Schaeferand Travis Baldree. The interview delves deep into why the company moved, why they think FSS failed like it did. It specifically mentions the current state of FSS right now as well. Specifically Max makes an emphasis on the fact that for all intents and purposes Flagship Studios is closed down, and Bill is just there to finish off the closure.

Max then goes on to talk about his brother and his involvement with the team. It then goes on to talk about if FSS had any chance of staying open. They then talk of the sorts of games they want to make with the new studios.

Next they talk about the game’s (Mythos) differentiation with Diablo 3 and Sacred 2, as well as the whole colour issue in Diablo 3. Lastly they mention that Namco at the moment is just handling the box sales of Hellgate London, but there is no current knowledge of what they plan to do with the game later.

(more…)

With Hellgate’s subscriptions in flux and darkness looming on Flagship Studios’ horizon, new interspatial Google ads have appeared on the official Hellgate: London forums.

Tigole has weighed in on the issue, with the following statement:

Heya Folks,

My guess is it is a test to see how

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things go. I put a call in to find out more information.

Uh-huh.