Hellgate: London Interview

Bill Roper answers seven pages of questions over at 1UP about Flagship Studios’ final days, the mistakes they made with Hellgate: London, and a whole lot more. It’s definitely worth a read.

GFW: So let me ask you one question about the office right now. Is there still a Flagship office that has employees in it?

BR: Sort of? I know it’s a weird answer, but, yeah, we do. We announced [on July 11] that we had to lay off the vast majority of the employees, but there’s still a small handful of the founders working on things. Really, our focus now has been on how we best take care of the guys that aren’t there anymore and help them find jobs with other teams. We handpicked everybody, both on the game-content side and the online-technology side. So we’re really working to get those guys placed. Then, past that, we’ve been spending a lot of time trying to take care of our creditors and other fiscal challenges. But it’s definitely at the point where we’re not exactly trying to plot a gigantic turnaround with a bright, rosy future at Flagship. It’s unfortunately more the other side of the coin.
GFW: It has got to kill you, I think, because you took a lot of hits in the press and from the public about Hellgate, but Mythos was different. You had made this kind of critical turnaround, at least as far as the beta was going, and then to have the rug pulled out from under you…

BR: It really felt like Flagship was on that verge of turning a corner. Hellgate came out, and it wasn’t as good as it should have been. There’s a myriad of reasons for that. 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…

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