Friday, December 25, 2009

An Afterward

While this blog, when it was active, pertained only to a small group of people (and an even smaller group now that everything is over), I still feel it is necessary to provide an afterward on everything that eventually happened, considering that, shortly after the servers went down for the game, so did Unfortunately holding out for things to change at Flagship Studios was something that just wasn't meant to be. While we thought we were helping by heavily scrutinizing the company and their game, Hellgate: London, we may have just instead quickened the death of a project that launched on life support.

Cutting through all the hate and backlash both sides threw at each other, it proved right that, right from the start, Hellgate: London was never going to be as great of a game as it should have been. Despite having an all-star team of some of the original team members at Blizzard North, the numbers did not end up adding up for the production team in the end of things. This is also essentially why more and more staff was pulled off the further production of Hellgate: London and put onto Flagship Studios's other project, Mythos. The idea there was that Mythos was originally going to be the polished product that Flagship Studios was going to bank in on--and that Hellgate: London was simply put through to pay some of those bills.

Like I said, with down now, you can find the first summary of the confusion that befell the time of days what first started as rumors and then ended up as the awful truth, over at VE3D. I nod again to Andrew Burnes, who may have been one of the few journalists in the video gaming media that actually sourced us for some of the information (Kotaku, Bluesnews, and Gamasutra failed to do so on many occasions). After following the news on Community Manager's Evan "Scapes" Berman likes and dislikes, as well as his buddy Taylor Balbi's rather rude comments, it was confirmed--the studio went under. Many of the staff didn't even know it was happening. Some others didn't get their severance checks as well.

The source of the problem, Bill Roper, went on to do just fine, however. Despite confessing in 1UP's interview that he literally had no idea what he was doing, he was picked up later by Cryptic Studios. He brought along Ivan Sullic too, who I had the pleasure of getting numerous retorts from him on what paraphrasing actually meant and that it "wasn't that different from direct quoting." Of course some of you may know how well his talents were spent when he practically refused to apologize for purposely trying to covertly turn away Call of Heroes players to come and join Champions Online. The integrity of some people never change.

Since the intellectual property of Hellgate was put on for a loan, it was eventually bought by HanbitSoft, a Korean developer that has been having a tumultuous time of trying to get back onto its feet as the Asian release of Hellgate nearly sent them under as well. Since their taking on of the IP they have altered the game and have brought it up online in Korea. Still no word on if it will ever be brought to US/EU markets. There still are some fans out there trying to do their own thing by trying their hand at modding the game. Personally I haven't been following much of it ever since the servers went down back in February 2009, but their forums are here. Maybe they'll be able to do something with the game.

I once said that I would write a review for the game. In truth, I think the history behind the game has written its own script upon its headstone. The dead horse is indeed dead. And perhaps it simply was for the best. A lot of us learned from the experience. I myself went on to write a personal blog with taking the words "caveat emptor" to heart. I have nodded at the attempted boycotts of Left 4 Dead 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but was saddened when neither had the necessary leadership to put forth their platform and remain steadfast. But looking on the other side of the looking glass I see the opposite of what happens when the mob gets their hands upon their monster, and all that's usually left are the ashes of a memory.

I ask myself, "Was it worth it?" Did we, at play a roll in Flagship Studios's demise? We were fans, after all. We wanted the game to improve. To live on strong. We thought that by bringing the light to those that wore rose-tinted glasses that they'd see their mistakes and strive to improve on them. But the reality to that hat trick is that we had no play in their downfall. We were not the chief executive officers of the company. We did not make the blunders in business decisions that sealed the game's, and the company's, fate even before Hellgate was a whisper on people's lips. The pieces will fall where they may if those that are putting the puzzle together are careless. And, when left out long enough in the weathered conditions, they will fade away, a picture of a place that no one could ever go. And now no one ever will.