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Old 07-11-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
Dr.Finger
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Hellgate: London Developer Sheds Staff, Denies Takeover Rumor

Lots of news coming out of Flagship Studios, the development house responsible for Hellgate: London, and none of it is good.

Gamasutra is confirming that the San Francisco-based studio is laying off a large number of employees, mostly those who woked on Hellgate and Flagship's in-house online services subsidiary, Ping0. The exact number of workers let go is not yet known.

On another front Flagship is denying a report from a Hellgate fansite claiming that the title's Korean publisher, HanbitSoft, has assumed ownership of the property. Flagship calls the claim "an outright lie" and promises they will fight any attempt by HanbitSoft to claim any ownership of the IP in any region.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:06 PM   #2
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The full official Flagship statement:
Quote:
'This story is an outright lie. We have no idea where they are getting their information from and have asked legal counsel to pursue the issue. We are mystified by Hanbitsoft's conclusions and any attempt to take over the IP will be met with a strong and swift response, to 'illegally take over the IP'. All right title and interest in Hellgate; London resides in Flagship Financing, LLC a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flagship Studios. We are outraged that Hanbitsoft would attempt to completely tarnish the reputation of its most vital developer. Hanbitsoft's new management clearly does not understand the terms of its relationship with Flagship.'
-Flagship Studios
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:10 PM   #3
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I wonder if it was all the "talent that made Diablo 2" that they fired.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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Hmm, wonder if this will affect Mythos, the Travis Baldree title. It's in Beta now, and pretty enjoyable, a MMORPG follow-up to the WildTangent FATE game.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #5
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P.s. Typo in the title of this article: "Hellgate"
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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Wait. So, the rumor/story is an outright lie, or the actual takeover?

It sounds like (from the statement Mondopest posted) that the takeover by Hanbitsoft in Korea is happening and Flagship is trying to deal with it. Am I just reading it incorrectly?

Also, it's "Hellgate" not "Helgate".

*Scuttles off to Hellgate forums to read the fallout...
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:14 PM   #7
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Note to future devs: don't make such a shitty overhyped game that your entire success is pinned to.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefrog View Post
Wait. So, the rumor/story is an outright lie, or the actual takeover?

It sounds like (from the statement Mondopest posted) that the takeover by Hanbitsoft in Korea is happening and Flagship is trying to deal with it. Am I just reading it incorrectly?

Also, it's "Hellgate" not "Helgate".
It is exactly how the outlet I primarily write for got it from Flagship. Reads to me the same way in that HanbitSoft is pulling shenanigans.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefrog View Post
Wait. So, the rumor/story is an outright lie, or the actual takeover?

It sounds like (from the statement Mondopest posted) that the takeover by Hanbitsoft in Korea is happening and Flagship is trying to deal with it. Am I just reading it incorrectly?
It sounds to me like the Korean outfit, HanbitSoft, is trying to assert ownership of Hellgate in their territory. Flagship is denying that they lost control of the property (the part they call a lie) while asserting that they won't let HanbitSoft steal their IP.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:23 PM   #10
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BTW, I'll look for the source, but I remember a story from a couple years back that sounds similar. A Korean company published a western game in their home territory, then tried to claim actual ownership of the IP in that region after it became apparent a sequel wouldn't be forthcoming.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Finger View Post
BTW, I'll look for the source, but I remember a story from a couple years back that sounds similar. A Korean company published a western game in their home territory, then tried to claim actual ownership of the IP in that region after it became apparent a sequel wouldn't be forthcoming.
Wow. Was just about to post this exact statement. I recall the same thing. Was it Hanbitsoft?
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:28 PM   #12
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I don't think it was HanbitSoft, but I have a terrible memory for names. I think the case may have been over Dark Age of Camelot though, but I'm not certain.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:32 PM   #13
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Also, the Indian company Zapak put out a false press release saying they were buying SOE in December (at least according to SOE it was false). These overseas companies and their cheeky shenanigans!
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:37 PM   #14
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I recently picked up Hellgate (hey, it was $10) and have been pretty much enjoying it, but honestly, if I was Flagship I'd release that Subscriber-only MP content to SP players. Make it a $5-10 charge, and you'd pick up huge cash.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:38 PM   #15
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By the way, the fanboy panic on the Hellgate forum is hilarious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Some Hellgate fanboy
Whats with you peeps? FSS could lay off the copy boy and some muppet would scream job cuts. Im willing to bet this and the other so called "news" are both fakes that these sites have jumped on because they have nothing else to report and they need the site traffic.
Yes, I'm sure Gamasutra is making it up.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:43 PM   #16
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Hellgate: London sucks because it had shitty animation and sound. It was simply not fun to kill things that had no reaction to the guns or swords. Or at least that could be part of it. Whatever it was, the game was not fun at all.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:01 PM   #17
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I totally believe this is all a lie: nobody would want to take over the hellgate IP.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:01 PM   #18
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Update from Hanbitsoft:

Quote:
Please understand that the facts are (1) HanbitSoft is an exclusive licensee of both Hellgate and Mythos in Asia, with rights to sublicense the games; (2) in addition, HanbitSoft is a secured creditor who has been pledged the Mythos (but not the Hellgate) intellectual property as collateral for a loan; (3) Comerica, another secured lender, has been pledged the Hellgate intellectual property as its collateral for a loan; (4) Flagship Studios does not currently own the intellectual properties to either game, which are held in separate companies subject to the security interests of lenders, and Flagship Studios' interest in those companies is also pledged to its lenders; (5) it is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open, but HanbitSoft hopes to work with Comerica and some of the team at Flagship to see if there is a way to continue to generate content to keep Hellgate online in Asia and to finish the development of Mythos.
Comerica is the bank that funded a loan to FSS earlier in exchange for unspecified rights to FSS titles. It doesn't look good.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:21 PM   #19
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So HanbitSoft licenses Hellgate which is bombing. Flagship gets ready to fire a ton of people. HanbitSoft knows their version of the game is doomed in Asia without more content. Plus, if Flagship dies then HanbitSoft's collateral (Mythos IP) is pretty much worthless. So HanbitSoft offers to "invest" in FlagShip to keep it afloat, but wants more (total?) ownership of the Hellgate IP. For some reason FlagShip says no (maybe it can't if Comerica Bank has final say?), fires a ton of people, meaning no/little future content for Hellgate, dooming the Asia Hellgate, most likely resulting in the inability to release/finish Mythos.... death spiral? Maybe the ex-Diablo 2 talent can submit their resumes to try to get on the Diablo 3 team to help during crunch?
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:25 PM   #20
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Looks like it is time for the boys to go running back groveling to Blizzard with their tails between their legs. Sounds like some bad business and financial decisions were made and now they're going to pay for it.
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