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Roper on Flagship

Bill Roper interview on Gamasutra talks with the former Blizzard, Flagship, and Cryptic Studios developer about what he's up to these days and his plans for the future. They highlight the juicier portions of the conversation in a separate article called Bill Roper On How Flagship, Hellgate Spiraled Out Of Control on the failure of Hellgate: London, and how it dragged Flagship Studios under with it. He describes a project where the scope outgrew the studio's ability to succeed, noting the difference between how a startup was able to deal with issues compared with an established company like Blizzard. "The biggest failure with Hellgate is we just tried to do too much," Roper explained. "We were a single-player game, or you could go online and play for free. And there was also this hybrid subscription model that you could get into, and the game was coming out on the new Windows platform, and we were part of the Games for Windows program." He contrasts how this worked at Flagship to how it would have worked at Blizzard. "A couple benefits we had there [at Blizzard,] we really didn't have at Flagship -- I mean, even Blizzard now, but at Blizzard 10 years ago -- one, there was always support from Blizzard from the top-down, from the publishing-down. We'd go in there and say, 'We need to take six more months. This is why. This is the benefit you will see from it,'" recalled Roper. "And you always had to justify it," he told them. "There was always the support [at Blizzard] to say, 'You know what? If that's what you need to make this game great, then that's what we'll get for you. We'll figure it out'."

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12. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 8, 2011, 07:58 peteham
 
Talisorn wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 22:07:
If they just left HGL a FPS Diablo Clone (with simple small group LAM/Multiplayer support) it would have been fine as their startup game. Making it a subscription based MMO ( at which it failed miserably) was simply insane.
Agreed about the Diablo Clone bit.

What I will never get, is why people raged so much about the subscription model. You could play through the game just fine without paying a cent beyond the initial purchase.. Surely that's a step better than a pure subscription model in which you'd NEED a subscription to play at all?

Every single person who subscribed knew full well that they'd basically be paying extra for nothing. It's not as if the subscriber "benefits" were secret or anything. And as for lifetime subbers, I won't even bother commenting on the stupidity of hopping on-board based on nothing but promises

This comment was edited on Feb 8, 2011, 08:10.
 
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11. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 8, 2011, 07:36 warmbluelasers
 
Aww, grass wasn't so green off the Blizzard ranch?

Maybe if you beg and grovel enough they'll take you back as a junior staff member writing quest text.
 
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10. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 8, 2011, 07:19 Dades
 
Actually he's been pretty good about taking responsibility since it failed. Unfortunately gamers have long memories when it comes to bad games and the developers behind them.  
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9. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 8, 2011, 05:28 AnointedSword
 
Wow, at least he took some of the blame? I remember being on the forums trying to defend them the first few days. Then I started to see the ping guys and Flagship guys blame everyones computer over their code. That really got me flipping mad. Here is a company I assumed was honest and now they want to blame everyone and their boxes? I am sorry, you need to take responsibility. If they would have did that, I would have understood it somewhat. I will not trust Bill or anyone else that was from that company. They were liars then and they did not do the right thing. Period.

The game failed because most could not run the game. It also failed because a zone system does not work. For example, my friend is on server 1, I am on 2, now we have to meet at 3. No, people want an environment that stays after they logout. Honestly, I am not sure if Diablo3 will have the lasting power like D2 had. It is a different time now. We do not want the same content over and over. We want new content, new skills, etc...I believe the MMORPG spoiled some of us to the point where sub-par will not do.

This comment was edited on Feb 8, 2011, 05:35.
 
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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8. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 8, 2011, 02:22 Luke
 
Zadig wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 23:25:
The game was poor to mediocre in every aspect, but it was the utterly insane decision to charge $15(?) per month for non-existent content that made it widely hated and doomed.


and all those lifetime sub defenders i wonder were are they are now
 
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7. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 23:25 Zadig
 
The game was poor to mediocre in every aspect, but it was the utterly insane decision to charge $15(?) per month for non-existent content that made it widely hated and doomed.  
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6. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 23:06 StingingVelvet
 
As said in the interview their budget was so high that there was no way to recoup costs on boxes game sales. There was no way they were going to get enough pointless subs to make a profit if that was indeed the case.

Doomed from the start.

That said I have never actually played the game... I wisely (I assume) skipped it at release and never got around to getting it on the cheap because of the reactions.
 
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5. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 22:42 Beamer
 
Making it a subscription based MMO ( at which it failed miserably) was simply insane.

It would have failed regardless.
Remember when it was announced and we all drooled over the idea of a diablo game set in those cinematics?

Then, a year later, we saw gameplay. Awkward looking 3rd person and even more awkward looking first person. Even worse, the first person auto-aimed for you depending on your skill with a HUGE auto-aim zone. The simplified Diablo combat just does not work FPS.

Game was going to fail for having an awesome setting but very unclear, haphazard gameplay concept. It was like they decided to try everything rather than make a decision. That's always failure.
 
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4. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 22:13 space captain
 
nin wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 21:20:
Roper and Romero need to form a game dev house together! It'd be like setting fire to fireworks factory!


you forgot to include DEREK SMART!
 
Go forth, and kill!
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3. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 22:07 Talisorn
 
If they just left HGL a FPS Diablo Clone (with simple small group LAM/Multiplayer support) it would have been fine as their startup game. Making it a subscription based MMO ( at which it failed miserably) was simply insane.  
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2. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 21:27 Cutter
 
Romero actually does have talent though. Roper just needs to go away once and for all.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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1. Re: Roper on Flagship Feb 7, 2011, 21:20 nin
 

Roper and Romero need to form a game dev house together! It'd be like setting fire to fireworks factory!

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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