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Flagship Dirty Laundry

Flagshipped has the text of a blog post by Flagship audio and gameplay programmer Guy Somberg revealing some of what's going on behind the scenes at the Hellgate: London developer (thanks IncGamers). The post was quickly removed, but a Google Cache is keeping this horse from getting back into the barn, something we felt some qualms about linking to based on that writer's regret, but stories about all this on GamesIndustry.biz and Next Generation have no such reservations (nor credits to the original sources of this news), so here's the post:

Work is depressing right now. Never mind the fact that Hellgate isnít as popular as anybody had hoped. Never mind the fact that there exists a term ďFlagshipped,Ē meaning where a company basically overpromises and then screws you. Never mind the fact that the forums are totally populated by people who do nothing but complain and talk about how much the game sucks. Never mind the fact that people do the same thing in the game itself.

Yes, Hellgate is not a big success. That sucks, and itís depressing. Iím keeping a positive attitude about it because of Korea and China. The Koreans really love the game, and the Chinese have yet to see it. I donít know how any of these deals are structured, but Iím hinging my hopes for Hellgateís future on the Asian market.

So why is work depressing? (Other than all of those other depressing things, that is.) The reason is that people are leaving. In droves, theyíre leaving. Weíve had programmers, accountants, HR people, and artists leave. The founders are all still around, but theyíve been floating away from Hellgate to work on various other projects. The only one still actively on Hellgate is Tyler, but Tylerís not programming anymore; he spends all of his time on management activities.

Today was our programming internís last day; heís leaving the company for the world of academia to get his PhD in computer science. I also learned today that another of our programmers is leaving in a couple of months (he gave lots of notice, which is very nice of him). With him leaving, I am basically the senior developer on Hellgate. Tyler, Dave, and Peter (the founders) are the only other programmers who were around beforehand, and I was the first programming hire after that. With Dave and Peter on other projects, and Tyler basically no longer a programmer, Iím whatís left after he leaves.

Thing is, the way things are going Iím likely to be the only programmer still working on Hellgate left from the original crew. Iíve heard rumours that other programmers and artists are thinking of leaving.

I was so disturbed to learn that all of these people are leaving that I couldnít concentrate, and I left work early, claiming illness. I donít want to leave Flagship. Iím happy here. I like the people, I like the environment, I like the pay, I like the location... Thereís so much good about it. Iím not considering leaving. Itís just overwhelming and depressing having all of these people go. Every time a programmer leaves, itís more work for me. Every time an artist leaves, itís less content that we can create for Hellgate in the future.

Tyler is talking about replacing our programming intern with a designer. Iím fighting against that, because we need more programmers! We canít just put it all on me.

Bah. Listen to me whine. It could be much worse, of course. At this point, though, what I need is some fresh projects; Iím getting burned out on Hellgate.

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90 Replies. 5 pages. Viewing page 1.
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90. Re: Interesting Read Jun 17, 2008, 19:52 g_mann
 
" Hellgate: London is the reason why one should never believe previews. Illusion vs reality."

hmm kind of like your posts??

 
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89. No subject Jun 15, 2008, 12:21 dryden555
 
The investors and higherups wanted $$, so they launched it far too early.

 
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88. Re: Flagshipped Jun 14, 2008, 00:31 CreamyBlood
 
I really tried to get into the Diablos, so I guess I'm glad I never got ripped off by a much more recent and modern online attempt at a clone.

If you need your fix, try Nethack or Angband or something. Sure the graphics aren't as good but at least they have a little more depth and a lot more stress.

 
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87. Re: Flagshipped Jun 13, 2008, 20:38 Krovven
 
wow, some people are realllllllllllllllly easy to entertain. almost like an infant.

Referring to those that bought and played (possibly still playing) Hellgate London, right?

----------------------------------------------------
Grand Theft Auto IV.....what else is there?

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86. Re: Flagshipped Jun 13, 2008, 15:49 manic half
 
....
Glad that I was not Flagshipped,
Ray

Best. Post. Ever!

*Applauds*

Creston

wow, some people are realllllllllllllllly easy to entertain. almost like an infant.

 
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85. Re: Just the facts, ma'am Jun 11, 2008, 22:04 Slink
 
AoC had one of the smoothest MMO launches I've ever experienced. Yes there are a few bugs and that sucks, but it suffers from nothing different than any other MMO at launch (lack of endgame, minor to medium bugs, etc). It has handled downtime better than any other MMO I've played, especially when it first launched.

Please don't compare AoC to Hellgate. You're giving Hellgate waaaaay too much credit.

- - - - - -
AoC: Darsius (Cimmeria) -- WoW: Darsius (Earthen Ring) -- CoH: Photon Prime (Freedom) -- TF2 and CoD4: Slink(FSU)
 
My Steam Community link:
http://steamcommunity.com/id/slinkfsu
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84. Re: Just the facts, ma'am Jun 11, 2008, 22:04 maldoror
 
Hellgate fails as a game, it also fails as a gaming business model with its subscription scam. It fails in all levels, nothing the hellgate lackeys say will change any of that. And they call the people who hate this game trolls? I have some news for you, everyone with a bit of sanity left hates this game morons. Try again, and next time do not try to fuck us in the ass with your bullshit adds and subscription plans and maybe your game will not be a massive disaster.


 
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83. Re: Just the facts, ma'am Jun 11, 2008, 21:56 Creston
 
I've been reading your site for damn near a decade and this is the only time I've felt disappointed in a story.

So he's batting, what? 0.99997? That sounds pretty good to me.

I understand Blue's reasoning for linking to this, and also understand his reason for NOT linking to it originally. If you weren't a fanboy of the game, you wouldn't be whining about how "disappointing" this story is.

Creston

 
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82. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 21:53 Creston
 
it's just that since the poor launch everyone and their brother on the internet thinks it's ok to trash talk the game every chance they get

Psssst. It actually is. That's why it's called a Free Country. I'm sure that Flagship has a deal with the Chinese government that anybody talking shit about their game there will immediately be incarcerated.

Creston

 
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81. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 21:45 Creston
 
AoC = Apples, HGL = Oranges.

I don't think that's really correct. The appropriate analogy would be :

AoC = Apples. HGL = Tomatoes. (You know. The ones that have been pulled from the shelf by the FDA because of Salmonella.)

Creston

 
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80. Re: Flagshipped Jun 11, 2008, 21:41 Creston
 
....
Glad that I was not Flagshipped,
Ray


Best. Post. Ever!

*Applauds*

Creston

 
Avatar 15604
 
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79. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 21:05 infekt
 
@xXBatmanXx

lol


Seriously though, if I enjoy playing a game I'm going to play it regardless of wtf anyone else thinks and not waste my time trying to defend sell it to those who are not interested.

 
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78. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 19:20 Ray Marden
 
Hey, I took on a majority of your points and pointed out my issues with them.

You claim of shock does seem to fly in the face of your recent account creation and decade-long reading history.

I did manage to reply to you without having to resort to "up yours." If anything, you proved my point...
ZOMG, Hump gave me the clap!
Shrugging,
Ray

-----
I'm looking for some alien toilet to park my bricks; who's first?
http://www.flagshipped.com/
I love you, mom.
 
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Everything is awesome!!!
http://shoutengine.com/GarnettonGames/
I love you, mom.
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77. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 18:42 Warrax
 
I saw this game in Target the other day for $17. I thought seriously about getting it for the SP, since there is no way in HELL that I would pay a monthly fee for a game that clearly is not deserving of one.

If you do end up getting it (not saying you will), create the char online. The multiplayer gets love first from what I've seen. And it's the same game whether you're online or off unless you pay. The "locked" stuff was probably the very first thing they released for the Halloween event, which was indeed locked. They opened it up to everyone though due to problems with their billing. Since then I've never seen anything drop that I can't use. And no, I don't pay. I'd love to buy the new content as an expansion though. I refuse to pay month-to-month for it though.

I'd pay $20 for the current game. Don't hate me. :)

Yeah it's better to play online, the free content is the same as the SP but you get online features like Auction House (2.0), Mail and priority on patches (Single Player is getting patched a lot less often like 1 patch every 5 multiplayer patches).

 
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76. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 18:25 Frijoles
 
I saw this game in Target the other day for $17. I thought seriously about getting it for the SP, since there is no way in HELL that I would pay a monthly fee for a game that clearly is not deserving of one.

If you do end up getting it (not saying you will), create the char online. The multiplayer gets love first from what I've seen. And it's the same game whether you're online or off unless you pay. The "locked" stuff was probably the very first thing they released for the Halloween event, which was indeed locked. They opened it up to everyone though due to problems with their billing. Since then I've never seen anything drop that I can't use. And no, I don't pay. I'd love to buy the new content as an expansion though. I refuse to pay month-to-month for it though.

I'd pay $20 for the current game. Don't hate me.


 
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75. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 17:53 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Holy crap - now we have 3!? They really sent out their work force to do some cleanup!

*scrub**scrub**scrub*

Bad new is bad of course, and when people get cranky and have to give their own views, the company will try their best to respin and make it look better.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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74. No subject Jun 11, 2008, 17:47 xXBatmanXx
 
Holy crap - now we have 3!? They really sent out their work force to do some cleanup!

Real Life Brucie: http://www.scottalexander.tv/welcome.php
BN 360 Scoreboard:
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Buy from GreenManGaming? Use this, we both get $2.00 - http://www.greenmangaming.com/?gmgr=purutuwi
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73. Re: Just the facts, ma'am Jun 11, 2008, 17:36 g_mann
 
But Ray. aren't all game like this Including AOC???


But then again you are the type of person who changes his sig depending on the situation.


This comment was edited on Jun 11, 17:59.
 
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72. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 17:32 Mashiki Amiketo
 
I'll be happy to say I have this chunk of crap sitting on the shelf where it can sit, I kinda wish I could get my money back but no wishing will ever make that happen.

I would have enjoyed playing the game for the 'promised' content, which never happened. Actually reminds me of another game recently too.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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71. Re: No subject Jun 11, 2008, 17:24 Prez
 
I saw this game in Target the other day for $17. I thought seriously about getting it for the SP, since there is no way in HELL that I would pay a monthly fee for a game that clearly is not deserving of one.

Then I remembered how everyone was telling me how often they get drops that say "Locked for Subscribers" or something like that. And I remembered how idiotic the whole subscription model thing was. And I remembered how the developers had the audacity to try to foist ads on paying users and subscribers. And I remembered what a buggy, non-working mess the game was released as. And I asked myself, why reward such incompetence with a purchase, even at a discount? The game is still sitting there, needless to say.

I'm not a hater - I wanted to play the 'Hellgate' that was announced. Alas, I'm still waiting for that game.
 
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ďThe greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.Ē
- Mahatma Gandhi
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