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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.