Flagship's Hellgate: London Finally Back as F2P

Thursday HanbitSoft, Redbana and T3 Entertainment announced that Hellgate (sans the "London" extension) is finally returning to North America later this year. The game will initially launch as a free-to-play MMO in closed beta from June 3rd to June 5th.

"Players are invited to return to Hellgate this June to fight for the survival of the human race," reads the official PR. "Join a party online to fight against evil with a team or play solo if you’re brave enough. Choose your character from six different unique class types and prepare for battle against creatures from hell. Arm yourself with a wide variety of weapons and armor and dismantle the ones you don’t need to obtain rare scrap metals. Enhance your weapons with upgrades and relics to have the best chance of survival."

Hellgate was originally developed by Flagship Studios and launched back in October 2007. After the studio went bankrupt, development halted and the IP was seized as collateral by Comerica Bank. Prolonging the game's eventual death, Namco Bandai provided free US/EU server support until January 31 2009 when the servers were taken offline. HanbitSoft finally swooped in, acquired the Hellgate properties and launched the game in Korea after a controvercial legal dispute with the defunct developer. The company then secured the US/EU territory rights in 2010.

Flagship Studios was founded by former Diablo veterans including Bill Roper, Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer and David Brevik. The studio was working on two titles when the employees were fired and the doors closed: Hellgate: London and the Diablo-like Mythos. HanbitSoft claimed that it offered the studio several methods in keeping the doors open for business prior to the lay-offs, even previously sank large amounts of investments into the studio. But Flagship kept replying to the offers with "ridiculous" counter-offers.

The negotiations between the two parties ultimately went sour and eventually led to the lay-offs of all Flagship employees. “Flagship not only lacked effort, but were only looking for personal gain," HanbitSoft stated in an interview. "Firing all of the Flagship employees in order to protect the personal interests of its founding members only shows how selfish and irresponsible they are."

Now, years later, the legal dust has settled and Hellgate is finally returning to North America through the Redbana publishing arm, the same branch that currently has Flagship's Mythos up and running in closed beta. For the uninitiated, Hellgate is an action RPG in a first-person or third-person perspective set 27 years into the future. The gates of hell have been thrown open and demons have overrun the world of man, doing what demons do best: roam, destroy, pillage and kill.

"With the world above ground abandoned, dark and burnt to hellfire, humans are forced into hiding to protect what remains of their race while making plans to take back a world that was once theirs," reads the description. "In the game, mankind escapes to the underground system under the sprawling metropolis of London. Prepare for a struggle for survival in a world that has become hell."

Fans can follow Hellgate on on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Those who wish to check out Mythos outside the local closed beta can actually play the game via the European service-- there's an English-based server up and running.

  • 4745454b
    Sweet. I always liked the idea of this game, but never bought it because I heard it was buggy as heck. At least now I can try it and if it is not feel bad that I got robbed.
  • Travis Beane
    The game originally only had 1 flaw to me - it crashed every hour.
    Now it has a new problem, it's F2P.
    I was at least willing to play the buggy one. :(
  • vir_cotto
    I did not like the game as much as I thought I would, boring, very repetitive.
  • shakl
    This game is about as boring as it gets. You just look at it, and it sucks. I never played online or even managed to pass the test of endurance that is offline mode. This game really is just terrible.

    Who knows, maybe online is where the fun is... on second though, judging by how long the game lasted, probably not.
  • cliffro
    I got this game for free, to test "new content" post launch, and I can honestly say I was surprised that I liked it. I say surprised because I detest MMORPG's. I leveled several different characters to 30 or so during the process, I only hit 30 because of several resets along the way.

    Overall, not bad for an MMO. I might give it a go when it comes out.
  • randomizer
    Hopefully the game actually works now. I played the demo and was surprised at my amazing ability to slash my foes with a sword from 20 metres away. I never bought it because it was, quite honestly, boring.
  • Transsive
    The game is somewhat similar to Borderlands, with less focus on guns and a more diablo-esque feel.
    Quest are boring, loot is fun, areas are repetitive (randomly generated with limited assets).
    I didn't have all that much fun in single player, but I'm sure the multiplayer might be a worth a look.
  • mindless728
    i wonder if this will have a memory leak on a 64bit executable so it can eat all 8GB of my memory again

    the first wasn't too bad, just horribly buggy, though one of the earlier games to have 64bit support
  • NuclearShadow
    Never played the game, remembered the hype but was never drawn into it.
    Heck that video above was the first time I ever even seen any actual game-play. To me that looks horrible, simply not fun or interesting in any manner.
  • The problem with this game was that it tried to be too many things at once. An FPS, a 3rd person action rpg, and an MMO. Way too much time was spent in development and could not pull enough subscribers in to make it profitable. Should have been free 2 play from the beginning.