Hellgate: London

Last updated
Hellgate: London
Hellgate London.jpg
Developer(s) Flagship Studios [lower-alpha 1]
Publisher(s) Namco Bandai Games
Electronic Arts
Producer(s) Bill Roper
Kenneth Williams
Designer(s) Erich Schaefer
David Brevik
Programmer(s) Tyler Thompson
Peter Hu
David Brevik
Artist(s) Phil Shenk
David Glenn
Writer(s) Ivan Sulic
Composer(s) Sonic Mayhem
Cris Velasco
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release
  • NA: October 31, 2007 [1]
  • EU: November 2, 2007 [1]
ASEAN October 31, 2007 [2]
  • AU: November 1, 2007 [2]
ROK February 22, 2008 [3]
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Hellgate: London is a dark fantasy themed action role-playing game originally developed by Flagship Studios, released on October 31, 2007. It was developed by a team led by former Blizzard Entertainment employees, some of whom had overseen the creation of the Diablo series.

Dark fantasy subgenre of fantasy literary, artistic, and cinematic works that incorporate darker and frightening themes of fantasy

Dark fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy literary, artistic, and cinematic works that incorporate darker and frightening themes of fantasy. It also often combines fantasy with elements of horror or has a gloomy, darker tone, or a sense of horror and dread.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Flagship Studios flagship project

Flagship Studios was a computer game company founded by Bill Roper along with Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik, former high level Blizzard North executives. The core personnel of Flagship Studios had been collaborating as a team since 1993 when they founded Condor Studios and in addition to creating the Diablo franchise many were key high level executives in the development of Warcraft, StarCraft and World of Warcraft games. Flagship Studios was formed following the resignation en masse of Blizzard North management following a dispute with Blizzard Entertainment parent company Vivendi regarding the potential fate of the company, development team, and titles, which were in doubt at that time. Flagship Studio's primary target platform for their games was the PC.

Contents

Set in a post-apocalyptic London in the year 2038, Hellgate: London is a fast-paced action role-playing hack and slash game. It includes random elements from roguelikes such as weapon and armour attributes, item drops, mob spawns and level composition. The game featured both single-player and online multiplayer support when it was released although North American and European (US/EU) online support has since shutdown. The single-player version features a five act story quest line when completed, the player is eligible to restart the story line again in a new high difficulty and create new characters in an elite mode.

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction sub-genre of science fiction taking place after the end of human civilization

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, science fantasy, dystopian or horror in which the Earth's technological civilization is collapsing or has collapsed. The apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change; natural, such as an impact event; man-made, such as nuclear holocaust or resource depletion; medical, such as a pandemic, whether natural or man-made; eschatological, such as the Last Judgment, Second Coming or Ragnarök; or imaginative, such as a zombie apocalypse, cybernetic revolt, technological singularity, dysgenics or alien invasion.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Hack and slash or hack and slay refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat.

In 2008, Flagship Studios filed bankruptcy and all intellectual property was seized as collateral for funding received from Comerica Bank. Subsequently, development of the game halted. Namco Bandai Games provided free ongoing US/EU server support in the fall of Flagship Studios until January 31, 2009, when the US/EU multiplayer game servers and websites were taken offline. HanbitSoft has since acquired properties to the game and has redeveloped it as a free-to-play Hellgate London: Resurrection in South Korea, featuring Seoul based maps. In 2014, Hellgate Global was announced to add Tokyo to the game for a possible release outside South Korea.

Comerica financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas

Comerica Incorporated is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. It has retail banking operations in Texas, Michigan, Arizona, California and Florida, with select business operations in several other U.S. states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

HanbitSoft

HanbitSoft is a Korean computer game publishing and development company. It is best known internationally as the Korean distributor for the successful computer game StarCraft.

Free-to-play video games, also known as free-to-start, are games that give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying. Free-to-play can be contrasted with pay to play, in which payment is required before using a service for the first time.

Gameplay

Hellgate: London is an action role-playing game that builds upon the core design of roguelikes by using random generation of maps, monsters, and loot to allow for replayability. [4] The game can be played in either third person perspective or first person perspective.

Roguelike subgenre of role-playing video games

Roguelike is a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character. Most roguelikes are based on a high fantasy narrative, reflecting their influence from tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games in which the player character is visible on-screen during gaming, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.

First-person shooter Action video game genre

First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre centered on gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective; that is, the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist. The genre shares common traits with other shooter games, which in turn makes it fall under the heading action game. Since the genre's inception, advanced 3D and pseudo-3D graphics have challenged hardware development, and multiplayer gaming has been integral.

Hellgate: London can be played offline or online without a fee. Players can pay a monthly fee to gain additional content over time, including new areas, weapons, monsters, classes, quests, events, titles, game modes and other content. [5] The game consists of six acts to unify the areas a player travels through on a greater scale. All acts account for approximately 25–40 hours of single-player gameplay.

Hellgate: London was initially designed to be primarily focused on solo and cooperative PvE combat, but players can duel and there is a free-for-all PvP mode for subscribers. Dueling can only take place outside of Underground hubs. Players can also choose to enter into PvP mode, which means they can be attacked and harmed outside of Underground hubs by anyone else that has chosen to enter PvP mode. The game does not feature LAN support.

<i>PvP</i> comic

PvP, also known as Player vs Player, is an early video game webcomic, written and drawn by Scott Kurtz. The webcomic follows the events at a fictional video game magazine company. Featuring many running gags and references, with a focus on nerd culture. Dylan Meconis was added as a co-writer in 2013.

The game world of Hellgate: London is a set of demon-infested dungeons and city streets, featuring safe zones such as disused London Underground stations. The safe zones scattered across the world act as havens, where players can purchase and upgrade items at NPC merchants, interact with other players in the game world, and commence or complete quests. The journey between zones is randomly generated; levels are fully 3D, rendered with the game's own proprietary graphics engine. Included in these environments are randomly generated enemies, bosses and items. The game features historical London areas and buildings, such as St Paul's Cathedral and Big Ben.

The Hellgate: London setting has six classes to choose from. These are paired up into three main archetypes, referred to as Factions in game. Players need to choose one of these classes for their role playing character before they can start playing the game. The factions are split as follows;

Melee classes are set to a third-person view and cannot select first-person perspective, whereas ranged classes default to a first-person view but can switch to third-person if so desired. Precision aiming is not required to use most weapons; which track their targets, "lock-on", or carpet an area with explosives. The game contains sniper rifles and other weapons that require accurate manual aiming, though most are exclusive to the Hunter faction.

Players may choose the character's name, and various visual physical attributes. Depending on whether playing singleplayer or multiplayer, several different difficulty settings will be available when creating new characters. A character is permanently locked to the chosen mode. Normal mode is the default difficulty setting. Elite mode is designed to be harder than normal difficulty with several adjustments to game mechanics. Enemies are stronger, deal more damage and rare/legendary mobs are more likely to spawn. Augments are also more expensive and merchants pay less for goods. Hardcore mode is played in either Normal or Elite difficulty with the added attribute a character permanently dies and turns into a ghost when all health is lost.

Hellgate: London uses a heavily randomized item system of at least a hundred base weapon types and many armor types, with a pool of random special properties and bonuses (magical affixes) applied to them to achieve re-playability and promote item collection. Furthermore, unwanted weapons and armour can be freely disassembled to save space in one's inventory, often yielding standard or rare crafting materials that can be exchanged for special crafted weapons at an NPC vendor, or used to upgrade existing weapons or armour. Items may have slots that a player can insert "mods" in to enhance their power.

The single-player version of Hellgate: London hosts the five-act story quest line. Elite characters can be created once a character has completed the story quest line once. The story line can be repeated in Nightmare difficulty starting with mobs starting at level 30. A character's experience is capped at 50 levels while enemies in Nightmare difficulty can reach level 62

History

Original release

Promotion at Taipei Game Show 2008 Hellgate London promotional model, Taipei Game Show 20080124.jpg
Promotion at Taipei Game Show 2008

The developer Flagship Studios had proposed regular additions to Hellgate: London throughout the life of the game. [6] In March 2008, it was announced that Comerica Bank would provide game funding assistance, using Hellgate: London as collateral, for Flagship Studios so that they would not "rely upon a publisher's investment" to support ongoing development of their games. [7] "The Stonehenge Chronicles" update was scheduled for release on January 21, 2008 but was postponed until January 22, 2008 due to bugs. The last content patch developed by Flagship Studios was the "Abyss Chronicles". The original servers were shut down on February 1, 2009. [8]

The company Ping0 managed the American (US) and European (EU) regional servers for Hellgate: London while Infocomm Asian Holdings managed the South-East Asia (SEA) regional server along with the game support and user forums for SEA region players. Players who purchased the game in SEA had server crashing issues; the publishing companies involved gave an official response after several requests from the community to do so. [9] Following the shut down of Flagship Studios in August 2008 [10] and the loss of the intellectual property rights, it was announced that Hellgate: London game servers would be shut down as of January 31, 2009. [11] As announced at 12:00am February 1, 2009 CST the game server for the North American and European regions became inaccessible and the website for Hellgate: London also went offline.

The following is an account of the US/EU subscription model Flagship Studios had while it was in effect: There were two types of multiplayer accounts: free and subscription accounts. Subscribers had access to ongoing content updates. The US subscription plan cost $9.95 a month and an offer to pay a one-time fee of $149.99 for a lifetime subscription was available for up to 100,000 people who pre-ordered the game and ended on January 31, 2008. [12] The UK subscription is £6.99 and EU subscription is €9.99. [13] Additionally, subscribers would have access to a Hardcore mode, special PvP arenas and a PvP ladder, the ability to bypass server queues, a shared storage space with room for 40 items instead of 20, the ability to create guilds, the ability to achieve officer status in guilds, and 24-hour customer support. [14] Subscribers and non-subscribers were able to interact in all ways in the game. Non-subscribers could join guilds, but not create them. [15] The level cap is set to 50 and up to 24 character slots are available for all players. [16] As of July 2008, all subscriptions were suspended and players could neither subscribe nor unsubscribe at that point, although they were no longer billed. [17] Since Flagship Studios went into receivership, the US & EU multiplayer ceased.

Due to problems with the subscription service, the Halloween holiday subscription content was made available to all players, both fee-paying and free-playing. [18] In SEA, two weeks after the game was released, many players complained about a game patch, installed by Infocomm Asia Holdings (IAH), which supposedly would have deleted player's characters since game launch. [19] While the EU and US servers had received recent patches and additional content since launch, support and patching of the SEA server had been delayed. IAHGames, the distributor of Hellgate: London and the company providing the "Alliance" server for the SEA region, had promised patch 0 on launch day itself. [20] However, Patch 0 was delayed with no official date of implementation. On November 14, a joint statement by the CEOs of IAHGames and Flagship Studios announced that the both Patch 0 and Patch 0.1 will be implemented on November 22 and that they are considering some compensation for the early adopters. [19] [21]

Relaunches

On November 3, 2008, Korean-based software distributor Hanbitsoft [22] announced via its global public relations blog, that it has acquired the Hellgate: London and Mythos properties from Flagship Studios. The post mentions development of an upcoming expansion, [23] using leftover Flagship development efforts. Updates from company state the expansion pack includes new maps featuring Seoul and a product title, The Second Invasion. [24] On November 12, 2009, HanbitSoft announced the re-development of Hellgate: London (authorized by the former Flagship Studio) had been completed. [25] By July 2011, Hellgate: London multiplayer servers were relaunched using a free-to-play model. Hanbitsoft's redesigned game is live in Korea, while the North American release has been only in beta testing. [26]

In September 2014, Hellgate Global, which was announced to include the expansion Hellgate: Tokyo and the new Hell Mode difficulty level, was listed at Steam Greenlight by HanbitSoft-linked company Redbana Corporation. [27] The project was approved by the Steam Community and Valve Corporation contacted Redbana Corporation for the possibility of hosting the game on Steam. [28] However, in January 2016 the T3Fun/Redbana Hellgate Global service was shut down.

On November 15, 2018, Hellgate: London was released on Steam, developed by T3 Entertainment and published by HanbitSoft. [29]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic 71/100 [30]
Review scores
PublicationScore
1UP.com D+ [31]
Eurogamer 7/10 [32]
GamePro 60% [33]
GameSpot 7/10 [34]
GameSpy 3/5 [35]
IGN 6.8/10 [36]
Bit-tech 7/10 [37]
GameDaily 7/10 [38]

The game received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. [30] The game sold almost one million copies. [39]

Positive aspects of the game commented on by reviewers include its story, [40] and the overall look of the game. [36] Other aspects of the game received mixed reception. For instance, some reviewers called the combat enjoyable, with varied classes, [35] and praised the loot and customisation aspects, [36] while other reviewers described combat as underdeveloped [36] and monotonous, with quest repetition and locked progression choices. [33] Similarly, the game's technology received mixed reviews. The multiplayer component was both praised [37] and criticised, [35] with some bugs, slowdowns and crashes mentioned. [35]

Other media

Comic

A comic book adaptation of Hellgate: London was written by Ian Edginton, illustrated by Steve Pugh, and published by Dark Horse Comics. All four issues were collected into a trade paperback published in June 2007 ( ISBN   1-59307-681-9). [41] The collected comic was also included in the Collector's Edition of the game. The plot focuses on a Templar, Cabalist and Hunter teaming together to rescue a book they believe will give them an advantage over the demons.

Novels

There is also a trilogy of novels based on Hellgate: London written by Mel Odom. The first novel, titled Exodus was released on June 26, 2007; the second novel, Goetia, was released on February 26, 2008; the third novel, Covenant was released on August 26, 2008. Exodus is set 18 years before events of the game, Goetia takes place 14 years before the events of the game, and Covenant takes place 13 years before the events of the game. The novels primarily follow the stories of three characters and their interactions with each other, as well as their individual struggles against the demons. Each character is from a different class from the game. The novels also feature references to and cameos by various characters from the game.

Hellgate VR

Hellgate VR is being developed by Skonec Entertainment. [42]

Notes

  1. Massive Black, Liquid Development and Shanghai ArtCoding are working on the game after its original release, developing local free-to-play versions.

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