Remember Hellgate: London? It was a near-future action-RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world shattered by an invasion of demons. The focus was on single-player gameplay but there was a strong multiplayer element to it as well, with PvP action and instanced, team-based quests. It was a cool idea (I thought so, anyway) but the execution faltered, and the servers were taken offline in early 2009. It was resurrected as a free-to-play online game a few years ago, but that didn't gain any traction with North American audiences either. Now it's taking a run at Steam.
I got to talk to Mark Kern a few weeks ago. He's previously worked on Starcraft, Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3. But Mark also knows his MMOs. He was team leader on World of Warcraft and he's currently CEO of Red 5 Studios - the team behind MMO FPS Firefall.
Mark reckons massively multiplayer games need to evolve dramatically if they're to be successful. "We’ve got to break out of the mould." said the CEO. "If I see another action MMO combat game with exclamation points over quest givers, I’m going to commit seppuku! We’re pouring so much money down a very stale formula. It’s an illusion to say that "Oh, that’s safety. It used to be safety but it's not anymore."
Last month we learned that Korean company Hanbitsoft will be bringing back Hellgate: London as a free-to-play MMO. After a short closed beta test earlier this month, they're set to throw open the hell-gates to everyone with the launch of a US and European open beta, kicking off this Thursday June 30. You can sign up for an account and download the client now from the Hellgate site.
Hanabitsoft have announced that they're bringing back Flagship Studio's 2009 MMO Hellgate: London as a free-to-play title later this year. A short closed beta test is set to run from June 3 to June 5 ahead of a full release in North America. There's no mention of a European release just yet.
Shacknews say that more details are expected soon, but it's almost certain that the free to play MMO will be supported by micro-transactions. Hellgate: London was set in a grim post-apocalyptic vision of London overrun by demons. Players took the role of techno-magical knights fighting back against the invasion. Hanabitsoft also bought up Flagship's test project, Mythos, and re-released it recently as its own free to play MMO.