Hellgate: London to Feature Paid Online Multiplayer? (UPDATED)

By Chris Remo, Jan 09, 2007 2:53pm PST In addition to yesterday's announcement that Hellgate: London will be shipping in Summer 2007, developer Flagship Studios revealed this week that the game's multiplayer component is a subscription-based online service. Speaking to Shacknews at CES in Las Vegas, CEO Bill Roper noted that the game draws significantly from massively multiplayer games, with genre trappings such as guilds, continually developed content, a full social system, and raid-type gameplay.

Drawing similarities to ArenaNet's Guild Wars, Hellgate's online is heavily instanced. Group and solo PvE is the game's main focus; PvP will exist in a small scale form, but is not a major element of the initial launch. It will also feature a Hardcore mode similar to that found in Blizzard's Diablo II, a game on which many members of the Hellgate team worked. Hellgate's multiplayer will contain all of the missions and story from the single-player aspect of the game, as well as exclusive gameplay modes and content. Like the single-player game, it will be comprised of dynamically generated areas and items. Further content will be continually added over time by a dedicated Flagship team.

Flagship expects to launch an open beta prior to the launch of the game. Pricing details have not yet been determined, though Roper noted that there will be some kind of trial or free play system for those looking to get a taste of the game without commitment.

"I think that just as Diablo and Diablo II started this religious argument over whether they're RPGs or not, I think that Hellgate will spark that same debate over whether it's an MMO or not," commented Roper, who added that the game has been designed as an MMO from day one. Check back this week for an extensive interview with Roper, delving more comprehensively into the online aspects of Hellgate: London.

Update: Since posting our original news item on the matter, Shacknews has been contacted by Electronic Arts, which is co-publishing the game along with Namco Bandai. EA noted that there has not in fact been any final decision made as to Hellgate: London's online pricing model, be it subscription-based or otherwise. We respect this situation, while maintaining that we have reported fairly on statements we received. A full interview is forthcoming.

Update 2: Our full Bill Roper interview has been published.

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52 Threads* | 162 Comments

  • I would have no problem paying monthly for this is I didn't already have to pay the 50 or 60 bucks for the game. It doesn't sound like a fully featured MMO, so where is the attraction for the monthly fees? What will be my motivation to continue paying? Patches? Kind of already expect that. Extra content? Why not let me buy expansion packs?

    For a game like this I think that Guild Wars has got the right idea. No monthly fees, but frequent addons. I can then pay for what I want, and don't have to pretend as if I am getting anything more than an ingame chatroom and do it yourself matchmaking for my multiplayer and coop gaming.

  • One could only hope that the standard game, sans MMO fee, equals a solid Single Player experience with LAN multiplayer being availlable. If that is the case then, in my opinion, no harm done.

    I'm pretty sure they have to understand that the MMO, online, consistent and secure world will appeal to only a subset of those who would shell out cash for the game otherwise. Hopefully we'll find out more details in the full on interview.

    I believe they have a solid and enjoyable game put together. The fact that their online MMO environment will have some sort of trial means they have faith that it will sell itself. If that's the case I would think it would make sense to give Single and LAN play as the basic package.

  • Hellgate was one of the only worthwhile game coming up in 2007 for me, but I won't be buying it anymore.

    Diablo 2 was lovely, but I wouldn't have paid monthly to play it. It's a game where you can jump in for a few hours and then come back again in weeks/months and have a blast, not something you keep at for months and months. This game isn't an MMO, no matter how anyone tries to rationalize it, and I'm not willing to pay monthly for matchmaking lobbies.

    Sounds like Flagship is trying a bit too hard to get in on other game's successes and emulate korean subscription models.. sigh