Report: Flagship Studio Closes, Loses All IP

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Update: Flagship community manager Taylor Balbi has denied Voodoo Extreme's report that he confirmed the studio's closure.

"I didn't say this at all, and I have never spoken to [Andrew Burnes at Voodoo Extreme] or recall ever speaking to [Andrew Burnes at Voodoo Extreme] about anything ever," Balbi wrote on the company's forums. "I'm sorry, but this news article is just not from me."

Meanwhile, multiple Flagship staff members--including Guy Somberg, Patrick Harris, Amol Deshpande, Chris Schillinger, Jesse Jones and Ray Li--have updated their LinkedIn accounts to show they are no longer with the company.

In curious related news, Hellgate: London subscribers have been unable to cancel their subscriptions for the past day, according to Flaggshipped.

Original Story: Following up on word of significant layoffs at Hellgate: London (PC) developer Flagship Studios, multiple reports are now circulating that the studio has shut down and all employees have been let go.

Left, Hellgate: London. Right, Mythos.

A Kotaku report on the studo's closure cites an anonymous source, while Voodoo Extreme sources Flagship community manager Taylor Balbi. Balbi apparently claimed that three of the studio's executives used their personal funds to provide employees with 30 days of pay.

Formed by the ex-Blizzard North staff responsible for the acclaimed Diablo series, Flagship released its first title, the action-RPG Hellgate: London, last fall. Another action-RPG, Mythos, was still under development.

The closure also applies to ping0, an online publishing and hosting company created by Flagship and Korean publisher HanbitSoft.

With its doors shut, Flagship has relinquished its rights to the Hellgate: London and Mythos action-RPG franchises. HanbitSoft now owns the Mythos intellectual property, while Comerica Bank gets Hellgate: London per a past loan agreement.

"It is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open," a HanbitSoft lawyer told Hellgate Guru.

"HanbitSoft hopes to work with Comerica and some of the team at Flagship to see if there is a way to continue to generate content to keep Hellgate online in Asia and to finish the development of Mythos."

While the situation isn't looking too good for Flagship and its former employees, an anonymous tipster informed Kotaku of "hope that they will all have their jobs back at the end of next week at a brand new company."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 12, 2008 11:54 AM

    So what are the expected impacts of this to me, a non-subscribing multiplayer playing (on Ping0 I guess) new customer?

    I and three of my friends picked up Hellgate:London yesterday and had a blast blowing things up last night. Is our fun going to end soon? Or is a new company just going to pick up where Flagship left off, continue support (whatever) and keep the servers up?

    I'm sure no one knows for sure, or the details, but what "could" happen here?

    • reply
      July 12, 2008 12:15 PM

      HanbitSoft goes on to state that in doing so, it will be able to “properly manage and develop Hellgate: London into a good game with proper content”

      From: http://hellgateguru.com/2008/07/flagship-no-longer-owns-hellgate-london/

      • reply
        July 12, 2008 2:44 PM

        cept its Comerica bank that owns HG:L not Hanbitsoft. Second what I read was "continue to develop content in Korea." Only EA can save us now... lol.

        • reply
          July 12, 2008 3:17 PM

          Yeah, good points. The quote doesn't allay the fears raised by the end of this new article.

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