American developer Flagship Studios has closed its doors and made all of its staff redundant, according to Voodoo Extreme.
The Hellgate: London developer, formed by ex-Blizzard North staff, officially closed its San Francisco and Seattle studios yesterday. Its MMO management company Ping0, formed as a joint effort between Flagship and Korean distributor HanbitSoft, will also close.
According to a statement released by HanbitSoft in response to the news, Flagship will now lose the Hellgate IP to fellow investor Comerica due to it being used as collateral on a loan, while the IP to Mythos, Flagship’s current project, will remain with HanbitSoft for similar reasons.
It also said: "It is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open, but 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."
The studio had at one pointlooked to have a promising future, with Hellgate a much-anticipated title and an impressive track record at Blizzard North. However, a rushed launch and unpopular subscription system, plus a paucity of content post-release, is blamed for the studio’s demise.
A former Ping0 employee wrote on the SA forums: "I feel bad for some of the talented guys on the staff who busted rear end to try and get a game out on a ridiculous schedule, but I think we all kind of saw this coming after the game came out and basically bombed. Flagship bit off way more than they could chew and made a lot of development and structural mistakes in how they went about things. They had a lot of big dreamers on staff, but not enough nitty-gritty people who knew how to get poo poo done. It sucks, but that’s life I guess."
According to Flagship’s community manager Taylor Babli, three of the developer’s ‘top brass’ have paid for 30 days wages for all employees out of their own pockets.