Hellgate: Resurrection Heads To Tokyo

This is from the March patch by HanbitSoft.

After the phenomenal runaway success of Hellgate: London it was only a matter of time before there’d be an expansion… Justhangonaminute. Astonishingly this is not a mad lie. There really is to be a Hellgate: Tokyo. There’s even a debut teaser to prove it, below. However, it’s looking likely that the Korean owners, HanbitSoft, will be keeping the game and this new expansion inside Asia. Still, with the announcement of a new version of Mythos last week, it’s interesting to see what happened next to the disastrous MMO.

So after the collapse of Flagship, and the ensuing squabbles over IP for Hellgate, it all ended with the game in the hands of co-owners, Korean company Hanbitsoft. Namco-Bandai kept the US servers alive until January of this year, and then the game disappeared from Western eyes completely. And wasn’t exactly missed. Even Flagship boss Bill Roper said the game “wasn’t as good as it should have been”, overreaching and failing to please any segment of the audiences they were aiming for. But the story of how they lost the IP is sad, it being owned by the bank and their not having the assets to buy it back. It now seems to be wholly with HanbitSoft, and their investors T3 (who Roper cites as being the reason relationships broke down between the two companies in his frank interview with 1Up.)

Bill Roper is now of course at Cryptic, having worked on Champions Online. And much of the Mythos team from Flagship went on to form Runic and our much-loved Torchlight.

So here, for little more than curiosity, is the teaser for the first expansion of the newly reworked Korean Hellgate: Resurrection. This will be out in Asia next month, with the Tokyo expansion due for release in March 2010. Readers of Asia, do you think you’re likely to play?


  1. Bhazor says:

    Hellgate has always bewildered me. A brilliant idea (Borderlands shows the worth of it) in development for yonks with ex-Blizzard guys and yet it completely failed at the most important point, the guns and gunning were complete gash. How does that happen? How can guys from a company renowned for polish release such a shonky unfinished game?

    I blame the publishers but purely on principle.

  2. DrGonzo says:

    “wasn’t as good as it shouldn’t have been”

    Think that was a typo, sorry for being irritating.

  3. Mr.Bigglesworth says:

    DO WANT !! D:

  4. Mateo says:

    One of the things that blizzard has is piles of cash that they can use to spend years polishing a game before releasing it. Most other companies (especially the ones making MMOs) can’t afford to do this, hence the large number of them that get released unfinished.

  5. Ybfelix says:

    Mass Effect failed hard on shooting aspect but was still praised
    Hmm, wrong genre/core gameplay example I guess

    (I do hope Bioware fix that enemies-pile-up-on-entrance problem)

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Not even a comparison quite frankly.

    • Ybfelix says:

      I demand better hit detection for the reply button!~

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Man, I must be the only person who actually liked ME’s combat. D:

      Hell, the shooting felt better than Bioshock’s to me.

    • Jacques says:

      Hellgate wasn’t just about shooting though, only one of the three classes relied on guns, the Templar’s mostly used mellee weapons and the other class used spells for damage.

    • Wooly says:

      I agree with Lord_Morja! I thought the shooting was just fine, and I play lots of FPS’s. Then again I played the PC version, and I’ve heard the 360 one has some sort of weird autoaimything going on.

    • Chaz says:

      I enjoyed the shooty bits of ME on the 360. No weird auto aim thing going on. Just that when you needed to use a special power, you had to bring up a radial menu which paused the combat whilst you selected what ever you wanted. It just made to combat feel a little bit disrupted some times, but it never borthered me. To be honest, in ME, if you picked the straight soldier class, then you probably picked the most boring one. Once I got my Vanguard to level 40 and above, he became a real bad ass. The best feeling of Star Warsy type force powers that I have experienced in a game. It really comes into its own when you play through again on hardcore and all the enemies are a level or two above you. Sending a squad of guys flying with your “force push” or knocking guys clean off their feet with my explosive ammo loaded shotgun, just never got old.

  6. ZIGS says:

    I actually enjoyed Hellgate London :\

    • Dave says:

      I did too, despite its flaws. In single-player, anyway.

      But I enjoy Borderlands more, despite its flaws. A very different game really. I think my ideal FPSRPG would combine some of the best features of each.

    • Catastrophe says:

      I enjoyed Hellgate too and loved the uncontrollable 30minute laughing sessions at some of the bugs – like my friend and me entering an instance together yet I couldn’t see him, but he could see me, so all I see is enemies falling apart – yeah kinda forgot the main part of the MMORPG – actually seeing other players….

      But it had some interesting ideas, and the armoursets looked cool.

      Blademaster was fun :)

  7. Tei says:

    My favorite hellgate level is these with the big “blobs” everywhere. The museum level, wen big monsters spawn everywhere, and is hard to stay alive, is good too. The hell levels are somewhat lame, but not that bad. The underground.. he… caves-temples are good if only because some are a challenge. Good for coop.
    I like the levels where you play on a empty river, but by the time you go there, you are very powerfull. The endgame is not bad, and the “nightmare” worlds are not that bad.
    There was this thing…. the cutscene triggering wen you kill the endboss, so you was like taken by surprise in a bad way. Is interesting how Borderlands repeat most of these “errors” but do things slithty different. Theres also a terrible endbos, and once you have beat that mob, you have to start again. Both games can be described in the same terms, but feel different, and the sucess is different.
    But I want to play Hellgate again, maybe I will search for that 2GB patch that people talk about, and install it. I suppose it enhance the singleplayer part?.

    What make Borderlands soo different to Hellgate?
    Humm… The open areas. Using the same characters for both online and offline. Different focus (focus on weapons over powers). Borderlands don’t have a weid bussines model and big expectations (other than DLC’s). Different serving model (multiple player driven servers vs owner driven single server)(one can argue that the BL one is worse). Very fast leveling… Borderlands has not problems at all with powerleveling, is level happy…. Is also loong, so you don’t finish it quickly, if you do everything. The “singleworld” feel. The NPC vendor (expender) live in the same world the mobs. The crates (chest) mechanism to deliver better weapons.
    Hellgate has some tricks that borderlands lack.. these extra-extra-extra levels that happends just inside other levels (most, very short dungeons). The diablolike ability to buff weapons with alchemy.

    So why one is a “bad game” and the other is a “good game”? some people say “the weapons”, but what thats mean? I know I don’t like how L4D2 weapons feel, but ..is the sound files? the expectations of damage? the animation?. Hellgate failed because the weapons sound files where not loud enough?

    • Severian says:

      I’ve thought about this as well: the whole “what makes a satisfying weapon” thing. Much has to do with the feedback one receives from hitting your pixelated enemy. If there’s no response at all, for example, but just an HP reduction, that’s obviously bad. If your character also doesn’t seem to react to the firing/swinging in some way, it feels wrong. It’s all about convincing your neurons that what you’re doing is actually an action in a real environment – and that means providing enough “appropriate” information that fools the brain into believing what’s happening on screen. It’s more than just sounds, although a satisfying THWACK is part of the deal. I’d like to hear some programmers who actually know what they’re talking about chime in on this one.

    • jackflash says:

      Tei, it is for your Mrs. Dalloway-esque stream of consciousness musings on computer games that I continue to read all of the comments on this site.

    • Tei says:

      Thanks jackflash, very appreciated.. hehe. What other website will you read, anyway?, RPS is the best PC gaming site, and as a bonus, the bloggers writing skills often generate rather good articles.

    • Chris R says:

      Good comments and questions Tei.

      I think the weapons and attacking in HellGate felt “weak” because it was all based on “Damager Per Second” caculations, rather than the variable damage in Borderlands (and any other FPS for that matter). Borderlands damage calculations allow for ‘headshots’ or ‘criticals’ if you aim for the head. This causes massive additional damage, and in any other FPS game, would be an insta-kill. The player also knows when he gets a critical because of the text that pops up.

      Hellgate lacked that kind of mechanic entirely, even for the characters that played with guns. A headshot in Hellgate did nothing noticeable, and critical hits weren’t satisfying enough. Come to think of it, where there headshots or criticals in that game? I played a mage to 50 and a gun-user (ranger?) to 30… but I can’t recall if there were headshots. If there were, they weren’t memorable enough. And that was part of the problem with Hellgate. The combat totally boiled down to who could do the most Damage per Second… that’s all. There wasn’t really a good way to skillfully avoid damage either, other than running out of line of sight. I feel like Borderlands allows me to avoid taking damage if I’m good at dodging attacks.

      Basically, games need to get away from the BS mechanic of “60 DPS (Damage per second), with a 5% chance of critical hit.” I saved a post I saw once and it captures EXACTLY how I feel about this whole issue. I WISH I could remember who posted this… :( Here it is: “For me combat in a shooter isn’t so much about simulation. It’s more about arcadey-action gameplay, and an important aspect of that is about the player having the opportunity to leverage their own skill against the challenges in the game. Personally I don’t like it when game-mechanics insert a wedge between me and the thing I’m supposed to be controlling. I’d rather that action gameplay is more about player skill, and less about the invisible spreadsheet behind the action.” Chris’ note: Which is where I think Hellgate failed, and Borderlands succeeds.

      “Also, I don’t think most of us are so uber that we can pick up any FPS and totally dominate every combat challenge right from level 1. There is a natural skill progression arc in inherent in games based on player skill, so it seems sort of redundant to force this on players with hardcoded handicaps.” Chris’ note: Damage per second is one of those handicaps.

      “In a real RPG (i.e. pen and paper) this might be necessary because real-time player skill doesn’t count for much so the game has complete responsibility for modelling characters abilities, but in a computer game, my game-playing skill can be used as a substitute for the characters skill at running about and shooting stuff.”

  8. Ybfelix says:

    “Asia”‘s common reference has been steadily drifting east, amazing isnit. The “minor”, Baghdad, India, now Far East, and usually, Japan.

    As a reader of Asia I can report that the game stirred up a bit when it launched due to Blizzard’s godly reputation here, but never floated in my country(China), for the same reasons in western. Despite a contract has been announced, local operator never actually start running servers. I don’t even know our Korean neighbours are still playing it

  9. RiptoR says:

    Not sure if you’ve heard of this, but a couple of modders recently released a SP Revival patch for HG:London. Site here : link to hellgateaus.net

  10. Jacques says:

    Hooray for having bought a lifetime Hellgate sub!

    • Zindaras says:

      Thank God I wasn’t the only one. Remember all those fools petitioning to get their money back from a company without enough money to pay its employees? A veritable barrel of laughs! I bought the Founder’s Offer for the potential I saw in Hellgate, and it still saddens me that it was never even close to realized.

    • Jacques says:

      Such a shame the Abyss Chronicles never made it past the test server.

  11. Let1Down says:

    Is that teaser seriously made out of a cinematic from a trailer of the original game, and then whatever was being said after that? I can’t decide if I’m glad it shows the amount of effort they will put into this at the start or… Oh wait there isn’t another option I am just glad. Yes, I may be a bit bitter because I sort of played way too much of the SP of HG:L and don’t understand why I like a game that is obviously so bad (50+ hours is too much in any game (in one play through) for me, frankly, so I sort of feel it stole those hours and I WANT THEM BACK!).

  12. Jimbo says:

    Anything to do with the Koreans hating Japan with the intensity of 1000 (rising) suns?

  13. Nige says:

    Am I one of the only people to notice the similarities between Hellgate and Borderlands? I own both and find it so close to be almost identical. Except on is enjoyable of course. (Except for the ending. Damned Beholder with hentai tentacles! Not good enough. SEE ME.)

    • Nige says:

      I’m sorry, ignore me. I’m actually reading the comments now.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t find them very similar, for all that they were both supposed to be “Diablo with guns.”

      The FPS experience is much more authentic in Borderlands. Unfortunately that also means the forums are full of people telling you the answer to everything is “aim better”…

      Meanwhile the creative variety of weapons (and spells-as-weapons) — though not the actual usefulness in many cases — was much fuller in HGL. Leaving out the magic side of things, Borderlands could have used some exotic energy weapons (beyond the Eridian vendor trash) and chugging chemical-spurting guns and blade-throwing rifles and explosive dart pistols and MIRV rockets and so on.

      How awesome would it have been to hose down psycho midgets with a Nanodyne Firestarter, or nuke skags with a Jade Hydra?

      The tech level of the guns in BL is behind modern real-world weaponry, nevermind toss-them-out-of-your-pocket popup sentry guns, grenades that heal you, personal shields, personal HUD, vending machines that sell all this stuff, and interstellar space travel. Kind of anachronistic, which works in some senses (revolvers YAY!) but leaves out a lot of potential awesomeness.

  14. DK says:

    I love that Korean script. It makes it look like the trailer is made for martians.

  15. bob_d says:

    “…T3 (who Roper cites as being the reason relationships broke down between the two companies in his frank interview with 1Up.)”
    Flagship was getting funding from Hanbitsoft before T3 took them over. From what I’ve heard, the irony is that T3 was only in a position to take control of Hanbitsoft because Hanbit had pretty much lost all their money trying to keep Flagship afloat…

  16. Ben says:

    The entire gaming world did not hate Hellgate London, gents :(

    I would love to see a resurrection of it here in the UK again, co-op was jolly good fun and I resent the brutally short amount of time we had to enjoy it

  17. Sam Bigos says:

    I’ve never understood why things written in Japanese are in english and japanese? Why is the Coming Soon at the end in english? Can all Japanese people read english as well as Japanese?

    Somebody enlighten me :).

    • Psychopomp says:

      Basically, the japanese consider gratuitous english to be cool.

    • Mal says:

      @Sam Bigos & Psychopomp:
      Actually, the video’s in Korean.

    • bill says:

      (a) Most japanese can read english no problem. They can’t speak it that well, but they know it.
      (b) Many new words come from english (computer, etc..) and mangling them into katakana is often harder than just doing them in english.
      (c) Foreign words sound exotic. (see all the cafes, restaurants, food, clothing brands with french/italian names.)
      (d) The same reason you see lots of t-shirts and tatoos with kanji on them.

      But this is korean anyway, and they don’t do such good english… but c’est la vie…

      (second attempt at getting the hated reply button to work…)

  18. malkav11 says:

    Hellgate had its issues, but I liked both concept and final game. I just wish they hadn’t tried to make it an MMO.

  19. Dominic White says:

    There’s this vibe going around that somehow, Hellgate was the worst game ever made, and everyone hated it, because it was right to hate it because it was worse than cancer, and if you liked it then you’re the worst thing ever and should be hounded constantly for it.

    Only it actually had a pretty solid fanbase right up to the day it shut down, some of whom are trying to revive it, patching in lost stuff to singleplayer and trying to restore LAN play. When it worked, it was a lot of fun. Borderlands is good, yes, but it doesn’t have that same feeling of being an unstoppable badass wading neck-deep in demons and killing three enemies with every attack.

    It’s just a terrible shame that the Abyss Chronicles megapatch (which, as mentioned by others, weighed in at something like 2gb) was online-only, and only existed for about a week. Word is that it overhauled a lot of stuff. Rebalancing, UI changes, several new tilesets/regions, new enemies, etc etc.

    The game that got shut down was, ironically, the game that should have launched in the first place. If they’d just spent another six months of focused development time and playtesting, it would have probably been remembered as a success. Instead, they pushed a beta out, mismanaged the business side of things, and by the time they had gotten their shit in order, they’d completely run out of money and imploded as a studio.

    I don’t think anyone in particular is going to miss Flagship as a studio, but I do miss the game. Co-op wise, I actually think I preferred it to Borderlands.

    • Tei says:

      Many games that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give the funds to then? Then do not be too eager to deal out judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

    • Tei says:

      I agree with your post. But I am somewhat bitter about anything that smells like the word “potential”. I jump every time I see something that smell like the word in a mmo context. :-/

    • Dominic White says:

      The whole MMO thing was a large part of why it sank. If they’d just stripped away the subscription stuff (which I personally never paid for, because there was never enough content to justify it), and perhaps just had optional micropayments to unlock new quest areas over time, it would have likely been remembered a lot more fondly. It wasn’t an MMO at all – it was straight-up Diablo (complete with enemy toughness/numbers increasing as you added players), only instead of having a text-based lobby, it had a visual one.

      It was a really stupid business decision that left a lot of people with a bad taste in their mouths. I can understand WHY they did it (at the time they decided it, the MMO industry was in full boom), but they really shouldn’t have. Oddly enough, they were planning on going the microtransaction route for Mythos, which was a much more polished product when it was shut down. If they’d applied the same business model to both games, it would have helped a lot.

      A lot of folks are still very angry about Hellgate. Me? I’m just very dissapointed. They could have done better. They SHOULD have done better, but they didn’t or couldn’t, and that’s just kinda sad.

    • Jacques says:

      The studio was trying to do a lot of stuff right, but they were just far too ambitious. There’s a demo on youtube of them running Hellgate on an 8 core machine, which makes you wonder why they didn’t bother spending that time polishing the game rather than doing something like that that noone would really notice.
      Abyss Chronicles was online for a month at the very least on the Test Server, and Flagship were kind enough to let everyone try it out, including non subs (I believe)

      There were a lot of things I didn’t like about the game, such as Flagship patching all the quick farming methods, but the core gameplay was good fun, and that’s really all that mattered.

  20. lePooch says:

    RiptoR, you just made my day. Hellgate was a shit game all said and done, but godammit its setting was PERFECT. The way I feel about this game is probably the way some RPS’ers feel about Stalker(which i FINALLY bought for five dollars on Black Friday last week). It is just unfortunate that Hellgate never gained quite the following that Stalker gained.

    I cant remember the number of times I have salivated over Hellgate patch news before realizing it is aimed at the Korean game. Now I can actually see what it could become, maybe even participate in the revival.

    RPS Writer People! Why dont you ever cover revivals like this? You’ve salivated over stalker over and over. Comments on previous threads have clearly shown some love for Hellgate. Did none of you four like it? Even a little bit?

    Was it because the destruction of London hit a little too close to home, and now that its moved to Tokyo you feel a little liberated?

    RARRR bias bias waaawaaa…. OK Im done. Hellgate finished installing while i wrote. THATS RIGHT. It was also the fastest install I can ever remember. Investigating the install files shows a crapload of xml files, which probably makes it oodles more moddable than Stalker:Call of Cherpyat.

    Now I just need to find the patches…

  21. bill says:

    (a) Most japanese can read english no problem. They can’t speak it that well, but they know it.
    (b) Many new words come from english (computer, etc..) and mangling them into katakana is often harder than just doing them in english.
    (c) Foreign words sound exotic. (see all the cafes, restaurants, food, clothing brands with french/italian names.)
    (d) The same reason you see lots of t-shirts and tatoos with kanji on them.

    But this is korean anyway, and they don’t do such good english… but c’est la vie…

  22. dave says:

    hell no …… l4d2ing….

  23. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Hellgate. It could have been so much better. Even though I’ve never played it, there’s a bit of a pang every time I hear of it. Thinking of the promises it never fulfilled, but could have.

    Also, this trailer. link to gametrailers.com

  24. MisterX says:

    I totally loved the idea of hellgate, such strong and enticing IP, but alas the game let it down.
    It was however getting better as it went along, just not quick enough to keep people paying for it.

    I even bought the books , they were very entertaining, but i’ve never see so many spelling mistakes
    in a published book in my life.

    I do hope it lives on in some fashion. Hellgate 2 would have been great, in a lessons learned kind of way.

  25. DarkFenix says:

    I can’t understand people liking Hellgate: London, it was an awful game. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the setting (I’m a Londoner, how could I not?), I love the action-RPG genre, and I love the premise of mixing FPS and RPG formulae.

    However, the game at its core just wasn’t any good. In any action game, whether RPG or FPS, one of the most important factors is how satisfying the toys are. In HG:L the guns all sounded tinny and weak and felt like they had no punch. Furthermore there was the spreadsheet-not-skill based damage and lack of movement interaction with enemies. But as has been pointed out, the gun-based classes only covered 1/3 of the game, the problem was the other 2 classes were both utterly lacklustre too. ALL the game’s abilities lacked any kind of satisfaction in their use, quite the opposite to Diablo 2 where most of the game’s abilities could be turned into an amusing and interesting build.

    • Jacques says:

      I guessed you never played a gun guardian with all 14 mod slots full of shrapnel and nova on hit mods. The toys were very satisfying. Or even really a Marksman that made good use of the passives, they were rather OP when you had two 600RPM guns with bullets that ricochet and seek out enemies, let’s not even talk about the skill that essentially double your RoF.
      Check this video to see what I mean.

    • Chaz says:

      You sure that vid clip is Hellgate London and not Serious Sam HD?

      Only kidding of course, but you can see what I mean.

    • Dominic White says:

      That’s exactly why I enjoyed it more than Borderlands. It was Serious Sam meets Diablo. No-brainer stuff where you could singlehandedly lay waste to an army and not break a sweat.

      Borderlands, while fun, often devolves into emptying a whole magazine into a guys face at point-blank range and hoping it’s enough to knock him down before you have to reload. A whole world away from Hellgate, where you could sometimes kill 5+ enemies in a single shot.

    • Jacques says:

      I agree Dominic, it was far more ARPG than Borderlands is, and all the better, in my opinion, for that.
      I really do miss the multiplayer, SP just isn’t worth it in games like that.
      Edit: example of Marksman.

    • neolith says:

      I also fail to undestand how anyone could like what FSS presented to us as a game.

      HG:L lacked substance in every single aspect except for the setting. Graphics, sound, gameplay and levels were far below the average mod, skilltrees were messy and had several utterly useless skills, playing online was like playing wheel of fortune, the MMO aspect never worked for the game, the randomised levels were a joke, the interface was useless and cluttered, the NPCs boring, crafting a waste of time. What happened during alpha and beta still blows my mind as over the course of one year none of the several bugs I reported got fixed for retail. Their pricing system was a shot to the head at best.

      I have never seen a game try so little and still fail so miserably in every single aspect. There’s free mods out there that are way older than HG:L that have succeeded at the stuff HG:L tried to do. How come a company with lots of professionals that were not new to making games could deliver such a lacking piece of software?

      All this may sound unfair, but given the background of some of the people involved and their experience with games before that were hugely succsessful, I still cannot see how HG:L can be seen as anything else than a complete failure as a whole as well as in detail.

  26. Wooly says:

    Haha, I like the “bias” and “whining” tags! :D

    That said, shit game is going to have a shit sequel. Only, since it’s made by Koreans, it’ll be an even worse MMO with more grinding!

  27. madned says:

    I believe borderlands is better received than HGL because borderlands is a heck of a lot more consistent.

    To start HGL presents itself in the cutscenes completely differently than how the game world presents itself. One is drama the other comedy.
    You have the split code base situation where single player is a completely different executable than the multiplayer, with the attendant problems this presents in patching.
    You have the schizophrenic approach to pricing, is it a monthly MMO or a fixed fee? moreover they switched strategies, granting monthly content to fixed fee players and stuff like that without an apparent guiding rule.

    Borderlands so far is pretty consistent, pay once play however. more or less open battle.net. the thematic presentation from getting off the bus to completing the finale is solid, appropriately campy dark humor all the way through. (turtles all the way down)

    Borderlands benefits from presenting a unified game, HGL suffers from the various segregations.
    For all that, there are quite a few great ideas in HGL, they’re just camouflaged by all the noise.

  28. Bedwyr says:

    I think and rightfully agree with what most people are saying about HGL was what was initially released. I played the Test Center Server with my lvl 50 guardian and can say that the 2.0 patch was what should have been released. The particle effects, skills, etc were much better and game play was improved.

    I currently play on the Korean test server and the modifications they have made are also IMO an improvement. While it looks a little more arcadish, you just can’t have more fun than slicing thru zombies and demons like butter. Up close and personal is my play preference of choice.

  29. neoanderthal says:

    WRT Abyss: It is a complete and utter shame that it was never completed. I copied to PTS once it was opened up for the testing of 1.3, and with all of the improvements and changes going on from 1.3 to 2.0, I never left. It’s really too bad the Circle Jerk Society of Pseudo-Journalism that does game reviews is still stuck on impressions of the game formed during the beta test. There were some really great additions and changes in store with 2.0. I miss the game quite a bit; my engineer’s mentally-challenged combat droid, the Summoner’s demon-form, and bitching at my Marksman-playing girlfriend for the lack of covering fire, only to turn around and discover that my Blademaster had surged far ahead and left her behind to be mobbed by swarms of Fellbores. Good thing she had phase grenades :)

  30. bulletpriest says:

    i really wished it could have stayed in the western hands and could have gone to some other developers to be worked on. i really did want to play it since the potential was a 10/10 game but it was flagshipped so i lost the feeling and died a little inside cause i liked the books and the comics