You can't keep a good game down, or a messy one either it seems. Over a decade after its stumbling 2007 launch sank developer Flagship Studios, action RPG Hellgate: London is due to return on November 15th, under the stewardship of Korean developer T3 Entertatinment and publisher HanbitSoft. The publisher claim it to be the very latest iteration of the game, complete with the Hellgate: Tokyo expansion that never made it to the original retail version, but had previously surfaced in an earlier (and since discontinued) free-to-play relaunch.
I admittedly quite enjoyed Hellgate: London when it first came out. No denying that it was buggy and that the business model was a mess (an awkward blend of retail, cash-shop and subscription), but I enjoyed wading through demons with an oversized swarm rocket launcher. Hoarding loot as it popped out of monsters that ragdolled through the air was gratifying for a while. It scratched the same itch that Diablo 2 did for a few weeks, though my heart now belongs to the ever-evolving Path Of Exile.
Credit to GameBanshee for hosting this trailer from the dark, blurry age of YouTube.
Still, this surprise return is just baffling. HanbitSoft have already attempted to revive the game before to limited success, and a Greenlight entry for the game in 2014 went largely unnoticed. Even more surreal, while researching the history of the game for this story, I discovered that a (now also defunct) first-person mobile spinoff launched back in 2016, accompanied by this bizarre trailer, describing it as the "Evolution of FPS: Not heavy but fancy!". The new version's store page is accompanied by some similarly odd English, promising "single play optimized scenario contents".
All that said, I'm still curious about this newly announced version. While the Steam store page for it doesn't confirm that it'll be free-to-play, it seems like a reasonable assumption. I never got the chance to poke around Tokyo before. While one post-apocalyptic cityscape is largely as good as another (I found the extradimensional maps most fun to bomb around), having some fresh environments and some new monsters to stab should liven it up. I can't see myself sinking more than a few hours into a new Hellgate release, but I'll give it a spin, for old time's sake.
Hellgate: London relaunches on November 15th. You can find it here on Steam. No price or business model has been announced yet.