Korean publisher and developer HanbitSoft has officially announced that it owns the IPs for Flagship Studios' Hellgate: London
and is actively working on a Hellgate
expansion, despite the scheduled termination of Hellgate's
servers by operator Namco Bandai.
generally suffered from perceived quality issues and struggled to maintain a sufficient fanbase to continue operating, leading to Flagship's essential closing
in July 2008.
Namco Bandai, who co-published the game through an agreement with EA Partners, recently announced
that it would shut down its Hellgate
servers on January 31, 2009. Flagship also shut down its servers for MMORPG Mythos
earlier in the year, suspending the title's development while it was in its private beta testing stage.
However, according to a HanbitSoft blog maintained by global PR manager Julie Ha, the Korean company acquired the IPs for both games, including their engines and source codes. HanbitSoft previously only managed Hellgate
's operation in Korea.
Additionally, T3 Entertainment, which is also based in Korea and has a controlling stake in HanbitSoft, formed a new U.S. studio
comprised of former Flagship and Blizzard employees to work on updating the two games. The studio is believed to be called Redbana U.S. Corporation and is based in San Francisco. "They will be carrying on where the last crew left off," says HanbitSoft's site.
A posted letter
from a Hellgate
product manager at Hanbitsoft says that the new studio is working on an expansion that will "surpass The Abyss Chronicles
," a Hellgate
content patch released earlier this year. It also notes that the update will be available online.
In addition, the IP acquisition
, though previously disputed by Flagship staffers, appears to be confirmed in a separate post: “Hellgate: London
is now HanbitSoft’s game, and we have already formed a team. They are doing hard work for updates and patches. [The] service in Asia, including Korea, is in good hands,” says HanbitSoft CEO Gi-Young Kim.
He continues, “I believe Mythos
is a very attractive MMORPG, just gaining large fans from couple of beta tests. It has a lot of potential, and it will also be developed at [our] studio in San Francisco with Hellgate: London
. Both titles will be presented soon with upgraded features.”