Following Korean company HanbitSoft's claims that it now owns Hellgate: London's IP and will update the MMO, a Namco Bandai representative says that it has retained the game's publishing rights for the U.S. and Europe.
Hanbitsoft previously managed Hellgate's operation in Korea and recently announced that it acquired the IP for Hellgate and MMORPG Mythos -- both previously developed by near-defunct Flagship Studios -- including their engines and source codes.
The company also revealed that parent company T3 Entertainment formed a new studio, possibly called Redbana U.S. Corporation, in San Francisco with the express purpose of updating the two games, "carrying on where the last crew left off."
But Namco Bandai community manager Diane “Tiggs” Migliaccio says that HanbitSoft's updates and promised Hellgate expansion won't see a stateside release, posting on Hellgate's official forum, "Let me explain things a bit to see if it clears up any issues for you. Hanbit owns the IP and rights to publish anywhere other [than] the US and EU, and I think the other territory is Japan. Namco owns the rights to publish in the US and EU."
Namco Bandai, who co-published the game through an agreement with EA Partners, revealed that it would shut down its Hellgate servers on January 31, 2009. "The servers will never exist in the US and EU again. Hanbit aka Redbanana can not have servers in the US or EU," says Migliaccio.
She adds, "People are speculating, and I don't want anyone shocked on January 31, 2009 when the server and forums shut down and there is nothing."