Korean developer and publisher Hanbitsoft has acquired the publishing rights for Flagship Studios's troubled PC MMO Hellgate: London in North America, Europe, and Japan from Namco Bandai Games America. The company plans to re-release the game in those three regions following its Hellgate launches in China, Taiwan, and South East Asia later this year.
Developed by a team of Blizzard Entertainment veterans who left the Warcraft/Diablo company to form Flagship, Hellgate originally shipped to stores in October 2007.
Its launch was beset with bugs, crashes, and billing issues, driving many players to cancel their paid subscription or refuse to sign up for a paid subscription at all (the game offered free subscriptions with limited features).
Financial issues eventually led Flagship to shutter in August 2008, though publisher Namcao Bandai kept Hellgate's servers online in North America and Europe until February 2009.
HanbitSoft obtained Flagship's Hellgate and Mythos properties in late 2008 and continued development for the MMO, operating the game in Korea with a free-to-play model.
Working with parent company T3 Entertainment, HanbitSoft has added "online features and user convenience systems" to Hellgate and even launched a new series of upgrades dubbed Hellgate: Resurrection. That series will include the release of Hellgate: Tokyo, which will have players exploring a post-apocalyptic Japan, in March.
"We would like to thank Namco Bandai Games America for allowing us to acquire the Hellgate publishing rights and are thrilled to have eager gamers worldwide return and enjoy the franchise," says HanbitSoft CEO Kee-Young Kim.
"Hellgate: Resurrection is heading towards success in Korea such that we decided to push ahead with launching the game overseas next year. We will do our best to get the game to the fans as soon as possible."