In a weblog post lamenting Hellgate: London's
lack of success and describing the developer's work environment as "depressing," Flagship audio and gameplay programmer Guy Somberg claims that the studio's staff, including programmers, accountants, human resources personnel, and artists, has been leaving "in droves."
Somberg has since taken down the post but a cache of the page
is still available. According to the programmer, Flagship's founders are still at the company but are working on projects outside of Hellgate
: "The only one still actively on Hellgate
is [technology director Tyler Thompson], but Tylerís not programming anymore; he spends all of his time on management activities."
With rumors of even more artists and programmers planning to leave the Hellgate
developer, Somberg commented, "Thing is, the way things are going Iím likely to be the only programmer still working on Hellgate
left from the original crew."
Released for PCs in October, 2007, Hellgate: London's
launch received criticism for its bugs, slowdowns, and crashes, among other issues. Somberg, however, has high hopes for the MMORPG in the Asian market: "Yes, Hellgate
is not a big success. That sucks, and itís depressing. Iím keeping a positive attitude about it because of Korea and China. The Koreans really love the game, and the Chinese have yet to see it."
Despite the studio's current condition, Somberg assured his readers that he had no intention of leaving Flagship: "Iím happy here. I like the people, I like the environment, I like the pay, I like the location... Thereís so much good about it. Iím not considering leaving. Itís just overwhelming and depressing having all of these people go. Every time a programmer leaves, itís more work for me. Every time an artist leaves, itís less content that we can create for Hellgate
in the future."
: Weblog Kotaku followed up
with Flagship's marketing communications manager, web manager and writer Ivan Sulic, who commented: "We've actually had very few people leave. Flagship is still fully staffed and working on both Hellgate
... I think we have about 100 employees now."
Somberg also added in the article: "I was surprised and disappointed at the communityís response to my words, which were more directed at my family and friends to describe my state of mind at the time, than to give any sort of insight into the company. Personally, I think that the 'Towers of Hanoi'
series of posts on my blog is far more interesting and worthy of commentary and analysis."]