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Report: Flagship Staff Leaving 'In Droves'

In a since-removed weblog post, Flagship audio and gameplay programmer Guy Somberg has painted a dim picture of the Hellgate: London studio, suggesting the lack of Western success for the game has led to personnel leaving "in droves." [UPDATE</b

Eric Caoili, Blogger

June 11, 2008

2 Min Read

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 Tyler’s 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 I’m 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 it’s depressing. I’m 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: "I’m happy here. I like the people, I like the environment, I like the pay, I like the location... There’s so much good about it. I’m not considering leaving. It’s just overwhelming and depressing having all of these people go. Every time a programmer leaves, it’s more work for me. Every time an artist leaves, it’s less content that we can create for Hellgate in the future." [UPDATE: 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 and Mythos... I think we have about 100 employees now." Somberg also added in the article: "I was surprised and disappointed at the community’s 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."]

About the Author(s)

Eric Caoili


Eric Caoili currently serves as a news editor for Gamasutra, and has helmed numerous other UBM Techweb Game Network sites all now long-dead, including GameSetWatch. He is also co-editor for beloved handheld gaming blog Tiny Cartridge, and has contributed to Joystiq, Winamp, GamePro, and 4 Color Rebellion.

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