Posted by BuckGB at 3:00 pm on 10.7.2011 (1 year ago)
GB: Unless they were willing to jump through several hoops and use a VPN client, North American fans have been without their Hellgate: London fix for two-and-a-half years now. Why should they return to the game? What efforts have been made to ensure that the game still retains its original charm and has more to offer for players who are completely new to it?
David: With the recent Hellgate Tokyo patch we feel there is plenty of new content to warrant a 2nd look from fans of Hellgate London and to bring in new players to the game.
GB: As of the time of this interview, the original Hellgate: London is still being sold at Amazon and other online stores. Are you worried that this might cause some confusion? Are there any plans to pull those original Hellgate: London copies and maybe even re-release the game at retail?
David: We know that Hellgate:London is still being sold due to previous overseas distribution contracts. However, we are sorry to say that we cannot make a request to stop the sale of products that were already sold.
GB: Many of us had an absurd amount of time invested into our characters on the original servers. Have you considered bringing over those accounts and characters to the new servers, or is that data long gone by now?
David: As much as we would want to, we could not get the account data due to contracts between the companies. We are very sorry for this too.
GB: Flagship was preparing The Abyss Chronicles update prior to their closure, so that's the newest content any former Hellgate players would remember. What can you tell us about Hellgate: Tokyo and any other content that's been added to the game since?
David: As for the Tokyo update, it’s actually a combination of Cow room, new skills, new set items, and other features.
However, in the case of Hellgate: Global, we initially opened with skills and items that were supposed to be included in the Tokyo update. Therefore, our global users will be able to get a new experience in Cow room, Base defense, etc.
GB: Microtransactions in Hellgate: London are completely new for us here in North America, and it's a bit surprising to see T3Fun charging such steep prices for things like skill points, pets, mod slot unlocks, and even nano upgrade safety items. Are you worried that this might put off some players once the game is out of beta? What other content do you plan to add to the premium store, and would you consider adding some of these cash store-exclusive items as drops in the game to give players with more time/less money a chance to obtain them?
David: We’ll have to confirm plans for update schedules and get back to you on this.
GB: Overall, how have the closed and open beta tests for Hellgate gone since they originally started on June 3rd? What sort of server and other unforseen issues have you run into?
David: As you all know, Hellgate was reproduced into an online game, based on a CD game. Hellgate required a lot of time and efforts to make it into an online game.
Generally, PC specs and internet speeds are important for online games. Sometimes lags and delays are occurring.
Due to great support from users at the game’s opening there were some wait times experienced in order to get into the game as we had reached server capacity. However, we are continuously addressing these problems by monitoring and reinforcing the servers.
Main game servers are in the United States since it is a global service. We know that players from countries far from the game server are experiencing difficulties. We are trying our best to solve this problem.
GB: Will T3Fun be handling any of the development on the North American version of Hellgate: London, or will you primarily be bringing over any new Korean patches and translating all of the text to English? Are there any plans for another expansion or major content additions?
David: Development is taken care of by Hanbitsoft. I am the person in charge of global service. We are planning to add all the final version content of Hellgate to the global servers.
GB: Do you currently have a projected timeframe for when the open beta will end and the full live game will launch? Beyond the usual press release or social feed updates, do you have any plans to promote the game at its live launch?
David: This is actually the live launch now. We did not differentiate in this case between open beta and commercial launch. The game is out now and available for everyone so you will not see any specific announcements or promotion related to a live launch, this is it!
GB: Once the game goes live, how often do you expect to be able to deliver new patches and content? How much time will there be between a Korean patch release versus a North American patch release?
David: We would like to provide it to our users as soon as possible. However, we need at least a month for translation and testing.
GB: Now that Tcoin microtransactions are supported in-game via the cash store, have you seen a steady stream of revenue coming in from players? Based on your early sales numbers, do you feel that the game will be able to sustain itself for years to come using this business model?
David: We don’t want to make any predictions at this point but the game has been very well received and there is certainly a core set of maniac fans supporting the game every day. Hellgate has a great concept and dedicated, therefore we will never give up. While there are no official details yet you can expect news soon about development updates.
GB: There are a lot of original players that still have a bitter taste in their mouth after Flagship's servers were shut down and their hard-earned characters and loot simply blinked out of existence overnight. What do you have to say to current and future Hellgate players to assure them that this sort of situation won't happen again, particularly since some of them have already spent hundreds of dollars on cash store items?
David: We fully understand that the users are bitter about everything that happened. Moreover, we are very thankful that despite what happened, the users are still playing Hellgate.
To answer the question, “Flagship” is the company that gave birth to Hellgate and a company that made a great CD game. However, it was too bad that they weren’t able to overcome the technical differences of online and console. With that, the service had to end. Hellgate Global is what Hanbitsoft turned into an online game.
This might sound perfunctory but Hanbitsoft and Flagship are two different companies. Currently, Hanbitsoft is in charge of all developments as Flagship closed down.
Hanbitsoft did the renewal operations on the Tokyo version and London. Hanbitsoft will continuously endeavor to improve and invest in Hellgate.
GB: Thanks for your time, David.