Jump to content

Flagship Sinks


Wizard
 Share

Recommended Posts

Flagship Studios' Closure Confirmed, All Staff Fired, All I.P. Lost

Jul 12, 2008 at 2:33 AM - Andrew Burnes - 104 Comments

Flagships's Community Manager, Taylor Balbi, has revealed, through sources, that all Ping0 and Flagship Studios staff have been made redundant. Employees were notified at a company meeting and subsequently informed that the offices will be officially closed on Saturday. Balbi went on to reveal that three of the studio's top brass dug into their own pockets to provide 30 days of pay to all employees.

 

Word of the studio closure reached Korean distributor HanbitSoft, leading to the release of a statement regarding intellectual property control and the subsequent clarification by their American lawyers that included the following sentence: "It is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open."

 

As also referenced in the legal release, HanbitSoft hopes to independently continue development of Mythos, to which it owns the rights thanks to a loan agreement enacted with Flagship. Comerica now owns the Hellgate: London rights through a similar loan agreement, and will likely continue Asian development with HanbitSoft. As for English-language releases of the two games, it is possible that the Asian companies would continue development, though in the case of Hellgate: London it is unlikely (Mythos has a far better business model and is attracting extremely positive press). Alternatively, the rights may be sold to Electronic Arts or other interested parties.

 

In summary, Flagship's well is dry, all intellectual property has been lost, all staff fired, and the studio closed. It truly is the end of the line. Update: A Goon by the name of GLC, who claims to be a former Ping0 employee (thanks Hellgate Guru), said the following on the SA Forums:

 

Former Ping0 employee checking in here. I feel bad for some of the talented guys on the staff who busted rear end to try and get a game out on a ridiculous schedule, but I think we all kind of saw this coming after the game came out and basically bombed. Flagship bit off way more than they could chew and made a lot of development and structural mistakes in how they went about things. They had a lot of big dreamers on staff, but not enough nitty-gritty people who knew how to get poo poo done. It sucks, but that's life I guess. I didn't always agree with the decisions of the leadership, but it doesn't surprise me at all to hear that three of them (probably Roper and the Schaeffers) dug into their own pockets to pay people. Nothing about them, Max Schaeffer in particular, ever made me think they were less than standup guys.

 

I think it's less that they aimed too high than that they tried to aim that high and do it quickly, and they didn't do anything the easy way. They had their own server architecture, their own client, their own chat, their own graphics engine, their own everything basically. Plus they wanted a game that could support thousands of concurrent connections with no downtime, had an engaging single-player campaign, and could support an ongoing, persistent world. It was like picking everything that's hard to do in a game, and then putting it on a brand-new company (two of them, really) with people who hadn't worked together before.

 

Plus you had Ping0 doing the back-end and multiplayer, working off a forked codebase, and trying to make sure that what they were designing was open enough that it could be marketed to other companies. And then Mythos, with a team working out of Seattle under Travis Baldtree (who is a loving genius, by the way), which had to fit into things somehow even though it wasn't as much of a priority. It was just a really chaotic situation all around. Hopefully the talented guys I met there will bounce back quickly, it's a lovely time to be unemployed in the bay area.

 

Update #2: Guy Somberg, Flagship's final programmer and the Guy who wrote that infamous tirade, has modified his employment history on LinkedIn, which now reads as, "February 2005 — July 2008 (3 years 6 months)." Thanks Flagshipped.

 

Update #3: Kotaku's closure story contains further confirmation from their own anonymous source.

 

Update #4: Amol Deshpande, Chris Schillinger, Jesse Jones and Ray Li all list their Flagship-Ping0 positions as having ended July 2008.

 

Update #5: Producer Patrick Harris is no longer employed by Flagship.

 

Update #6: Eric Liu is no longer in the employ of Flagship-Ping0. Having served for seven months as a QA Manager and Automation Engineer, he was promoted in October 2007 to International Producer, a position he held until the studio's closure.

 

Update #7: Flagship-Ping0's IT Manager, Brent Shinn, is the latest staffer to officially leave the firm's employ.

 

Update #8: Grant Watters, Greg Brown and Jonathan McEvoy are the latest Flagship-Ping0 employees to have listed their positions as previous experience on LinkedIn.

 

Update #9: Flagship-Ping0's Project Manager, Jack Wood, is now also an ex-employee. Jack had many important responsibilities, including: stakeholder, investor and regional distributor liaising; final say on all patch and product launches; and oversight of day-to-day end user support.

 

Update #10: Lead Graphics Engineer, Chris Lambert, is the latest to go. Chris was with the company for four years.

 

delicious pasta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeh I heard about the layoffs yesterday, but they hadn't been officially shuttered yet.

 

Flagship annoyed me from the beginning. The whole company was a big ego trip and looking at the garbage they produced I'm not surprised they got the axe.

 

I feel sorry for the folk who shelled out the $150USD lifetime subscription to Hellgate, although they were taking a gamble to begin with there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeh I heard about the layoffs yesterday, but they hadn't been officially shuttered yet.

 

Flagship annoyed me from the beginning. The whole company was a big ego trip and looking at the garbage they produced I'm not surprised they got the axe.

 

I feel sorry for the folk who shelled out the $150USD lifetime subscription to Hellgate, although they were taking a gamble to begin with there.

Well they didn't go on a big ego trip ala John Romero, but they were hoping to build on their known success as the guys who developed Diablo 1 & 2. It seems like they bit off more then could chew when creating Hellgate because Mythos was suppose to be the game that fixed all their screw ups, but lo and behold, they screwed up BIG time with Hellgate because of the paying fee and an incomplete game that wasn't meant to be an MMO. What I'm surprised about is the amount of feedback HG: London got though, so it was decent for their first effort, but it was terrible first effort because it shafted practically everyone. Also apparently HG London is big in Asia though, so it's not a complete loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...