Flagship Studios, 2007
Flagship Studios, 2007
I clearly remember myself watching the fantastic trailer for Hellgate: London, awestruck by the promise of a Diablo/FPS hybrid where high-tech holy warriors fought hordes of demons in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic London. I would shoot flying demons with holy rifles, unleash spells from balconies of gothic buildings and they would fall one by one, spewing out incredible amounts of loot!
At a quick glance the promises were delivered. Hellgate's action is fast-paced, there are interesting weapons with unusual mechanics, plus cool monsters and bosses. The art direction is tight and consistent, darkness is used cleverly in some areas, buildings have several stories for you to traverse, and loot pours out of monsters like there's no tomorrow.
重量不重质加上设计师过分依赖 MMO 类型的领任务模式——一切都基于“收集什么装备”，“消灭什么怪物”，“从怪物 X 那收集身体器官 Y”。
《暗黑之门》与《暗黑破坏神 2》一样，玩家线上线下都能玩，但只有每月付 10 英镑（或一次性 149 英镑）购买了精英（Elite）订阅的玩家才能获得内容更新，比如新的地图和装备。但不管怎样，所有玩家都不得不应对角色重置、游戏崩溃和各种 bug 等游戏问题。
于是在发行了暗黑之门一年后，Flagship 公司关门大吉，不久便关闭了游戏的服务器。接着一家韩国公司买下了游戏并于 2011 年发布重制版《暗黑之门：全球（Hellgate Global）》——此次游戏免费并且发布了新的东京区域。因游戏砸钱（pay-to-win）风气而饱受诟病的重置版终在 2016 年 1 月关停，之后中国的公司买下了版权重新发行，游戏名叫《暗黑之门：重生（Hellgate: Reborn）》。
The game presents three archetypes to choose from, each divided into two sub-classes. Blademasters and Guardians are melee warriors; Summoners and Evokers are spellcasters; Marksmen and Engineers are ranged attackers. Depending on your weapons, you can switch between a first- or third-person camera.
With these features, former Blizzard developers at the helm and a fine marketing campaign, Hellgate was highly hyped and sold nearly one million copies.
Then came the fall. It quickly became evident to players that content was lacking – they were just walking in the same corridors and fighting the same monsters. The only thing that changed was their HP and damage, plus a few poorly balanced skills.
Valuing quantity over quality, designers over-relied on MMO-type fetch quests – everything was based on “collect this artefact”, “kill this monster”, “collect X body parts from X type of monster”.
Like Diablo II, the game could be played either online or offline, but only those paying a monthly “Elite” subscription of $10 (or a lifetime fee of $149) would get content updates, such as new dungeons and items. Regardless, all players had to deal with server issues, character resets, crashes and bugs.
And so, a year after Hellgate's release, Flagship went bankrupt, closing the game servers soon after. A Korean company then bought the game and re-launched it in 2011 as Hellgate Global – this time free-to-play and with new Tokyo areas. Criticised for its “pay-to-win” progression, it lasted until January 2016. It then changed hands once again, being re-released on Steam in 2018 as cut-down single-player only game.
Few games get this amount of hype and chances, but, while Hellgate: London had a brilliant concept, it failed to deliver. Borderlands (2009) would soon prove just how well “Diablo with guns” could work.