Bill Roper -- former Blizzard employee turned Flagship Studios head honcho -- has admitted that Flagship messed up when they released Hellgate: London.
Flagship wanted a spiritual successor to the Diablo franchise with lots of goodies and fans wanted the same. Roper did not shy away from pointing out that this, among other things, may have been slightly to high an expectation for the game studio.
I think that people had incredibly high expectations that we simply didn't meet[...]
Hellgate: London hasn't exactly had the greatest of times since launch. The game launched with major, game breaking bugs that turned a lot of people off. In one territory, a complete character wipe was undertaken. Things didn't look so shiny for the ex-Diablo devs and their new pals.
[...]we simply tried to do too much with the game. Vista, DirectX 10, being both a single-player boxed product and a multiplayer online game, a simultaneous launch in seven languages across Europe, the US and South East Asia, and creating our own fully-featured online destination on top of all that.
Roper has said that Flagship will take full blame for the rocky release but states that the problems weren't so much to do with the number of months the game spent in testing and more to do with the number of problems that came up right at the end.
Despite the admittance that things didn't go quite according to plan, Flagship won't be dropping their flagship title into the abyss just yet, with Roper stating that Flagship will continue to fight for Earth against the armies of Hell. Ok, maybe he didn't put it quite like that.
The challenges of an independent game studio are drastically different than those owned by a publisher. We're fortunate that the online nature of the game has allowed us to continue to fix bugs, add content, and respond directly to our players' wants and needs.
We'll keep pushing on all fronts with Hellgate: London.
The phrase, "stay a while and listen," come to mind...