David Brevik says Hellgate London was ‘a game ahead of its time’

    
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If you were harboring some sort of secret hope that David Brevik would return to the battered and bruised Hellgate London to realize its full potential, it’s probably best to put that notion to rest.

Responding to a question about revisiting this past project, Brevik said, “Not anytime soon. It’s owned by Hanbit. A game ahead of its time. Such a shame we couldn’t work out the business and made some bad mistakes.”

Brevik is currently an advisor for Path of Exiles with Grinding Gear Games. For a full history of Hellgate London, check out our Game Archaeologist column on the interesting Diablo offshoot.

Source: Twitter
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Pedge Jameson

Yeah, same way Bioware listens to customer suggestions about SWTOR.

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Aaron Biegalski

I actually agree. Hellgate felt ahead of it’s time conceptually. (And on pure execution, it was pretty good when it was released.) Sadly, on a technical level it was a mess and simply did not have the kind of support it required to maintain an online community.

I do fondly remember the original incarnation of the game though.

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agemyth 😩

I agree. It was one of the earlier non-MMO games in the west to attempt some of the monetization methods we see a lot these days. It was also attempting to be the first big online “loot shooter”, but the tech was either not there at the time or their team wasn’t able to wrangle their custom engine to make the shooting good enough.

Cool setting except for how much rummaging through sewers and railways there was (I think?). Maybe I am just mixing that up with my feelings on Fallout 3.

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GiantsBane

It was fun, but it sure as shit wasn’t “a game ahead of its time” in concept or in regards to coding. Especially in regards to coding, the game had so many software bugs it felt like they’d hired trained chimps to do the software development for it.

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Neurotic

Still have the box on my shelf, and also in my Origin library. Good times!

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StonerMk2

Still load Hellgate up in singleplayer every now and then…love the game, wish it could some kinda update or sequel to bring it up to date with the times.

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NeoWolf

Hmm I would have gone more with a sh** game with a fantastic I.P that deserved SO VERY MUCH MORE.

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rafael12104

Ahead of it’s time? Yup. In more ways than one including the way it crashed and burned.

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Reuben

As much as I enjoyed Diablo 2 and its expansion. I lost alot of respect for David Brevik with how he and his buddies who left Blizzard in a panic over what was nothing to form their own company. They feared the future of the company and overreacted and then felt they could charge an arm an a leg for a game that content wise was nothing like the mmo’s out at the time. Mythos the little side project they were working on after the release of Hellgate was actually a better game. AND if they had done so they would have been better off. Instead they released Hellgate london charged as if it was a big budget triple a game and then on top of it.. Also asked players to pay a sub. Years later when diablo 3 was released he released a statement about the game that served no purpose then to poor gas on the launch of the game. And he released a TERRIBLE game in Marvel Heroes that he left because lets face it the game was not up to the standards that Diablo 2 had set. I believe deep down he regrets his decision to leave Blizzard and wonders if he had not rushed to judgement and stayed with the company and made diablo 3 himself.

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Jeremy Barnes

Marvel Heroes is far from terrible. I quite enjoy it.

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fanggwj

Well that was the danger of where Borderlands was headed with the Presequel. HGL went crazy with guns but then made them class specific so that is something Borderlands should avoid.
Then Borderlands has a central class power, some passives and a melee power. But the Presequel added a but stomp power. They should learn from HGL that too many powers and too many passive and active modifiers of those powers leads to a hot mess to balance and make fun to play.
Borderlands was focused, HGL was not. I felt that HGL had a way cooler setting and that lack of focus was enough to kill its potential. (that still exists btw) The fact that they have done so many half-assed attempts at foreign market resurrection is brutally heart breaking.

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Scott M

See, I feel like Borderlands is a half-assed attempt at this genre, too.

The skill system is chock full of lackluster passives and actives. There’s a small handful of truly fun ability points you can spend and then even less if we’re talking about effective abilities.

The game that’s supposed to be about guns or loot does that so much worse than the predecessors it’s based on (Diablo 2, if I’m being direct). I think Borderlands just came at the right time for consoles and had multiplayer. I think it’s a very lucky game that would have otherwise been received as a slightly-more-depth Serious Sam.

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fanggwj

Multiplayer or co-op absolutely could have saved HGL. Unfortunately online co-op with just one other person was a slide show. The Stonehenge areas were a bit better but couple those mp performance issues with a subscription (I had a lifetime sub, never again) and you have a recipe for the disaster that followed.
I think the lesson I learned as a game designer is that skills systems are better wide than deep.
That adding more depth (more than 1-2 tiers) to a skill system runs into steep diminishing returns very quickly. (probably follows the law of halves)
That no one wants to navigate 2-3 branches and 4 tiers of a skill tree to get a skill that they really want.
That a much preferred alternative to a branching tiered skill tree is a higher level requirement. (but that having a too high level requirement will alienate 75% of your player base)
I guess the best analogy to skill design I can use is that when trying to prove a point you don’t want your sentences to run on and you don’t want a wall of text. So make your sentences concise, don’t say anything more than you need to say, and break your thoughts into paragraphs.