Bill Roper, co-founder of the now-dead Flagship Studios and one of the lead designers of Diablo 2
, has discussed the closure of Flagship and the effect that Hellgate: London
had in a frank and open interview on 1-UP
Roper described the day he had to fire the majority of his ex-Blizzard staff as the hardest day of his professional life, though things weren't exactly easy before or after that. Roper then offered an insight into the financial position of his company, claiming that Flagship was often misunderstood because of the attachment to Blizzard and Diablo 2
"There are no secret piles of money that the company's somehow magically making,
" Roper told 1UP. "I haven't been paid in almost two months, and I've been putting money out to try and get people taken care of. That's the flip side.
"It probably goes against popular belief, but just because we all used to work at Blizzard doesn't mean that we're all millionaires, although that sure would have been great.
Roper admitted to liquidating $400,000 worth of assets in order to pay the salaries of his staff, many of whom he felt directly responsible for.
"Hellgate came out, and it wasn't as good as it should have been. There's a myriad of reasons for that. Some of them were just bad timing in the PC market. The PC market was lousy last year,
" said Roper.
"Some of it was the fact that we were an independent studio. We didn't have unlimited money, and we had to ship when we had to ship. Part of it was because we overreached, and that was a design problem that was totally our fault. We tried to do too much.
"We tried to be a standalone game and a free-play game and an MMO and an RPG and a shooter. We were trying to be something for everybody and ended up really not pleasing many people at all. I think we should have picked one or the other.
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