Flagship boss Bill Roper explains Hellgate: London
Inspired by the prospect of a game crafted by one of the minds behind Diablo, Duncan Lawson grills gaming visionary Bill Roper (formerly of Blizzard) on Flagship Studios debut Hellgate: London.
What made you choose London as the setting? Everyone knows Milton Keynes is already halfway there already.
London is a fantastic place to set a game for many reasons. There is the architecture of the city and the amazing structures that lie beneath it. Having interesting areas in which to set randomized content - especially subterranean areas - was a big part of our choice. Then there is the mythology and the heroes associated with the city. We strove to create a rich alternative world that firmly sets our universe within a recognizable location while still offering unexpected twists, and the international status of London was a key element in realizing this.
Hellgate is being compared to Diablo a lot. What does it owe to this title, and where does it significantly depart aside from the POV?
We want all of the fans of Diablo to feel right at home within Hellgate: London, but also be experiencing some great new twists, turns and innovations. We're doing a much better job of immersing the player in the world, telling stories and making the character a central figure in the tale. There are more game play mechanics that we can explore because of the ability to play the game from both the first and third person perspectives. And, of course, being in 3D with true physics lets us do some very fun things that we weren't able to achieve in Diablo II.
What classes of character are now included? Will mission decisions affect the plot?We have six character classes across the Templar, Cabalist and Hunter factions.
The Order of divine warriors and righteous swordsmen is, by and large, composed of noble men and women who wish only to preserve humanity and smite the Great Dark that has fallen upon our world. After the Earth all but ended under the tooth and claw of Demonkind, the Templar deemed themselves the necessary leadership caste of London's remnant force - they are the frontline in this righteous battle.
An aggressive, high damage melee character class that isn't afraid to rush into combat and initiate contact. Blademasters come into their own when wielding dual weapons and are at their best when inflicting pain with sharp objects. They play best with others by running to the front and causing havoc in spurts, allowing other ranged classes to deal damage from afar and in relative safety.
Guardians are not shy. This defence-oriented class thrives by drawing groups of Demons close, where they can punished en masse. In fact, they are most effective when overwhelmed and surrounded as many of their abilities only get better with more demons around them. Plays best with others by running into the fray, taunting enemies and then drawing them near before hunkering down to apply major damage.
Cabalists are seekers of knowledge who desire to control the fate of mankind by studying The Great Dark and using that power to wrestle the Earth from the jaws of Demonkind. To the uninitiated, this philosophy seems to border on madness, but the Cabal is too great an asset to dismiss, as one highly trained Cabalist can equal an army if properly equipped and strategically deployed.
Never ones to travel without an entourage, Summoners have mastered the science of creating or controlling elementals and monsters that can be unleashed to distract and destroy the enemy. Aside from being able to call upon packs of helpers, Summoners also focus on regeneration skills which allow them to spread the wealth of life to their 'pets' and party members. Summoners play best with others when allowed to sit back and summon the right 'pets' for the right situations before blasting away from mid-range with a variety of spells and magically enhanced weapons.
Evokers manipulate storms of condensed supernatural fury by funnelling raw power into damage amplifying focus items. In this way, they deal out ever more powerful offence-oriented skills. Unique focus items allow Evokers to multiply the effects of skills while also altering the amount and type of damage. They play best with others by quickly alternating between skill attacks and focus items to effectively stun, burn, poison, shock and phase enemies.