On the uniqueness of Hellgate

Rather than spamming Bryan’s comments section on youtube with my thoughts i guess i could ramble here with my limited english.

I was talking about HG yesterday with a friend and as usual i was struck by the fact that HG is the only one of it’s kind. I don’t even know how to categorize this game to be honest.
I don’t like the title of “action-rpg” being used for games like PoE or Diablo. Yes they are action games with heavy emphasis on character development but the term is also being used for games like Darksouls ( i even heard people calling Ocarina of Time an action-RPG).
When i fell in love with the genre it was with Titan Quest and the term of Hack n’ slash was commonly used back then, but nowadays it’s used for what i call beat em’ all games like God of War or the Musou type games.

Isometric Loot Based Action RPG (ILBARPG - Eelbarhpgh) doesn’t roll off the thong easily but is at least somewhat precise. I’ll stick with HnS cause…i like it.

So what’s the difference between action-RPG and HnS then ? I guess for me the main one is the emphasis on loot.
When Diablo 3 first got released, it was closer to a Beat them all than an HnS because the loot was boring.
Then there’s the matter of builds and choices. Once again, Diablo 3 had none of this. It’s slightly better now but everyone uses the same gear and build so meh.

So back when TQ was my first lover as a teenager, Hack n’ Slash was a really strict and precise description to categorize the game genre i love.

Then Hellgate got released.

As a brief resume of my history with this game: I bought it day -2 as the shop i used to go for games (back when video games stores were a thing)and they were able to get games a few days before everyone else for good customers. I didn’t play the first MP version as my crappy laptop was barely able to handle it and my internet was terrible at best.
I kept playing SP here and there until Global came out. Made 2 55/50 characters but then got bored due to builds restrictions, ugly pay 2 win and the overall unstability of this dying mess.
I was following projects on Hellgateaus (I’m Butsutekkai there), gave them money to help keep alive the upcoming mods and played a lot of them including Naga or Revival or Lost London.I’m now waiting eagerly for the final wipe of 2038 to really dive into this game once again.

All the elements of HnS were there but the camera angle was free instead of being top-view. Interesting loots(tiers + color coded+ currencies + misc items), act based story progression, notion of builds and skills, mix of melee, ranged, single target or AoE abilities, actives and passives etc. Being able to use 3rd person or FPS view is also really unique).
All this rambling to find a name and similar games is already a clue that, to my knowledge HG is the only one like this.

The Borderlands series has a lot of points in common with HG but falls flat on the loot side and builds even if it’s way closer to the truth than others like Destiny or Anthem, where loots are thrown in the mix just because it’s a popular and addictive thing.

After 10ish years, i still wonder why HG never had anything close to it.

Loot is a popular thing ans is often thrown on games like it was easy to have meaningfull and fun items (it’s not).
RPG elements and skills are everywhere, even where it shouldn’t be ( fuck you Quake Champions i hope you die and never come back).
HnS are still very much in demand when well made. While D3 was sold well cause of it’s name rather than quality, the highly merited success of PoE proves that the genre still has it’s place and fans. A lot of titles are coming like the next torchlight, Wolcen or Last Epoch( not talking about korean stuff like Lost Ark as they are all the same and present as much interest in the long run as a Diablo 3)
PoE is my wife since 2011 and i’m still in love, but HG is my secret lover that most people never heard about.

Every time a game that looks like HG comes out im disapointed because it can’t handle all the ingredients properly, in a cohesive mixture. I was waiting on Athem as a deeper alternative of Warframe but seeing the reviews and won’t even try and waste money this time.

All this rambling leads me to ask myself: Why ?
Why does no other game like Hellgate exists ?
Why does no other devs took a look at it as a big potential despite the fact that all the ingredients that made HG a fucking good game are all popular ?
Why do i always keep loosing socks somewhere and have to buy new ones regulary ?
Why am I still in love when going back to Hellgate, Quake 3, Anarchy Online, PoE ?
Why are on hit novas so mesmerizing to play with ?

Give me my daily dose of good, intersting loots, my daily need of perfect movement and gameplay, calm my craving of deep Sci-fi universe coupled with super deep gear mechanics.

Give me some good games.


I love this text :smiley:
My answer: they dont have understand the potential.
I think Hellgate was the first Lootshooter ever, but was like 5 years too early on this world. Was the wrong engine (not like now a Unreal or Unity), the wrong mindset (they came out form Blizzard, where they have 10 years time to create a game, but now the have to solve all this in 2 years) but the rightest idea they could have. :slight_smile: Look now Anthem, the have to potential, the ideas, the money, the storywriter but nope, not even close to Hellgate.

Maybe we need to wait a little bit more, or we need to convince some rich people :smiley: because the old Flagship guys are too traumaticed from there project.
I hope so much to see a new Hellgate, with Stations all over the World, again with nice CGI and a beasty story. :slight_smile:

Lets hope together :slight_smile:

Never spare me, such introspections are fuel to my soul :stuck_out_tongue:
…I also didn’t know you were Butsutekkai. Hello!

As for the question at hand, well. I’m tempted to say “(big dev studios believe) it won’t sell”, or that “the market is too saturated by individual shooters, RPGs, what have you”.
But mostly, I think it comes down to scope and ambition.

Flagship had aspirations massive enough that they’d discourage most play-safe studios now. An MMO that’s an RPG, a shooter, a hack&slash, a dungeon crawler, and a story-driven game with its own universe and lore (while stuffing allusions to pop culture and history in the mix). I’m no expert by any means, but I’d imagine that’s too much of a task to take up… especially considering that it’s arguably more safe and profitable to just go for the usual archetypes or online battle royales.
Which is an absolute shame, of course. Getting a properly managed, non-F2P/P2W Hellgate 2 would ignite my soul with joy.

Cthulhu and/or Sydonai, or their offspring.
I suffer from this phenomenon myself.

Visually impressive, massively efficient. Makes slaying more fun than ever and is colorful to boot.
But I still hate shrapnel, Spikes, and Rebounders in terms of performance, in that order.
Rather, I hate how skillsets don’t provide matching performance and end up being replaced by them. But let’s not derail the topic here.

I’m so out of the game loop that Devil May Cry 5 is all I’m waiting for. No idea if anything in Hellgate’s broad frame may exist or be close to being released.
I also play some time-waster TCG mobile games, but that’s most probably not what you’re looking for.

That’s the thing. I can’t see them thinking it’s saturated when there’s only one ^^
Sadly it might be by fear of getting out of a certain comfort zone.
These last years it seems that some games became popular for some reasons i can’t explain and then follows a wave of carbon copy of them.Mobas and battle royale are the recent plague and we’re seeing dozens of them trying to get their part of this fashion cake while it last.

I hope some devs will use the “no risk, no reward” card and try to be the first at something or at least push an under developped idea to higher levels to leave a genuine mark by being ahead.

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Unless someone with capital at hand beefs 2038 or even reignites the original dev team molding them with the 2038 devs we will hardly see something like HGL again.

We are happy not just that 2038 is around but that the devs are so close to the dev line the original creators were at.

Remember, “they” are who gave us Diablo twenty years ago. This should have been D3 and is its sole and only true successor. D3 is just a newer, updated D2, with not just nothing new, but less and worse of it than D2. Classic “MGO” (money-generating-

Seeing Overwatch and Hearthstone I do not expect anything from Blizzard anymore. This company is dead with ideas yet with its former quality approach it still dominates the mainstream game genres it engages in, but this run will soon be over and there downfall will probably come with DIV or whatever the will call the successor of D3.

Blizzard lacks the spirit, vision, enthusiasm and love for the game (Diablo/Hellgate) the Flagship Team had who were former key employees of Blizzard success.

After 10 years I have no more illusions, but hope for 2038.

Thanks again!


I made an account specifically to respond to this very emotional and thought out post. I have just recently gotten into a box of old pc games. I re Down loaded d 1 hellfire d2 Lod d3 ros. And grabbed an old box that said hell gate london. Got me searching the net and the rabbit hole led me here. Hellgate was ahead of its time. You had some of the best game creators ever in their fucking prime. They threw together an amazing game and I truly dont think most people could see it for what it was. The future.

Interesting discussion here, and being very new I agree to some of it, but HGL isn’t entirely unique. There’s a game from a year before HGL by Richard Garriott (Tabula Rasa) which was actually very similar, just with slightly better graphics, and was shut down SIGNIFICANTLY quicker than HGL was. It shares many of the same styles and gameplay elements. I even see substantial similarities with modern games like Warframe, albeit with some changes (WF focuses more on crafting and modding items–you don’t find complete weapons with random stats, etc).

I think Hellgate was a game way ahead of its time, however I still credit it for being the inspiration for games like Destiny, where the bits that make Hellgate so much fun (the shooting, loot, cosmetics) were revisited in a much more streamlined way.

Personally, for me nothing will beat the original “looter shooter”. Hellgate for life!!


I recently went back to Warframe which i haven’t played for something like 4ish years.
It struck me that it’s what is closer to Hellgate to me. Short burst of gameplay with loot, ressources, plenty of weapons to mod and skills that can ressemble some we have in HG.
Having a great time, the game has evolved a LOT since i left Oo

One of the things that i love about Hellgate is the loot and the itemization in general (including the stat system and general item balance). That is one area where probably Bill Roper was King at. Even today i am more excited when something purple drops than i ever was in D3. There are so many things that i still wait for me to drop and the game still surprises me with combinations that are cool and lead to new build ideas. I mean, look at Global where they messed with it alot and how it turned out.

All other games that i played, that offered loot never got me as excited as Hellgate and D2. I found POE very interesting but way too complex lootwise (so much stuff) and D3 changed alot over time but i never really liked the system especially the focus on sets. All other games where just boring in terms of items.

What really makes me wonder is why there are still D3 style games coming up but no one ever tried it FPS style again. Maybe because the Flagship downfall was such a big fail that it scared everyone away.

PoE is at the right place for loot in my mind. They made the smart choice to not have to many gear slots, with limited amount of stats per slot, making each items important, and you feel the difference when you equip it. D3 is way too generic for the random items (only legendaries matter), while Grim Dawn for exemple has WAAAAAY too many stats per slots making each of those stats less relevant imho.
I havent played Borderlands 3 yet, but i feel it will be too focused on lgendaries, when the first entry had the right mix.
Warframe doesnt have randomly rolled items, but when it comes to modding the items, it’s interesting enough, while the loot n shoot aspect remains fun.