Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flagship Studios closing, All staff fired, All I.P. lost

Flagship Studios, who's staff were former developers of Diablo and Diablo 2 fired all employees and lost all Intellectual property rights. Details after the jump.

Flagships's Community Manager, Taylor Balbi, has revealed, through sources, that all Ping0 and Flagship Studios staff have been made redundant. Employees were notified at a company meeting and subsequently informed that the offices will be officially closed on Saturday. Balbi went on to reveal that three of the studio's top brass dug into their own pockets to provide 30 days of pay to all employees.

Word of the studio closure reached Korean distributor HanbitSoft, leading to the release of a statement regarding intellectual property control and the subsequent clarification by their American lawyers that included the following sentence: "It is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open."

As also referenced in the legal release, HanbitSoft hopes to independently continue development of Mythos, to which it owns the rights thanks to a loan agreement enacted with Flagship. Comerica now owns the Hellgate: London rights through a similar loan agreement, and will likely continue Asian development with HanbitSoft. As for English-language releases of the two games, it is possible that the Asian companies would continue development, though in the case of Hellgate: London it is unlikely (Mythos has a far better business model and is attracting extremely positive press). Alternatively, the rights may be sold to Electronic Arts or other interested parties.

In summary, Flagship's well is dry, all intellectual property has been lost, all staff fired, and the studio closed. It truly is the end of the line.

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