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Default Flagship Studios - Bill Roper Interview @ 1UP

August 19th, 2008, 22:22
Bill Roper talks about the recent troubles at Flagship Studios.
GFW: But, seriously, would you take the IP back and say, "Now I'm going to do it. Now I've got the resources!" I just mean from an emotional and mental standpoint, more than anything else. Do you feel done, after what you've been through, or would you want it back?
BR: I think it would be rough from that emotional standpoint. I think that's a thing that the general world never sees. They just assume, "These guys make games. They have this business. They did it. It didn't work out. They move on." It's amazingly difficult from an emotional standpoint. You don't start a company, two companies, and pour five years into doing something and not become emotionally attached. It's impossible. For me, personally, it's been incredibly difficult, because this is the first company I've ever started, you know, and been a part of. I kind of always lived and died by the games. As anybody could tell you, during the last days of Flagship, I was pretty much a wreck. And it wasn't because, oh, all our dreams of financial success are flying out the window. It was the fact that here're guys that I've worked with for anywhere from two to five years that we handpicked. Some of them are in their first jobs in the gaming industry.
I was really happy that we did have some successes, that we actually launched the game. And it wasn't like it was the worst game on the planet. It had problems — we understand that. But it wasn't a complete disaster. We built the company to do that. We built an online game-services group. The Ping0 tech was amazingly stable. I think contrary to people's perceptions, or what they wanted to believe, the only time the game came down in the first days was when we took it down on purpose to fix a bug or address a billing issue. It didn't crash. It was so much more stable online than Diablo II when we launched it. Which I think was a huge mark of achievement for all the guys that did that. So it definitely got to a point where I was just sick to my stomach knowing that at some point, unless we could get some kind of deal worked out, we'd eventually have to lay people off, [that] things were eventually going to go pear-shaped. Once you get over that hurdle, it's not like it's suddenly OK, but it's like breaking up a relationship. Before it happens you're like, "Oh god, I'm never going to be able to do this." You're nauseous. You're up all night, panicked about what's going to happen. After it's done, it's not like you feel good about it, but at least it's done.
So I think if your rich, beautiful woman showed up with that pot of gold — can I throw beautiful in there, too? — I would love to be able to try to buy things free and clear. Unhindered by any past encumbrances. I would do a lot of things really differently. I think that maybe part of the silver lining in all this — and there isn't a lot in a very dark cloud — but personally, I learned a hell of a lot that I think will make me a better developer, a better executive, manager, whatever. It's a pretty tough learning experience.
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August 19th, 2008, 22:22
> And it wasn't like it was the worst game on the planet.

Strictly speaking true, if he is not referring to Earth.
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August 20th, 2008, 21:23
It wasn't the worst, could of been a lot better but not the worst. The strangest experience I had playing multi-player was I was listening to two or three guys talking about the stock market while kicking deamon butt. That has nothing to do with the game perse it was just weird lol.

One good aspect of the game was that everyone got their own treasure. There were no more fights for the uniques after a big boss monster was killed. That was nice.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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