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Bill Roper: 'I've been sleeping on the floor'

Flagship founder speaks for the first time since mass-sacking of employees

Flagship Studios founder and ex-Blizzard North man Bill Roper has spoken for the first time since laying off practically every employee earlier this year.

Speaking in his first interview (with 1UP) since the mass-sacking, Roper said that telling everybody they had to be let go was his "hardest professional day" since leaving Blizzard North.

"It's definitely been an interesting six to eight months since the Hellgate launch," said Roper. "Been a lot of things going on since October. Seems like longer than that. I spent a lot of hours in the office, sleeping on the floor, phone calls all across the world, working on stuff.

"We announced [on July 11] that we had to lay off the vast majority of the employees, but there's still a small handful of the founders working on things. Really, our focus now has been on how we best take care of the guys that aren't there anymore and help them find jobs with other teams."

For Flagship, it's now a matter of "how to end gracefully", said Bill. "Obviously, we've got people we owe money to, so we're doing absolutely everything in our power to get those people the money we owe them," he said.

Until it conquers its money problems the Hellgate IP has been left in the hands of the studio's bank, while the status of upcoming role-playing game Mythos is in limbo, currently in the hands of Korean invester T3.

"They're trying to figure out what to do with Mythos," said Roper. "They have it free and clear, and they're looking to start up, apparently, some U.S.-based studio to do something."

Roper also revealed that the company considered acquisition by EA or other buyers, and it entered "fairly lengthy negotiations" with one particular company.

"I think that, maybe, because we tend to think with our hearts a little more than [with] our heads, we probably chased that deal for too long," he said. "We always were under a very firm belief that we would get this together. Such a firm belief that-- much to the shock of the investment bank we were working with -- we as the founders put up our own money into making it happen. And anyone in business will tell you that spending your own cash is a terrible idea.

"In fact, when we did eventually have to lay almost everybody off, the last paycheck we paid out all came out of the board of directors' pockets because we had anticipated having a deal done by that time."

If given a second chance, the Flagship founder said he'd do things differently. "I would love to be able to try to buy things free and clear," he said. Unhindered by any past encumbrances.

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