There's something not quite right about free-to-play action MMORPG Mythos. It's not a strange game, it's just... wrong. If games were people, Mythos would be that one unassuming pedestrian who you only realise is mad when you're close enough to spot his untied shoelaces and furious face, his eyes like two half-eaten Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Since you've missed your chance to cross the road to safety, you can only hold your breath, look straight ahead and try and slink past this unknown quantity like a submarine.
In short, Mythos is polished in some areas (the tactility of the combat) and unpolished in others (basically everything else). The art design is great, but the style is an unsettling cross between World of Warcraft and Torchlight. The framework is entirely in place for a great action game, yet it's a free-to-play game and there's a strange shortage of content. All boss arenas look the same, half of the quests are FedEx-style delivery jobs between two NPCs and the game doesn't so much try and carry you through a story as spray words at you and hope some of them stick.
Ordinarily in this situation I'd spend the rest of the review flinging my arms around like one of those windsock people, hypothesising why this might be. What's great about Mythos is that we know exactly why it is. In fact, it makes perfect sense.
The open beta for hack-and-slash MMO Mythos will begin on 12th April.
The level cap will be raised from 27 (closed beta) to 50 (open beta). That means you can now get your first look at the game's third zone, Umbral Peaks.
Mythos was originally created by Hellgate developer Flagship. Once that studio imploded, most of the Mythos team zipped off to establish Runic Games, now responsible for acclaimed action RPG Torchlight.
Mythos, the hack-and-slash MMO rescued from sunken Hellgate developer Flagship Studios, is ready for closed beta.
Names are being taken down now on the European Mythos website. Incidentally, the latter is brand new and stuffed with fresh information, pictures and video.
Mythos was taken over by HanbitSoft last year and improvements were apparently made across the board. The biggest alteration may be the ability to swap from the existing isometric viewpoint to a classic behind-the-character 3D view.
Following the announcement the Hellgate: London servers will be closed early next year, HanbitSoft - the South Korean company that now owns the rights to the game - has reassured fans it's coming back. A new expansion pack is on the way, though so far it looks like the relaunch is only planned for Asian territories.
HanbitSoft parent company T3 Entertainment announced it would continue work on Hellgate back in August. The game had been left homeless after the closure of developer Flagship, along with never-released title Mythos. However, T3 decided to resurrect both games at a new studio in San Francisco.
Now, an unnamed Hellgate product manager has posted on a letter HanbitSoft PR manager's blog. The letter states that a new update to the game is in the works and will be distributed digitally.
Bill Roper, co-founder of the all-but-extinct Flagship Studios, has said there are no secret piles of money to rescue Hellgate, and that firing the majority of staff at the developer was his "hardest professional day" ever.
The development team behind ill-fated free MMO Mythos has re-emerged as Runic Games, promising to put its "expertise in the Action-RPG MMO genre" to use once again in the creation of "the best games in this market".
Following last week's announcement that Flagship Studios had made all staff redundant and closed down development, the beta test of its anticipated free MMO Mythos has gone offline.
The game's servers shut down late on Friday. Although it's officially only a "hiatus", the situation at the developer makes Mythos' future look very uncertain. There are reports that it will be picked up by Korea's HanbitSoft, which will develop it internally.
"Despite this bump in the road, I think we've succeeded wildly," said executive producer Max Shaefer in a post on the game's forums, just before they too were taken offline. "This is undoubtedly the best game community I've ever seen."
On the future of free MMO Mythos, and what went wrong with Hellgate.
Max Schaefer is the operations chief and co-founder of Flagship Studios. Flagship was created by Max, brother Erich, Bill Roper and David Brevik after they all left Blizzard North, where they had worked together on the two Diablo games. Its first game, the anticipated online action-RPG Hellgate: London, released last year to mixed reviews. Flagship is now working on Mythos, a colourful free-to-play MMO with very Diablo-style, fast-paced, top-down action, which we rather liked when we tried the beta.
Bloke with axe is tough, bloke with magic is weak. So goes the stereotype, anyway. So you stand axe-bloke at the front chopping away merrily, and you stick magic-bloke at the back dealing out enormo-damage from afar without ever getting in harm's way. Thus has it ever been.
Casual online adventure Mythos has entered into public alpha testing today, giving you a chance to jump into the action and see what you think.
The game's being developed by Flagship Studios, which is famously made up of brain-boxes that worked on action role-playing game Diablo back in the day, and is due for release later this year.
It's an action MMORPG where you'll be able to play as Elves, Gremlins or Humans, and explore randomised dungeons in an isometric point-and-click style affair. And while grouping is the core-concept, those of you who like to go solo can do just that, using a wealth of skills to win yourself gold, gems, armour and weapons.