4 June 2012
| | iTZKooPA
The situation at 38 Studios is obviously terrible. Bad for the video game industry, bad for the MMOG genre and (likely) bad for the taxpayers of Rhode Island. The saga is far from over, yet most outlets – even an article on LoreHound – have placed most of the blame on Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher. To be frank, it’s unfair.
For starters, the man knew his role. He didn’t think he’d be the game designer, producer or programmer. To this point, 38 Studios was filled with highly-experienced and successful people at the upper management levels and experienced creators at lower levels. He began the company because he’s a fan of the lush worlds, storytelling and gameplay that MMOGs offer. Essentially, he did what most gamers would do with a large quantity of disposable income, try to fund the creation of the experience of their dreams.
Barring a crazy angel investor, that dream has been shattered, but Schilling is taking far more flak than he rightfully deserves. First off, he didn’t doom the company. There was little inappropriate spending – such as almost 1.5 million dollars on the lore alone – but, according to employees, the company did not spend lavishly on everyday things. Second, he’s become a scapegoat, an easy target to point at by insiders and outsiders due to his previous fame, and let’s face it, lack of industry experience. Employees have stated that the Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, has done exactly that, hoping to save his own political career in the face of his state owing over $100 million (due in the future) in the event of complete collapse to a loan he championed. Continue Reading
25 May 2012
| | iTZKooPA
This is likely as close as we'll ever get to being in Amalur again.
The news was bad yesterday, but rumors coming from a local mass media station (!) in the area has made it oh, so much worse. According to Joystiq and Fox News 25 Boston, the studio has laid off its entire staff and is attempting to sell Big Huge Games, the viable game developer 38 Studios purchased in mid 2009.
BHG was responsible for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a single-player action RPG set in Project Copernacus’ universe. BHG also created the award-winning Rise of Nations RTS franchise and later worked on an Age of Empires expansion, The Asian Dynasties. The layoffs currently include the employees at BHG.
The report starts off with the most damning statement possible: “Curt Schilling’s video game company could be out of business by the weekend.” This coming from a Joystiq source.
This layoffs mean an estimated 350+ people are now out of work. If 38 Studios cannot maintain payments on the ~$50 million it still owes the state of Rhode Island, then the state will win a second prize of the Amalur IP, worth an estimated $20 million.
Considering Curt Schilling was seen exiting the parking lot with a box of his stuff in the backseat, it appears that the underdog has lost.
24 May 2012
| | iTZKooPA
Despite numerous pleas, reassurance from the top, continued taxpayer loan payments and various looks of the in-development MMOG, 38 Studios remains on the brink of collapse. Recent events include not paying its employees, eventually letting a healthy sum of its staff go or seeing a talent exodus. Some to local companies like Turbine Entertainment, others to faraway lands.
Late yesterday, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee put another bullet next to the studio. He admitted that the company has seen no new outside investment, an emerging trend in the genre. Making matters worse, the plea for additional taxpayer funds has gone unanswered. Leaving the company in an ever-deepening hole. Chafee stated that he is doing everything in his power to make sure the company remains afloat. A complete collapse would see the state lose hundreds of millions of dollars and almost certainly Chafee’s chance at a reelection.
With employees fleeing like rats off a sinking ship and rumors that the company’s healthcare is about to expire, 38 Studios and Project Copernicus may not be long for this world.
I for one, am still cheering for the underdog.