Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning creators 38 Studios shut down after failure to repay state loans

kingdoms of amalur reckoning creators 38 studios shut down after failure to repay state loans big huge games staff laid off

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning creators 38 Studios laid off its entire staff on Thursday according to a report at The Verge. Both the studio’s Rhode Island office and its subsidiary Big Huge Games in Maryland were shut down.

WPRI reported that the following notice was issued to all employees at 38 Studios and Big Huge Games: “The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that companywide layoff is absolutely necessary. These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary. This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012.”

The company’s disintegration happened swiftly. Founded in 2006 by baseball player Curt Schilling, 38 Studios released its very first game, the aforementioned Reckoning in February, with publishing handled by Electronic Arts. The game performed admirably for a new intellectual property, selling more than 1 million copies over the past three months. 38 Studios has also been hard at work on “Project Copernicus,” an MMO set in the Kingdoms of Amalur universe.

On May 15, though, it was reported in The Providence Journal that 38 Studios had failed to make payments on a $75 million loan it received from the state of Rhode Island, given by the Rhode Island Development Corporation development fund, in 2010. Its first payment of $1.125 million to the state was due on May 1, but the company failed to fulfill the payment until May 18, before which Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee and officials with the Development Corporation visited the studio to review “all the financials” in the interest of protecting Rhode Island taxpayers.

The director of the Development Corporation has since resigned. The initial $75 million loan was given to 38 Studios under the auspices of creating at least 450 jobs in the state of Rhode Island, but as of May, 38 Studios only employed 379 people and only 288 of those employees were at the studio’s headquarters in the state.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was made by something of an all-star team of creators. Comic artist Todd McFarlane, writer R.A. Salvatore, and Ken Rolston, lead designer of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, all had a hand in the game’s development. In the aftermath of the studio’s dissolution, it’s up in the air what will happen to the Kingdoms of Amalur property. It’s not impossible that the company and all its intellectual property will be seized by the state of Rhode Island and auctioned off in order to create enough revenue to reimburse taxpayers for the initial $75 million investment in the studio.


The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

The 25 best SNES games

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games, including A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger.

Apple is still selling iPhones in China despite being ordered not to

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.

Project Stream testers get to keep a free copy of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Those who participated in Google's technical test of Project Stream won't be able to access the service to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey after January 15, but they'll get to keep the game on PC anyway.

Newest ‘Destiny 2’ raid already completed by two-person team

The latest raid in Destiny 2: Forsaken is Scourge of the Past, and a two-person team has already managed to complete it. The task took 15 hours of trial-and-error effort before the duo managed to take down the final boss.

Need a discounted Xbox bundle by Christmas? Walmart has you covered

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, but you can still save some cash on a new Xbox One bundle at Walmart. Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are on sale now.

With our Steam guide, you can give the gift of gaming this holiday season

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.

‘Fortnite’ update 7.10 brings a rotating selection of modes big and small

The latest update for Fortnite introduces 14 Days of Fortnite, an event that brings back large and small battle royale modes as well as brand new ones to enjoy during the holiday season.

New Xbox consoles are reportedly code-named ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Lockhart’

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox plans reportedly consist of two separate consoles. One, called "Lockhart," is a more affordable machine, while "Anaconda" is designed with more horsepower.

Who needs a Switch? These 25 games prove there's fun to be found on 3DS

The 3DS is home to a large library, including some of the greatest games Nintendo has ever published. We've compiled this list of some of the best Nintendo 3DS games currently available.

Gifting a PS4? Avoid long updates and start gaming right away with our guide

The PlayStation 4 makes a great Christmas gift, but there are quite a few things you need to do before you can play. Here's how you can prepare a PlayStation 4 for gifting in advance.