The saga of 38 Studios will come to a close on Oct. 23 when the SJ Corio Company holds its second and final auction of its material assets in Providence, Rhode Island. The goods going up on the block range from the mundane to the exceedingly valuable, at least by video game development standards. 38 Studios office furniture will be sold alongside its servers, graphic design, and motion capture equipment. Just who will buy up the pieces of 38’s legacy is an interesting question facing the gaming industry. While we know that Microsoft is anxious to prevent the sale of the Xbox development kits seized from 38 Studios, who else in the industry might be interested?
Epic Games’ newest studio Impossible Games certainly has a vested interest in the remnants of 38 Studios’ operation. Impossible is comprised primarily of developers from former 38 Studios subsidiary Big Huge Games, that team behind that company’s only release, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The first auction of 38 assets being held on Oct. 16 in Timonium, Maryland has a selection of gear and other games like a “video game library” that could be valuable to the team at Impossible, especially if it plans to renew work on the planned sequel to Reckoning it was making when 38 Studios was shuttered by Rhode Island.
It looks as though that won’t happen though. Whether or not Impossible’s staff attempts to repurchase lost goods from its old office, it won’t be to complete Kingdoms of Amalur 2 since Epic will not be pursuing the IP when the state of Rhode Island sells it. “We don’t buy IP, we make IP,” Epic told Digital Trends, echoing president Mark Rein’s statements following the formation of Impossible Games.
The Kingdoms of Amalur IP may simply fade into obscurity. Electronic Arts said in July that it would be interested in revisiting the series even though the first one missed sales expectations. It did not, however, commit to trying to buy the series’ rights.
Who else might be digging through the detritus? We contacted Sony to see if it was also attempting to reclaim development tools from the state just like Microsoft, but as of this writing the company hasn’t returned our inquiries. Development kits for video game consoles aren’t purchased by developers, they’re licensed to them. As Microsoft said told Polygon, “Xbox 360 development kits (XDK) are the property of Microsoft and are only licensed to authorized studios and may not be assigned or sold to any third party without the written consent of Microsoft.”
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