38 Studios Speaks Out Against Rhode Island Governor’s Public Comments

A number of stories have popped up over the holiday weekend relating to 38 Studios and its continuing struggle to stay alive. Among them is news that an update to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will not see the light of day, that a sequel to the game was already in pre-production and fresh comments from several high profile 38 Studios executives taking Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) to task for throwing the company under the bus in the name of what they see as demagoguery.

First up is a Joystiq story in which founder Curt Schilling says that he has invested $50 million of his own money in the company – which he stands to lose if it fails. The former all-star Red Sox pitcher said that he was frustrated with the actions of the state's governor, who seems to have gone out of his way to ruin any chances of the company getting private investment with his public comments on the situation. Schilling called Chafee's public comments on the company's situation "devastating," adding that it "scared off private investors."

38 Studios subsidiary, Big Huge Games, was also reportedly working on a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. That project was going to rely on an estimated private investment of $35 million from an unnamed publisher to go into production. Schilling said that Chafee's statements ruined that deal.

Polygon also has comments from former 38 Studios creative director Steve Danuser, who told NECN in an interview that the Rhode Island governor turned his back on the studio in their time of need.

"We just needed a little more help, and we thought the state would have our backs on that," he told the television station. "We thought the governor was an ally. It didn't turn out that way."

Danuser served as the creative lead on 38 Studio's role-playing game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

"The governor has turned his back on a lot of taxpaying Rhode Island citizens who work here and it's unfortunate because we had a lot of great people who wanted to contribute to Rhode Island and now they can't," he added.

Danuser went on to say that he has a few questions for Governor Chafee:

"Why did you do it? Why didn't you help us?" asked Danuser. "He (the governor) said a lot of things, he's broken confidentiality. He's done a lot of things to materially hurt us and I don't understand it."

Finally, Polygon reports that a planned update for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has been postponed indefinitely. Obviously with no one currently working for Big Huge Games it would be tough for the company to provide any support at this point.

Lead designer Ian S. Frazier said that they had received clearance to begin development on a PC-only patch, with plans to include two additional difficulty modes, camera features and bug fixes, but then the layoffs occurred.

"I wanted to apologize for the lack of a patch for Reckoning," he wrote. "It's something we very much wanted to do, but various issues outside our control (which unfortunately I'm not at liberty to disclose) prevented us from doing so for a long time."

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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  1. 0
    Craig R. says:

    He took more money from the state than he put into it himself, and then he has the gall to complain about the governor's comments when his company has turned into a black hole? Eff Schilling.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Every time I read another story about 38 Studios, I get sick to my stomach. All facets of this just erk me in the wrong way. My Libertarian sensibilities are erked by the idea that the state would front a loan on a business with the risk being held by the tax payer. It erks me as a game developer who hates the idea of another poorly managed studio hitting rock bottom. It erks me as a game developer who feels bad for those employees who thought they were going to be paid and taken care of by their employer just to be let down in the worst possible way.

    I hope that all state governments and game companies learn a valuable lesson from this. I know I have. 

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

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