Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley offered some harsh words for current Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee (I), who he painted as a saboteur in the last days before 38 Studios went bankrupt.
In a conversation on Twitter with The Escapist Editor in Chief Greg Tito, Smedley said 38 Studios founder and former all-star Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling "busted his ass" to get funding for the ambitious MMO codenamed Copernicus, even meeting several times with SOE. Smedley said that SOE didn't pick up the game because there was too much risk involved and it was too expensive for his company to fund, but added that the game was "gorgeous."
What killed the game and 38 Studios, Smedley notes, was Gov. Chafee publicly railing against it right before 38 Studios went bankrupt.
"The idea of suing someone when Chaffee's own comments were what poisoned the well at the end is beyond the pale," Smedley said, later calling Chafee an "idiot." "All [Chaffee] had to do was give Curt another week and we wouldn't be here today."
Smedley also offered some common sense advice for tax payers in Rhode Island and in other states thinking of funding ambitious MMO projects: don't do it.
"Dear people of Rhode Island. Look to your elected government for failing to protect you. That 38 studios deal just never should have been," Smedley said. "Public funds shouldn't be backing risky things like online games. If the fact that no other [venture capitalists] were investing wasn't enough of a clue then you damn well shouldn't be surprised by failure."
Finally Smedley emphasized a fact that a lot of mainstream publications fail to mention when reporting on the failed $75 million loan to 38 Studios; Schilling was just as invested in the project as anyone else was – he put a lot of his own money into the studio.
"He put his own money where his mouth was" Smedley said.
Curt Schilling, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and others involved in the failed $75 loan are being sued by the state of Rhode Island, though lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that will make it easier to settle the matter out of court.