Thursday, May 24, 2012

38 Studios Closes, Curt Schilling Lays Off Entire Staff

There was a lot of hype surrounding the game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was developed by 38 Studios under the head of former MLB star Curt Schilling. The game was expected to be a fantastic mashup of action, hack-n-slash and rich RPG elements. Unfortunately, the game never really lived up to its potential or expectations. What's even worse is that it has recently been discovered that the entirety of 38 Studios has closed down.

According to a report from The Verge, 38 Studios has been closed and the company has, effective immediately, laid off every single one of its employees. Employees learned of the layoffs via an internal email which read:
"The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a company-wide layoff is absolutely necessary."
"These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary."
"This is your official notice of layoff, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."
In addition to that, an employee (now claiming to be a former employee) relayed to Kotaku that not a single employee has been paid since April 30 and that company officials have not communicated the status of things to any workers throughout this entire process. Other insiders at the company noted that their health insurance has already run out.

This doesn't seem to be fake either as both Company CEO Jen MacLean and Senior Vice President of Product Development John Blakely have both updated their Linkedin profiles with 38 Studios referenced in the past tense. MacLean's resume says that she left the company in March whereas Blakely's resume has him listed with 38 Studios as recently as Monday. Also on Monday, Blakely attended a meeting of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation board to discuss 38 Studios' cash crisis with company founder Curt Schilling.

38 Studios was planning on releasing Project Copernicus, an MMO set in the universe of Kingdoms of Amalur,  though that seems highly unlikely at this point. While the loss of all these jobs in our current economic recession is terribly heartbreaking, the fact that the taxpayers of Rhode Island loaned Schilling and 38 Studios $75 million to fund their games is even more troubling. Should Schilling and the company declare bankruptcy, Rhode Island will be left holding the bill for the company.

Source: G4TV - 38 Studios Closes; CEO and Vice President Jump Ship
Kotaku - 38 Studios and Big Huge Games Shutting Down
The Verge - 38 Studios lays off entire staff
Yahoo! - Curt Schilling's 38 Studios lays off its entire staff
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Multiplayer Update Hitting Uncharted 3

The PlayStation Blog has just announced that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, the third installment in the incredibly popular franchise for the PlayStation 3, will be receiving a huge update to its multiplayer system by the end of this month. The patch, which is known as patch 1.11, is only bringing changes to the multiplayer aspect of the game, which means if you are still playing the numerous different multiplayer modes in Naughty Dog's popular game then you may find something in this patch to like.

What many players that are familiar with the multiplayer aspect of the game will be happy to see is that The Lab is back. The Lab was a part of Uncharted 2's multiplayer. Essentially it is a playlist of game types that the designers of the game believe focus on being fun as opposed to competitive. In accordance with this mindset, patch 1.11 brings in a brand new map that only allows players to use the T-Bolt and Pistole weapons. It's a lot like the game play modes in Gears of War 3 that incorporate weapons like the Cluckshot, which was essentially the Boomshot but fired exploding chickens instead of rockets. 

Patch 1.11 also adds another new game mode called Elimination, as well as a whole host of Custom Game "Advanced Settings". These settings allow you to host a private game and tweak every aspect of it to fit your every desire. You can change starting weapons, respawn times, pickups, boosters, kickbacks and whatever else you want to change. This feature is great for parties and playing with a group of friends as it allows you to create totally outrageous games or serious competitions. 

In addition to all this new stuff, patch 1.11 also addresses small fixes and adjustments. One new addition is the fact that leaving a game or disconnecting or turning off your PS3 mid-game will attribute that game as a loss on your record, obviously to deter things like rage quitting. Game modes Plunder and Team Objective will no longer affect your permanent stats and the maps The Airstrip and London have had their intros removed, allowing you to jump into the action a lot faster. Finally, the Long Range medal has been tweaked so that you now only need to get 3 headshots at 50 meters instead of 3 headshots at 70 meters. 

If you're still playing Uncharted 3's multiplayer then you have something to look forward to in the coming weeks. Personally, I can't wait to see the hardcore players react to the changes. Hardcore players always seem to get really mad when developers change their game. Regardless, patch 1.11 drops sometime this month, so hit the comments below when it does and tell us what you think about the changes. 

Source: IGN - Massive Multiplayer Update Coming to Uncharted 3

The PlayStation Blog - UNCHARTED 3 Patch 1.11 Notes: The Lab Returns, Elimination Mode and more