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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