38 Studios' Curt Schilling: Rhode Island broke promises

38 Studios may not technically be shut down, but the game developer behind this year's fantasy RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning laid off all of its employees last week as a result of financial issues. Now its founder, and former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling is finally giving his side of what happened to 38 Studios, blaming the state of Rhode Island and its governor Lincoln Chafee for its troubles.

Rhode Island agreed to give 38 Studios a $75 million loan in 2010 in exchange for the company moving their headquarters to the city of Providence and hiring over 400 people. In a story on the Providence Journal website, Schilling claims that the state pulled out of a deal to offer 38 Studios film tax credits, which Schilling says his company was legally entitled to receive.

He also claims that the state pulled out of a deal that would have allowed 38 Studios to hold off making a required $1.12 million payment May 1 on the company's loan agreement so that 38 Studios could make payroll for his employees. Schilling further claims that comments made by Rhode Island governor Chafee on May 14 on the financial state of 38 Studios caused an unnamed video game publisher to pull out of an agreement to publish a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Finally, Schilling says that he has put in a whopping $50 million of his own money in 38 Studios. That money, along with Rhode Island's loan, was being used primarily to develop Project Copernicus, the studios' long-in-development fantasy MMO game that now looks it will never see the light of day.

Source: The Providence Journal

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Let's just call this what it is. A giant bugfark caused by several parties who have no idea how games get made and published. The Governor of R.I. was against the deal in the first place he is an old guy and I would guess that to him video games aren't a "business" like manufacturing or real estate. I'm not saying he sunk the ship but he was publicly pointing out all the holes below the waterline. That is something you don't do no matter what your business is if you want a chance to turn it around. Once people know how farked up the situation is the less likely any help will be offered.

Kurt Schilling. He was a baseball icon. He has money and is really into video games. He thought he could open a studio and hire some folks and their first game would sell as many copies as game franchises that have over a decade of big releases. That was never going to happen. It was said 3 million copies of Kingdoms Of Amalur had to be sold to break even. The only thing I know about video games is how to play them and I have worked on a few Half-Life mods. I do know that KoA was released against some of the most hyped RPG games in many years. It was never going to sell 3 million units in the first few months. Maybe if it had good modding tools and some free follow up DLC it could have hit 3 million in a year or so. He thought that gamers would buy the game because it was his studio and frankly nobody cares who's name is involved in the project unless they have huge games already in their resume. Nobody really cared that R. A. Salvatore was involved in the script.

Gamers want good games. KoA is a pretty good game. It is not however Skyrim. Just look at the games that have come out this year. KoA had way too much established IP to go up against to stand a chance of selling 3 million.

People on both sides screwed up. The government of Rhode Island was never fully behind the loan to the studio. From what I have read the studio had way too many people for the work that was getting done. Too much money spent on KoA for very little ROI. What they did just didn't make sense. The governor was leaking the bad news as he got it and that is what finally sealed the deal. The governor didn't like the loan in the first place and now that the studio is basically dead he will be saying "I told you so" to everyone he talks to. It was several peoples fault. That's why businesses fail. People make the wrong decisions, money is lost and then they have to close the doors.