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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Kingdoms of Amalur studio in big huge trouble

    While the game was actually developed by Big Huge Games, their parent company 38 Studios is going down in flames and it's gonna cost Rhode Island taxpayers a lot.

    tl;dr version:
    - 38 borrows 75 million dollars from the state
    - can't pay back, already defaulted on May 1st
    - Curt Schilling asks for more money
    - CEO is in maternity leave
    - both the company and the state officials refuse to comment
    - if 38 is closed, all its IPs and assets will be owned by the state who will auction them

    The curse of Big Huge Games strikes again!

    Related: Schilling said that KoA received two DLCs but no patch because EA forced them to do so. They weren't going to partner with EA for the MMO.

    Here's a list of related news from Joystiq, for more juicy details.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Wow. That's... shocking. I mean really shocking. I'll likely still get Amalur, though, but not until it's cheaper.

    Suppose that's what happens when you bite off more than you can chew.


  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    I thought KOA sold pretty well. Maybe they went crazy on the budget, though. It did sound like the sort of game that they threw too much money at to start with (what with Todd McFarlan and that famous fantasy author on board, probably for not much but a reason to use their names in the marketing material).

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan Carlo View Post
    I thought KOA sold pretty well. Maybe they went crazy on the budget, though. It did sound like the sort of game that they threw too much money at to start with (what with Todd McFarlan and that famous fantasy author on board, probably for not much but a reason to use their names in the marketing material).
    R.A. Salvatore.

    Amalur is a bit like Torchlight 1/2 in that they're basically single-player implementations of MMO tech. Thing is, Runic largely got their groundwork sorted with Torchlight before moving onto the 'proper' MMO stuff whereas 38/BHG developed both simultaneously.


  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    They certainly have my sympathies, if only because of Big Huge's involvement in my all -time favorite "traditional" RTS: Rise of Nations. It's more than a little sad that they've never made anything subsequently that came close to the brilliance of that first title, but I wouldn't wish a mess like this on anyone.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ravelle's Avatar
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    Salvatore is suppose to be some great writer but it doesn't really show in the game, it's pretty much like all the other fantasy games, didn't really notice any difference in writing compared to other fantasy role playing games.

    I still really like the game though, it has some really satisfying combat and it looks amazing.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    They certainly have my sympathies, if only because of Big Huge's involvement in my all -time favorite "traditional" RTS: Rise of Nations. It's more than a little sad that they've never made anything subsequently that came close to the brilliance of that first title, but I wouldn't wish a mess like this on anyone.
    Oh, there's plenty I would- but not these chaps.

    No one could say their game was bad, and that seems to be pretty rare these days.

    Well, save for that damned camera.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    I hope they manage to push out a difficulty patch, at least.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravelle View Post
    Salvatore is suppose to be some great writer but it doesn't really show in the game, it's pretty much like all the other fantasy games, didn't really notice any difference in writing compared to other fantasy role playing games.
    There are precious few "great writers" that work in the fantasy genre. The only two I can think of that sort-of qualify are Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node Kodeen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    - CEO is in maternity leave
    I enjoy that this was listed as a bullet point going against them.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    There are precious few "great writers" that work in the fantasy genre. The only two I can think of that sort-of qualify are Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman.
    Kind of sweeping there, especially considering Gaiman's work tends more towards horror/thriller. No Miéville, no Brooks, no Martin, Barker, Pratchett, Modesitt, Jr., Williams (Tad Williams, that is) and so forth. Plenty of authors available to contend for the title of "great writer".


  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodeen View Post
    I enjoy that this was listed as a bullet point going against them.
    It's not necessarily an indictment against why the leader is absent. If there's no chain of command, then a several-months absence of a leader - especially during a crisis - is an infrastructural problem that puts 38 Studios in a bad light.
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    I'm quite surprised to see such significant state involvement. I'm not sure what the situation in Rhode Island is like, but $75 million seems like a large amount of money to be lending out to a software developer. Democrat Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox isn't too worried though: "[Curt Schilling] seems to have a lot of people around him who know what they are doing.''

    I haven't played Kingdoms of Amalur, but I always had the impression they had gotten a little ahead of themselves - which might have had financial repercussions as well. From their public statements and interviews it seemed, to me at least, like they were talking about the game as though the series had been a prime fixture in the gaming scene for decades.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Rhode Island is a tiny, tiny state sandwiched in between much larger competing markets for skilled laborers. Direct investment is a means to keep businesses from moving elsewhere.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    They were, in fact, lured from Massachusetts to R.I. by these generous offers.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    They were, in fact, lured from Massachusetts to R.I. by these generous offers.
    That's interesting, thanks.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  17. #17
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    Yet another case where the state picking winners and losers makes everyone losers.

    The Rhode Island economic development director has resigned because of the debacle, be interesting to see what happens to the board members.

    “I was skeptical from the beginning of this. If you are banking on a single MMO, that’s an enormous risk,” Kris Graft, editor in chief of Gamasutra. “It’s one of the hardest genres to be successful in. ... I don’t see it going well for them.”

    “If you have a success, it can be tremendously successful. But it’s a long shot.” (talking about MMOs in general being risky) --Scott Steinberg, CEO of video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global.

    Marco Mereu, vice president of business development and general counsel for the online game Evony, said it was a “risky gamble” for Rhode Island to use taxpayer money to fund a company without a proven track record to create an MMO.
    “I don’t know how that deal ever got approved,” he said. “It’s like playing roulette ... and putting all of your money on one number.”

    This quote is pretty good... "People in government don’t even know how to run a government. Why do they think they are qualified to be investors?" (ace of spades blog)

    Gotta love this letter:

    38 Studios is About Jobs and Industry Growth
    By Keith Stokes, RIEDC Executive Director
    August 12, 2010


    Many community leaders, like you, have inquired about why the RIEDC would offer so much credit enhancement to one company. Simply put, our extensive due diligence revealed that while 38 Studios could raise venture equity and stay in their current location, its investors and management team are willing to relocate the company and the related opportunities for Rhode Island if we provide an alternative to their equity dilution*....

    The RIEDC board is comprised of Rhode Island's top CEOs, university, hospital and industry executives, heads of small businesses and labor. Members used their considerable business expertise to thoroughly assess the opportunities and risks associated with this transaction. They asked all the hard questions the media and the public have asked, and more.
    Last edited by BenWah; 18-05-2012 at 03:26 AM.

  18. #18
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    Even more news for this:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2012/05/17/38...-make-payroll/

    Keith Stokes resigned, 38 Studios isn't making payroll and apparently let go of every contractor and temp according to Joystiq.

    This just isn't getting any better for them.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    R.A. Salvatore, a fantasy writer who helped develop the games, is slated to receive $1.46 million from 38 Studios in October under the terms of a consulting agreement he signed with the company in 2007. He is also eligible to earn up to $5 million in royalties from sales of “Reckoning” and other 38 Studios products.

    Sort of depressing considering how bad his writing and lore for the game was. I would shit something better for 50 dollars, not 5 million.

    Imagine how the non-gaming public must feel right now. Doesn't do any favours to our industry, that's for sure.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Depressing considering how bad his writing is? He did his work, he's allowed to profit from it. Personally I can stomach bad writing more than a certain author being hired for a game.


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