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17-05-2012, 08:42 PM #1
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.
- 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.
17-05-2012, 08:46 PM #2
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.
17-05-2012, 08:53 PM #3
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).
17-05-2012, 09:14 PM #4
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.
17-05-2012, 09:24 PM #5
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.
17-05-2012, 09:28 PM #6
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.
17-05-2012, 09:30 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
17-05-2012, 09:33 PM #8
I hope they manage to push out a difficulty patch, at least.
17-05-2012, 09:35 PM #9
17-05-2012, 09:52 PM #10
17-05-2012, 10:06 PM #11
17-05-2012, 10:19 PM #12
17-05-2012, 10:23 PM #13
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.
17-05-2012, 10:26 PM #14
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.
17-05-2012, 10:30 PM #15
They were, in fact, lured from Massachusetts to R.I. by these generous offers.
17-05-2012, 11:01 PM #16
18-05-2012, 02:59 AM #17
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
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.
18-05-2012, 05:44 AM #18
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
Even more news for this:
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.
18-05-2012, 06:35 AM #19
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.
18-05-2012, 07:12 AM #20
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.