38 Studios Crisis' Aftermath, Reckoning 2 Was in Pre-production

28 May 2012

38 Studios' staff might have been laid off in its entirety, but that doesn't mean that we won't be getting new snippets of information on its demise and keep discussing on it for a fairly long time, as testified by this report from Joystiq, that claims a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was in pre-production before the Big Huge Games shutdown:
"We had a good base to work from, and it was going to be all about improving everything," said a source who asked to remain anonymous, given that there's still the slightest chance the project could be salvaged. "We listened carefully to fans and critics and were going to implement everything we possibly could."

...

"Reckoning was developed with EA publishing money, NOT Rhode Island tax dollars," a former BHG employee told us. "It had nothing to do with the $50 million dollars from RI. That money went directly to the MMO project."

The former BHG employees are thankful that 38 Studios purchased the studio in 2009 and save them. Schilling is commended for his support of the studio. At that time, the MMO 38 Rhode Island had been working on was already in production for three years and it was believed it would launch before Reckoning. That didn't happen and the latest moving target date was June 2013.

Speaking of Reckoning, lead designer Ian Frazier apologized for being unable to provide the promised PC patch on the official forums in his farewell message to the community:
Third, I wanted to apologize for the lack of a patch for Reckoning. It's something we very much wanted to do, but various issues outside our control (which unfortunately I'm not at liberty to disclose) prevented us from doing so for a long time. Finally we received clearance to do a PC-only patch, which wasn't ideal (we wanted to do a patch on all platforms) but it was better than nothing. So we commenced working on that--working on everything from miscellaneous bug fixes to Joe Q's addition of new camera features to Dakota's addition of two new difficulty modes...but before we finished, the company collapsed. Now, barring some sort of miracle, it is highly unlikely that any patch for Reckoning will ever see the light of day. I am deeply sorry that we were unable to get a patch out the door sooner, before this catastrophe struck--you supported us, and you deserve the support yourselves. While I consider Reckoning a very strong game and not especially buggy, that's not the same as saying that it's perfectly balanced or bug-free, and it kills me that I'll never get the chance to correct any of its issues.

In the meantime, Polygon is reporting that 38 Studios passed second mortages onto laid off employees that thought those homes had already been sold by the company:
Some of the hundreds of 38 Studios employees laid off yesterday were hit with a second round of bad news this week when they were told that homes they thought the company had sold for them hadn't been, and that they may be stuck with a second mortgage, Polygon has learned.

Several sources directly impacted by the mortgage issue confirmed the news today and a 38 Studios official, who asked to not be named, said the company is working to try and get to the bottom of the notifications and find a resolution.

One former employee said they discovered this week that their Massachusetts home, which they had been told was sold last year, actually hadn't been. The bank contacted them this week to ask why they mortgage wasn't being paid.

It is unclear how many of 38 Studio's 288 Rhode Island employees may be impacted, but it will likely only affect some of those who were part of the company's relocation program. The program, we were told, was used to help employees moving from Massachusetts to Rhode Island when the company relocated.

Considered news of this kind has negatively impacted Curt Schilling and his company's image, 38 Studios' community member "Falkon" chimed in to add his perspective on things, claiming that a lot of the reports so far have been spreading misinformation on the Rhode Island loan and the company's problems. It's apparently a source really close to the company, so take this with a grain of salt:
While I don't have all the answers I'd like to try and clarify some really bad rumors going around the internet. First of all, Rhode Island never gave 38S $75M of tax payer money. The 75M was from a private investor and Rhode Island basically co signed the loan. No money from Rhode Island has been touched. To date 38S has received about 50M of the 75M promised to them for moving to RI. The money was a gift to them, Curt didn't do anything wrong by taking it. I don't know a single person who's trying to start a business and if someone said here's some money come move here and set up shop who wouldn't do it. The 25M left is still in holding and would cover the costs 38 needed to pay through 2014. Curt also put in all his money up front for the first 2 years and when he bought BHG. EA also gave him some money to help produce Reckoning. I don't know the total amount, but the rumor is 50M

From my friends who worked inside, some told me the reason they missed the payment was 38S & BHG have not yet received any money from the sales of Reckoning from EA or Steam. Also they were promised $8M from the government for film tax credits when they paid the 1M fee. They never received a penny. Not a single person I know of who worked there blamed Curt or the management. Everyone loved their jobs, and they are angry at the Governor who basically screwed them all over by disclosing confidential information and scarred off investors. They only were seeking a small assistance to cover the needed funds to cover the studio until the royalty fees came in and their new investors payments would start in about 1-2 months. The state of RI totally cut them off with 0 help even though the governor said he wanted to help them. in addition he blatantly lied about certain things about the game such as it needed a minimum of 3M units to sell to break even. My sources say that's a fat lie and it wasn't even close to that #.

Finally, in a bit of trivia, Gamerzines claims Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's sales are spiking:
A full view of the UK Top 40 reveals that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has re-entered the charts with an impressive return at 26th place – neck and neck with Nintendo and Ubisoft cash cows Mario Kart 7 and Just Dance 3.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which has been absent in the UK charts for some months now, launched in February selling over a million units in its first three months on sale.
 
 

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