Report: Reckoning developer at risk of insolvency

38 Studios is in talks with the Rhode Island state government, and the state governor says the effort is to keep the company "solvent."

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38 Studios, the owner of developer Big Huge Games (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning) may be facing financial difficulties, and has turned to the Rhode Island government to stay solvent. State officials have been meeting with the game studio, though specific measures aren't being discussed yet.

"We're always working to keep Rhode Island companies solvent, and that's what we're doing with 38 Studios," Governor Lincoln Chafee told local TV station NBC 10. "We're working with 38 Studios on different issues. That's all I can report right now."

The company was originally formed in Massachusetts, but Rhode Island offered a $75 million loan guarantee in 2010. This was to bring jobs and tax revenue into the state, but the loan was a contentious topic during the recent election season. When Reckoning was released, studio founder Curt Schilling reassured the state that, "the only way taxpayers lose is if the company failed."

The NPD reports that Reckoning has sold 410,000 copies across all platforms since release.

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  • reply
    May 15, 2012 10:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Report: Reckoning developer at risk of insolvency.

    38 Studios is in talks with the Rhode Island state government, and the state governor says the effort is to keep the company "solvent."

    • reply
      May 15, 2012 10:30 AM

      Did Amalur not do particularly well, or something? It seemed like it got reasonably good press. Weird.

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        May 15, 2012 10:36 AM

        I thought it was a pretty darn good game.. very polished and fun. But this is sadly why publishers keep churning out sequels to known franchises, because the average gamer isn't willing to take a chance on a new IP.

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          May 15, 2012 11:04 AM

          On an average, bland, unexciting looking YAFRPG IP.

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        May 15, 2012 11:02 AM

        vgchartz has it at around 1 million sold.

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          May 15, 2012 11:16 AM

          vgchartz guess. Don't give them any credence.

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      May 15, 2012 10:32 AM

      they got 75 million in backing for an MMO that never appeared and a single player game that didn't live up to 4-5 years of expectations.

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        May 15, 2012 11:04 AM

        And they bought Big Huge Games for that single player RPG. Amazing incompetence.

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        May 15, 2012 11:16 AM

        I figured they couldn't get the MMO going and needed to put something out to get some sort of revenue stream.

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      May 15, 2012 10:46 AM

      "the only way taxpayers lose is if the company failed."
      So the only way we lose money is the most likely outcome? Sounds like a solid business venture. Sign me up.

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        May 15, 2012 12:18 PM

        dude sold them a bill of goods that MMOs will never fail, this was back when WoW was making gangbusters and you could swindle unsuspecting investers into backing your 75 million vision with hopes of MASSIVE returns.

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          May 15, 2012 8:36 PM

          Rhode Island also had a disproportionately higher unemployment rate, so this was an attempt to funnel jobs into Providence. Well, it was an attempt to funnel about 400 gaming industry jobs, in a city that needed thousands of job openings across various industries. It feels almost like Lincoln Chafee was reaching for any kind of huge success story, and since a Fortune 1000 company wasn't knocking, 38 Studios was the next best glamorous thing.

          So much hubris along the way, though. I got a chance to see Harmonix in 2005; it looked relatively well-grounded compared to all the hoopla behind 38 Studios moving to Providence.

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      May 15, 2012 11:18 AM

      Wait, so you're telling me a shitty game made by a random, unknown company that got published by the most disliked company in the industry didn't do well?

      Well color me surprised.

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        May 15, 2012 12:41 PM

        You can say you didn't like it... but saying it's shitty is going to far I think. It was not a bad game. A bit bland maybe... nobody's really saying it's bad.

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          May 15, 2012 8:07 PM

          Fair enough- shitty is a bit harsh. I often describe it as "Baby's first RPG" though. There really was no depth to the game at all or anything.

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      May 15, 2012 11:20 AM

      this is what happens when you release an RPG where you can't jump. they should've known!!!!!!!!

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      May 15, 2012 11:27 AM

      doesn't curt schilling own this company

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        May 15, 2012 12:11 PM

        Yeah, Schilling founded 38 Studios, originally under the name Green Monster Games. He claims the name had nothing to do with Fenway Park.

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        May 15, 2012 8:19 PM

        Yep! Right-wing, fuck taxation Curt Schilling, sucking up $75M of taxpayer money. Good times.

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      May 15, 2012 12:14 PM

      WTF, this sucks.

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      May 15, 2012 12:18 PM

      Just wondering here, 410K at $60 a pop, is 24 mil. Add in two ( three actually) DLCs , $20 for two, and maybe sell 100K? is another 2 mil. How much did this game cost to make?!

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        May 15, 2012 12:19 PM

        they were given 75 million in backing.

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          May 15, 2012 12:24 PM

          I was wondering about that, but isnt that also for the MMO?... Also the 410K is stateside only (from google searching), not counting digital copies, Europe and the rest of the world.

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            May 15, 2012 12:34 PM

            all im saying is that 75 million went somewhere..if they are threatening to go under, then they apparently have nothing to show for that money other than huge wallets and a weak single player rpg.

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              May 15, 2012 12:38 PM

              I agree, I'm wondering the same thing. I know VGcharts is garbage, but they are reporting 1.1 mil units sold: http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=amalur&publisher=&platform=&genre=&minSales=0&results=200 Where did all the money go? Did EA suck them dry?

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              May 15, 2012 12:39 PM

              I have a few friends who work there, and all of them have reported what a mindblowing rudderless clusterfuck it is.

              Color me not surprised.

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                May 15, 2012 12:42 PM

                im afraid this happened to a lot of poor investers over the past five years. promise them huge returns, meanwhile get fat and happy off a set in stone 5 years of great pay, bonuses, cronyism, etc. when the game fails to appear or bombs (ala tabula rasa, and the upcoming elder scrolls mmo) blame it on changing market conditions and wipe your hands of it.

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      May 15, 2012 12:52 PM

      If it can't make it on its own then fucking let it die.

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      May 15, 2012 3:35 PM

      I guess I should be relieved that Massachusetts didn't counter-offer that insane loan.

      This quote from a Boston Globe article caught my eye: http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-14/business/29887231_1_entertainment-software-association-zynga-video-game

      But let’s be honest: designing games is sexier than making low-input bias current amplifiers. (Sorry, Analog Devices.)

      Yeah, Analog Devices still has tons of industrial customers who buy a well-established product line. 38 Studios released 1 game in the past 2 years.

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      May 15, 2012 3:42 PM

      bureaucrats aren't good venture capitalists?

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      May 15, 2012 8:49 PM

      I like what it could have been. Just looks too much like wow honestly, couldn't get immersed.

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      May 15, 2012 9:14 PM

      I expected more from a company run by a former baseball player, fantasy author and toymaker. Especially after securing a multimillion dollar loan from a state familiar with technology, I was sure they were going to deliver something spectacular.