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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » 38 Studios - All Staff Laid Off

Default 38 Studios - All Staff Laid Off

May 25th, 2012, 03:28
Sadly, all 379 staff have been laid off at 38 Studios, including Big Huge Games. You can read summaries of the events at RPS but our original source is mostly Gamasutra, who obtained a copy of this brusque company-wide email:
“The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012.”
Gamasutra's article quotes Rhode Island Governor Chafee as saying Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning failed to meet expectations and needed to sell 3M to break even but only hit 1.2M total:
Update: During a Rhode Island press conference this afternoon, Governor Lincoln Chafee said that 38 Studios ran into such dire financial trouble in part because Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning failed to live up to expectations.

"The game failed," Chafee said, noting that in order to break even, the game needed to sell more than 3 million copies, and it unfortunately did not come close to hitting that lofty goal.
Although 38 head honcho Curt Schilling defended the 1.2m sales on twitter:
Reckoning, 38 Studios first game, has outperformed EA's projections by selling 1.2mm copies in its first 90 days
Further confirmation comes from a number of developers on twitter, such as BHG lead world designer Colin Campbell:
Big Huge Games was home for my wife and me for our adult lives so far. I’ll miss it terribly, but so proud. Good night and good luck.
But Curt Schilling on twitter links to this post on fan ste 38Watch showing some images from their in-development MMO with the message:
38 isn't dead yet.
It sure seems dead for most of the employees. We wish the best to all the affected staff.
More information.

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May 25th, 2012, 03:28
When you can't make payroll… this result isn't very surprising.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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May 25th, 2012, 03:35
This sure sucks for big huge games. Well the other guys too, but was a fan of big huge games. Shame this didn't work out for them.
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May 25th, 2012, 04:01
Originally Posted by jwmeep View Post
This sure sucks for big huge games. Well the other guys too, but was a fan of big huge games. Shame this didn't work out for them.
Its sad that these guys are loosing their jobs. It's an extra big shame for Big Huge Games because they produced a product which - though we may disagree about the game itself - was largely commercially and critically successful. It wasn't a 10 million copy bonanza but it did pretty well overall.
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May 25th, 2012, 05:03
Game over. Thanks for playing RI.
Insert quarter (million) to play again.
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May 25th, 2012, 06:08
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
was largely commercially and critically successful. It wasn't a 10 million copy bonanza but it did pretty well overall.
You must have read different commercial and critical reviews than I did.

This game proves that, just because you like games and you have money, it doesn't necessarily follow that you can make games.
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May 25th, 2012, 07:24
38 isn't dead yet.
Denial is great and so is people not accepting reality and fault Curt Schilling. You gambled you lost now you have a $75 million dollar debt to pay.

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May 25th, 2012, 09:36
This is a real shame to be honest. These guys had a lot of ambitions, too bad we never got to see them realized.
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May 25th, 2012, 10:04
It's certainly a shame that people have lost their jobs. However, assuming that your first game is going to sell 3 million copies despite not being based on an existing IP strikes me as highly naive, perhaps bordering on utter arrogance.
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May 25th, 2012, 10:17
Very sad

Really enjoyed Amalur and was pleased to see another fantasy IP.
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May 25th, 2012, 11:32
Originally Posted by bazmod View Post
It's certainly a shame that people have lost their jobs. However, assuming that your first game is going to sell 3 million copies despite not being based on an existing IP strikes me as highly naive, perhaps bordering on utter arrogance.
Yes, seems like a rather big gamble. They burnt through a lot of cash there. Still sad that it turned out so badly.
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May 25th, 2012, 12:53
Very unfortunate for the people involved. I can only hope that they find work and start to develop a game that's not as conflicted and hollow as I think KoA ultimately was.
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May 25th, 2012, 12:57
Sad story. I had expected that they would have a much better success.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 25th, 2012, 13:24
Alrik, it's odd you say that after the comment in the other thread that ppl massively buy dumbed down games and ignore gems like Drakensang.

Honestly I didn't expect a better success. KoA is just another generic respawning mobs fest, it's just a bit better looking than others.
Sorry everyone, but I really don't care for the fate of KoA developers. Especially because more than a million of players spent money just to kill the same mobs over and over 24/7 in KoA instead of at least trying to have fun with masterpieces. Drakensang is a masterpiece. You may disagree of course because it didn't sell well like heavily advertised turds and you have a point there, but I'll still say it's a masterpiece.
If someone should feel sadness, it's not players. But all those "pay for a good review" sites like gamespot and ign who praised KoA. They won't be getting more money from 38 Studios.
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May 25th, 2012, 13:32
I just hope this means Ken Rolston stays out of the business.

I'd have to look really hard for a more hollow mouthpiece, all the way to Molyneux - even.
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May 25th, 2012, 13:37
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Alrik, it's odd you say that after the comment in the other thread that ppl massively buy dumbed down games and ignore gems like Drakensang.
I can still respect my foe for what he has achieved.

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May 25th, 2012, 13:56
What's up.
Nothin.
Got a light?
Yeah.
Here long?
Couple years.
Damn.
You get used to it.
The hiding?
Yeah.
I don't know. I'm used to being in the spotlight.
Yeah.
I'm Curt by the way.
Brad.
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May 25th, 2012, 14:53
Originally Posted by CrazyIrish View Post
You must have read different commercial and critical reviews than I did.

This game proves that, just because you like games and you have money, it doesn't necessarily follow that you can make games.
I didn't say it was a blockbuster, but most review outlets gave it generally positive reviews and it sold decently. The reviews I agreed with were more generally those mixed reviews, but you will notice it was not exactly received poorly overall. Still, I won't pretend it wasn't received well just because the glowing reviews do not agree with my own opinion.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-…alur-reckoning

And the game sold over 1 million copies across all platforms (half a million on PC) in 90 days. That's not terrible for an RPG from an unknown company. Those beat EA's estimates for expected sales; the problem is that Curt Schilling expected 3 million and spent/budgeted accordingly. Basically Curt was budgetting for a game that would sell as well as Oblivion had (to be profitable) while EA had expected a moderate success. That's a problem more of managment; so it wasn't a commercial flop but it was a financial failure.
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May 25th, 2012, 15:04
I do wonder if the demo was a mistake, I was planning on buying the game straight away until I played the demo. After that I decided to wait for a sale instead.

I wonder how many others were the same?

Daniel.
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May 25th, 2012, 16:02
More sadness on their forums:

http://forums.reckoning.amalur.com/s…s-and-Farewell

Hey folks!

Today was a rough day at the studio. After a long stretch of difficult circumstances, things finally came to a head, and this afternoon, we on the Reckoning team down in Maryland began to pack up our offices and say our goodbyes.

Before heading off to wherever I may land next, I first wanted to drop a quick word to you folks, the Reckoning community.

First, I just wanted to say thanks for all the well wishes today—this has been a pretty horrible time for those of us at both BHG and 38 Studios Providence—and we greatly appreciate the great display of compassion throughout the fanbase.

Second, on behalf of the Baltimore studio in particular, I just wanted to thank you all very much for your support over the past year, and for your enthusiasm for Reckoning. It has been truly humbling.

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.

Once more, on behalf of Big Huge Games and the Reckoning development team, thank you for everything, and take care!
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