38 Studios - All News
Monday - October 13, 2014
38 Studios - New Lobbying Probe
It seem the Legal troubles still continue for 38 Studios as a state investigation found that an attorney violated state lobbying laws. Here is the full information.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a state investigation found that an attorney for 38 Studios violated state lobbying laws, the secretary of state’s office is now setting its sights on a former member of the failed video game company’s board.
The first hearing focusing on former 38 Studios board member Thomas Zaccagnino was held Thursday, however Zaccagnino was not present.
It comes after a Target 12 Investigation uncovered that not a single person registered as a lobbyist on behalf of 38 Studios as it secured a $75 million loan guarantee from the state of Rhode Island.
Last month, a hearing officer found that attorney Michael Corso violated state lobbying laws. The office of Secretary of State Ralph Mollis began another round of questioning Thursday, this time alleging that Zaccagnino also failed to register as a lobbyist.
Target 12 revealed Zaccagnino had meetings with top state officials right before the company’s collapse. The company’s founder, Curt Schilling, is also expected to be the focus of a hearing later on.
If Zaccagnino is found to have lobbied without registering with the state, he could face a fine. The hearing officer is expected to take up the Zaccagnino hearing again on Oct. 23.
Meanwhile, Corso was fined $2,000 for the lobbying violations, but Mollis questioned the hearing officer, asking why the fine wasn’t larger. Corso’s attorney plans to appeal, saying the hearing was a sham.
Wednesday - July 09, 2014
38 Studios - Legal Trouble on Settlement
Gamasutra has news the settlement might from last week is not the end of Rhode Island vs 38 Studios as a few of the Defendants have filed to stop the settlement.
Today the Providence Journal reports that two defendants in the 38 Studios lawsuit -- former Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation directors Keith Stokes and J. Michael Saul -- have formally objected to the first settlement in the long-running legal battle on the grounds that the state legislation which permits it is unconstitutional.
This is notable because it's the very first potential settlement in the 38 Studios case since the suit was filed in 2012.
The proposed $4.4 million settlement would be made by the insurance provider of defendants Antonio Afonso and his law firm Moses Afonso Ryan, which is a bond holder in the loan the state's development agency gave to 38 Studios to move to the state and develop its Copernicus MMORPG.
Though there are multiple defendants in the case, Afonso and his firm are able to settle independently thanks to a recent amendment to Rhode Island state law that allows a defendant in the 38 Studios lawsuit -- and only in the 38 Studios lawsuit -- to independently agree to a settlement with the prosecution, without thereafter being liable for any judgment made by the court against the other defendants.
Now Stokes and Saul are asking a Superior Court judge to block Afonso's settlement on the grounds that the amendment which makes it possible is unfair and will ultimately prevent them from relying on the insurance policies of their codefendants to pay their own legal costs.
Thursday - July 03, 2014
38 Studios - Rhode Island Settlement
After almost three years of legal problems the battle of Rhode Island vs 38 Studios might finally be over. Gamasutra has the news for anyone is still interested.
Rhode Island announces first settlement in 38 Studios caseThe Rhode Island government has announced a proposed settlement in the 38 Studios case, which should net the state around $4.4 million dollars.The state has reached an agreement with defendants Antonio Afonso, Jr. and Moses Afonso Ryan, a law firm in which he is a partner, and which is a bond holder in the loan the state's development agency -- now called RICC -- extended to 38 Studios to move to the state to develop its MMO Copernicus. The payment would be made by the law firm's insurance company. The $4.4 million sum represents $5 million in insurance, less the cost of Afonso's defense.
The state took possession of the company and its assets, including the uncompleted Copernicus in 2012, but failed to sell the franchise or the development assets off late last year at auction.
As reported by Rhode Island TV station WPRI, the RICC board of directors has voted to approve the settlement agreement. As is customary in a settlement, Afonso and his firm avoid any admission of guilt by settling; for its part, the state avoids the possibility that the funds will be unavailable by the time a trial could be concluded, WPRI reports.
Though the agreement to settle has been approved by both sides, the court still has to approve the deal before it can move forward.
Thursday - April 03, 2014
38 Studios - Subpoenas to be Issued
The mess that was created by the state of Rhode Islands and 38 Studios isn't over yet as the new chairwoman of Rhode Island's House Oversight Committee, Karen MacBeth, plans to subpoena all the key figures in the 38 Studios deal that went wrong two years ago.
Back in 2012, Kingdoms of Amalur team 38 Studios collapsed, causing great troubles for the state of Rhode Island, which had loaned the company $75 million for follow-up Project Copernicus.
Now Rep. Karen MacBeth is seeking subpoenas for multiple key people involved in the case, including 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling, former House Speaker Gordon Fox and former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino.
"I think we owe it to the State to have answers from people that were involved," MacBeth told WPRI. "It isn't a witch hunt - it's certainly about getting answers."
"I would look to bring anybody that I think can give us answers," MacBeth added. "The state wants answers about what happened. I think it's my duty to get answers now."
MacBeth said that they need to be asking, "When did people know about this? And what did they know? When you look at some of the financial information that we haven't been given, it clearly shows that this was a bad investment."
Monday - February 03, 2014
38 Studios - Legal News @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra has the news of a new law being voted on to encourage a settlement. I wonder when this whole mess will finally be over?
Yesterday the Rhode Island Senate unanimously approved legislation written specifically to encourage a settlement in the state's ongoing lawsuit against those it holds responsible for the mismanagement of a $75 million state loan to Curt Schilling's now-defunct 38 Studios, according to a report from the Providence Journal.
The report goes into excellent detail about the state's ongoing lawsuit against former 38 Studios head Curt Schilling and 13 other defendants, including former state employees, and is worth reading in full.
Put simply, this 38 Studios bill will amend state law to allow a defendant in the 38 Studios lawsuit to independently agree to a settlement with the prosecution, without thereafter being liable for any judgment made by the court against the other defendants.
Sunday - January 05, 2014
38 Studios - More Legal Trouble
If you thought the fallout from 38 Studios was over guess again. Gamespot has the news of more legal trouble this time for the ones who are responsible for the loan.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for enforcing securities laws, has subpoenaed the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation for information related to the ongoing lawsuit against Curt Schilling's failed development outfit 38 Studios
Two lawyers confirmed the subpoena this week to The Providence Journal. The SEC originally requested depositions and exhibits related to the lawsuit in December, the paper reports.
Efforts to recoup losses related to 38 Studios, including a liquidation auction of the company's assets last month, have gathered a lackluster response so far. Sequel rights to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and rights to the Project Copernicus MMO failed to sell, with Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends fetching a total of just $320,000 from an unspecified buyer.
After Project Copernicus found no buyer, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee said the game now represents nothing more than "a lot of junk."
Friday - August 30, 2013
38 Studios - Judge Allows Rhode Island Lawsuit
According to Polygon a new judge's ruling allows Rhode Island suit against 38 Studios to proceed. Looks like things are heating up once again.
Rhode Island's lawsuit against Curt Schilling and others involved with a $75 million loan guarantee to bankrupt developer 38 Studios can proceed, according to a ruling from Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein.
"I am gratified by the Court's initial ruling in the 38 Studios case," Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee said in a statement provided to Polygon. "It allows the important claims to proceed and is a significant first step to recovering the taxpayers' losses."
Monday - August 12, 2013
38 Studios - More Legal Troubles
Polygon has more news on the 38 Studios funding drama from Rhode Island.
A member of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation discussed obtaining private funding for 38 Studios after the state approved a $75 million loan guarantee, the Associated Press reports.
Former EDC deputy director J. Michael Saul's emails were released this week as part of an investigation of the state's investment into the bankrupt studio. One of Saul's emails was written a day after the $75 million loan guarantee was approved. An email to a Bank of America executive revealed that another financial institution was considering an additional $25 million loan for the developer.
"I'm confused as to why they were looking for a bank," said Rep. Michael Marcello, chairman of Rhode Island's House Oversight Committee.
The EDC is suing Schilling, Saul and others involved in the deal that provided 38 Studios with the loan guarantee, claiming that the organization was mislead. Given that 38 Studios eventually declared bankruptcy, Saul's emails about private funding could potentially call into question what he and others may have known but didn't disclose about the deal.
Friday - November 02, 2012
38 Studios - Rhode Island Sues Executives
A lawsuit has been filed by Rhode Island against the people involved in the state's mismanaged $75 million loan to Kingdoms of Amalur developer 38 Studios.
Amongst the the defendants named in the suit are the Studio 38 founder/chairman Curt Schilling, CEO Jennifer MacLean, former EDC executive director Keith Stokes and other 38 Studios executives and EDC employees/lawyers. Other companies that were involved in the loan deal such as Wells Fargo Securities, Barclays Capital, First Southwest, and Starr Indemnity and Liability were also named as defendants.
The full storyincluding the full text of the suit can be read at various places, amongst which Gamasutra.
Tuesday - July 24, 2012
38 Studios - End Game @ Boston Magazine
Boston Magazine has a piece titled End Game that chronicles the demise of 38 Studios. What makes this different is the inside information - including interview comments direct from Curt Schilling:
Most troublesome of all was the unique profit-sharing plan Schilling devised for his first employees. Wasserman, Bussgang, and Gordon write that, since Schilling was bank-rolling the company by himself, he was hesitant to give up equity in it. So instead of luring early prospective hires with stock options, he promised to share all profits 50-50 with them. Upon arriving as CEO, Close recognized that “investors’ heads would explode” when they saw the model, since they’d be bearing all the risk but reaping only half the reward. Close eventually convinced Schilling to scrap the policy and replace it with stock options. [...]
Deadlines were frequently missed, something for which staffers say Schilling rarely held anyone accountable. The ex-pitcher had a bigger concern. “The game wasn’t fun,” he says, unprompted, beside the softball field. “It was my biggest gripe for probably the past eight to 12 months.” Visually, Copernicus was stunning, but the actual things you could do in the game weren’t engaging enough. The combat aspects especially lagged. Schilling — who never wavered in his belief that the game would be great — says the MMO was improving, but after six years, it still wasn’t there. When Schilling walked around during lunch hour, he says, nobody was playing Copernicus’s internal demos. They were all on some other game.
Thursday - June 07, 2012
38 Studios - Bankruptcy
A company spokesperson for 38 Studios has announced they have declared bankruptcy, according to the Providence Journal, who also claim police are looking over the situation:
According to statement to The Journal from 38 Studios, "This action comes after several weeks when the company has reviewed, considered and received the recommendations and advice with respect to potential avenues for relief that are currently available. After ongoing negotiations with the State of Rhode Island and potential investors and other interested parties, the Company has been unable to find a solution to the current stalemate."
Meanwhile, Col. Steven G. O'Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, says that his agency, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office and the Rhode Island attorney general "are working together to investigate activities that have recently come to light at 38 Studios."
Sunday - June 03, 2012
38 Studios - The Gamasutra Report
Gamasutra writes about the 38 Studios debacle, with input from Big Huge Games' staffers. It definitely offers a different perspective but, like other articles leaning the opposite way, still only provides a limited view:
"We never would have survived to make Reckoning if he hadn't bought us," says a Big Huge Games source. He describes Schilling's "kindest, most generous" intent in the early days of the MMO, and says Schilling "went to lavish personal expense" for his teams, buying customized jerseys and other morale perks.
"But in the end, his optimism turned out to be naivete, and it slowly killed us," the source continues.
Employees never had warning when the company was going to miss its payroll because apparently Schilling had been all but certain another investor was coming through, up to the last minute. Employees say they later learned that on two occasions the threat of being unable to make payroll had been alleviated by savior investors, so on that third occasion, Schilling had just been counting on something to manifest -- and that didn't happen in time.
"Even so, for the next seven days, he insisted that they were just about to get a new investor who would solve everything, and we hoped and slowly collapsed," the employee continues. He even says he's worried about Schilling's well-being and how he's taking the failure of 38 Studios.
Wednesday - May 30, 2012
38 Studios - Schilling Responds
The Providence Journal has Schilling's first public comments about the collapse of 38 Studios, with the celebrity sports star saying he stands to lose $50M of his own money and expressing bitterness at the public commentary from Governor Chafee:
Schilling's controversial partnership with the State of Rhode Island was forged with $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds two years ago. If 38 Studios fails, Rhode Island taxpayers will be liable to repay more than $100 million. Also, Schilling says, he stands to lose $50 million of the fortune he earned as a professional baseball player and committed to the venture.
Schilling says that state economic-development officials reneged on a deal to approve film tax credits to which 38 Studios was legally entitled, and to allow the company to defer a $1.12-million payment that was due the state on May 1 so that 38 Studios could meet its May 15 payroll.
Schilling also criticized Chafee's "devastating" public remarks about 38 Studios' financial health, which he says scared off private investors.
Friday - May 25, 2012
38 Studios - All Staff Laid Off
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.
Friday - May 18, 2012
38 Studios - Payment Clears
VG247 reports Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee held a press conference to announce 38 Studios' first payment had now cleared:
Earlier reports stated that in order to make the required payment, the firm deferred payroll and let go of all contract and temporary staff. The report also said the check handed over to the state bounced, but it seems to have cleared now.
“It’s time for them to go out and get private capital funding,” said governor Chafee. “That’s the deal. It’s a generous deal, but stick to it.
“I want to make sure we’re doing everything possible to make sure 38 doesn’t fail. We’re in deep. There’s not going to be any money from the state. They’re not coming here for easy money.”
He also revealed 38's Copernicus MMO is expected June 2013, if they make it there.
38 Studios - Payment bounces, can't make payroll
Things look dire at 38 Studios with WPRI.com reporting a payment cheque for their overdue $1.125M payment was hand delivered - but it subsequently bounced due to a lack of funds. According to a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the company also failed to make payroll:
Curt Schilling's taxpayer-backed video game company was unable to make payroll this week, Judy Chong, a spokeswoman for the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, confirmed Thursday in response to an inquiry from WPRI.com.
Separately, Governor Chafee's office said 38 Studios hand-delivered a check for the overdue $1.125 million payment to the EDC that set off this week's crisis. But shortly thereafter Rick Wester, its chief financial officer, called the agency and said there were insufficient funds to cover the check, so the EDC returned it.
Wednesday - May 16, 2012
38 Studios - $1.125M Default
Joystiq reports a meeting to resolve 38 Studios' failure to pay the first $1.125M of their Rhode Island state loan - and 38's request for more money - didn't reach an outcome:
Today's emergency meeting by Rhode Island officials to determine what they are going to do about Curt Schilling's 38 Studios has concluded with officials freezing like deer in headlights. Nothing happened.
Rhode Island's Economic Development Corporation will take no immediate action to aid the developer, following a closed-door meeting attended by Governor Lincoln Chafee and Schilling, who asked for additional help to save the company. Schilling refused to answer press inquiries and officials wouldn't declare how much money the studio is seeking.
"How do we avoid throwing good money after bad?" Chafee is quoted by the Associated Press as saying after the three-hour emergency meeting finished.
Tuesday - May 15, 2012
38 Studios - In Financial Trouble?
The Providence Journal is reporting comments from Rhode Island Governor Chafee that cast doubt on the financial position of 38 Studios. Apparently the Governor met with 38 Studios to discuss the security of a $75M government loan to the studio:
Reached Sunday, the governor said "it has been a weekend of work on this subject."
While the governor would not discuss details of the meetings with 38 Studios officials, he said there is a "tight timeframe we're working under."
"We're doing everything possible, like I would for any Rhode Island company," he said Monday afternoon at the State House, adding that the work at stake is "keeping 38 Studios solvent."
WPRI.com goes on to look at other sources and also cites NPD data apparently showing 410,000 sales at US retail, a modest but solid number when you consider international and digital sales:
“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” the first game from Curt Schilling’s Providence-based 38 Studios, sold another 80,000 copies in the United States last month, WPRI.com has confirmed.
That brings total U.S. retail sales of “Reckoning” to 410,000 copies during its first two months on the market, according to data provided to WPRI.com by NPD Group, a New York-based research firm.
Source: Blues News
Tuesday - June 22, 2010
38 Studios - An Evening @ GameBanshee
The next E3 article from GameBanshee comes from having dinner with Curt Schilling, Tim Train and others from 38 Studios. Unfortunately, they still aren't ready to show their wares so the details are limited. Here's an excerpt on Project Mercury:
In an attempt to get more information about Project Mercury (Big Huge Games' multi-platform, single player RPG previously known as Ascendant), I ran a number of questions past COO Tim Train. As it turns out, a vast majority of the original game has been scrapped since their acquisition by 38 Studios, though the team is still using the same engine tech and much of their original vision for the game. Now that they're a part of 38 Studios, the decision was made to rewrite the game's storyline and base it within the elaborate 10,000-year fiction that R.A. Salvatore had created for Copernicus. Tim explained that the Ken Rolston-led team at Big Huge Games was given the opportunity to choose an area within that history for Mercury's storyline, and that the team was "very passionate" about an epoch that takes place about 2000 years before the MMORPG. Unfortunately, he couldn't elaborate on the events that made that particular era so compelling, but he assured me that the storyline in the single player RPG would very effectively tie-in to the lore within Copernicus.
Wednesday - April 23, 2008
38 Studios - Hires Travis McGeathy
38 Studios has hired Travis McGeathy, former Everquest lead designer, as their new systems design lead for their in-development project codenamed Copernicus:
Said 38 CEO and president Brett Close, "38 Studios is extremely proud of the well-known and highly respected designers, artists, and engineers we've attracted. Having Travis, Jason, and Steve as the nucleus of our design team adds further credibility within the industry, strengthening our commitment to deploying a first-rate MMOG, and ensuring fans that we have the skill and experience to deliver an Online Entertainment Experience like no other."
Wednesday - March 19, 2008
38 Studios - Hires Jennifer MacLean
38 Studios has hired Jennifer MacLean for the position of VP of Business Development. She is best known for her work as VP and GM of Games at Comcast and she is also the incoming chair of IGDA. Here's the press release:
Jennifer MacLean Joins 38 Studios as Vice President of Business Development
Former Comcast VP, Incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of the IGDA, and One of Industry's Most Influential Women Heads Up Business Development
Maynard, MA, March 19, 2008 - 38 Studios (www.38studios.com), a pioneering entertainment company dedicated to delivering a broad spectrum of entertainment products, today announced the appointment of Jennifer MacLean as Vice President of Business Development. MacLean was previously vice president and general manager of Games at Comcast, the largest cable company in the United States.
"Jen is a valuable addition to our exceptional team, bringing impeccable credentials, strong relationships, and impressive knowledge of the industry," said Brett Close, CEO and President of 38 Studios. "Her extensive industry experience, intersecting product development, media infrastructures, and entertainment properties, will most certainly open new opportunities for the 38 Studios vision."
Named by Next Generation as one of the game industry's 100 most influential women, MacLean has more than ten years of extensive experience in online content and interactive entertainment. She is the Incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Game Developer's Association (IGDA), and is a frequent and much-requested speaker at industry events.
MacLean's responsibilities at Comcast included interactive entertainment strategy, business development, and product management. She spearheaded products including Chill, Comcast's multi-platform casual games product line, and GameInvasion.net, the company's video game news and content aggregator site and Video on Demand offering. MacLean also negotiated, implemented, and managed major partnerships for Comcast including Electronic Arts, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Fox Sports, Real Networks, Oberon Media, and Microsoft. Products under MacLean's watch delivered more than three million client installations and 30 million downloads.
Prior to Comcast, MacLean was Programming Director for AOL Games. There she led content strategy for games including creation, communication, and implementation of strategic content initiatives on AOL online properties. MacLean also oversaw the integration of custom marketing solutions for multiple partners. Previously, she held the position of Senior Product Manager, responsible for more than 35 individual game titles at AOL. MacLean began her career in the video game industry at Microprose Software.
She holds a BA degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA with an international business concentration from Columbia University.
MacLean will be responsible for the company's development of business opportunities, industry relations, and product distribution. She will report to Close and be based at the company headquarters in Maynard, Massachusetts.
"38 Studios is developing a reputation as one of the industry's top companies at which to work because of its people, leadership, and vision," said MacLean. "I'm truly excited to join a ground-breaking company that is working to deliver a next-generation online entertainment experience that transcends the traditional games we understand today."
Tuesday - March 06, 2007
Green Monster Games becomes 38 Studios
Curt Schilling has unveiled the real identity of Green Monster Games:
Curt Schilling introduces official identity of his Entertainment Company, 38 Studios, LLC
(Maynard, MA, March 2, 2007) Major League Baseball Pitcher Curt Schilling announced today that 38 Studios, LLC, will be the official corporate name of the entertainment company he launched last fall. Schilling introduced 38Studios.com apparel last week during a press conference following his first Spring Training start of 2007 for the Boston Red Sox.
“Our vision as a company is to build something revolutionary, to be the leader in the entertainment industry. The executive team I put in place, lead by 38 Studios' President Brett Close, felt this name was a more accurate reflection of what our company is working to achieve,” said company founder and CEO Curt Schilling .
The 38 Studios brand will deliver not only massively multiplayer online games, but a broad spectrum of immersive products.
“The name 38 Studios captures the scope of our goals,” Brett Close said. “Our mission is to create ground-breaking intellectual properties that inspire a vast selection of entertainment experiences.”
Regarding the number 38, “It's not only about what we're going to accomplish, but how,” Close continued. “38 is Curt's number, of course. Anyone familiar with Curt recognizes that he represents excellence, integrity, and achievement. These are attributes intrinsic to our people, our organization, and our products.”
Close and members of the executive management team will be attending Game Developers Conference 2007 (GDC) in San Francisco this week, March 5 th -9 th . It will be the team's first appearance at an electronic gaming industry show on behalf of 38 Studios.
38 Studios is planning a mid-March launch of its official company web site, www.38Studios.com.
ABOUT 38 Studios:
38Studios, LLC was founded in the Boston area by Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling . 38 Studios' products will feature the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn, www.spawn.com ) and celebrated author R. A. Salvatore (creator of Drizzt Do'Urden, one of modern fantasy's most memorable characters, www.rasalvatore.com ). Together with a growing team of experienced industry professionals, 38 Studios is now in pre-production on its premier title.
Information about38 Studios