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.