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"Substantial Doubt" About 38 Studios, Future Uncertain

They said they wanted to do a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but they have to stay afloat first.

The recent unfortunate news is that developer 38 Studios is struggling, and the local government is intervening in an attempt to protect a $75 million loan. But there's a "tight time-frame" for resolution and according to a report in the Providence Journal, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee has been meeting with 38 Studios reps in an effort to protect the aforementioned loan. As Chafee told WPRI:

"We're concerned and just doing everything possible to ensure that 38 Studios stays part of the Rhode Island community. We're working on different issues with them."

Chafee added that "it's always been a volatile industry to be in," and things can get risky. As of March 15, 38 Studios had 379 full-time employees spread across two offices; at that point, the company had received $49.8 million of the loan, all of which was going toward their currently unannounced MMO "Copernicus." But doubts remain and now, 38 Studios has backed out of E3.

The company was founded back in 2006 by former baseball player Curt Schilling. They brought in plenty of talent right off the bat - comic artist Todd McFarlane and author R.A. Salvatore to name a couple - and Reckoning did pretty well on the sales charts. Yet, they're in trouble. Sad.

Tags: 38 studios, kingdoms of amalur, reckoning, games industry

5/15/2012 8:23:14 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (17 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 9:54:15 PM
Reply

I thought they were Big Huge Games? Anyway when did the government get invovled in handling loans for games?

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frylock25
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 10:53:15 PM

38 studios is the parent company. and its the Rhode Island government getting involved not the federal. my guess is so almost 400 people dont lose their jobs.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 11:15:37 PM

If game companies get bailouts I hope gamers get to dictate what they make next :)

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 11:48:04 PM

World,
That was all Rhode Island's doing....they enticed 38 Studios with a 75 million dollar loan to transplant from Mass to build their studio in R.I.

But I thought that I read that it was supposed to be a guaranteed loan, however that's worded.

So it's probably the people of R.I. who will get screwed with higher taxes too if 38 goes under.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 12:29:17 AM

I wonder what Peter Griffin and the good folks in Quoahog think of this.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 1:08:21 AM
Reply

... But are they struggling because of COD, or because RPG fans don't know when to support a good release made for them?

*That's* the big question here, folks. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 2:11:19 AM

I dunno man, I bought it but other than the combat it's kind of shallow. The world and quests didn't suck me in. That doesn't mean it couldn't be the foundation of a good franchise though.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 2:50:26 AM

By all means, it's a light hearted action rpg, a flashy, cute and colorful display. I don't see myself playing it in five years time - something I can easily see myself do with games like Fallout.

But man does it float well on its charm. The world we explore, well I just love it. It brings a smile on my face. It's a suitable "newbies intro to RPGs", maybe?

Still, if this game fails it's not cause of COD. That was my main point. People tend to put the blame on COD for everything and anything these days.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/16/2012 2:52:39 AM

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 4:20:04 AM

Personally, I think it fails for both of those reasons. Most gamers are on the CoD bandwagon, with little to no interest in RPGs. Then, many of us who are interested in RPGs were disappointed by its shallow combat and very low difficulty. (Personally, I played the game for five hours on hard and never got hurt once. That was enough for me.)

However, my wife absolutely adores the game, and had logged over 120 hours in it so far. So they must have gotten something right.

Last edited by TheAgingHipster on 5/16/2012 4:20:41 AM

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___________
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 6:30:22 AM

neither.
problem is its a cheap piece of junk!
as ive said a million times it feels like a game made by a bunch of high school students for their IT assignment.
thats the problem, its cheesy C grade quality asking for A grade money!
its ford releasing the new focus a cheap hatchback and asking the same money a rolls royce phantom costs!
no wonder theve gone bankrupt!


Last edited by ___________ on 5/16/2012 6:30:54 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 8:07:28 AM

Aginghipster:
But do you really, seriously think that the ones who would buy a RPG like Amalur now *instead* choose COD (instead, not in addition)?
That's where I fail to see the connection. I just don't see COD hurting the Amalur sales at all, but rather for the reason you guys mention, that you simply found the game to be too shallow.
That's the real reason right there. Nothing to do with Amalur.

But speaking of Amalur: I think some of the boss fights are pretty darn hard! Not impossible, but death is no unfamiliar concept to me in Amalur. Do that mean I suck hard? It probably does. :D

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 11:02:25 AM

When so many gamers are absorbed by a single franchise to the exclusion of other games, I'd say that single franchise was to blame.

That said, I think that they spent too much money making Amalur, and the game itself really doesn't look like a game that had *that* much money spent on it. I agree with several of the comments about the difficulty of the game. It's about as difficult as a ratchet and Clank game, and in the end that was the impression I was left with. It's an RPG trying to be a 3D action platformer, but pretending it isn't actually trying to do that. That isn't exactly satisfying to a hardcore RPG fan. So you are missing the casual audience that might take to it because of CoD and such, and you are missing the hardcore RPG fans because the game simply isn't a classic RPG and doesn't have the polish of an action adventure. It's kind of stuck in a no man's land between several genre. I'm not saying it's a bad game, but it's not a great game, and it's not a genre defining game, nor does it typify a genre.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 11:06:40 AM

Not really, no. At least no more so than any other RPG (or other genre) has been hurt by the increased interest in first-person shooter multiplayer. I do know quite a few people who used to love RPGs and now play online shooters exclusively, so I have some anecdotal evidence to suggest that CoD and the like have taken fans away from other genres, but do I think that's the biggest reason it didn't do as well as hoped? No.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 2:13:22 PM

@Highlander: I think you are essentially right in your observations regarding Amalur, I agree with them too. It is most definitely not a *great* game, and it is very lightweight in shape and form. It's not a hardcore RPG at all. But boy is it charming. That gotta count for something too? ;)

But at the same time I think you indirectly say that in fact it's *not* CODs fault that they failed, but the product itself. And that's my point too.

@AgingHipster: Some player movement to other genres must be expected over time. And one could easily say that those guys who now play online shooters do so because the RPGs hasn't been good enough.

But speaking of this, for me it's part of my goal as a gamer to get to know new genres and different games than what I usually play.
Admittedly it's made me done some purchases I've regretted, but then I at least know what I *dont* like too. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/16/2012 2:20:06 PM

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 2:48:55 PM

Sort of Beamboom. I do think that CoD itself is partly to blame, but I also think that the mania for online shooters in general is a better definition of the problem. The sheer number of gamers absorbed by that particular addition is mindblowing. It represents an incredibly large chunk of the gamer population. The game industry has had tough times in the last couple of years and April this year was particularly bad. If you correlate the rise and rise of CoD (and other multi-player online shooters with millions of regular players) with the changes of the video game market as a whole, you can see the rise of one pacing the fall off of the other. I do think that the multi-player online shooter in general, and CoD in particular are having a cooling effect on the entire video game market.

It's not so much that they suck the dollars out of the market, it's more the time factor. Gamers will spend money on new games only if they are playing those games. So even if they have dollars waiting to be spent, they are not spending them while they are happy with CoD or whatever other shooter they are playing.

In terms of the amount of time and money available to the video game market, I don't think things have changed greatly in the last couple of years. What has changed is the proportion of gamers that play online shooters (including CoD) and the proportion of their time spent in those games.

Amalur and other games and genre are suffering because of the dead weight that the online shooters effectively represent to the industry.

That's my two cents...

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 3:40:33 PM

Hmm... The time factor. That is a good point. Yes, I buy that argument. It could play a role in that sense.

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jimmyhandsome
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 11:47:09 AM
Reply

Schilling is such a hypocrite. The guy gets on his soap box to have an opinion about everything under the sun (this guy wanted to run for senate)- namely about how governments are wasteful with their spending- now, ironically, he gets a loan from a government that he probably won't pay back, leaving RI taxpayers on the hook for probably $112MM. THere are also reports that he ONLY put up $4MM of his own money for the company, and then proceeded to have already paid himself back with said gov't loan. The guy is a bafoon, and instead of seeking out investors or even getting a bank loan like every other person who is starting their own business he borrows money from the place he criticizes the most. RI state officals shouldn't be left off the hook on this one though, they practically begged him to start up 38 Studios in providence thinking it would create a lot of developing jobs for the state. What a mess.

If they go under it has nothing to do with how good or bad his game was, or anything related to CoD, its because the company was run by an giant moron who's only real talent was throwing a baseball.

Last edited by jimmyhandsome on 5/16/2012 11:49:02 AM

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