PS3 News: 38 Studios, Big Huge Games Finished - PS3 News

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38 Studios, Big Huge Games Finished

Update: On a brighter note, the industry has come together to get the ex-38 Studios employees new jobs. Check it out; it'll make you feel better.

Original Story:

Nobody who enjoys gaming likes to see this.

According to recent reports, Big Huge Games and in fact, all of 38 Studios is shutting down.

An anonymous source confirms that the staff hasn't received a paycheck since April 30, which employees didn't realize until they noticed their checks didn't hit their accounts on May 15. The medical insurance is done, which also wasn't conveyed to the employees; apparently, a pregnant wife of one of the workers was informed of this by her doctor. And then comes a copy of the layoff letter, which is just downright depressing and even infuriating in it harsh simplicity.

"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."

What a crappy Memorial Day weekend for the former 38 Studios employees. It's really unfortunate because Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a pretty decent game (too bad it would've had to sell 3 million copies just to break even), and a lot of people were looking forward to the MMO, "Project Copernicus." It also sucks that companies don't tell their employees anything at all.

Tags: 38 studios, big huge games, kingdoms of amalur reckoning, 38 studios layoffs

5/24/2012 8:35:09 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (20 posts)

JackDillinger89
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 10:03:12 PM
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This is sad, i think the company borrowed too much money they couldn't pay back. This makes me thankful i have a job even though its not $70,000+ a year. I wish the best for em and especially the pregnant wife.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 11:32:25 PM
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Stupid company, don't make a new IP that has to generate 3million sales just to break even.

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Dancemachine55
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 11:40:28 PM
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It's unfortunate that video games are now turning into Hollywood, with big budget productions taking huge risks and needing to sell multi-million copies just to break even.

The biggest games in the world right now are established franchises created from the last generation or the beginning of this gen. If a new IP wants any chance of success, it needs to be released either cheaper and digitally, or at the start of a new generation of consoles to stand a chance.

The fact that a great game like Kingdom's of Amalur Reckoning didn't sell as well as it needed is a sign of the times... a poor economic climate where people are saving their money for only the best of the best. Spare time is spent doing overtime or looking for employment. Anything in the entertainment industry is usually the first to suffer, particularly video games, seeing as it is not a necessity like food, clothes, warmth and a roof over your heads.

I wonder if a new console generation would've helped this new IP? Or would the need for better graphics and larger environments have doubled the budget?

Also, coming out around the same time as Skyrim didn't put the game in a good position. Skyrim was a better game too. Reckoning was still good, but Skyrim was better. Video game success is becoming more and more cut-throat with each passing generation. It's kinda scary really.

Really, 38 Studios released a good, but not great, game at a bad time. A few months earlier or a few months later (like April of this year?) Might have been better and given the Reckoning some breathing room from the competition.

Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 5/24/2012 11:44:05 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 9:51:38 AM

but huge production values combined with high level talent is the stuff "game of the year's" are made of =p
They're the "best" games, after all, right?

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Crabba
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 6:47:44 PM

Temjin001, yeah but then you also have to be able to back it up with gameplay, story etc living up to that budget, which it didn't as far as I've heard (I've only tried the demo). I remember being really annoyed with the close-up camera angle just from that short demo for example.

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 11:51:06 PM
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Such a shame... I've been enthralled in the game since day one and now even my wife - a pretty much strictly casual gamer - has gotten into it. Oh well... at least KoA:R will still remain.

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Raze22
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 12:02:33 AM
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That doesn't mean amalur is dead right? Someone could just buy the rights off of them. Then again they might not even be able to do that. I think Rhode island is taking it away from them...

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556pineapple
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 12:04:37 AM
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This seems to be happening more often lately, and it's just a shame. At least the industry is doing what it can to help out the displaced employees. They look out for their own, that's for sure.

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Pearson
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 12:21:53 AM
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The CE's done very well for them as all three versions sold out very quickly. Perhaps if they released more copies of each edition at other retailers they might have made more money. Hopefully someone else will pick up the IP and release an Amalur 2 in the near future.

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Beamboom
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 12:51:31 AM
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I don't get how Amalur HAD to sell 3mill just to break even. Did they have any control on expenses at all?
I mean, it's a good game and all, nice visuals and a fairly detailed world, but it's not *that* special. It's pretty basic and static stuff. Nothing ground breaking.

I got a very strong feeling that the problem with this company were the administration. It could never have gone any other way.

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jimmyhandsome
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 8:30:28 AM

I live relatively close to RI so this has been in the news for the past 2-3 weeks. It most likely is due to the fact that the state of RI are bafoons for thinking that Schilling (who has no experience making games, he just "really likes them")was capable of running a 400 employee multimillion dollar video game company. And Schilling is the bigger bafoon for the way he set up the company with such high costs knowing the only way the company can stay solvent is by selling 3 million copies of their first title. There have also been reports that a lot of private equity and venture capitalist firms denied 38 Studios' pitch because of how Schilling didn't want to give investors any control.

Does no one else think that all of this happen withing a really short amount of time? It was less than 3 weeks ago when first started hearing about "financial problems". Since then they asked for a bail out and was denied, we find out they havent paid their employees their last pay check, and then this very unfortunate and abrupt lay off. I feel really bad for these employees. But how do you not realize you're running out of cash as an owner of a company?

Last edited by jimmyhandsome on 5/25/2012 8:31:54 AM

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Temjin001
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 9:21:25 AM

one of my instructors at school likes to remind everyone that it's a lot easier to play a video game than it is to make one. Schilling's hundreds of hours as a gamer doesn't translate to making great games.

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Gabriel013
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 1:07:06 AM
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I think it's crazy that it needed to sell 3 million to break even. Most games never reach that level. If 1.2 million exceeded EA's expectation then EA must have known they were publishing a loss making game from the start and we all know EA love money so I think the "didn't sell enough" arguement is weak.

I bought Skyrim and Amalur and I love both. 80 hours into Amalur right now and still plenty to do.

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frylock25
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 1:47:12 AM
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i guess baseball players shouldn't make video games.

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Rogueagent01
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 1:53:28 AM
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That's a shame I never like seeing a young company like that fold. I didn't mind when Zipper went under in fact I cheered, but that was because they lost focus of how to make a game.

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___________
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 4:37:23 AM
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hate to be the sour carrot, but sorry guys this is exactly what happens when you release a ps2 game and charge ps3 prices for it!
oh well hopefully they will find ventures elsewhere, and next time they will keep this lesson in mind.
you cant release a game these days with such poor production values!
the characters literally looked like bobbleheads!
and the voice acting and writing was down right laughable!
not even hollywood B grade cheese movies are this cheesy!
in fact it was so poorly put together it made just cause 2 look like uncharted 3!

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TheCanadianGuy
Saturday, May 26, 2012 @ 10:22:15 PM
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"hate to be the sour carrot"

coming from him HA! quite amusing

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Jotun
Sunday, May 27, 2012 @ 1:36:45 PM
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Sadly, this project was doomed from the start. Curt Schilling essentially took everyone who knows nothing about this industry for an idiot, sold them the product like a car salesman, and destroyed peoples lives because he was an arrogant fool.

The team making this game numbered in the 400+ range and the cost was astronimical. The only teams that can have that many are places like Santa Monica Studios, Blizzard, EA-in house teams and whatnot, but the specific reason they can and it works is because they all have more than a handful of projects going at one time. They have a constant revenue stream to support this expensive endeavor. This industry is a high-paying one and anything over a 1 year cycle will get to have a hollywood-esque budget if the team is 100+ people or more, especially highly experienced people who demand higher salaries(lead programmers, writers like McFarlane).

The biggest problem is that Curt doesn't get any of this. He's one of those typical fools who played a game, loved it, said "I can make something better than that!" without ever having had any skill related to development, and he went out and bought an all-star team of devs akin to The Yankees in baseball(ironicly) which, as we can see, means nothing. Teams like Irrational Games here in Boston are less than 100 people, in some cases less than 50 and they make absolutely phenominal games because it's quality over quantity(doesn't hurt when Ken Levine is your creative genius/boss either).

The game turned out pretty well, but it was never going to sell in the million+ range. He was arrogant to think his team could beat Bethesda at their own game. GOTY? Beat Skyrim? Really Schilling? His biggest mistake was not understanding the market for an RPG. I love this genre more than any other, but it honestly is still a "niche" product in a industry of action and sports games. This man took an entire state and 400+ people through the ringer because he wants to fulfil some stupid life-affirming dream he had.

Well now his name is mud, he'll never get another chance in the industry, and he didn't even lose money on any of this. This is so beyond disgusting he should be held accountable in court, honestly.

Sidenote: There is a report on Gamespot about how they also lied to employees who owned houses here in MA saying they'd deal with selling them for them and relocation costs. Turns out they didn't and these homes have been going unpaid for over a year so now these people's credit is also in shreds. He ruined them every way he could.

Last edited by Jotun on 5/27/2012 1:40:04 PM

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zard
Thursday, May 31, 2012 @ 9:21:56 AM
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I think it would have done better releasing Amalur this summer. I feel as though it was release way to close to Skyrim. Which everyone was still playing or was all Midevil rpged out. For having so many big names making this game it sure was dissapointing. I also heard that now the State of Rhode Island owns this game and all the DLC release from now on will go to the state of Rhode Island? At any rate, this is sad and I wish there was something I could do, but I cannot donate 60 dollars to a game I'm not really interested in, I'm not that rich. I hope things turn around for them, they have some really great minds.

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zard
Thursday, May 31, 2012 @ 9:21:56 AM
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I think it would have done better releasing Amalur this summer. I feel as though it was release way to close to Skyrim. Which everyone was still playing or was all Midevil rpged out. For having so many big names making this game it sure was dissapointing. I also heard that now the State of Rhode Island owns this game and all the DLC release from now on will go to the state of Rhode Island? At any rate, this is sad and I wish there was something I could do, but I cannot donate 60 dollars to a game I'm not really interested in, I'm not that rich. I hope things turn around for them, they have some really great minds.

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