Nine years after Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Developer 38 Studios informally closed, some of the 400 employees who were finally laid off are receiving a portion of their final salaries…kind of.
Bloomberg Former baseball player Kurt Schilling’s company is reported to be paying “a lot” of its former employees about 14% or 20% of the amount owed to each employee, respectively, according to bankruptcy filings. When it closed 38 studios and declared bankruptcy in 2012, it failed to pay its 400 employees before the studio ran out of money and closed in May of that year. After four years of closing, 38 studios reached a financial settlement in court with the state of Rhode Island, which loaned $75 million to Schilling (which aims to support studio projects for several years) through the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.
A former employee told Bloomberg that they received his salary only this week, after the payments were decided in a Delaware court in June. Other employees have reportedly told Bloomberg that their paychecks have made their way to the old addresses, with some of them moving multiple times in the ensuing years.
If you’re in the mood for a sad read, Jason Schreier’s latest book “Press Reset” devotes an entire chapter to closing 38 Studios/Big Huge Games and Schilling’s arc as a professional baseball game studio manager gone incompetent. Schilling originally formed 38 studios, the name bearing his jersey number, with the goal of developing the World of Warcraft-killer MMO, but the development shifted to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning after the acquisition of Big Huge Games. Despite generally positive reception, Reckoning’s success couldn’t stop a freight train of financial ruin from reaching 38 studios. In May 2012, Lincoln Chaffee, the governor of Rhode Island, told the media that he was working to keep the studio “solvent,” prompting Take-Two executives to abruptly withdraw from a publishing deal that was just hours from signing it.
“Suddenly, we were in this toxic political mess that no one wanted to touch,” designer Ian Frazier told Schreyer.
As if company-wide layoffs weren’t bad enough, Schilling’s finances left several employees with their own wallet to cover expenses the company originally said it would cover, including thousands of dollars in expense reports and promised mortgages. It has 38 ancillary studios.