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"Good Guy", "Naive Sucker": Gamasutra Reports on 38 Studios' Downfall

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"Good Guy", "Naive Sucker": Gamasutra Reports on 38 Studios' Downfall

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 1 June 2012, 18:04:45

Tags: 38 Studios; Big Huge Games; Curt Schilling; Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning; Project Copernicus

On the basis of publicly available info as well as insider sources, Gamasutra has put up an article on the mismanagement that led to 38 Studios' downfall and the game of dollars and politics that played out behind the scenes. Have a snippet:

Two years ago the company forged a key funding partnership with the state of Rhode Island to the tune of $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds. The loan, which lured 38 Studios from its original Maynard, Massachusetts headquarters to Providence, was intended to create hundreds of new tech jobs in the area.

But the amount of the loan was viewed controversially by Rhode Islanders, amid media scrutiny of the major risk inherent in releasing a major MMO in the crowded fantasy genre. Schilling has claimed current governor Lincoln Chafee used that taxpayer anxiety to his advantage.

Employees who are now out of a job, out of healthcare, and who have every reason to resent their management for the poor preparation, support Schilling's allegations. They say Chafee centered his re-election platform on criticizing the previous governor for financial decisions, a tactic to which the 38 Studios deal had been central.

"I don't know how feasible [Copernicus] ever was, but it seemed to have modest expectations it would be able to achieve," says one former Big Huge Games employee. "Once things went bad, Chafee's office started leaking any information it could to make 38 Studios look like it had been a bad deal... unfortunately, a lot of these leaks involved partial and complete misinformation."

A 38 Studios employee corroborates, pointing out some of what he says are Chafee's most egregious acts of misinformation: Calling a private loan effectively cosigned by the state "taxpayer money" makes it appear that the state has already paid the cost, instead of being responsible for it in the event of failure.​

It also looks like at least some of the former employees consider Curt Schilling "a good guy" full of enthusiasm about the studio, but "a naive sucker" at the same time:

"At the end, he stopped talking to us at all -- which is a shame, because he honestly loved the setting and both teams, because they were personal dreams of his... He was a naive sucker, and I think his VPs played him, but he always had the kindest intents for everyone, and was never malicious or manipulative. He deserves that much to be known."

"I know this scandal has been painting Curt as a hypocritical idiot, but he is absolutely one of the good guys," another source at 38 Studios agrees. "[Schilling] often said that if there is anything he or the company can do to help in times of crisis or need, that he would be there, and until this mess, he was always able to back that up."​

To read the account in full, click here.

There are 22 comments on "Good Guy", "Naive Sucker": Gamasutra Reports on 38 Studios' Downfall

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