Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

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

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
Patron
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
15,048
Location
In quarantine
Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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.
 

Shannow

Waster of Time
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
6,386
Location
Finnegan's Wake
Now that's some nice spin. Always funny watching corporate monkeys talking like everybody else is stupid.

"It totally would have worked... If people hadn't evaluated it realistically and "believed" instead."
"It totally wasn't the taxpayer's money... Only the taxpayer got left with all the losses in the end."
"He's an enthusiastic guy. A good guy... That obviously is the same as being a guy who uses his own venture capital to finance a project that can be realistically be expected to turn a profit....not."

Good stuff :troll:
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
98,071
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Schilling is 'one of the good guys'

Although Schilling is being portrayed in the media as a sports star who tossed money at his dream project without thought of how to succeed, employees don't agree with this view, describing a kind and enthusiastic patron whom they believe did much to try to make things work out.

"We never would have survived to make Reckoning if he hadn't bought us," says a Big Huge Games source. He describes Schilling's "kindest, most generous" intent in the early days of the MMO, and says Schilling "went to lavish personal expense" for his teams, buying customized jerseys and other morale perks.

"But in the end, his optimism turned out to be naivete, and it slowly killed us," the source continues.

Employees never had warning when the company was going to miss its payroll because apparently Schilling had been all but certain another investor was coming through, up to the last minute. Employees say they later learned that on two occasions the threat of being unable to make payroll had been alleviated by savior investors, so on that third occasion, Schilling had just been counting on something to manifest -- and that didn't happen in time.

"Even so, for the next seven days, he insisted that they were just about to get a new investor who would solve everything, and we hoped and slowly collapsed," the employee continues. He even says he's worried about Schilling's well-being and how he's taking the failure of 38 Studios.

"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."

Sad and pathetic.
 

Morkar Left

Guest
I like the comments to the article. And I like especially this quote:


[Jen MacLean, former CEO of 38 Studios, informed Gamasutra after this report was published: "I left 38 Studios on an indefinite leave of absence on March 23, 2012, and resigned from my position as director, officer, and employee on May 17. I was not involved in any day to day company operations after March 23." - Ed.]

"Just to make things clear: I was the CEO of the company but because I left the company two month before going bankrupt I'm not responsible for the bankrupt in any way!!! Really, how could I have knew that! I mean it was a whole two month inbetween and in no means forseeable! Nobody can expect that I look at all this numbers, it's really confusing stuff after all!"
 

RK47

collides like two planets pulled by gravity
Patron
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
Messages
28,396
Location
Not Here
Dead State Divinity: Original Sin
This sums up my reaction to their collapse I guess. It's on their site ... a mascot perhaps?

pbbuck.png
 

circ

Arcane
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
11,470
Location
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
CLEVE: "I WAS THE ONLY ONE DOING ANY WORK THERE. MEANWHILE EVERONE ELSE TRIED TO INSERT GREEN MUNCHING THINGS INTO EVERYTHING. MORE GREEN MUNCHING THINGS. HEY THIS DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH GREEN MUNCHING THINGS."
 
Repressed Homosexual
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
17,884
Location
Ottawa, Can.
Things like these make me understand Sven Vinke's attitude towards management: have realistic and modest goals, monitor all things constantly, and be laser-focused on business. If you defer too much or give too much trust to people in executive positions, who mostly all the time might have goals opposed to yours, you will be used.
 

Kane

I have many names
Patron
Vatnik
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
22,321
Location
Drug addicted, mentally ill gays HQ
PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
CLEVE: "I WAS THE ONLY ONE DOING ANY WORK THERE. MEANWHILE EVERONE ELSE TRIED TO INSERT GREEN MUNCHING THINGS INTO EVERYTHING. MORE GREEN MUNCHING THINGS. HEY THIS DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH GREEN MUNCHING THINGS."

don't forget about the sexual deviant team leader, that spends lavishly both money and time on sex trips.
 

Metro

Arcane
Beg Auditor
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
27,792
This sums up my reaction to their collapse I guess. It's on their site ... a mascot perhaps?

pbbuck.png

I'm guessing it's a 'green monster' in reference to the studio's former name: 'Green Monster Games' or something like that. For those unfamiliar with baseball, the green monster is the exceedingly large/high left field wall at Fenway Park (Red Sox).
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
98,071
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Interesting comment from that thread:


The practice of jumping without enough rope is, unfortunately, an all-too common practice, I believe one that many developers who were raised through the great age of AAA development were trained to practice, through hostile publisher/developer relationships. Many, many games have survived and shipped by becoming too big to cancel, and I've seen the practice of asking for as much money as you can get at the time, with the goal of making something that's good enough to force the rest of the budget to happen, occur many times, even in my short life as a dev.

I hate this practice, and wish that transparent dialogue around production was rewarded and encouraged. It doesn't make it less of a "bungle", but from this report, it sounds like the people in charge were acting like pretty much everyone else does in their position & situation. But they weren't able to ship the game that would forgive these transgressions, and so they lost.
 

Fens

Ford of the Llies
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
1,899
Location
pitcairn
She joined AOL in 1996, where she held numerous positions in the AOL brand programming division...
not sure, i'd include that in my CV - without being forced to at gunpoint

Plus she's a woman lol.

But seriously I am yet another dickhead who works for tech companies, and in the last 10 years or so suddenly 2/3 of the management of these companies seem to be women like her.

Now management is usually pretty clueless but how do bimbos who can't turn on a computer run a godsdamned tech company? It's not like a company that markets snack foods in new and exciting ways, but companies supposedly trying to actually make something (and usually spending a huge amount of money to do it without all that much to show).
marketing your company as having a male/female/hermaphrodite/greenskinned lesbian from mars CEO only goes so far, if the CEO has no idea what the company does or what the market actually is like for the stuff the company produces. that's the carly fiorina story in a nutshell.

in this case: it's AOL... not a company that actually ever produced anything of value
 

CappenVarra

phase-based phantasmist
Patron
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
2,912
Location
Ardamai
Am I the only one who keeps reading "Chafee" as "Chefe"? Fits the story all right...
 
Repressed Homosexual
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
17,884
Location
Ottawa, Can.
Interesting comment from that thread:


The practice of jumping without enough rope is, unfortunately, an all-too common practice, I believe one that many developers who were raised through the great age of AAA development were trained to practice, through hostile publisher/developer relationships. Many, many games have survived and shipped by becoming too big to cancel, and I've seen the practice of asking for as much money as you can get at the time, with the goal of making something that's good enough to force the rest of the budget to happen, occur many times, even in my short life as a dev.

I hate this practice, and wish that transparent dialogue around production was rewarded and encouraged. It doesn't make it less of a "bungle", but from this report, it sounds like the people in charge were acting like pretty much everyone else does in their position & situation. But they weren't able to ship the game that would forgive these transgressions, and so they lost.

What it means is that the model for producing AAA games with super high production values is hopelessly broken.
 

.Pixote.

Augur
Joined
May 6, 2012
Messages
642
Too many people, and too many management parasites - that company should have been no more than 50 people max, no wonder they went belly up. They would have been spending a couple million each month just on salaries.
 

tiagocc0

Arcane
Joined
Jun 29, 2007
Messages
2,056
Location
Brazil
Too many people, and too many management parasites - that company should have been no more than 50 people max, no wonder they went belly up. They would have been spending a couple million each month just on salaries.
Since the initial idea was to "to create hundreds of new tech jobs in the area." They probably signed something about having to hire as many as possible.
EDIT: As many as possible in case the game would sell at least 3M copies.
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
98,071
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Since the initial idea was to "to create hundreds of new tech jobs in the area." They probably signed something about having to hire as many as possible.

That is correct, it was in the terms of their contract with the state of Rhode Island
 

DragoFireheart

all caps, rainbow colors, SOMETHING.
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
23,731
She joined AOL in 1996, where she held numerous positions in the AOL brand programming division...
not sure, i'd include that in my CV - without being forced to at gunpoint

Plus she's a woman lol.

But seriously I am yet another dickhead who works for tech companies, and in the last 10 years or so suddenly 2/3 of the management of these companies seem to be women like her.

Now management is usually pretty clueless but how do bimbos who can't turn on a computer run a godsdamned tech company? It's not like a company that markets snack foods in new and exciting ways, but companies supposedly trying to actually make something (and usually spending a huge amount of money to do it without all that much to show).

Now the real important question:

Would you tap dat ass?
 

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Back
Top Bottom