Footage of Defunct 38 Studios' MMO Project Copernicus Emerges

There's one employee left tasked with keeping the game alive until it can be sold off.

Remember way back in 2012 when 38 Studios, co-developer of role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, went bankrupt and collapsed? The team had been working on a massively multiplayer online game at the time, temporarily entitled Project Copernicus, which was canceled with the closure of the studio. Nothing much was known and very little had been seen of the game.

A recent report by a local Rhode Island NBC branch has revealed footage of the game. In Providence, one man remains as the last remnant of 38 Studios. Jeff Easley, the developer's last employee, is tasked with maintaining the technical side of Copernicus, basically keeping it afloat until the property can be sold. A video interview with Easley shows off some of Copernicus, including some shots of the world and a playable character. You can watch the interview and footage here.

There's not much, but you can see some off-screen footage of what looks like a gameplay trailer for the game. There are some sweeping clips of the land of Copernicus, and a couple short segments where a character is running across some hills. This is the first footage of the game in its playable state. Previously, all that had been shown was a world fly-through trailer, which you can watch above.

At an auction last December, 38 Studios properties Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends were purchased, but Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus were not picked up. A law firm hired by the government of Rhode Island is working on finding a buyer for the two properties, but there's no indication if they'll be picked up anytime soon.

The collapse began when 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling, ex-Red Sox baseball pitcher, was unable to keep up on debt payments to the state of Rhode Island for a $75 million dollar loan to the developer. After that, the government assumed ownership of the company and shut it down. The government then filed a lawsuit against Curt Schilling and other architects of the state's loan to the studio. In January, the state's governor submitted a proposal to end the lawsuit in a settlement.

Keep an eye on GameSpot for more news about Copernicus and Amalur when it becomes available.

Alex Newhouse is an editorial intern at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @alexbnewhouse
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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29 comments
Stiler
Stiler

The state of RI had bidders for both IP's, they simply didn't want to sell them at the price ht ebidders were offering. 


RI probably wants to recoup their costs and expected to get the price of hte loan back, which is absurd. 


Kingdoms of Amalur sold EXTREMELY well for a new IP.


It was a stupid loan in the first place, mainly because the loan had them make at least FOUR HUNDRED jobs, most AAA studios don't have that many people.

nurnberg
nurnberg

This looks a lot like WOW.

sakaixx
sakaixx

wow I'm surprised, the game looks really promising !

Pooya1881
Pooya1881

Jeff Easley, u r the man.
it's like he's Aragorn or Lan Mandragoran,One man army against all the corrupt politicians and bankers.he's a hero.

i very much liked Amalur,while it had its mistakes,it was a good game.this mmo and Amalur use the same engine as elder scrolls online but they do it so much better,its a shame really,i hope someone buys it

KEEP ON THE GOOD WORK EASLEY,GAMERS SUPPORT YOU

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

The thing RI really should do is... Loan another starter company to move in, get them to almost finish it, then screw them over and cancel it again.

Zombrex
Zombrex

There needs to be a documentary about this last guy and the entire situation.

gajbutler
gajbutler

Looks better than any other MMO released in the last 10 years, shame that governor ruined any chances of them getting more funding. It wasn't like they were an unknown quantity, they proven they could release a good game, even if it was overlooked.

jyml8582
jyml8582

The best that never was.

Cero89
Cero89

amalur was the most underrated game last gen imo... so much fun to play, I loved the crazy attacks.

s0ldier69
s0ldier69

Still holding out hope that someone buys this and finishes it.  Its a shame that the last minute deal Curt had lined up fell through...

DefconRave
DefconRave

If they had just concentrated on the MMO i think they may have survived. KOA is virtually an MMO with SP shoehorned into it.

naomha1
naomha1

Has any developer, in any country, ever bought a half finished MMO and brought it to market? Ever? And then on top of all of that, been successful with it? RI is asking a WHOLE lot for very little. I'll buy it for $100. Seriously. 

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

These guys really knew how to craft a colorful world, god knows what they would've been working on now. Better than most crap coming out

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

Man, this is the loneliest dude in all of gaming.  All alone, keeping an MMO no one wants afloat.  That's so sad. 


I knew a bunch of these 38 Studios dudes when the place was in suburban Boston.  Good people who got supremely screwed.  This whole situation is just terrible.  Should make any gamer just sad.

SerOlmy
SerOlmy

The gov't of RI already screwed the pooch on this one and are not getting their money back or anything close to it.  Instead of working with Schilling/38 and keeping development running until they could launch the game they pulled the plug as soon as there was any excuse.  So instead of getting a good chunk of their investment back when the game released a couple years later they jumped in like jackals and will now be lucky to get back 10% of their investment because what 38 had at the time was not marketable (read: no one wants to buy a half-finished MMO)

This is the same short-sighted BS you keep seeing in gov't in general these days.  All about the immediate gain and f*** long terms investments.

gamingnerd121
gamingnerd121

I would probably have played this game, because i loved Kingdoms of Amalur. Sure, the main plot wasn't that great, and the side quests was very distracting, but combat and content wasn't a problem. I couldn't help but feel, that it would've been great with one of the companions following you in combat to the end.

The worst crime was to release after Skyrim, and reviewers slammed it for what Skyrim did wrong as well.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

They aren't selling this thing, they've already refused very fair offers haven't they...?

memenotu
memenotu

@Stiler Bioware fired 300 people from SWTOR around 5 months after it released, in one of their studios...for one of their games.

A large MMO requires 100s of people working on it so if a studio is working on a bunch of projects they will have a bunch of teams. Just look at the credits for Watch Dogs, over 150 people and Ubisoft was making how many games at the same time?

memenotu
memenotu

@n3cw4rr10r "Previously, all that had been shown was a world fly-through trailer, which you can watch above"

Learn to read and then you would have known that...and seen THIS "A video interview with Easley shows off some of Copernicus, including some shots of the world and a playable character. You can watch the interview and footage here."

northArrow
northArrow

@SerOlmy Except that's not what happened. 38 studios had already borrowed millions and they still ran out of money. When they went back to ask for more the state wisely said 'no'. If the state would have floated yet another bond, RI tax payers would have lost even more money because Shilling had NO PLAN to make the company profitable. He literally had no plan, he couldn't come up with a solution to his financial problems when asked and Copernicus was scheduled to be an FTP game.


The original loan to the studio should never have been made, 38 studios would have gone out of business by natural market forces instead of hanging on for Shilling to crap taxpayer money away

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@SerOlmy You also have to remember that RI is notoriously, unapologetically corrupt.  We're talking about a state who's largest city saw it's mayor go to prison, then re-elected him when he got out, then saw him go back to prison again, and is now about to elect him to the US House of Representatives.


They have a very nice zoo there, Federal Hill has great Italian, I got love for it.  But it is the most F**ked up place in New England.

nickpeck36
nickpeck36

@SerOlmy  Pretty much like every "gamer" out there, they need instant gratification...  I agree, MMO's take a lot of time and just by looking at video it seems like they have a fair amount done, those look like some big zones.  I like the look of it, hopefully someone will buy it up and do something with it.

AzureBonds76
AzureBonds76

@gamingnerd121  KoA was cool. One thing I didn't like about it tho was even on hard my character was got too uber towards the end of the game. Sort of had an art style like WoW.

Barighm
Barighm

@nl_skipper Yep. I think the state wants $75 million or something for the property and nobody is willing to offer that, so it's going nowhere. The new state governor is a doofus. He is so angry the previous governor approved this loan he is being dumb about this whole project when he should have just let them finish working on the game. Sure it may have cost more, but a semi-successful MMO earning subs will have gone a lot further to repaying that loan than the $5 million or less they will get from selling it off.

AzureBonds76
AzureBonds76

@olddadgamer I feel asleep on a greyhound once going to New Haven and woke up parked in front of a casino in RI. That's about all I have experienced of it.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@AzureBonds76 @olddadgamer Pretty typical experience, really.


Man, waking up on a bus in front of Lincoln Park without meaning to be there sounds like the start of a novel by Kafka.  Or Hunter Thompson.