Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning dev may be in trouble - Report

Rhode Island government working with 38 Studios to keep RPG house solvent; Ocean State taxpayers on hook for $112.6M if company fails.

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Providence, Rhode Island-based 38 Studios (owner of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer Big Huge Games) may be in financial trouble. A new report from a local NBC affiliate reveals the Rhode Island government has been in discussions with 38 Studios about the future of the company.

Rhode Island is hoping to keep 38 Studios afloat.

"We're always working to keep Rhode Island companies solvent, and that's what we're doing with 38 Studios," Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee told the site.

In 2010, Rhode Island's Economic Development Corporation secured a controversial $75 million in loans to entice 38 Studios--founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling--to relocate from Massachusetts to the Ocean State.

Governor Chafee called this investment one with "some amount of risk," but has not offered much in the way of specifics regarding the future of 38 Studios, saying only, "We're working with 38 Studios on different issues. That's all I can report right now."

A separate report today at Rhode Island news outlet WPRI indicates that if 38 Studios goes under, state taxpayers will be on the hook for $112.6 million (principal plus interest on the $75 million in loans), spread through 2020.

As of press time, neither Electronic Arts nor 38 Studios had responded to GameSpot's requests for comment.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first title from 38 Studios. It won a strong critical reception upon release in February and sold 330,000 copies in the United States across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, according to NPD data. Additionally, a sequel is in the works.

Discussion

244 comments
no_fear_in_hell
no_fear_in_hell

The title of the article should be "Curt Shilling is lobbying for government money", plain and simple. For what Ive heard, the Governor is against those kinds of money...

 

God, Im sorry for the devs hard work, but I think Curt is a giant looser, and he should back his failure of a company with his effing money, and not going cry over government money. Thats how capitalism works, Curt, I thought you liked it sooo...

Hreath
Hreath

Since this is the 1st game, then i can forgive they weakness in the game (repetitive, unable of free control & etc) but i really want to see they can make it through & create a better game in the future. Further, in Year of 1997 Square Soft (Currently know as Square Enix) also face the financial crisis as well, but they pass after released of FF7, therefore for gamers who support this game developer pray the same thing will happen as well.

Spybreak
Spybreak

Reckoning is a fun game and it felt like a huge bang for your buck when I got it, seriously that game map is huuuge and I haven't even touched the DLC. They're going to make a MMO out of this right? Yeah that's gonna cost big bucks, MMOs are pricey. They've got the story, lore, the style, artwork, and fluid animations to pull future games off a lot easier than Reckoning (obviously harder to fund a new IP).

nlg0405
nlg0405

The game is incredible, I hope these guys make it.  For such a great first game, I'm hoping to see what more they can do in the future.

icetone
icetone

Should of added co-op but still getting it

Ethandric
Ethandric

Payed full price for this game and its full action RPG at it's best,hope they continue!

TruthTellers
TruthTellers

This is what happens when idiots elect idiots to represent them.

rpressjr
rpressjr

I thought Reckoning was very good, and I hope the studio can stay alive to produce another game.  I agree with others that the timing of the release was unfortunate.

Shelbycub46176
Shelbycub46176

I almost bought the console version, but then I saw that it required "Online Pass".  Nope.  Then I decided that if I were to get the PC version, I would wait for the price to go down.  

 

The only time I pay 60 bucks for a game anymore is if I believe in the company that is publishing it.  Otherwise, if I can't get it used, then I will wait for the bargain bin.  

 

That's the problem with "Kingdoms", I think.  They were trying so hard to make it so everyone would want to buy it, but they used methods that alienated a chunk of the market.  If you can't buy it used, and it lacked replayability out of the box, why would you want to drop full price for it?

 

Sorry to see a decent publisher get mixed up in this mess, but it's what you get when you shack up with a game company that keeps irritating "The Gamer With Money To Spend"

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

My local supermarket (Tesco extra for everybody else from England Land) didn't even sell this game and it stocks practically all major releases.

xinesroque
xinesroque

I liked the game a lot. Only thing is that you can't go higher than level 40. No more leveling up from that point on....I just abandoned all the side-quests and finished the game. Shame!

andizzlee
andizzlee

noooo! this game was pretty fine too

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

He should be "In Trouble" for greenlighting the developement of a crappy looking "Action-WoW" clone of a game. I was so dissapointed in this game it wasn't even close to funny.

Borderlands666
Borderlands666

Guess I'm in the minority, because unlike alot of you on here I thought Amalur was neither dull nor bland. I enjoy it WAY more than I do Skyrim, Which after my game glitched early on after 160 hours, and I had to start over I traded it in and have been playing Amalur ever since. Got almost 2 hundred hours into it and Im only half way through it, plus I have only beaten one out of the 2 DLC's. I don't klnow guess you guys have your opinions but I'm sorry I don't see how Skyrim is better than this game. Skyrim is a fail and it only took 5 patches to make it decent *sarcasm*. Amalur has been good from the start with only one or two patches. I hope this company fairs wells. I would love to to see a sequel. I think the lore and backdrop of Amalur is alot better than some of these half finished games. *cough* skyrim *cough*

UziKill
UziKill

This is to bad, I liked the game alot. Ok, it's not Skyrim but I had alot of fun with it. I think that part of the problem may have been the lack of publicity. I didn't really know about it or what it was until i've tried the demo. Bought the game 15 min. later and spent more than 150 hours in it...

kuda001
kuda001

This the case where you have limited funds and can only afford to buy one or two games. Unfortunately for KoA: Reckoning there are better games out there and it will likely be a used game pick up for most people.

yomonkey
yomonkey

I think the game's biggest problem was its release window. It sorta sandwiched itself between Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. I for one hadn't finished Skyrim when this came out, and moved on to ME3 once I did, 

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

I played the demo and found it incredibly derivative and dull.  As someone else in the thread said, it was well-produced mediocrity - that can work for AAA brands like Call Of Duty, but for a new I.P.?  You have to do something special to get people to stray out of their comfort zone.

 

No idea why anyone thought it would be a good idea to spend so much taxpayer money on an unproven studio.

honu67
honu67

This is what happens when the government gets involved in picking winners in what should be a free market.  

sonicare
sonicare

Wonder why they are in such dire financial straits when they just published a good game that has sold fairly well?

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I hate it when I hear this type of news about a protentially good studio on the verge of falling into flames.  Hopefully they stay open I had hopes that their next game was gonna be a good one...

vihazur
vihazur

Problem wasn't that its a new IP, the problem was that its just bland.  An ok game, but by playing it safe, afraid to stand out or take any risks, devs aren't aiming high enough to do particularly well, either.

 

I don't know why they keep thinking this carefully measured mediocrity is the key to success, as its proven otherwise, over and over.

howie1926
howie1926

 @Stonecutters908  I find it funny that you are bringing politics into the one place where people come to get away from crap like that. I don't care about that Curt Schilling is a shameless GOP supporter. I care that he is a hall of fame pitcher who loves video games enough to make his own company and make great games.

teer101
teer101

more fun than diablo 3

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

I find it ironic that Curt Schilling, a shameless GOP supporter, is out getting a massive taxpayer funded subsidized loan to start his business and now the taxpayer is being asked to save them from insolvency. Put your money where your mouth is Curt. The free market would dictate that your company is a failure so we should let it die right? Or does that only work for autoworkers or anyone else that might vote Democratic? I know why 38 studios failed: KOA is the most derivative RPG I've played in years and that is saying something.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Played the demo and I will pick up the game eventually, but only selling 300k copies is not good and frankly even from the demo the game was good but didn't really stand out as being much better then above average.

King_of_Eroge
King_of_Eroge

Wow, KoA is my favorite single player RPG. I bought it for PC. I had no idea sales were doing so bad and it looks like the Studio won't be making games any longer. :( 

 

Gamestop needs to go

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

really ? are they in trouble? Well that's good news considering they wanted to make a game similar to japonese console crap.

bluespire1
bluespire1

Sad Story I like this game,I purchased this game when it came out as deep as Skyrim with lots of playing time.If you liked Skyrim go and buy Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

tduhon07
tduhon07

A real shame, as Reckoning is a pretty great game (especially for a first project). I won't get into a rant about pirating, I'll just say this is why it's important to support your favorite developers/games. The business is very unforgiving.

Lhomity
Lhomity

This is why devs are afraid of new IP - gamers are afraid of new IP. This game may have only sold 330k in the US, but I wonder how many Americans played it. 2-3 million? More?

 

How many times was it pirated? How many hands have held that used copy you picked up to save a few dollars and fill Gamestop's pockets?

 

This studio made a solid first game and they don't deserve to go bust. Their employees don't deserve to lose their jobs. They deserve better from their audience.

 

Isn't it funny when half the folks reading this right now thinking: "Loved this game. Can't wait for a sequel." most likely played without ever contributing a cent to the developers...

inkyspot
inkyspot

 @Borderlands666 I enjoyed KOA, I don't think it's better than Skyrim, but I think it has legs to stand on it's own. The story was interesting me to me, the world was also. I enjoyed the first DLC, and will more likely buy the other... at some time.

If I was to compare it with Skyrim though,... If I must, then that's like comparing a Honda to a Bently,,, (okay maybe not that drastic), but you get my meaning.

kuda001
kuda001

 @honu67 Free markets are a rarity nowadays. In reality the Man is ever present for example with taxes and  regulation or in this case subsidies.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

 @howie1926 boo hoo. Videogames are political. Always have been and always will be. In fact, some of the best franchises ever produced are the most overtly political. The Mass Effect series, the GTA series (in fact everything made by Rockstar), the Bioshock series, the Metal Gear series, the COD series, the Assassins Creed series, the entire Sim City franchise. I am sure I am missing some and now the funding for games is political. Grow up.

BROD3O
BROD3O

 @teer101 Indeed, more fun than 100% of the RPG's this gen.

_Roo_
_Roo_

 @Stonecutters908 He didn't get the money to start 38 Studios he used his own money, blood, sweat, and tears for that back in 2006.  The $75 mil government backed loan was given as an incentive to relocate from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010.

  Where are you getting the information that the company is asking the state to save them from insolvency?   Because the state has guaranteed the loan they will be on the hook for it if the company goes out of business.  It's the state that is now looking at ways to minimize their liability,  Big difference.

Your political rant tying in the Federal governments bailout of the auto unions to a State giving incentives for companies to relocate there is not only comparing apples to oranges.  But is based on the false premise that the money was given to Mr. Shilling to start his business (which it wasn't.)  

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@wwlettsome Lol, minecraft, a XBLA game has sold more than three times the sum in under a week and KoA has been out for how long?

NadCAtarun
NadCAtarun

 @Lhomity You seem to assume that if people couldn't pirate the game or buy it used, they would have bought it full price. I assume most of them wouldn't have played it at all. Either way, it's hard to prove a negative.

(Full disclosure: I bought the game on Steam, myself.)

howie1926
howie1926

 @Stonecutters908  Your right. There are tons of video games with politics in them. But just like any other source of media, they are made for entertainment. Once you start bringing the real world into the fold, it loses that value. The whole point of entertainment is to GET AWAY FROM THE REAL WORLD. I am an adult who loves video games. I am divorced and have two kids. I am pretty sure I am grown up. Show some respect to your elders. Oh, and KOA was a fun game. Sorry you did not like it. Must not have been enough political drama surrounding it for you. (P.S. Video game is two words. Not one)

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

 @_Roo_ 

 

http://bostonglobe.com/business/technology/2012/05/15/rhode-island-scrambles-save-curt-schilling-game-company/wbt51m4mpdPapTbLUjSmyI/story.html

 

"Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office confirmed that he and officials of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation began talks over the weekend with 38 Studios executives in an effort to resolve the company’s financial problems,"

 

Does the company owner count as an executive? So yeah Curt is probably, as we speak, lobbying government officials for an injection of cash to save his company from insolvency instead of just letting it die and costing the tax payer more money. The government has the choice of just cutting their losses on the bad loan and taking the grief from voters but of course you are twisting this around to make it seem like the government are the ones trying to cover their own butts when really they would be taking on more risk. Do you honestly think Curt Schilling isn't asking for that money? BS.

 

BTW, I wasn't comparing the loan to move his business to R.I to the auto bailouts. I was comparing the insolvent 38 studios going to the state of Rhode Island to help them to save them to the auto bailouts because it is the same thing and that is what is happening. Curt, being such a principled fiscal conservative, I would think would let his company die than rather save a few jobs by asking the government for more money. Unless, you know, he is a hypocrite.

Lhomity
Lhomity

 @NadCAtarun Not being able to afford a game doesn't entitle one to pirate said game. Heck, I want an Aston Martin DB9, but I can't afford it.

 

People who are in poverty don't worry about video games. Poor people know how to live within their means. I know this. I was raised by a single, teenage mother on welfware. I'm 28 now, and I have an enormous game and DVD collection I worked my ass off for.

 

Someone who owns a console, or perhaps a gaming PC; who also pays for broadband internet with large or unlimited data caps; probably has a smartphone or an ipad, maybe even smokes a pound of weed every week is NOT POOR. Having any of these things and THEN having no money to spare does not render a person "poor". That's someone who is irresponsible, greedy, and doesn't know how to live within their means.

 

I can't prove that anyone who pirates games would otherwise purchase them, but as long as they are able to pirate, what reason would they have to spend money anyway? When I was in high school, earning pocket money, I used to save a few dollars every week to put aside for the things I wanted.

howie1926
howie1926

 @Stonecutters908  That is your opinion just like I have mine. You think it was bland. My original argument was that you are bringing your political views into an arena where the majority of people go to get away from that type of garbage. And your insult does not go unnoticed, no matter how subtle you tried to make it.  There are a million and one blogs were you can go talk politics and real world issues. Just enjoy what we all came here for. Video Games.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

 @howie1926 Oh please. I am an adult. I am married. Don't give me that crap about respecting elders. I've been gaming since 1985 and KOA was bland bland bland and its studios deserves to fall by the wayside. BTW, I always find that people who cry foul anytime a political topic is breached in their entertainment  usually believe in indefensible, stupid ideas and don't like to see them challenged.

timoteo2k1
timoteo2k1

 @Stonecutters908 I have to agree with you stonecutter, yes 38 studios should be allowed to go bankrupt... just like GM/ Chrysler and the hundreds of insolvent unions around the nation should have. 100 million isn't so much compared to the trillion or so dumped on them. The market should be allowed to dictate and if 38 studios makes a bad game or unions choke to death every entity they're involved with then they should face the result- a bankruptcy isn't the end. intellectual property get purchased, small devs spring up from fired employees and the company emerges stronger from the other end and the market/ economy flourishes (business failures are as important a part of economic growth as success)... OR govt gets involved and creates a govt dependent zombie like GM which owes the people tens of billions we'll never get back and exists only on govt contracts given to it because it was illegally nationalized.

NadCAtarun
NadCAtarun

 @Lhomity Everybody is able to pirate and not everybody does. I could have pirated Amalur and I didn't. In fact, 330k copies were sold to people who could have pirated the game. I'm just saying piracy (and used games) are clearly not the only factor in a game's success or a company's woes. You seem to think this factor plays a HUGE role. I disagree. Again, it's hard to prove a negative.

 

For the record, though it's completely UNRELATED to the matter at hand, I agree with you that being unable to afford something doesn't give one the right to steal it. Please do not hijack our conversation and imply that I condone piracy in any way, because I don't. Thank you very much.