Laid-off Reckoning devs landing at Epic Games

E3 2012: Gears of War studio bringing aboard ex-Big Huge Games staffers as contractors first, planning to create "impossible" studio in Baltimore.

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Gears of War developer Epic Games plans to hire on staffers recently laid off at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning studio Big Huge Games. In a letter posted to Epic's website titled "Big Problems Need Huge Solutions," company president Mike Capps lamented the situation at the studio and explained why hiring on the newly displaced developers is "the right thing to do."

Epic plans to open a Baltimore outfit staffed by laid-off Reckoning devs.

Capps said former Big Huge Games leadership contacted Epic on Wednesday, saying the newly out-of-work developers wished to start a new company with the help of Epic while keeping "key" staffers together.

"In one of life's coincidences, Epic's directors had spent the morning discussing how we'd love to build even more successful projects with our growing team, but that we'd need a dramatic infusion of top talent to do so," he said in the statement. "Which, we all knew, was impossible. So now we're planning to start an impossible studio in Baltimore."

According to Capps, setting up an entirely new Baltimore outfit in earnest will take "a while," but he noted he wants to bring some aboard as quickly as possible as contractors at the company's Cary, NC, headquarters.

"There's a million things to work out. How many of the team can we hire? What will it be called? What will they be working on? We don't know all the answers yet," reads the statement. "Please give us some time to figure it out; we hope to have more to share soon."

Capps also revealed in his note that some laid-off Big Huge Games staffers have found new work at Zynga East, Zenimax Online, and other unnamed Southeastern studios.

Big Huge Games and its parent company 38 Studios fell apart in May. The company's troubles first came to light last month, when reports from the Rhode Island government indicated the company had failed to make a $1.125 million loan payment to the state's Economic Development Corporation. The studio eventually made the payment, but it also enacted a round of unspecified layoffs. Reports also surfaced that 38 Studios could not pay its employees as scheduled twice last month.

Between the original $75 million loan and interest, Rhode Island taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $90 million as a result of the deal. The $75 million was secured by the Rhode Island EDC as a way to entice 38 Studios to move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. Last week, EDC executive director Keith Stokes, who helped structure the loan, resigned from his post.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning shipped in February to a warm critical reception and sold 330,000 units in the United States alone during the month. Schilling said it sold 1.2 million copies, but Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee called it "a failure," saying it would have needed to sell 3 million just to break even.

Discussion

176 comments
Purplekjw
Purplekjw

This article really did increase my fondness for the game development industry. They all seem to look out for each. Seems like a fantastic industry to work in. 

Spybreak
Spybreak

That is good to hear finally.

equinator3
equinator3

This story gives me warm and fuzzy feelings.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Nice to hear that they were able to find a quick placement.

SpikeJones767
SpikeJones767

All we need now is a hundred hour RPG starring Marcus Fenix, then life would be complete.

VAMPYREANGELUS
VAMPYREANGELUS

i really enjoyed the game, i am sorry they wont be able to make another.

rancor_
rancor_

So, no state funded sequel then?

eol_is
eol_is

Let's hope this time they'll have better luck.

Agronot
Agronot

Wow...a really great example of looking out for your fellow industry workers. If only this was something that could be done everywhere! it would definitely be a better place to live!

the_requiem
the_requiem

This is great news. Those devs deserve to make more games and Epic is one of the best places they could be.

keech
keech

Wow talk about a blessing in disguise.  Get fired from an average start up studio with extreme financial problems, get a job with one of the most prominent names in the industry right now.

404FredNotFound
404FredNotFound

Thats great news, to me right now Epic is one of the top Developers out there, also even tho I didn't like much of Reckoning i have to agree it was a good game, and with EPIC help they can actually bring something awesome to the gaming world, lets wait and see what happens.

SgtBeetle75
SgtBeetle75

really good news maybe we will get to see a sequel KOA or maybe not but it is good to see that the Dev's are getting hired by Epic..  I have to laugh the governor of Rhode Island calling KOA a failure when really the only FAILURE WAS Lincoln Chafee.... 

ftwhog
ftwhog

thats good news its a great game

craigprime
craigprime

Very good news. Life would suck if you worked on one of the best games of the year, only to be out of a job the next month. Looks like they can still make a living at a big-name company.

zeus_gb
zeus_gb

Great news that.  Still enjoying playing Kingdoms.

sonicare
sonicare

That's cool that those guys have found jobs.  No fun being unemployed.

xSlider257
xSlider257

Very excited some of thee guys are finding a home elsewhere.  Kingdoms of Amalur was an excellent new IP and I truly hope Epic can save the day.

sagueneen
sagueneen

its go to see developer stay together into this event. EA was'nt right with this new IP  

yomonkey
yomonkey

Do you think we'll be seeing an Epic RPG? I would be very interested to see what that would be like.

Nodashi
Nodashi

Rise of Nations was one of the best games ever IMHO. Amalur was bad. Get over Amalur. If you wanna give those guys credit, give it for a really good product, not the latest generic RPG. RoN was not really revolutionary (it's Age of empires mixed with Civilization), but it was incredibly well put together, to the minor details.That said, glad they got some help, now let's hope they put their hands on something trully interesting. I love RPGs, but making RPGs because they are the new shooter?Leads to soul deprived games like Amalur. 

DarthSithari
DarthSithari

It's good to see that these guys are getting a second chance. I wonder what they'll do now?

LastPRmarine
LastPRmarine

good for the former Big Huge Games employees

negativx
negativx

this makes me very happy for them.

tachsniper
tachsniper

It's a win/win. Epic wanted to start a studio in Baltimore, the guys at 38 studios just got laid off. Scoop them up and staff your new studio instantly.

 

lowkey254
lowkey254

That's awesome. It sucks that Big Huge Games wasn't able to make it on its own, but the devs are finding work so that's always a plus.

Nathalmighty1
Nathalmighty1

That's great news! I'm happy for the devs that get to keep on working.

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

Good to hear that there are prospects for the former development team of KoA.  KoA was a good game, not perfect, but it was fun and deserved to do a lot better than it did if people would just put their shooter rehash obsession to the side and branch out more often.

 

Good luck to them.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

This is a great development in an otherwise sad (and strange!) story.

 

Looking forward to seeing what they put together!

michelle_moraes
michelle_moraes

I am so happy for them! I loved KoA dearly, and even if making a sequel may be out of question due to rights, I truly hope they will eventually make another great action RPG experience.

vivalatour
vivalatour

HUGE maybe even Bigger than Life ? I can't see lay offs in the gaming world unless the people ,

 "JUST CAN'T KNOW" ? meaning they should , but , just can't !

DoomSky
DoomSky

Some Big Huge Games staff have found themselves at Zynga? From big budget fantasy epics to Farmville. Those poor souls.  

gix47
gix47

Big Huge Games had @425 employee's,so i wonder just how many Epic is picking up

Vickman178
Vickman178

Hopefully they can make the sequel to Kingdoms of Amaleur because the first game is awesome!

Zignoff
Zignoff

It's a nice gesture, but unless they get rid of the problem that CAUSED them to be laid off, such as over priced bloated development cost that aren't needed, then history is just going to repeat itself.

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

now lets see if epic can make proper projects to utilize this talent.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

Calling a game a failure based on its sales is just wrong.

 

Anyway its great that Epic are giving them jobs...hopefully they will make some great games & be a successful studio.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

Well that's good news.Good to see Epic Games making a move like this.And not a single mention of Cliffy B or his spewing consolitis :) 

ivanmallia
ivanmallia

Please don't let Amalur die Epic Games. I can only imagine what Amalur would look like on the Epic Engine...

LastPRmarine
LastPRmarine

 @SgtBeetle75 I don't think KoA is getting a sequel the state owns the IP and reportedly some of the former Big Huge games employees wanted to buy the IP but they said the state is asking for too much money.

DredWulf
DredWulf

Actually this has nothing to do with EA but the governor of Rhode Island, Bad Checks and mgmt by Curt Shilling, and overhype.  I am glad Epic picked em up.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

 @DoomSky LOL you think like a gamer not a developer/people who earn money to live.

DukeBriggs
DukeBriggs

 @Vickman178 agreed entirely. it's a shame they shot themselves in the foot with an original project and couldn't sell nearly enough to break even, though it definitely deserved it. it had its problems, but the good outweighed the bad tremendously. 

DoomSky
DoomSky

 @syafiqjabar I wasn't aware being a gamer meant I don't earn money to live. I don't protest the decision but it must be a bitter pill after working on Amalur

DoomSky
DoomSky

 @Tixylixx Too true and I'd do the same. Still a kick in the balls though.