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Reckoning staff unpaid since May 1, health care runs out - Report

Source says 38 Studios employees miss payroll this month, now without health care; company CEO and SVP jump ship; Kingdoms of Amalur outperforms projections, selling 1.2 million.


The tough times at Kingdoms of Amalur and Project Copernicus developer 38 Studios are not getting any better, according to a new report. A source with knowledge of the situation told Joystiq that 38 Studios staffers have not been paid since May 1 and, as of today, no longer have health care. Company employees are paid on the first and 15th of each month.

Copernicus may never see the light of day, says the source.
Copernicus may never see the light of day, says the source.

Asked if 38 Studios will shut down this week amid the trouble, the source would not confirm anything, saying, "Unknown at this time. Outlook is not good."

As for 38 Studios' new massively multiplayer online game Project Copernicus, which Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee recently revealed would ship in June 2013, the source confirmed this date was an internal target, but was not sure it will be met.

"Whether this is realistic or not is up for debate," the source said.

The trouble for 38 Studios does not end there. Rhode Island news outlet WPRI reports that the company's CEO, Jen MacLean, and senior vice president of product development, John Blakely, have left the company. MacLean has been on maternity leave for the past two months and indicated via her LinkedIn page that she left the company in March. Blakely also updated his LinkedIn page to say he left 38 Studios. Prior to joining the company, Blakely held positions at Zynga and Sony Online Entertainment.

It's not all bad news for 38 Studios. Company founder Curt Schilling wrote on Twitter last evening that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning had outperformed publisher Electronic Arts' projections, selling 1.2 million copies during its first 90 days. He did not clarify if the figure represented sold-in (that is, shipped) or sold-through to consumers. As of press time, neither Schilling nor EA had responded to GameSpot's request for comment.

Asked by a user if he would use the money earned from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sales to help 38 Studios amid its ongoing troubles, Schilling said the funds have yet to come through.

"Haven't received a penny of it, and have not asked for any," he said.

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.

38 Studios' troubles first came to light earlier this 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.

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