Rhode Island-based 38 Studios, the company behind the popular action role-playing game (RPG) Kingdoms of Alumar: Reckoning, has closed its doors in the face of claimed debts relating to an apparently unpayable loan.
Kingdoms of Alumar: Reckoning, the company's most recent title and the product of its subsidiary Big Huge Games, proved popular: in the first 90 days following its launch, it was claimed to sell 1.2 million copies across three platforms - PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - but that apparently wasn't enough to satiate the company's paymasters.
As a result, the company is being liquidated and its staff sacked.
'Today was a rough day at the studio. After a long stretch of difficult circumstances, things finally came to a head, and this afternoon, we on the Reckoning team down in Maryland began to pack up our offices and say our goodbyes' Big Huge Games lead designer Ian Frazier explained late Friday in a forum post.
Frazier's post comes hot on the heels of an internal email leaked to Gamasutra telling staff that they were no longer required. 'The Company [38 Studios] is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary. These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary. This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012,' the email read.
A press conference by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee pointed the finger at Kingdoms of Alumar: Reckoning's apparently unimpressive sales as being at fault. 'The game failed, the governor claimed, while stating that sales of three million had been promised in order for 38 Studios to receive a $75 million loan payment.
Sales of 1.2 million - a figure claimed by company head Curt Schilling on Twitter - in 90 days is, apparently, no longer a success - and without three million copies in homes across the world, the loan was called in and the company found financially wanting.
Unfortunately, this also spells the end of a planned patch for the game. 'We received clearance to do a PC-only patch, which wasn't ideal - we wanted to do a patch on all platforms - but it was better than nothing,' Frazier claimed. 'So we commenced working on that--working on everything from miscellaneous bug fixes to Joe Q's addition of new camera features to Dakota's addition of two new difficulty modes - but before we finished, the company collapsed.
'Now, barring some sort of miracle, it is highly unlikely that any patch for Reckoning will ever see the light of day. I am deeply sorry that we were unable to get a patch out the door sooner, before this catastrophe struck - you supported us, and you deserve the support yourselves. While I consider Reckoning a very strong game and not especially buggy, that's not the same as saying that it's perfectly balanced or bug-free, and it kills me that I'll never get the chance to correct any of its issues.'