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38 Studios: Kingdoms of Alumar dev Officially Shut Down


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Initial post: May 28, 2012 8:46:10 AM PDT
got mayo?™ says:
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2012/05/28/kingdoms-of-alumar-dev-closed/1

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.'

Posted on May 28, 2012 8:57:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 9:10:38 AM PDT
too big to fail bailout imo

why it remains an unwritten crime that the management can get away scot-free for dumping this load is beyond me.

we go apeshet infernal when nuclear waste dumps are mishandled, economic waste dumps are nuclear too. if not in material, then scope.

Posted on May 28, 2012 9:17:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 5:48:20 AM PDT
StriderNeo15 says:
lol Alumar.

now please excuse me while I go tweet death threats to the writer of this article for not knowing about a videogame I like.

Posted on May 28, 2012 6:40:46 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 7:50:42 PM PDT
DVvM says:
EA might buy the IP for cheap, but I don't think they're going to buy the company wholesale. There was a fair bit of mismanagement, the product wasn't as good as it could have been, EA already owns a developer that does RPGs, and the Amalur brand is, sad to say, probably tainted by the fact that the company went under.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 8:43:57 PM PDT
True. But I never understood the logic of not liking or respecting a product, just because the company was poorly run.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 11:51:39 PM PDT
M. Gaudet says:
I heard it was EA's fault.

Not sure since i don't have all the facts.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 12:20:07 AM PDT
M. Gaudet says:
The Bioware brand is tainted by EA and a bad ending to the Mass Effect trilogy.

Good luck getting people to buy Dragon Age 3 after Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3. those guys lost the good graces of their fans. I would be surprised if people do a 180 on this and pre order dragon age III anyway, not me. BioWare would have to do a lot to get me back as a fan.

Posted on May 29, 2012 12:45:09 AM PDT
tjm01572 says:
damn man, i was trying to wait this game out for a GOTY or "complete" edition with all the DLC, prob wont be a project the state will be interested in (or even now how to go about creating). guess i should just look for a good price point to jump in

Posted on May 29, 2012 1:53:13 AM PDT
Nicos says:
Don't worry everyone, Schilling was able to pay himself back the 4 million he invested into the company so he will be able to buy that solid gold "I am Great" statue like he originally planned.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 3:24:46 AM PDT
I don't think RI will sell the IP for cheap now that its tied to the loan.

Who knows. I'm kind of disappointed we won't see that upcoming patch they had detailed over the weekend or the sequel.

It's a shame that Shilling really screwed this up, I very much enjoyed Amalur.

Posted on May 29, 2012 5:39:31 AM PDT
T-Brisket says:
KOA was great but expecting to sell 3 million to break even is quite insane for an RPG.

I know I've read previously that smaller companies like SE and Tri-Ace usually make a profit around the 500k mark.

Shows you how bloated the company was and how poorly managed things must have been.

Even sucessful MMO's like WoW never had a staff of 300 people devoted just the one brand new IP at launch time.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:43:27 AM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Don't know that they'll rehire everyone, but since publishers typically retain the rights to the IP they'll probably do SOMETHING with the franchise.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:44:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 5:53:19 AM PDT
But weren't the rights used as collateral for the loan from RI?

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:46:56 AM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Ooh, were they? Hah... That's... Wow. That's just... I can't even.

Then yeah, EA will probably buy 'em up cheap. I deal with foreclosure homes every day, but this is the first time I've ever heard of a foreclosure franchise.

Posted on May 29, 2012 5:47:01 AM PDT
RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE It was EA's fault!!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:48:18 AM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Pipe down, Billy Zane! You're just unhappy that you had to be the badguy in Titanic! You can't always get to be The Phantom, Billy Zane!

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:49:38 AM PDT
StriderNeo15 says:
I'll buy it.

I'll buy it day 1.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:49:54 AM PDT
Bad Guy?? Pssh.. I was alll good baabbby!

Posted on May 29, 2012 5:51:21 AM PDT
Oskar2525 says:
Does this mean that Amalur will be a rare game in a few years?

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:51:45 AM PDT
StriderNeo15 says:
I'll give you 1 million dollars for it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:52:21 AM PDT
GUEST!! says:
Your charming ways don't fool me, Billy Zane! I see through you. I SEE THROUGH YOU.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:25:23 AM PDT
MrFoxhound says:
'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.'

That's why it's best to finish a game BEFORE you sell it. That way you don't have to worry about nagging issues that you ignored to push a game out the door.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 11:27:49 AM PDT
DVvM says:
I really liked Dragon Age 2 and the ending to Mass Effect 3 (as well as the rest of it), if you provide me a link through which I can preorder Dragon Age 3 for the Xbox 360, I will do so.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 11:29:12 AM PDT
DVvM says:
Well, Rhode Island has no interest in keeping the Amalur IP, since Rhode Island does not make video games. So the IP is only worth to RI what they can get for it, which is probably not much since everybody knows that RI needs to sell the asset.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  35
Initial post:  May 28, 2012
Latest post:  May 29, 2012

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