38 Studios Lays Off Entire Staff

On Friday, May 24, it was reported by Kotaku that the developer behind the surprise success Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Big Huge Games, was facing layoffs. Not long after it was reported that 38 Studios, owner of Big Huge, had laid off its entire staff in addition. This was confirmed by WPRI, a Rhode Island news affiliate, who released this memo sent to all employees:

"The Company 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."

These problems arose due to the fact that the studio stated that it was unable to repay a one million dollar loan to the state of Rhode Island. This was surprising to most except for governor Lincoln Chafee, who said that the inability to repay the debt was because Reckoning was "a flop" and "not successful" despite selling 1.2 million copies, what many would consider to be great for a new IP.


Pictured Left: Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee


Oddly enough, 38 Studios is not dead yet. While they have no staff, the company has not yet filed for bankruptcy and does not plan to (supposedly). To show support for the studio's fight to stay open, a member of 38watch (a fan site) by the name of AlynShir has released some leaked screens of the Amalur online followup known as Project Copernicus, along with the statement, "38 isn't dead yet. Amalur is worth fighting for. Spread the fire." This does not mean that 38 is safe, but it is better to see something than nothing.

Even though it seems dark, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A Google Doc of open positions in the industry is circulating around Twitter. On top of that, one of the biggest names in the industry, Cliff Blezinski, design director of Epic Games, has personally tweeted those hurt by the layoffs, letting them know that Epic is currently hiring. It's good to see that successful companies in the industry are lending a helping hand and making sure the affected manage to land on their feet.

MetalInsurgent's picture

This is too bad. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was fun game and the people who made it deserve better.

christothefirst's picture

Apparently KoA 2 was in early pre-production, too.

John Tarr's picture

It's incredible to me how poorly some very large companies are run. Just two years ago, they moved their offices and all of their employees from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. Yeah they're close, but think of all the families of the employees that were moved as well. It has to be heart wrenching to be a part of debacle. 

AbsoluteTerabad's picture

Curt Schilling, the former Diamondbacks and Red Sox pitcher, was the one who ran this company and apparently he might lose all of his savings from playing baseball due to this company failing, losing over 50 million of his own money. Also I guess alot of this people weren't getting paid either since April so. 

Scumbagb3n's picture

Is Rhode Island even an Island?

FratasticVoyage's picture

As if I didn't have enough reasons to be pissed off at the Red Sox. Now goddamn Schilling has to do this bullshit.

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