38 Studios Possibly in Financial Trouble

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Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning didn't exactly set the world on fire, but it wasn't bad, either.

38 Studios may be in financial trouble, according to a report out of NBC 10 in Rhode Island.

"We're always working to keep Rhode Island companies solvent, and that's what we're doing with 38 Studios," said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee to the local NBC affiliate.

The state made a $75 million loan guarantee in 2010 to initially bring 38 Studios to Rhode Island, a move now under scrutiny.

It’s only been a few months since 38 Studios released its first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. We’ve seen nothing of the long discussed MMO set in the same universe, codenamed Copernicus.

Chafee has not yet divulged specifics, only saying it's meeting with 38 Studios on “different issues.”

The studio has not yet responded to my request for comment.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning didn't exactly set the world on fire, but it wasn't bad, either.

38 Studios may be in financial trouble, according to a report out of NBC 10 in Rhode Island.

"We're always working to keep Rhode Island companies solvent, and that's what we're doing with 38 Studios," said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee to the local NBC affiliate.

The state made a $75 million loan guarantee in 2010 to initially bring 38 Studios to Rhode Island, a move now under scrutiny.

It’s only been a few months since 38 Studios released its first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. We’ve seen nothing of the long discussed MMO set in the same universe, codenamed Copernicus.

Chafee has not yet divulged specifics, only saying it's meeting with 38 Studios on “different issues.”

The studio has not yet responded to my request for comment.

Staff
#2 Posted by AyKay_47 (293 posts) -

sucks

#3 Posted by Nardak (463 posts) -

Darn...i tought the game would sell.

#4 Posted by thedj93 (1237 posts) -

hoping it worx out

#5 Posted by Sweep (8817 posts) -

You will always have a home here with us, Rich!

Moderator
#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (35989 posts) -

You make it sound like Rhode Island is trying to break up with 38 Studios.

Online
#7 Posted by nohthink (1223 posts) -

Sad... I liked the game too

#8 Posted by mbkish (244 posts) -

I didn't buy it because it was too close to Skyrim. I was RPGed out at that point. Maybe later this year ZI will pick it up, because now I will be playing Diablo 3.

#9 Posted by Shaanyboi (1268 posts) -

I hope things work out. I'm really enjoying Reckoning.

#10 Posted by pweidman (2297 posts) -

Bummer. I enjoyed the game and thought KoA:R was a helluva first effort. Hope everything works out for 38, and Rich especially.

#11 Posted by Ghostiet (5224 posts) -

KoA's problem is that it's too dense with sidequests. Completing any makes the game too easy and there's simply too damn much of them, too close to each other. Whenever I uncovered a bit of FoW on the map, I saw tons of exclamation marks. Skyrim has a lot to do, sure, but it's not nearly as "in your face" like this.

#12 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

Uh oh, even though I wasn't very interested in Amalur I hope everything works out for them.

#13 Posted by Winternet (8005 posts) -

Guess Ben Coello can't spend unlimited money sitting on the couch playing Trials.

#14 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@Nardak said:

Darn...i tought the game would sell.

Well it sold slightly over 1 million unites. I guess it wasn't enough.

#15 Posted by Gargantuan (1881 posts) -

I would have bought it if the combat was harder.

#16 Posted by Overbite (199 posts) -

More like Poor Gallup. Ba dum tsh

#17 Posted by RockinKemosabe (619 posts) -

Rich is the spirit guide though, he'll make it better!

#18 Posted by Toxeia (728 posts) -

I understand that the state of Rhode Island would want a company to move there because it would mean jobs but it doesn't seem like the kind of industry that would help the people in that state. It's a shame that they'd produce a game that was so hobbled by "innovative" combat/quest systems that suffered from the same tropes of so many games before it. Hopefully the MMO gets moving. I could see a world in the Amalur universe working very well but only in a truly open-world setting - and that's the kind of thing that might pan out for the citizens of RI.

#19 Posted by Wampa1 (626 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Things change, Rhode Island is thankful for the time it had with Amalur but it's time to move on.

#20 Posted by ProjektGill (752 posts) -

Huh, I thought Amalur sold relatively well. I guess the insane amount of talent at the studio and the years spent on the game must have cost a hell of a lot of money.

#21 Posted by ZombiePie (5583 posts) -

The article should mention how the state loan of $75-million (60% of the state's high tech loan budget at the time) to 38 Studios came with the promise that 38 Studios would bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. The promise was nonbinding but probably set expectations for the state. Now that it is 2012 my guess is that 38 Studios is far from that promise and the state is re-examing their loan, which the studio is reliant on to keep it active. Hence the rumors of financial trouble.

Moderator
#22 Edited by Duxa (158 posts) -

Bummer to see a talented studio have financial issues, but the truth of the matter is that we have way too many games with too big of budgets made. I remember 10 - 20 years ago you would get 10 B games and 1 or 2 A games per year, with some odd years here and there (1998) where you would have OH MY GOD 5 AAA titles.

These less frequent titles were creative and far more memorable than today's rehashed formulaic games. An average gamer can not play more than 10 or so games a year, especially with the way games evolved. 10 years ago they were 8-12 hour experiences. Now with multiplayer and other online hooks people spend 100's if not 1000's of hours on 1 game. That leaves less time to play / buy other games.

So these days its not that the game needs to be good for the company to be profitable and the game to sell, it has to be really good, with really good marketing. The gaming scene is way too saturated to be mediocre. The industry as a whole is more dependent on marketing now than creativity.

So perhaps this here goes to show that.. yes... things are based on Metacritic (unfortunatelly).

#23 Posted by PXAbstraction (316 posts) -

I was under the impression that EA was pleased with how Amalur was selling. Given that 38 Studios owns the IP, I figured they would have had a bigger cut of the royalties. The AAA business model is pretty much broken at this point if everyone can be pleased with a title's sales and the developer who had probably a sweeter publishing deal that most is still barely clinging to life after receiving a huge state loan as well.

#24 Posted by Tennmuerti (7998 posts) -

Surprise.

#25 Edited by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

Well MMO are expensive. besides 38 did not work on Amalur they only publsihed it.

#26 Posted by captain_clayman (3318 posts) -

dang, that's a bummer. amalur is actually a pretty good game. well, there's always money in the banana stand.

#27 Posted by digitaldemigod (33 posts) -

The thing I never understood was that they were using Reckoning to introduce players to the upcoming MMO. There are several problems there. No matter how great the backstory is, it will be yet another fantasy MMO. Reckoning already has a very similar art style to WoW. Do we really need another fantasy MMO? I think they'd be better off just making more single/co-op games as sequels to Reckoning. RI would be helping to fund a game that will not succeed, and most of those 450 jobs would be lost.

#28 Posted by DukesT3 (1891 posts) -

I think after Skyrim there was fantasy open world fatigue. Thats what my friend told me anyways, he'd buy this game but after playing the hell out of Skyrim he was burned out on that type of game.

#29 Posted by Roger_Klotz (764 posts) -

This sucks...but, at least The Great Rich "Houdini Copperfield" Gallup can make a living off his magic tricks. That one at PAX east gave me the vapors.

#30 Posted by ArtelinaRose (1838 posts) -

@SlightConfuse said:

Well MMO are expensive besides 38 did not work on AMalur they only publsihed it

DURRRRRRFFFFFFFFSPSSBBBTTTTT

Online
#31 Posted by fusrodah (95 posts) -

I think if I had seen the Time Trotters video before Reckoning came out, I probably would've bought it. Gallup is OG.

#32 Posted by jeffrud (382 posts) -

@ZombiePie said:

The article should mention how the state loan of $75-million (60% of the state's high tech loan budget at the time) to 38 Studios came with the promise that 38 Studios would bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. The promise was nonbinding but probably set expectations for the state. Now that it is 2012 my guess is that 38 Studios is far from that promise and the state is re-examing their loan, which the studio is reliant on to keep it active. Hence the rumors of financial trouble.

I wish I could upvote this.

#33 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Did that game sell pretty well?

I mean, it was just a bunch of straight cut and pasting, but didn't it do well?

#34 Posted by dropabombonit (1484 posts) -

Rich spent it all on getting a new series of time trotters off the ground

#35 Edited by Daveyo520 (6651 posts) -

Woooo! Local news becoming national! We gave them so much money. @ZombiePie: We did indeed do that.

#36 Posted by MrCandleguy (822 posts) -

@SlightConfuse said:

Well MMO are expensive besides 38 did not work on AMalur they only publsihed it

Are you trolling? God i hope you are.

#37 Posted by n8 (264 posts) -

@jeffrud said:

@ZombiePie said:

The article should mention how the state loan of $75-million (60% of the state's high tech loan budget at the time) to 38 Studios came with the promise that 38 Studios would bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. The promise was nonbinding but probably set expectations for the state. Now that it is 2012 my guess is that 38 Studios is far from that promise and the state is re-examing their loan, which the studio is reliant on to keep it active. Hence the rumors of financial trouble.

I wish I could upvote this.

Yep, lets upvote it moar.

#38 Posted by august (3826 posts) -

I'm not sure if Reckoning doing well alone could save the compnay, seeing as how they basically bought Amalur and have been working on their own MMO with nothing to show for it for a long, long time.

#39 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

Reckoning killed any interest I had in the MMO, it was a painfully generic game, with incredibly boring lore.

#40 Posted by Fokma (29 posts) -

Wait... $75 million to produce one game? I know there's games like SWTOR that cost multiple times that, but I doubt even Skyrim cost that much to produce (marketing is a different bucket which developers don't handle).

#41 Posted by jNerd (2011 posts) -

I thought Amalur would sell better then it did. I hope 38 Studios doesn't close its doors.

#42 Posted by mccarron (75 posts) -

@ZombiePie said:

The article should mention how the state loan of $75-million (60% of the state's high tech loan budget at the time) to 38 Studios came with the promise that 38 Studios would bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. The promise was nonbinding but probably set expectations for the state. Now that it is 2012 my guess is that 38 Studios is far from that promise and the state is re-examing their loan, which the studio is reliant on to keep it active. Hence the rumors of financial trouble.

That's what I was thinking too, this article mentions milestones that 38 must hit in order to keep good on the agreement. It also mentions that 38 didn't receive all the money up front and that'd it'd be coming in parts over the next 18 months which it sounds like we'd be close to the end of now. So sounds like deal modification going on by one or both sides.

#43 Posted by BonOrbitz (2156 posts) -

Christ. Another day, another news story about a game studio in financial trouble. I hope 38 Studios and Rich Gallup pull through.

#44 Posted by TehJedicake (875 posts) -

shit.....

#45 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@PXAbstraction said:

I was under the impression that EA was pleased with how Amalur was selling. Given that 38 Studios owns the IP, I figured they would have had a bigger cut of the royalties. The AAA business model is pretty much broken at this point if everyone can be pleased with a title's sales and the developer who had probably a sweeter publishing deal that most is still barely clinging to life after receiving a huge state loan as well.

The problem is that the studio was initially focused on the MMO, and is still plugging away at it, spending millions of dollars to deliver it to a market that has no interest in paying for the client software nor a monthly fee. Reckoning was pooped out as a stopgap, a way to use some of the assets they were producing in order to earn some money in the meantime.

Blizzard put a lot of effort into WoW, Sony put a lot into Everquest, Bioware put a lot into SWTOR, but at the end of the day they made their money elsewhere and they've got fairly rich coffers that allow them that luxury. Even if they are working everyone to the bone over there at 38 Studios, this is pretty much the John Romero model of game development. 38 is treating design as law and putting everything into an all-or-nothing product from a fairly unknown studio that has no time table, no recognition, no release date, no anticipation, and almost literally banking on the belief that the world you're building is going to garner enough fans to make it perpetually profitable. That's a super dangerous place to be as a game developer.

#46 Posted by Nautilus1515 (51 posts) -

@captain_clayman said:

dang, that's a bummer. amalur is actually a pretty good game. well, there's always money in the banana stand.

You sir are correct.

#47 Posted by megalowho (959 posts) -

Hard for me to feel too much sympathy for a studio that has yet to produce a game, as KoA was pretty much Big Head Studios' baby start to finish. If you want to keep a game development company solvent, at some point you actually have to sell something, let alone announce it. Hope there's some news in the pipeline for what we can expect from that MMO.

#48 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

they need to cancel that mmo the market is way to crowded

and make a sequel to amalur it was a good game just needs some polish

#49 Posted by ZOnikJJ (258 posts) -

That's kind of a bummer.

#50 Posted by hawkinson76 (354 posts) -

@Nardak said:

Darn...i tought the game would sell.

Did you buy it? I didn't.

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