38 Studios are in serious trouble. The studio, owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, has apparently failed to make payroll this month. That means its staff of 379 people are still waiting on a paycheck.
Further to that, the company did manage to hand deliver a cheque to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. That taxpayer-funded body made the loan that enabled 38 Studios to start up and expects annual loan repayments of $1.125 million. 38 Studios apparently defaulted on the payment due on May the first and this cheque was supposed to cover it, essentially paying the state rather than their employees.
The problems got worse, however, when the cheque bounced due to insufficient funds. Rhode Island EDC has returned the rubber cheque to Schilling’s studio.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a reasonable critical success. It seems to have had solid enough sales and there certainly hasn’t been any large scale uproar about issues with the game’s development so the news that its developers are now in such a sticky financial situation is dire. Their second project, funded by Rhode Island EDC using taxpayer’s money, is tentatively titled Project Copernicus but there are no details of specifics or a release schedule.
Certain voices within Rhode Island’s government are fighting hard for a rescue package to be put in place to safeguard the studio and ensure the best possible chance of seeing a return of the EDC-guaranteed $75 million loan, as well as securing the 288 jobs with the studio that are within that state.