Entire 38 Studios Staff Laid Off, Effective Immediately

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Entire 38 Studios Staff Laid Off, Effective Immediately

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Nearly 400 workers across two states are left without work.

After weeks of uncertainty regarding the future of Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, which saw everything from missing paychecks to fleeing executives, every single employee has been officially been laid off.

38 Studios, which employed nearly four hundred workers between its Maryland and Rhode Island offices, have informed employees of their termination through a succinct, impersonal email. "The Company is experiencing an economic downturn," it read. "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."

During a press conference concerning the layoffs, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee blamed the studios' failure on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning failing to sell three million copies, a sales record that Schilling has previously argued was a great success. "Sales of Reckoning OUTPERFORMED EA's expectations," he wrote on Facebook, "and sold more than 1.2 million units in the game's first 90 days in the market."

Regardless of reason, as of Thursday afternoon, 379 fulltime employees are left without jobs, adding to the indeterminate number of temporary and contract workers terminated last week. The wake of the sudden firings have left the now ex-employees with questions ranging from legally-owed healthcare benefits to compensation for three weeks of heretofore unpaid work.

Numerous unaffiliated gaming companies such as PopCap, Cryptic, Gearbox,and EA have already begun to offer their support, immediately considering applicants from affected ex-38 Studios employees. Twitter has joined the cause as well, with numerous members of the industry asking anyone currently hiring to post openings with the hash tag #38jobs. Facebook users can help, too, via the official support page found here.

Source: WPRI

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I did not play Amalur but that just sucks. I hope this isn't a warning sign for the future...

Well, this entire mess of a situation just dissolved fast. Those poor workers.

It's nice to see so many studios offering their support to the ex-38 Studios workers. That always brightens these dark sorts of scenarios at least a little bit.

Kingdoms of Amalur was -alright- but it didn't keep me playing it long past the second act. It may just be my personal boredom with the standard fantasy setting, but the game just didn't grab me and reading other opinions it seems that many felt the same way. They really shouldn't have put all of their eggs in one basket like this, the executives and people in charge I mean. They aren't going to have to suffer the consequences of this implosion, they all likely have millions tucked away, but Joe Gamedesigner is out on the street, a sad situation.
Glad to see that other companies are snapping up the rush of fresh talent, but don't misunderstand, this is not an entirely philanthropic act on the parts of these behemoths. They'll likely demand lower salaries, decreased benefits, and so on in exchange for employing these people because of the new glut of talent 38's demise has created.

Well that went downhill fast, Still I guess it was kind of expected considering they were betting on a fantasy game not only being able to compete in a market with WOW and Skyrim but also being able to go full on MMO after only one game. It just seems like they were expecting way too much out of a new IP that didn't have all the much going for it in a very over-crowed market. May as well be trying to bank an entire company on a brand new Modern Military Shooter IP when you got the resident Godzilla and Kingkong Battlefield 3 and COD fighting in the background.

While this saddens me, I can't say I'm surprised. KoA certainly felt like a labor of love, but some elements just weren't there. Kudos to R.A. Salvatore for at least *somewhat* thinking outside of the standard Fantasy box, but so much more could have been done to set the franchise apart.

At the same time, I'm not really sure hubris is to blame. Hi-Rez Studios managed to stay afloat with Global Agenda and has recently launched Tribes: Ascend. Granted, it's free-to-play, but some developers have been able to dip their toe into the MMO market from Day One and to survive the experience.

My guess is part of the problem really was Amalur's base concept. Yet another Fantasy game in a market that's already saturated with elves and gnomes and goblins.

Damn, I only rented KoA, but I thought it wasnt all that bad. Its combat was pretty good all things considered. Sucks for those employees... hope they find a new job soon...

Well, this will sound mean but we didn't need another damn MMO and maybe this will be a lesson to other start ups trying to enter the market with an MMO. Maybe it will be a lesson to established companies too, most MMO's don't make it and the overhead is high. Hope all the employees find another, more stable company soon.

Also, why is KoA still at $60? This should be seeing a price cut soon and then I will buy it.

As long as the tax payers are protected.

...Oh wait!

Terminate421:
I did not play Amalur but that just sucks. I hope this isn't a warning sign for the future...

It is. When a game sells a million copies in a few months and that causes the company to implode in bankrupcy it's a sign the industry is doing something wrong. I have been expecting the video game industry to collapse for years now and now it begins.

It sucks for all those people employed in them, as not everyone can go and make a super awesome indie studio and get ten millions on Kickstarter. But they had been living off a lopsided business model for too long and the bubble was about to burst sooner or later.

Kaboom!

And I bet the execs of 38 are off enjoying their wealth somewhere, having squandered tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a worthless MMO project that sank their company. There's gotta be some way to hold them accountable for their failure...

I like KOA and the only reason I stopped playing it was because ME3 came out. Other than a few minor problems I have with it(weapon and armor degradation), Amalur was a great game. I think it would have done better if launched at a different time.

Damn, that sucks. And after 1.2 million sales, too. Hopefully the employees can find work elsewhere.

EA is offering them jobs. It's an evil ploy! They're obviously the ones who sank the studio or...something?

I can't even try to do this sarcastically.

This is sad to hear. I rather like the game. I have already put 60 hours into it. That being said I think the real mistake the game made was quantity over quality. There are a ton of side quests to do. It even out does Skyrim, but there aren't many side quests that are really interesting. Had the put more focus on the main story and some of the extnded side quests (house of ballads, warsworn, thiefs guild, etc) even at the expense of total content then I think the game would have sold better. It's too bad as I would have liked to see a sequal.

Best of luck to those who lost their jobs. Hopefully most of you have been looking already and have something in the works.

Crono1973:
Well, this will sound mean but we didn't need another damn MMO and maybe this will be a lesson to other start ups trying to enter the market with an MMO. Maybe it will be a lesson to established companies too, most MMO's don't make it and the overhead is high. Hope all the employees find another, more stable company soon.

Also, why is KoA still at $60? This should be seeing a price cut soon and then I will buy it.

Look for sales. I bought my copy about a month ago for $40. Also Steam and gamespot had sales at $40 even before that (I got mine for the PS3).

Damn... last year it was Team Bondi, now it's 38 Studios. I feel bad for the people who got laid off. Here's hoping they can find new jobs soon.

When I first heard the news, I started to get some guilt because I hadn't bought a copy of Amalur yet (still have a lot of RPGs to get through). But if they would've had to sell 3 million copies to break even, then there's been some serious financial mismanagement. I'm wondering what further news reports/investigations will turn up

Wha...?

Basically "To avoid the possibility of retrenchment, youre all fired."

Maybe this is a local language thing, but around here I wouldnt call that "avoiding" the possibility of retrenchment... more like "ensuring". Does "retrenched" not equal "fired" over there in USAland?

Whoa, that's an unemployment explosion... I sincerely hope those people get other jobs in the industry soon!

Well, I think they were expecting to much from the game and hoping it would make a series. That "shopping out an MMO" story from earlier looks even more of stupid move now.

well, that sucks. It's a pretty bad state for the industry when you can't break even on a game that sells 1.2 mil. Dev costs NEED to go down. It also would have helped if they hadn't sank a lot of money into that MMO.

uncanny474:
Looks like piracy didn't stop people from ignoring your shitty game, did it, 38? Suck on that!

Oh, original article. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115660-Piracy-Not-Consoles-Killed-the-PC-Exclusive

And now I feel like an asshole.

Seriously, for what it's worth, my condolences to the people who don't deserve to be screwed over by this, but who are being screwed over regardless. Being unemployed sucks. Best of luck.

Blade_125:

Crono1973:
Well, this will sound mean but we didn't need another damn MMO and maybe this will be a lesson to other start ups trying to enter the market with an MMO. Maybe it will be a lesson to established companies too, most MMO's don't make it and the overhead is high. Hope all the employees find another, more stable company soon.

Also, why is KoA still at $60? This should be seeing a price cut soon and then I will buy it.

Look for sales. I bought my copy about a month ago for $40. Also Steam and gamespot had sales at $40 even before that (I got mine for the PS3).

Considering the game is not likely to get any more patches (which I have read that it needs one for balance issues), it is no longer worth $40.

.....aw man, I loved Amalur, I'm doing another play right now and I just bought all that DLC :(

Sorry lads. If it makes you feel better, I bought it on pre-order, I thought the demo was that fun.

That really sucks. I wonder if BHG will be able to re-form from the ashes or if they'll just go their separate ways.

In before "They made a game that sucks therefore deserved to be fired" comments start drowning the thread.

matrix3509:
In before "They made a game that sucks therefore deserved to be fired" comments start drowning the thread.

You are the only one, doesn't that make you feel stupid?

This is of course terrible and no one ever deserves to have their job pulled out from under them, but I'm not really surprised. It's similar to Team Bondi's story.

KoA was good, but not great. It felt like an amalgamation of every western RPG rather than its own game. Still, 1.2 mil is nothing to sneeze at. It's a little disconcerting, considering companies have sold less and still stayed in business. I'm wondering if there's something else to this story that we don't know about.

Crono1973:

matrix3509:
In before "They made a game that sucks therefore deserved to be fired" comments start drowning the thread.

You are the only one, doesn't that make you feel stupid?

I said "In before". Before you start throwing insults around, I suggest you learn how to read.

What a shame. :( Seems name dropping can only get you so far...

I enjoyed the game, they just banked too much on the Amalur franchise. The market doesn't need another fantasy-themed MMO.

Shame, shame, shame.

I heard a lot of good things about Amalur, and it's on my list of games that I want to play. It sucks that an entire company went under due to the game, despite the fact that I heard that, all things considered, it was alright.

Hopefully, they can get some jobs in this rough economy. Good luck to all of those guys!

My condolences to the employees that are now laidoff and it's a damn shame that a company with potential had to wither away and die like this.

That said, what a bunch of dumbasses starting on an MMO project. They release one game and with barely any sort of fanbase they're already off and away with an MMO project, a genre that is completely saturated, has seen numerous failures/mediocre turnouts in the past year alone, and if the project ever went through I guarantee you it would just be a big, worthless flop. Bit off more than they can chew, methinks.

On top of that, if a game selling 1 million+ units in only a few months still results in the company completely and utterly falling apart, something is wrong with this industry and it needs to change now. One, developers/publishers need to stop making stupid decisions and two, they need to control this ridiculous budget fetish that this industry has, pumping everything with millions upon millions of dollars when it can be achieved on a lower, more efficient budget if they plan right.

I guess I'm just in a mix of disappointment, annoyance, and bewilderment. It's a bunch of ridiculous things wrapped into one; a brand new studio with a hugeass multimillion budget title that still doesn't sell enough and a studio tackling the MMO genre as if they have the resources to do so. Too often we have seen studios shut down due to this kind of crap. This needs to change.

Meanwhile EA is still profiting. Oh yes people, continue to tell me how fine the industry is doing and I'll continue to tell you just how fucking wrong you are.

matrix3509:

Crono1973:

matrix3509:
In before "They made a game that sucks therefore deserved to be fired" comments start drowning the thread.

You are the only one, doesn't that make you feel stupid?

I said "In before". Before you start throwing insults around, I suggest you learn how to read.

Must be my hatred for pointless "in before" posts talking.

...and they are pointless. Do you think anyone thinks you're clever by predicting what others will post?

I think this is really the first studio going out of business that makes me sad. I really enjoyed KoA, and was looking forward to more games set in its world. Sadly they were just determined to make an MMO, that was what Reckoning was supposed to be after all. My best wishes to all those employees. Chalk another great game up to the unforgiving maw of the industry. I would hope someone picks up the IP and continues it on, but with that comes the risk they'd just turn it into some awful crap fest without the soul of the original.

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