38 Studios – Bad Debt and Bad Blood


When Curt Schilling retired he was a hero of the upper Northeast, having helped the Red Sox break a long time curse and win a World  Series. With his playing days behind him, he wanted to pursue a dream of creating and owning an MMO. This led him to form 38 Studios in Rhode Island and what happened after that, many of us know too well.

Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning - Box Art

The MMO was plagued with issues and never made it to the light of day. The only release the studio did have was a third person RPG game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that was to take place in the same universe and serve as a prequel to the MMO. Even I knew things were bleak when the studio announced that it had to sell three million copies of its game just to break even and continue operations. Unfortunately, sales feel well short and the studio shut its doors.

The decision to have the state back bonds to 38 Studios was a controversial one at the time and the total span of the ramifications has yet to play out. The most recent battle has been over the state’s decision to pay off the debt in order to keep its credit rating from slipping. However, many taxpayers see this as a further slight and are protesting the idea saying that it sets a bad example and no one should be given a free pass. Opinions are heated on both sides of the issue and no easy answer is in sight but the state must decide soon before its next budget is done.

occupy-prov-38I won’t claim to know the deeper financial and political ramifications of this or any deal involving 38 Studios. There is talk that the bond was insured and that that insurer should pay the debt. With that course of action comes the possibility of a suit being drawn upon the state, potentially costing even more taxpayer money. This unfortunate turn is unlikely to be the last we hear about the studio until all financial matters and disputes have been resolved.

Curt Schilling tried something we all wish we had the resources and will to do – he followed a dream. He should never be faulted for that and the former baseball great paid a huge cost losing most, if not all, of his personal fortune in the process. Luckily he was able to return to ESPN as an announcer and analyst but he announced earlier this year that he was fighting cancer. I hope that not only can he get back to good health but that the entire saga of 38 Studios can come to an equitable ending for all.

(Source: Providence Journal)

Author Line

dudewantshisrugPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!


      1. wait they are still around? I thought they were dispersed in 2012. I never played Kingdoms of Amular but I heard great things about it and Claudia Black narrated the trailers so that’s a plus.

      2. Ah! Ok. I think what I heard way back when was that making an 8 billion hour single player game as your first game may not have been the best idea they could’ve had. It was originally supposed to be an MMO but they instead made it a single player game.

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