News of pay freezes and difficulties with the Rhode Island government have been plaguing 38 Studios and Big Huge Games for over a week now, but it looks like things have just escalated past the point of repair. The developer of the successful Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the recently displayed Project Copernicus is no more.
A defaulted payment from 38 Studios to the Rhode Island state government on May 1 brought many of the developer’s issues out into the light, and with Rhode Island taxpayers possibly owing $112.6 million if the studio were to fail, it became obvious that these financial issues had to be addressed quickly. Addressed they were, but not in a satisfactory manner. The entire staff are now without work, and if these layoffs are due to a failure to pay the state’s loan back, Rhode Island could now take ownership of the $20 million Amalur IP.
The internal memo to the studio’s employees was recently found by WPRI, and reads: “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.”
As of March 15, 379 full-time employees were said to work at the company’s two different studios. Since the news of their unemployment has broken, members of the industry have taken to Twitter – offering not only their condolences, but jobs to the former employees of the development studio while using the hashtag #38jobs. It was a trending topic worldwide for a time, and support continues to flood in from various publishers, developers and journalists.
It’s a sad situation for every talented member of the team, but it’s difficult to not feel encouraged by the numerous helpful messages being sent out. Let us know what you think about the situation in the comments below.