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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning devs lay off whole staffs

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It's a sad, sad day in New England.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer 38 Studios, founded by Major League Baseball legend Curt Schilling, let go of its entire staff today, as did Amalur's initial developer, Big Huge Games, according to several reports.

The studios employed 379 full time workers altogether.

"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," stated an internal memorandum addressed to all 38 Studios employees, obtained by Rhode Island's WPRI. "These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary. This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."

The studios' obliteration comes less than four months after they shipped their first title, Amalur, which critics seemed to have liked. Apparently, it didn't matter.

The Rhode Island-based 38 Studios, which acquired the Baltimore-based Big Huge Games in 2009, defaulted on a $1.1 million loan payment to the Rhode Island state government on May 1 -- the same day it stopped paying its staff. The company was on the hook for about $50 million of a $75 million loan, money that will have to be paid back -- plus more -- by Rhode Island tax payers between 2013 and 2020 if 38 Studios ends up being unable to pay.

Their Amalur IP, which was valued at about $20 million by an industry analyst, would become the property of Rhode Island if that ends up being the case.

Our hearts go out to all the folks who lost their jobs today at 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. May you find new homes quickly.

JonDavila's avatar
Staff article by Jonathan Davila (May 24, 2012)

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