The closure of Curt Schilling's game company dominated the headlines this week and had people talking; GameSpot rounds up some of the most intriguing tweets.
The only title from 38 Studios--Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning--won praise and sold 1.2 million copies, but that didn't save the company from going belly-up. As revealed yesterday, the Providence, Rhode Island-based developer and its subsidiary Big Huge Games laid off all their employees amid ongoing drama stemming from a much-debated 2010 $75 million loan. Total layoffs are believed to number close to 400.
An outpouring of support for the hundreds of sacked staffers rained in over Twitter in the hours after the news broke and continued today. The hashtag #38jobs quickly sprang up, and was even a top 10 trending topic. Many companies rallied to find the newly displaced developers work, offering links to open positions at their firms. Some voiced angry sentiments directed at Schilling, others praised him, and still others made jokes about the event.
GameSpot rounded up some of the most intriguing comments from people across the gaming industry. Below is a highlighted collection of what was said.
International Game Developers Association chairperson Kevin Dent @KevinDent
"There are lawyers somewhere in [Rhode Island] looking for a way to prosecute Curt Schilling, he is the sacrifice to the gods/public."
Former Big Huge Games designer Justin Perz @thejustinperez
"Today I retire from making fun of twitter. Thanks, game industry. #38jobs"
Former 38 Studios CEO Jen MacLean @jenmacl
"Thanks beyond words to everyone who has supported #38jobs today. Plz keep the team in your thoughts and continue to post opportunities."
Former 38 Studios creative director Steve Danuser @Moorgard
"Media: Follow the money. Watch who profits from this and you'll find a trail of power, corruption, and lies."
Former Big Huge Games senior game designer Joe Quadar @bazooie
"Bye bye Big Huge Games. I still can't believe we made Reckoning. Now… about that patch."
EA Australia community coordinator Jess Hodgson @EA_Jiggsy
"You guys have created a beautiful legacy with Reckoning. I'm going to frame my copy and mount it in memoriam."
Former Big Huge Games director Ian Frazier @tibermoon
"I've had better weeks."
Former Big Huge Games audio director Grant Kirkhope @grantkirkhope
Former 38 Studios sound designer Bill Mueller @BillsAudio
"To everyone rallying behind #38studios. Thank you so much. Wow. I love this industry #38jobs."
Irrational Games senior quality assurance tester Amanda Cosmos @acosmos
"Irrational is still hiring for Bioshock Infinite. Even if you don't see your job on the site still hit us up [link to open jobs] #38jobs."
Boston Phoenix staff writer David S. Bernstein @dbernstein
"re 38 Studios: Extremely disappointed in the lack of jokes about [former Red Sox closer Jonathan] Papelbon coming in to take over the company."
CCP Games Jobs @CCPGAMESjobs
"CCP devs will be a Blake's Tavern in Providence Monday to recruit 38 studio's employees, #38jobs."
Social media representative for BioWare Austin Mark Douville @MarkDouville
"My sympathies go out to the employees of#38Studios and #BigHugeGames. I wish you the best. Amalur was amazeballs, you should be proud."
Former Big Huge Games producer Sean Bean @notthatseanbean
"Thank you, Curt, for buying us 3 yrs ago yesterday. It let us stay together and make the game we'd dreamed of. So surreal. My kids have only ever known me working at BHG, and now we're taking down the posters. Rooms are empty. The trophies are sad."
Senior Electronic Arts animator Ryan Duffin @AnimationMerc
"If half the bullshit Im hearing about 38 Studios is true, I hope it goes to court. Big, Huge condolences to the talent at Big Huge Games."
Mass Effect 3 senior designer Manveer Heir @manveerheir
"The amount the ppl at 38/BHG have been lied to by executive management is ASTOUNDING. If they aren't lies, then it's just gross incompetence. Either way, I hope the execs who made this bungling worse than it needed to be are held accountable and never work in this industry again."
Lantana Games designer Dan Silvers @shadesofsilver
"Coincidental timing considering the 38 news. RT @MedievalArchive: Died today in 1543: Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer."
ESPN Boston radio host Adam Jones @adamjonesESPN
"Despite our efforts, Curt Schilling will not be making his weekly appearance today on@ESPNBostonRadio."
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer Big Huges Games @BigHugeGames
"Thank you all so much for the remarkable show of support for us and our people during this time. It has meant more than we can say! #38jobs."
38 Studios founder Curt Schilling @gehrig38
"Thank you to everyone sending prayers and well wishes to the team and families of 38 Studios."
38 Studios @38Studios
"Thank you all so much for the remarkable show of support for us and our people during this time. It has meant more than we can say! #38jobs."
I saw my sister's playthrough and actually liked the game. The interaction with NPC where just like Dragon Age Origins or Skyrim, but I definetely liked the battle system, It was free. So sad to see this company go down.
Amalur looked like it was worth a try, but I was really put off by the pre-release DLC. I don't play that DLC game.
If companies want to put out a game, put out the WHOLE game and don't bother with the "want more features? pay more money!" crap.
A $50 game only costs me 3 hours of wages -- but no one asks me to stay after work and keep doing little chores just so I can get my paycheck. When work's done for the day, it's done --- and when games are released, they should also be done.
You're angry about something you don't have to buy...and not buying a game because of it? Keep fighting the good fight my friend. Oh and buying used games will only perpetuate day one DLC/DLC endings. Way to be a part of your own problem :)
@Smokachino I'd love to have some of whatever the hell you're smoking. You'd still buy a car if you had to pay extra for the tires, wouldn't you? Or perhaps riding on the rims is your thing.
And "a part of your own problem"? That's funny, because I don't buy used games and never have -- nor do I download or play pirated games. I buy them, because I can. As I wrote, I can buy a new game with 3 hours of wages and I work 40 hours a week. I think the real "problem" is your tendency to make baseless assumptions. Put the crack pipe down, take a shower and get a job, kiddo.
@Smokachino Hey, thanks for your reply. I do see the validity of your points; it's just an issue with a lot of 'gray area' which tends to polarize us gamers. The gaming industry is a bit of a dog-eat-dog world (as businesses typically are), and companies do what they can to stay afloat and succeed. If companies want to use DLC as a means to achieve financial success, that is fine. It should just be done in a tasteful manner, unlike the ME3 day one DLC you mentioned. FF XII-2's "pay to play as Lightning" and Capcom's "pay to play as characters which are already on the disc you bought" were also quite bad in my eyes.
What you mentioned is largely what I stand against: DLC which is meaningful or integral to the core experience. It's a situation where you accept the potential abuse of DLC as a near-necessity for the gaming industry to flourish, and I mostly focus on the potential abuse of DLC. We could be decades in the past, and be arguing about the merits of nuclear energy instead; similar situation where the benefits and drawbacks leave people divided.
Rather than continue arguing over the subject, I will apologize for my "crack pipe" comment earlier and thank you for taking the time to understand and respond to my views -- which can admittedly be a bit archaic, but assuredly founded with the same good intention your own views are.
Peace, and good gaming.
@Renunciation I get you. I just don't see a lot of day one DLC that is actually important. A half-assed extra weapon?ugly armor skin? Does not having this stuff really make you feel like you bought an incomplete package? They're merely cheap perks to sweeten the deal. if you don't buy them, you're still getting the game they intended to sell. Nothing important is being left out.
The gaming industry is young and still trying to figure out how to handle the used-goods market...or anything that regularly undercuts their MSRP. It is a very serious issue and I think they're dealing with it pretty well. Publishers want their investments to pay off, developers want the royalties for their hard work, and consumers continually want more for less. Solutions like pre-order exclusives, day one DLC, or frequent sales are almost magical in the way they address these issues.
I mostly agree with you on your point about quality...but then again, high quality single-player games depend heavily on planned DLC. Games like Arkham CIty would see a huge spike in used copies had the DLC support been lacking. People keep games now because the DLC is keeping the experience fresh...otherwise they would move on, buy another game...and potentially sell their old one for store credit.
The market is changing drastically, we're no longer in the days where you bought a game and that was it...and I think that's a good thing. I love that I can buy a game and then have it be expanded on a month or two later (it's no different from expansion packs). There is always going to be developers/publishers who do it better than others. That's how it always is.
TL;DR - Day one DLC shouldn't deter you from buying a game. Yes, it can be gimmicky, but it's rarely meaningful or integral to the core experience....unless it's a prothean character that is totally awesome and should have been on the disc....ME3 day one DLC is shitty. We can all agree on this.
@Smokachino Well, we do agree on something -- this is silly. :)
My point might not make much sense to you, and you're certainly entitled to your own. It's just that I've been playing video games for over thirty years(closer to 35) -- and for many of those years, "DLC" did not exist, people sold and bought used games, and the "used games" market was never identified as a problem. I can not think of any other industry where companies have complained so much about people buying/selling used products. Cars, books, toys, clothes.. anything, really. Once a company sold any of their products, they were not so concerned about what happened with the products afterwards.
I understand your position on DLC: it is a way for a company to make money by selling games AND selling extra/optional features to people who will pay for them; money "lost" on the selling of used games is (at least partially) regained through DLC.
My position is that DLC is a marketing gimmick which attempts to extract more money from people who are willing to pay for features which should have been originally included. I don't understand the benefits of selling a 'stripped down' game which is missing the extra/optional features; if the DLC is great and worth paying for, the original release (without DLC) is inferior by comparison. Selling an inferior and incomplete product is not a great device for capturing customer loyalty.
My main point, Smokachino, is emphasis on quality. I believe that most people do not want to sell high-quality games they own; they would want to keep them and play the games for months and years. I don't believe that people who want to play a high-quality game are so willing to wait for the used games to hit the shelves. Mediocre games quickly find themselves being re-sold as used games, and I see no problem with this. Why keep a game you don't like? Does it make more sense to toss the game in the trash instead of selling it and buying a better (or newer) game? We can all read reviews, but we don't know for certain whether or not we will love a game until we play it. We can rent the games beforehand to be sure -- but the rental market is not much different than the used-game market, at its core.
I do feel sympathy for developers, yes -- but that's the nature of employment. Regardless of the industry in question, people lose jobs as a result of poor management and other factors. If I buy a BMW, it isn't disrespect for Ford employees. It is not the worker's fault that the management did not design any Ford vehicles I desire to buy, but the workers do suffer from higher-tier decisions, nonetheless. Aside from the DLC issue, the reasons Amalur was not rated a 9.0 or higher on Gamespot are plain to see, and these reasons were not likely the cause of the individual workers. The fact that the workers are punished for the shortcomings of the managers is unfortunately beyond my control, even as a buyer of new games. I live with that fact as a gamer and a worker.
You may still disagree with me, and that is fine. But I have done what I can do to help explain my perspective, so that you might understand where I'm coming from.
@Renunciation I'm having a hard time understanding your point. It just seemed a little superficial to knock a good game simply for having day one DLC. A optional, unnecessary perk to buying the game new. RIght? Am I crazy? These developers put their heart and soul into this thing and you're "put off" because you could elect to pay for extra content.
Day one DLC is a ploy to help recoup lost revenue caused by the used-games market. People want to buy games for less, but buying used forces the publishers to find ways to get more out of you....that's what I meant about "being a part of your own problem" and it annoys me when people don't know this.
You have since amended this and clarified that you, in fact, buy new. So whatever. This is silly.
@Smokachino I left out the word "new" -- as in, "I buy them new, because I can." It was at about that point where I started to wonder if you were trying to say anything thought-provoking, or merely interested in arguing for its own sake. The latter is looking a bit more probable.
But can you argue with my recent success? I didn't buy KoR because I don't like "first day DLC" gimmicks. When 38 Studios releases more games with first-day DLC, be sure to message me and I will accept my failure.
@Renunciation Reckoning incentivized a new purchase with EXTRA content. It wasn't integral (like tires to a car...) to the story of the game. It's not like you have to buy the ending or the main character. It rewards consumers for supporting the company/publisher by buying new. I don't see what's wrong with that...and I don't see the point in avoiding buying a game altogether because of it.
And woot! you're proud that you have income! that's super nice man! congrats! I'm so happy that you can buy games because you can! Let me know when this point becomes relevant ;)
I think its nice that the other developers are giving the team a heads up on positions their hiring for.
The game was amazing the only problem I had with it was the level cap at 40 and items. There just wasn't that many good items when you were 40. Other than that amazing game I am glad I bought it I wish the best for them.
i didnt buy KOA,they try hard to creat a good RPG they even got a big publicity with ME3 "THE PROMOTIONAL ITEMS" i go for ME3...and Skyrim,i didn't buy Diablo 3 yet
Feeling a little guilty for buying it used...sorry guys!!! I am enjoying it more than Skyrim, although after hitting level 30 I've only found one weapon better than the ones I already have.
@jrmorgan23 If you can't support the gaming companies by buying their games directly, you can at least support the people who do buy the games directly --- buy buying their used games. The person who sold the game probably bought another game with your money... and it was probably a game by a company which didn't borrow $75 million worth of taxpayer money.
@Renunciation out of my 30 plus PS3 games on my shelf, over 90% of them were purchased new. The only reason I bought Amalur used was because I recently decided to get it, and had an about to expire birthday coupon from Gamestop, for 20% off a used game purchase. after browsing the two local stores for over a month, and finding nothing worth the use of the coupon, I stumbled across Amalur only 4 days before the coupon expired. the 20% off coupon, as well as the 10% membership discount, made this a no brainer purchase. I was never a fan of Curt Schilling either and didn't really want to support him. But after playing the game and enjoying it, then reading of the downfall of the company, I had a minor feeling of remorse for not buying it new. Most of that feeling has diminished.
@Smokachino My viewpoints of Curt Schilling and his politics were only one component of my decision not to purchase the game; the day one DLC I'd mentioned above was another, as well as the "fetch quests" mentioned in Gamespot's review and other minor factors.
One of those factors is that I prefer to wait to buy a game, rather than immediately purchase it on its release date. This way, the "fanboy" and "hater" dialogue has died down somewhat, and educated opinions about the games start to emerge from decent players. If I have experienced really great games from a particular company, I won't wait as long to buy one of their games -- it's an easier decision. 38 Studios was new and had no such reputation, so I decided to wait. Even as interested in KoA's highly-touted battle mechanics (as opposed to Skyrim's, which were functional but lacked a good 'feel' in my opinion), I decided to be patient and let the dust settle for a while.
Back to Schilling, it's a tough issue. One could say that I simply dislike him for his hypocrisy or his political/economic beliefs, and there is *some* truth to that. However, it's not hatred - just a fair-sized disagreement. If I feel that certain political/economic beliefs may damage the national economy, then it is my duty to avoid financing people who promote those ideals. After all, what is bad for the national economy is bad for the gaming industry. On a small scale, my viewpoint can understandably be seen as shallow or petty. Yet, I feel that the decisions I make while shopping are just as important (if not more so) than which candidates I select when I vote.
One thing I surely did appreciate about 38 Studios and KoA is the amount of effort and talent that went into the game. However, it was risky to be so ambitious with a first release; it was a gamble. Unfortunately for the employees of 38 Studios, there was no big payoff in the gamble.
I see nothing wrong with you calling people out for being shallow; in fact, I think it's commendable and encourage you to continue doing so. In my case, I did not initially explain my full line of reasoning, and it is understandable that you would respond in such a way. Again, you may still disagree with my views -- but at least now you may know that my comments aren't driven so much by petty dislike of a single individual. Politics aside, I do appreciate Schilling as a gaming enthusiast and hope that someone else can succeed where he was unable to.
@RenunciationIt's still a shame to me that people let their opinion of Curt dictate their perspective on the company. Doesn't it seem annoyingly shallow to you? I'll never look down on someone for flat out admitting that their not interested because A) It looks generic B) Fantasy is not my thing...but to lose sales because "Oh, I think that Schilling guys is a dick!" is just sad to me. It's a reality. I understand how little people care about this, but I'm still gonna call them out on it.
@Smokachino If KoA came with an option to pay more money to the workers and less money to Curt Schilling, that would have been wonderful.
A big part of the reason I feel no shame is because my money was spent elsewhere, and went to other people who were working hard. If I bought every game produced by hard-working teams, I wouldn't even have enough time to play all of the games.
How about those wonderful companies who offered jobs to the former 38 Studios employees? Some of them have my money, and I'm glad they are able to offer jobs to Studio 38's laid-off workers. There is no shame in this.
I was replying to Renunciation...
Anyway, I was just stating that it's damn shame you are "feeling no remorse" for refusing to buy a game over ONE man's hypocrisy...What about the rest of the team that worked on it? Seems like a petty reason. To each their own, I suppose.
@jrmorgan23 Oh, I see. Pardon the little rant, then. :)
But do let me say, I'm totally with you on "the less I want to align myself with any political party". We are probably on opposite ends of the "political spectrum" (at least in some issues), but we are viewing the spectrum itself with a very similar perspective. I appreciate that.
@Renunciation I think they were referring to my post. Which I defended below.
@Smokachino How about you stop taking things so literally. It was mostly a joke and honestly had no bearing on any decision. I pretty much spelled out the reason I bought it used. And not that it is any of your business, I am a registered republican, so through most of my life I probably would have agreed with much of the stuff that Mr. Schilling spewed out of his rather large mouth. The older I get and more I become "aware", the less I want to align myself with any political party, and on this day can't be considered either a republican or a democrat. My dislike for Mr. Schilling is more towards the fact that he does and has on numerous occasions voluntarily spouted his opinions on matters he knows nothing about, but because he made tons of money by throwing a baseball he is deemed to have credibility. Whoo boy, what a contribution to society. The same reason i vomit in my mouth each and every time some windbagged actor or other celebrity shoots off their mouth about topics they know nothing about. Actors are the worst. Someone dresses them up, tells them what to say and they are supposed to have credibility? what a horrid society we live in.
@Smokachino Where did I write that I disagree with his political agenda? It was his hypocrisy that I disagreed with, if I need to spell it out for you.
How about we stop penalizing the hardworking employees who made the game just because you don't agree with one person's political agenda. You're silly.
@jrmorgan23 I have no remorse for refusing to buy a game from a man who preaches conservative principles (specifically, government spending) and then borrows $75 million from state government. I'm glad you enjoyed the game, and I'm glad that your own remorse has also diminished.
It's nice to see the industry support making positive strides for these befallen employees.
As my tech company is undergoing initial layoffs and it's certainly a demoralizing experience. Lets hope 100% are rehired shortly.
On side note... I think Lou Gehrig, synonymous in succesful longetivity with humility, would be ashamed to see his name tied to a Curt Schilling twitter account at this time. The company lost too soon and could've institued a better plan for failure accordingly.
Sounds like the top brass got down to the last of the powder in the bottom corner of the bag, and suddenly realized they were back in Kansas.
@Tandem_Toad To bad you can't say that about the people playing the games.
The bottom line here is that there was bad management from within the company and from the government of RI. If Schilling had a sound business plan, and a leaner payroll, then he should have been able to get venture capital instead of taking public capital as a handout. There was too much overhead in both the number of employees and especially the manager payroll and they were over-extended on too many projects at once for a start-up with no income stream coming in yet. Jumping into an mmo at that point I think was the financial killing blow. I would point the finger most squarely at the CFO, but all of the senior managers are to blame for these kinds of errors. The state gambled with the taxpayer's money and lost and they will pay the price during the next election. The senior managers will likely get off Scot free and move on. The rest of the workers, despite good quality work on KA are screwed. I am also heartened by the other developers posting their employment opportunities in the wake of this fiasco. Given more time, more detail will leak out about how this went down at the management level, and it won't be pretty.
@gsmull You make a great point. Look at what happened to Bioware with SWTOR. They had to sell themselves to EA in order to get additional capital for the game. Now they are laying people off because SWTOR is killing their budget. MMO's are a great idea but don't work out too well in the long run because you can never create quality content in a timely manner and keep you subscribers. Blizzard seems to pull it off but they have always been a great company.
Welcome to the death of the AAA RPG. They are expensive to make and you can still flop after selling over a million copies. Very few companies can that risk. In the west Bioware, Bethesda and Lionhead are the only studios that regularly shoot for AAA RPGs. In Japan it's questionable that anything outside of the FF main series counts as AAA. Just look at FF13 and how much of a step backwards that is in so many ways to keep budgets in check. Squenix don't remake FF7 because they don't think it will make money. Quite possibly the most requested game in history with an instant fanbase and even then they believe it would be too expensive.
Amalur is a pretty good game and 1.2M is a solid number for an original IP. It's not just RPGs, team Bondi with LA Noir, for me one the greatest games of the year, it had a lot of publicity and sold well. Publishers will retreat to a safer set of genres and IPs when it comes to AAA. Until/unless cost saving technologies (such as procedural graphics generation) starts to catch up AAA games will become less varied.
@WeWerePirates it has nothing to do with AAA rpg, they were given 75 million to create an mmo, they were running out of time and money so they created a single player game instead hoping to stay the tide. It wasn't enough, as we learned. If they had set out to create only sp rpg's they wouldn't have gotten that huge loan. If the state had given them more time, I believe they would have began to turn a profit. But this is what happens when the people panic and try to cut losses.
lol #38jobs.......anyways,I guess that means no more KOA: reckoning dlc also lol @ Jess Hodgson's comment
I guess playing too safe ain't playing safe after all.Amalur was a very boring game. Interesting combat is not enought to keep me playing a "single player MMO". I put that aside after some hours, cannot be bothered to "slay 10 boars" in a singlep layer game, sorry.
Amalur was a gem in its own right, the men and women who made it really do deserve to keep working on great games like it. My hat is off to the studios giving jobs to those damaged by this debacle, RIP Big Huge...
Princely of Epic, Microsoft and others to open their doors to the out of work workers. KoA wasn't bad at all just didn't like the generic WoW structure of it.
Wow, I'm really disappointed. KOA is actually one of the better RPGs I've played recently (and it's for PC!). Was hoping to see more of it but i guess that's down the drain.
Now let me see if I got this right.
The state of Rhode Island borrowed $75 million to a game development company (BHG) to battle the high (11%)unemployment in the state.
Did those politicians really think that some Rhode Islander single mother just happens to be a graphics designer or some Rhode Islander collage dropout 20-something happens to be a computer programmer?
This is a game development company, not a tin can factory. The people who get employed need to know a little bit more than how to pull a lever every 5 seconds.
Didn't they realize that the workforce and know-how had to come from outside the state? Geniuses...
And the politician (Carcieri) who was behind it proudly called himself the "CEO governor"... reminds me of another CEO-turned-politician who wants to become the potus.
@isahunt It brought 400 or so jobs into the state. That's 400 potential consumers feeding their income back into local businesses. The economy is stimulated in more ways than you think.
Do you know if any of the Rhode Islanders were employed by the company? Not that it matters anymore since everyone got sacked.
38 Studios was from Massachusetts and they relocated to RI. Which means the people who lived in Massachusetts and worked with the company probably moved to RI with the company.
I'm gonna take a wild guess here and say that the number of people 38 Studios employed from RI were close to zero or zero. Maybe they hired a janitor to clean the offices. Maybe.
I'm all for stimulating the economy, but throwing $75 million taxpayer money at a game development company sounds like an awful way to go about stimulating the economy.
The company wasn't meant to stimulate the economy by hiring Rhode Islanders. Aside from the added tax dollars, those employees support the local businesses of RI. THAT is the stimulation I'm talking about. Restaurants and other local businesses start hiring more people because they are getting more money from 38ers using their services....those same businesses now have to lay their workers off because the governor shat all over 38...boning Providence in process.