Rhode Island-based 38 Studios, the company behind the popular action role-playing game (RPG) Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, has closed its doors in the face of claimed debts relating to an apparently unpayable loan.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the company's most recent title and the product of its subsidiary Big Huge Games, proved popular: in the first 90 days following its launch, it was claimed to sell 1.2 million copies across three platforms - PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - but that apparently wasn't enough to satiate the company's paymasters.
As a result, the company is being liquidated and its staff sacked.
'Today was a rough day at the studio. After a long stretch of difficult circumstances, things finally came to a head, and this afternoon, we on the Reckoning team down in Maryland began to pack up our offices and say our goodbyes
' Big Huge Games lead designer Ian Frazier explained late Friday in a forum post
Frazier's post comes hot on the heels of an internal email leaked to Gamasutra
telling staff that they were no longer required. 'The Company [38 Studios] 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,
' the email read.
A press conference by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee pointed the finger at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's apparently unimpressive sales as being at fault. 'The game failed
, the governor claimed, while stating that sales of three million had been promised in order for 38 Studios to receive a $75 million loan payment.
Sales of 1.2 million - a figure claimed by company head Curt Schilling on Twitter - in 90 days is, apparently, no longer a success - and without three million copies in homes across the world, the loan was called in and the company found financially wanting.
Unfortunately, this also spells the end of a planned patch for the game. 'We received clearance to do a PC-only patch, which wasn't ideal - we wanted to do a patch on all platforms - but it was better than nothing,
' Frazier claimed. 'So we commenced working on that--working on everything from miscellaneous bug fixes to Joe Q's addition of new camera features to Dakota's addition of two new difficulty modes - but before we finished, the company collapsed.
'Now, barring some sort of miracle, it is highly unlikely that any patch for Reckoning will ever see the light of day. I am deeply sorry that we were unable to get a patch out the door sooner, before this catastrophe struck - you supported us, and you deserve the support yourselves. While I consider Reckoning a very strong game and not especially buggy, that's not the same as saying that it's perfectly balanced or bug-free, and it kills me that I'll never get the chance to correct any of its issues.