I've been hesitant to cover the recent news regarding Curt Schilling's 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, developers of the excellent Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and the state of Rhode Island. The hesitation wasn't out of any feeling that the story wasn't news, it definitely is. The mishandling of the company and the flippant arrogance of Curt Schilling created an environment where I couldn't write about it with impartiality.
For those who don't know about the situation, here's the short version. Curt Schilling, star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, made a deal with the state of Rhode Island to move his development studio, 38 Studios, into Rhode Island. The state agreed to give Schilling a $75 million loan in return for turning the state into a hub of game development. After only one game, the aforementioned Amalur, reports emerged of the studio not being able to pay back the first payment on their loan. The whole thing blew up yesterday when an email went around to all the employees telling them that they were to be laid off.
It sad to see a group of talented individuals being laid off as their studio goes belly up, but it's infuriating when the lay offs happen suddenly and without warning. We should not dwell on what has happened, however, as something amazing has come from what can only be labeled as a catastrophe.
The game industry is kind of like a big family. If something hurts one of us, it hurts all of us. To that end, those within the game industry have banded together to make sure those affected by the lay offs at 38 Studios find new jobs. A Twitter hashtag, #38jobs, soon popped up with studios listing the openings they currently had.
Soon after that, a Google Docs page was created with links to every job currently available in the industry. Granted, a lot of these jobs were located in other parts of the country or even in Canada, but the doc was sure to highlight those jobs close to Rhode Island. All in all, there were over 100 studios offering up jobs to the over 300 people that were laid off.
The news of 38 Studios' closure filled a lot of us with sadness and I'm sure a few were even angry. The swift action of the games industry has turned a potentially depressing and disastrous event into something that should be celebrated. Like I said, everybody in the games industry is like a big family. I'm sure those at 38 Studios are realizing just how amazing this industry can be.
We here at WebProNews hope those affected by the lay offs find new work soon and get back to making amazing games. I would have loved to see more out of Amalur, but what we got is good enough. If you haven't checked out the game yet, I highly recommend it. If not for my recommendation, check it out to see the passion that was put behind it by all the talented men and women involved.