Rhode Island Governor Confirms 38 Studios Layoffs

Rhode Island developer 38 Studios will suffer layoffs after being unable to pay its employees last week, confirms the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.

The studio currently working on an MMO tentatively titled Project Copernicus was unable to make a $1.1 million payment to the Rhode Island Economic Developer Corporation last week.

The payment is the first of many to pay off a $75 million loan given to the company in 2010 to bring 450 jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue to the state of Rhode Island.

After a meeting with the studio’s head Curt Schilling, Chafee told AP, “We’re working hard to protect every penny of the investment that was made.” He said there had been “a mix of who’s made payroll,” and confirmed layoffs for the company.

Schilling took to Facebook to comment on the studio’s status after suffering its current financial problems. “The 38 team has shown breathtaking resilience through these incredibly challenging times,” he wrote, “Helping each other with their daily lives, coming together like only a family would truly do.” “Their efforts to assist each other have been something beyond explanation and defying anything that could be called a ‘job’. They are strong and resolute, and determined to stand together as hard and as long as they can. For this I thank them all, I am so proud of this team.”

Project Copernicus is scheduled for a June 2013 release, according to Chafee’s statement during a emergency press conference last week.

Source: AP, WRPI, Facebook

38 Studios Head Curt Schilling Apologizes for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Online Pass

Curt Schilling, the vocal and honest founder of 38 Studios has made an effort to apologize for the misunderstanding, and to clear up Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning’s online pass offer. After an uproar from the community in response to a voucher included in the game said to provide “access to the House of Valor faction quest” – suggesting a very similar situation to the Catwoman sections in Batman: Arkham City that were already on the disc –  Schilling made a post on the 38 Studios forums.

Schilling made it clear the content is day one DLC, not simply a quest already on the disc. “You can argue the merits and effectiveness of it, but right now it’s how it’s done and as someone that’s as invested as I am in this company, I stand by what has happened,” he wrote.

He says he would have liked the situation to be handled with more care, and goes on to explain why the DLC method is beneficial to both his business and the player. “We must make a profit to become what we want to become. The only way we do that is to make games you cannot wait to buy! If we do that, and you do that, we want to reward you with some cool free stuff as a thank you.”

Via: Joystiq

Source: 38 Studios Forums

I’m worried about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I’m worried about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Its uninspired attitude toward the RPG genre may be the death of it. You can only go so far with an exaggerated art style like that of Fable and World of Warcraft until the mechanical underlying must become the star of the show. Reckoning lacks the care and artistry that introducing a developed universe requires. It’s too confined, too predictable, and too rough. Immature and lukewarm, Reckoning could have used more attention, more time.

From what the demo could tell me, Reckoning is like the underdeveloped child lost in the grocery store searching the aisles for its mother. It’s constantly looking for a way to convincingly differentiate its lore from everything else. Unless some kind of monumental revelation occurs where the swords aren’t just swords and the magic isn’t just magic in the full game, Reckoning will crumble under its ambition.

Limiting the hero’s combat expression to a single button sounds almost crazy enough to be a brilliant simplicity over complexity approach. In practice, it’s too limiting. It’s the new definition for “button mashing”. The feel of control and tactical strategy disappears for brainless slashing and casting.

Loot, levels, and talent points drive Reckoning’s progression, and I couldn’t be more prematurely bored. I’m not playing an MMO, I’m playing a single-player action game. I want to be catered to, my experience shouldn’t be about watching bars fill.

Only rarely does Reckoning convey artistically interesting objects, everything else looks like a kitchen sink of Fable, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends.

Reckoning worries me because its ambition is aimed in the wrong direction. It feels unnecessary, a means to an end. If you’re trying to acquaint me with an MMO don’t lie to me with a half-baked action game, give me the final, finished product.