Every 38 Studios employee was laid off yesterday, but at least one of them is saving his disapproval not for the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer, but for the governor of the state that secured a $75 million loan for the company. In the wake of the layoffs, 38 Studios creative director Steve Danuser told TV station NECN that he had expected more from Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who called the original loan a bad deal and said the studio wouldn't receive any more aid unless he was convinced it could become profitable.
"We just needed a little more help, and we thought the state would have our backs on that," Danuser said. "We thought the governor was an ally. It didn't turn out that way… Why did you do it? Why didn't you help us? [Governor Chafee] said a lot of things, he's broken confidentiality. He's done a lot of things to materially hurt us and I don't understand it."
38 Studios' troubles first came to light earlier this month, when reports from the Rhode Island government indicated the company had failed to make a $1.125 million loan payment to the state's Economic Development Corporation. The studio eventually made the payment, but it also enacted a round of unspecified layoffs. Reports also surfaced that 38 Studios could not pay its employees as scheduled twice this month.
Between the original $75 million loan and interest, Rhode Island taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $90 million as a result of the deal. The $75 million was secured by the Rhode Island EDC as a way to entice 38 Studios to move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. Last week, EDC executive director Keith Stokes, who helped structure the loan, resigned from his post.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning shipped in February to a warm critical reception and sold 330,000 units in the United States alone during the month. Schilling said it sold 1.2 million copies, but Chafee called it "a failure," saying it would have needed to sell 3 million just to break even.