A four-year long lawsuit between the state of Rhode Island and 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling may finally reach a close soon after Schilling agreed to a settlement of $2.5 million. Schilling and 38 Studios executives filed the settlement on Monday, and if a judge approves it, it will end Schilling’s involvement with the case. None of the defendants involved will be paying out of pocket, with any settlement being paid by 38 Studios insurance. Commerce Corp, who analyzed and decided on the exact number for the settlement, says this is the most practical move for the state.
The suit was brought against Curt Schilling by the state of Rhode Island in 2012 in an attempt to recoup a loan that was made to 38 Studios. The $75 million loan was offered by Rhode Island to 38 Studios, the development studio founded by the former baseball star, in order to entice the company to move there. Schilling was a fan of MMORPGs and was once a special character in Everquest II, and decided to create his own studio to develop an MMO. In 2006 he founded Green Monster Games in Massachusetts, with the goal to create an all-new fantasy world and many games and other media based on it. Green Monster Games later became 38 Studios, acquired Big Huge Games, and began hiring many giants in gaming and entertainment.
In 2010, the state of Rhode Island offered 38 Studios a $75 million loan to move their company to the state, as part of an initiative passed by the legislature the year prior. With that loan, 38 Studios developed Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, saying they would need to sell a few million copies to break even. Even though the game was critically praised, experts said it would need to sell 3 million copies just to break even, and shortly after released 38 Studios laid off the majority of its team. Then governor Lincoln Chaffee said at a press conference, “The game failed”. In 2012, Rhode Island filed a lawsuit against executives of 38 Studios, including Schilling, alleging that they knew the company was destined to fail and would not be able to pay back the loan. Keith Stokes, a former member of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation who helped oversee the deal, was also charged.
While Schilling and the other defendants were never brought to court on criminal charges, Rhode Island officials pushed forward with a civil suit to help get some of the money back. Any money not paid by 38 Studios insurance and the defendants will be paid by Rhode Island taxpayers. Schilling himself had to file personal bankruptcy, claiming he invested a great deal of his own money into the passion project. He recently signed on to do an online radio show and says he hopes to tell his side of the story after the lawsuit is over.
Judge Francis Darigan, who has presided over the mediation, said, “No one is going to be perfectly satisfied with this,” but, “it’s a practical move on the part of the state.”More About This Game