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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. 

Kingdoms of Amalur - Screenshot

38 Studios would’ve needed to sell 3 million copies to break even on Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning.

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.”

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Kindra Pring

Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.

  • Stuart Burns

    Was a pretty good game, all things considered. Shame. Too bad Big Huge Games had to die with it. I liked Rise of Nations.

  • Cy

    It was so obvious the game was originally supposed to be an MMO from the way it was designed. The gameplay was great, but walking into a new hub and being hit with fifteen yellow quest markers for quests that were standard MMO fare isn’t what most people are looking for in a single player western RPG.

  • Scootinfroodie

    If I recall correctly, Reckoning was going to be followed up by an MMO, but it didn’t make enough money to pay off the studio’s absurd debts or convince any publishers to back the company. Basically Reckoning was intentionally a prototype for their MMO, though whether that’s what they wanted from the start or what they were forced into over time is unclear

  • goodguya

    Is the legal battle over yet? This has been the most depressing and prolonged state of affairs that I’ve been around to witness. The East Coast got shafted from having a possibly good development studio and we’ve been waiting forever for all the financials to get resolved. It’s just so sad, even though Amalur was just okay.

  • Kev Lew

    the demo was enough to put me off, MMO stylings but empty and lacking in a gameplay hook, generic RPG combat can be found everywhere and usually with a better game along side.
    liking the new site format, it’s actually a website not a smartphone upscale with massive borders everywhere.

  • Jake Martinez

    It’s a little bit more complicated than that. Basically the loan from the state became a political football which killed 38’s ability to secure more financing or finance their debt. That’s really what led to their downfall.

    Hmm, how do I say this correctly? Let’s try this:

    There WAS a way for 38 Studios to be saved, but that way was cut out from underneath them because of the political struggle around the development loan. Basically political pressure made it impossible for the state to work with 38 Studios to refinance or restructure the debt in a way that would have kept the studio solvent and making money.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Studio had real issues (according to exposes, Shilling was a horrible manager, but a good fund raiser) – but the situation could have been turned around with an internal restructure of the team, some lay offs and a change in the debt structure of the business. However since it turned into a political issue, it was just slashed and burned.

  • Franpa

    If this website didn’t previously have a dark theme, then i have to say it is a very good dark theme you have now! I like this game but hate how the auto-leveling mechanic functions (I don’t mind auto leveling of enemies in games, it’s just poorly implemented in this game).