Former staff members of defunct developer 38 Studios are starting to receive their final paychecks for their work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. 38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, leaving many employees waiting for the rest of their pay for nearly 9 years.
38 Studios was founded in 2006 by former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling, and produced just one title: action-RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
According to reporting from a News portal, about 400 employees will receive checks, with the percentage differing based on which office the employee worked for. Rhode Island studio employees will receive just 14% of the pay owed to them, while Maryland studio employees will receive 20%. Some employees have apparently reported receiving the checks, while others are reporting that they’ve been sent to old addresses.
Former 38 Studios employee Bill Mueller shared on Twitter that he received a check for his past work, but according to the developer the amount “doesn’t even cover the tax/penalties from the 401k we had to pull from to pay medical bills.” Apparently, Mueller’s wife was pregnant at the time, and the studio’s sudden closure left them without health insurance.
What made the 38 Studios bankruptcy so spectacular was the $75 million loan it had taken out from the Rhode Island commerce department to convince the company to move from Michigan to Rhode Island. The loan was meant to facilitate the move and to help with the company’s operating costs, but it was too big for 38 Studios to service based on just one game’s worth of sales. That and senior executives at 38 Studios tended to be very liberal with their spending on the company dime.
Although Kingdoms of Amalur sold 1.2 million units in its first 90 days, the company declared bankruptcy in May 2012, but not before 38 Studios’ CEO and senior executives all quietly left the company to try and avoid the fallout.
And there was a lot of fallout. A massive lawsuit erupted from the bankruptcy that included the SEC, Rhode Island government, and senior staff at 38 Studios. As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the developer owed $150 million between 1,000 creditors. It’s taken nine years for the courts to sourt of that debt, and at the end of it all, former 38 Studios employees are only getting a fraction of their final paycheck.
Kingdoms of Amalur has resurfaced in recent years, The remastered Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning was released last year.