Author R.A. Salvatore Weighs in on 38 Studios Fiasco
Fantasy author and Kingdoms of Amalur creative guru, R.A. Salvatore, has chimed in on the mess that has become of 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, the developers behind Amalur and the presumably in-limbo MMO that was to follow it, “Project Copernicus.” Salvatore responded to a post on the Daily Kos website in the comments section, and he has nothing but good things to say about his experiences working with the studios and the work they were producing. He also makes sure to point out that the studio “didn’t go begging for a handout from Rhode Island…Rhode Island offered to secure a bond for them when the credit crunch reigned, trying to lure them out of Massachusetts.”
It’s a good point—it’s easy to forget that the Rhode Island Economic Development Company loaned this money of their own free will, and did so to a company that wasn’t even within their borders yet.
As for the work itself, Salvatore is very laudatory:
“Say what you want about the rest of it—I’m not going to comment—but I have to tell you that this was an amazing team of designers, engineers, artists, animators, writers, audio team and all the rest, all chasing a common dream—all pushing the envelope in their respective fields. And this game is much further along than is being reported—I wish I could show you some if it!—and the environments, the animations and the game-play would blow you away.”
Salvatore didn’t stop there. He came back and continued to comment on the thread as the site’s readers discussed the situation (albeit pretty respectfully), explaining the relationship between the “Project Copernicus” MMO and the Kingdoms of Amalur game and DLC that’s been released this year:
“Reckoning showed a TINY slice of the world 2,500 years BEFORE the MMO. A TINY slice of a past age that ties to the meta-story of Amalur in the way a tale of the Schism in the Catholic Church might relate to modern day Earth…yes, the world lore was THAT BIG.
And the music—Look up Aubrey Hodges, Duncan Watt and Gene Rozenberg. The things they were doing with music and ambient sound took the entire concept of sound in a video game to another level…I could go on all night, but I’d probably get sued.”
So far, this is about as close as anyone’s come to being an “insider” and speaking about working for this company. And given how little we’ve heard from employees there—and the suddenness with which the layoffs sprang on everyone—it seems as though there were a lot of good feelings among everybody. Usually, when it hits the fan in situations like this (Team Bondi, anyone?), disgruntled former employees come out of the woodwork and start pointing fingers. Amazingly, a staff of almost 400 people have lost their jobs, and practically no one has stepped forward to let us know what went wrong. Because, to them, maybe nothing about that place was wrong.
As a studio dedicated to creating fantasy worlds, it’s entirely possible that the people working there got caught up in a kind of fantasy, too. But until we know more, this is all just speculation. We’ll have to keep waiting for someone to come up and tell us the story before we’ll know for sure. Hopefully, this will all have a happy, fairy tale ending. I’ve got my doubts, though.
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- 38 Studios Lays Off Employees, Says Rhode Island Governor
- 38 Studios Execs Leave, Employees Unpaid Since May 1
- Screens from Project Copernicus Appear Online
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- Fired 38 Studios Employees Hit with Second Mortgages on Unsold Boston Houses
- Rhode Island Finds 38 Studios in Violation of Labor Laws for Sudden Layoffs