Just three months after shipping his first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has reportedly laid off the entire staff of his two development studios, Big Huge Games and 38 Studios, and shut down the operations.
They had roughly 400 employees combined. Messages left for Schilling’s spokesman, Adam Kahn, were not immediately returned.
Schilling’s 38 Studios had been working on a massively expensive multiplayer online game that was supposed to be released later this year. That work was abruptly aborted on Thursday when Schilling handed out the pink slips, according to the Boston Globe, citing an interview with R.A. Salvatore, a renowned writer who worked as a consultant on Schilling’s games.
Big Huge Games, which operated in a suburb outside of Baltimore, was also shuttered, according to game news website Kotaku.
Schilling had relocated 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Providence, R.I., in order to take advantage of a $75-million publicly backed loan from Rhode Island. The company received $50 million of that loan. Schilling’s company, however, was unable to make a $1.1-million payment that came due earlier this month, placing the loan in default, according to a New York Times report.
The situation has become a public crisis for the financially strapped state, which is now on the hook for the loan. Two top officials in the state’s economic development agency, which guaranteed the loan in an effort to stimulate job growth, have resigned. Rhode Island suffers from an unemployment rate of 11.2%, the second-highest in the country after Nevada.
Schilling’s publisher, Electronic Arts Inc., issued the following statement, suggesting that the former major league pitcher who played on three World Series champion teams may yet find a way to redeem his lost enterprise:
“We are extremely pleased with the game delivered by 38 Studios,” said Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games. “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning got great scores from critics and sold more than a million units. It’s a great intellectual property, and we hope there’s a sequel.”