Embattled 38 Studios co-founder and head Curt Schilling finally broke his weeks of silence on the Rhode Island studio's recent implosion in an interview with The Providence Journal
. "Frustration" seems not strong enough a word to describe his feelings toward Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee – Schilling called Chafee's commentary
surrounding 38 Studios "devastating," and claimed it "scared off private investors."
Schilling also said that he could lose $50 million due to the studio's failure – money which he earned as a professional baseball player, and which he later invested into 38 Studios. That money, as well as approximately $50 million of a planned $75 million loan
co-signed by the state of Rhode Island, was eaten by 38's long-in-development MMO, "Project Copernicus
38 Studios' Baltimore-based subsidiary, Big Huge Games, was working on a sequel
to this year's Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
. The project was depending on private investment to go into production – to the tune of $35 million from an unnamed publisher – which Schilling said was pushed away by Chafee's statements.
"Curt was committed to us as a community and as people, he wanted the best possible work environment for the team he cared so much for, and as a result none of us wanted to let him down," one former 38 Studios employee, speaking under condition of anonymity, told us. "He had invested so much into us financially and personally, we were not about to betray that trust. We were not going to take the chance of speaking to the press and accidentally ruining any chances with outside investors. Unfortunately, it didn't matter if the employees spoke and ruined things with the investors as the Governor beat us to it."
Last week, 38 Studios laid off its near-300 person staff
in Rhode Island, as well as its approximately 100-person studio in Baltimore, Big Huge Games.Update:
Governor Lincoln Chafee responded this morning
to Schilling's comments in a short Q&A session with Rhode Island reporters. "As a business person, he was new at it, and so I always had some reservations," Chafee said. "I have to verify everything, I can't just take it as a leap of faith," he told one reporter asking about the alleged $35 million that 38 Studios was on the brink of acquiring to create a sequel to this year's Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
. "Hope springs eternal, but I won't misrepresent to the Rhode Islanders how dire the situation is," Chafee added. "I understand that being involved in this very risky industry that, when things aren't going well, there's gonna be blame. But this isn't accurate to be blaming the state in this case."