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Epic Assisting Big Huge Games

An update from Dr. Michael Capps on the Epic Games Website explains how Epic Games is stepping up to the aide of Big Huge Games, the developer of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that was closed by the recent demise of 38 Studios. The post outlines plans to launch a new studio in Baltimore centered around the former BHG staff, and in the meantime Epic is bringing in some of them to do contract work. Here's a bit:

It’ll take a while to find space, set up desks and PCs, purchase sufficient Nerf weaponry and Dr. Pepper, etc. But some of these folks have been going too long without a paycheck to wait for that. So, as soon as we can, we’re going to try to get people working down here at Epic headquarters in Cary, NC as contractors.

There’s a million things to work out. How many of the team can we hire? What will it be called? What will they be working on? We don’t know all the answers yet. Please give us some time to figure it out; we hope to have more to share soon.

The way we see it, there’s been a big storm in Baltimore, and we’re taking in a few of the refugees — as are the awesome folks at Zynga East, Zenimax Online, and other southeastern studios. Epic’s in a situation where we can do this, and it very clearly fits with our company values, so we’re going to give it a whirl.

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15. Re: Epic Assisting Big Huge Games Jun 4, 2012, 13:39 Agent.X7
alvador wrote on Jun 4, 2012, 12:41:
I've been lurking on Blue's for a decade or more but practically never say anything- not entirely sure why I feel the need to say this here and now, but the amount of misinformation that has been put out on the whole situation is infuriating.

As an artist at 38 for the past 12 months and a 15+ year resident of RI I have skin on both sides of this game. Contrary to popular opinion Curt was not running the business side of things and I don't think there were anything other than realistic expectations the entire way through the project. It was well known how much it would cost, and how long it would take (we DID push the date back later in the process, something we tried super hard not to do but in the end decided that the features that would have to be cut for release were too important) and that the state of the MMO market had changed considerably since the studio was founded- they had analyzed THAT situation and they had a plan- ambitious, still risky, but given the potential payoff as well as the undeniable quality of what we were making it was not an unreasonable plan. There was a huge deal which would have secured the rest of the development costs that was well underway (we all saw the investors getting their tours of the studio, this WAS happening) but we needed a bridge loan to cover the gap. This was being handled privately but it got delayed by circumstances beyond anyone's control (some serious bad timing, a really bizarre thing that I'm not sure I can talk about) and we were forced to turn to the state for help.

The governor saw a chance to kill a deal he'd opposed from the start, and did exactly that. He's trying to spin it as the responsible thing to do, but in fact all it would have taken was the release of the film tax credits they'd already agreed to release (the "ineligibility" thing was dug up as an excuse- how many of the Hollywood film companies who've used the same tax credits are incorporated in RI?) and we'd have had the time to close our funding deal (and a 2nd deal was also coming down the pike). Instead, they reneged on both the release of the tax credits in exchange for the $1.1mil fee to the RIEDC and on deferring that same fee so that the company could make payroll for the month (both things we had been told they'd agreed to do), and the gov's announcement of confidential info (release date, monthly burn rate) as well as his publicly disparaging remarks ("insolvent", "tragically shaky company", "what do you expect with a sports figure running the company", etc.) torpedoed the deals in the works and guaranteed that RI would pay the loan instead of 38. The bad check story was a flat out lie. These are not the actions of a business partner dealing in good faith. If you want evidence of who's trying to screw who, compare the almost universal employee support for 38 vs. the resignation of 6 members of the RIEDC (and the request to not be reappointed by a few more) in the last 3 weeks.

MMOs are undeniably risky, I don't disagree that the deal probably shouldn't have been struck in the first place (I wasn't a 38 employee at that point), but once it was made it was in the best interest of the state for it to succeed. Given that the state had put NO money into 38 yet- they backed the deal, but put up no cash whatsoever (and wouldn't, unless 38 failed)- releasing $8mil in tax credits to help keep the company afloat and make payroll in order to avoid having to pay $112mil in loan plus interest, plus unemployment for 300 people, seems like a no brainer. Instead, Scumbag Chafee [url=][/url] saw an opportunity to try to raise his 22% approval rating by "proving" he was right about what a bad deal it was.

I can't speak to any of the debacles that have risen up during and in the wake of the studio's collapse and subsequent inability to pay for many things that they had otherwise taken responsibilty for paying, but I'll say that after almost 20 years in the industry the management at 38 as a whole and Curt in particular were more honest and up front about everything than any place I've ever worked before. I'm pretty much diametrically opposed to Curt politically, and up until last month I had a lot of respect for Chafee as well- I even voted for that rat bastard (my picture in the dictionary for "voter's remorse")- but seeing both sides of this better than 99.9% of the public (38's PR advice [sic] has kept the execs from speaking about much, leaving the governor and the hostile local press to spread misinformation freely) I can tell you that this was in fact a political hatchet job.

Thank you. I've been telling people this, but people still choose to lay the blame with the wrong people. Of course, I guess it won't matter much even though you were an employee with the inside scoop, some people just can't see the truth when it's slapping them in the face.

And let's see how many ties I can use the word people in a paragraph, people.

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