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"38 Studios Spouse" Speaks

Gamasutra has a story from someone they're calling 38 Studios Spouse in the vein of the "EA Spouse" whistle-blowing incident several years back. They have verified the author is married to one of the developers displaced by the studio's move to Rhode Island and closure, and her story puts a human face on the upheaval this all caused in a lifestyle that's unsettled to begin with due to the mercurial nature of game development work. Here's a portion of her account of what this has put them through:

Again, they knew the problem existed and chose to not tell us or give us any notice. On the 24th of May, my husband was laid off officially after six days of wasted gas, with no payment of wages for all of May (1st-24th), no insurance, slim chances of ever seeing any money since the State of Rhode Island would be paid first by all asset sales, and had to drive in once more to get his belongings and attend a meeting on unemployment benefits.

Ok, so time to lick our wounds, get back on the horse, and find a new job. At least we stuck it out and won't have to pay back our relocation costs according to the Chief Operating Officer. Wrong! On June 1st, we get a letter from Atlas Van Lines with 10 days to pay our overdue moving bill of a sizeable amount. Six months has gone by since our move. There was no notice at any point that this had not been paid and now we get a bill with 10 days to pay. Why now? Haven't they had 6 months to collect this? Didn't the company say we would be let out of our contract since they folded? Couldn't they have given us a head's up at any point before we were broke and our savings gone to feed our children? After all, a head's up on this might have alerted us to a problem with 38 Studios before we got to this point. Well on one page in a series, of approximately 45, we signed a document stating in tiny print that we would be responsible if the company does not pay. I don't know if most people are aware, but moving with three kids, a dog, and a cat from one coast to another is a bit tiring and this document was of course presented on the day our stuff arrived in Rhode Island, which was chaos.

So, there goes our credit rating no matter how hard we are trying to still pay for all bills with no income. We have no income, no time to prepare, and I will not let my children starve to pay for a move that did not exactly work out. Why hadn't Atlas collected from 38 Studios? We were told by an Atlas representative that they had a special working relationship with Curt Schilling, therefore they were trying to work with him. Must be nice to have at least 30 days, let alone six months to pay for this bill.

Am I angry? You bet! I have been taken for a ride and am having to take a handout from the government for the first time in my life. Who do I get to direct my anger at? Nobody! The ones responsible aren't around to chat with or pay for the consequences of their actions. At moments I think Curt Schilling trusted the wrong people, but at least he is having to deal with this mess too. At other times, I am angry and think Curt Schilling is a smart man and should have done better!

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58 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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58. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 18:18 Flatline
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:13:
But he needs to have broken a law to be a target. Starting a business, running it poorly and having it go out of business isn't a crime, if it was no one would ever start a business. Yes, there may be some civil issues that pop up, but on the surface there's not even a hint of a crime committed by Schilling.

Depends... he may have mis-represented the state of his company in order to secure funding to make things seem less dire, which is a crime.
 
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57. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 12:45 Jim
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:52:
...if Rhode Island itself has a misuse of public funds law...

Bwahahahahaha!!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!! Hahahahahahahaha!!!!! If that were the case the ACI would be bigger than the Johnston landfill.

While my opinion of Curt Schilling has taken a sharp downturn, I still fault EDC for "allowing" this whole thing to happen.
 
Jim
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56. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 09:32 Beamer
 
Dev wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 03:06:
Working in the video game industry is not automatically a poor security job where you might lose it at any moment. You just have to work for the one place where that would never happen. A place where you could freely adjust your workload and switch projects at will if you had something (personal or medical or anything) going on. A place where even if you are out for a very long extended period dealing with something like say medical problems, you'd still have your job when you were ready for it.

Valve

And Epic, and a few others.
When the majority owner and most of the board works right next to you then you're probably in a good spot.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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55. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 08:04 Sempai
 
space captain wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 07:22:
ninepepper wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 20:40:
unemployment benefits are not a "government handout"

yeh, maybe its time for this bitch to have some shit times

some people think this world is a fantasy land utopia.. where things are always "fair and balanced" ..

so they require education

lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas

She's now a bitch eh?

Lemmie guess, you're 29, live at home, and mommy brings you your chocolate milk downstairs each morning?

Real class act you must be, when you're not pounding away your hatred on the internets.
 
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54. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 07:22 space captain
 
ninepepper wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 20:40:
unemployment benefits are not a "government handout"

yeh, maybe its time for this bitch to have some shit times

some people think this world is a fantasy land utopia.. where things are always "fair and balanced" ..

so they require education

lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas
 
Go forth, and kill!
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53. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 06:40 NKD
 
Dev wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 03:06:
Working in the video game industry is not automatically a poor security job where you might lose it at any moment. You just have to work for the one place where that would never happen. A place where you could freely adjust your workload and switch projects at will if you had something (personal or medical or anything) going on. A place where even if you are out for a very long extended period dealing with something like say medical problems, you'd still have your job when you were ready for it.

Valve

Yep, there are very few choices in the games industry if you care about job security. Fortunately, they are easy to spot. First, you have to avoid any studio without history. Too many unknowns. It might be the next Valve, or it could be the next to be chewed up and spat out by EA. Second, you want to avoid studios that are a subsidiary of a parent company known for closing studios. Again, EA is the best example here. Lastly, you want to check Google for news of layoffs in the last 5 years at that company.

If the company has been around a while and hasn't been known to do a mass layoff after shipping a title, that's where you want to work. Go bag groceries and work on some personal dev projects to bulk up your portfolio while you suck dick to get your foot in the door. Don't just take the first gaming startup job offer you get. It's worth suffering for a while to get a job you can be proud of.

Of course if you're fortunate/unfortunate enough to have a family, you might not have that luxury. In which case you should go to work for Google or some other big company that isn't at risk of going under. It's not games development, but it'll give your family stability and peace of mind.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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52. Re: Jun 14, 2012, 03:06 Dev
 
Working in the video game industry is not automatically a poor security job where you might lose it at any moment. You just have to work for the one place where that would never happen. A place where you could freely adjust your workload and switch projects at will if you had something (personal or medical or anything) going on. A place where even if you are out for a very long extended period dealing with something like say medical problems, you'd still have your job when you were ready for it.

Valve
 
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51. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 23:04 [VG]Reagle
 
.net_Drifter wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 22:40:
Dev wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 16:45:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:13:
I've worked for two different companies that had OSHA sic'd on them, the worst one having a building that the fire inspector barely signed off on. Out of date wiring, barely adequate fire suppression system, door lock system kept doing out randomly and jamming the magnetic door locks on so the doors wouldn't open, air vents coated in dust, one of the bathrooms shut down for nearly a year to repair it (repairs didn't start for most of that year, and were completed in a few weeks).
Multiple employees got together, complained, and what did OSHA do?
Sent a letter that was posted on the wall for all to read that basically stated no, they would not be doing an inspection, everything was in spec per the company, and if it wasn't to please bring it in spec.
Needless to say but I'm not working there any more.

Sounds like they were glad to get rid of you
 
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I am much better now.
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50. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 22:40 .Drifter
 
Dev wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 16:45:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:13:
But he needs to have broken a law to be a target. Starting a business, running it poorly and having it go out of business isn't a crime, if it was no one would ever start a business. Yes, there may be some civil issues that pop up, but on the surface there's not even a hint of a crime committed by Schilling.
Since when? The gov painted a target on him when he was looking for a scapegoat. If someone wants to target someone, they don't need to have any obvious laws broken. There's tons of obscure things or things one wouldn't think are a problem that can be an issue. Like if a cop wants to find something wrong with your car and pulls you over, they will. Maybe that oil sticker in the corner of your window merits a fine for instance. Or maybe your headlights aren't aligned and calibrated properly.
On a business, just bring in OSHA or something and they can find things wrong. Maybe that railing is 3 inches too high. Maybe someone ran a power cord across the floor.
Which reminds me, they could bring in BSA and have them do an audit of the computers. There's ALWAYS at least one copy of a software somewhere that wasn't properly licensed at all companies.

And those are just a few things off the top of my head.

Based on my experience, OSHA's a joke, but I understand mileage may vary and all that.
I've worked for two different companies that had OSHA sic'd on them, the worst one having a building that the fire inspector barely signed off on. Out of date wiring, barely adequate fire suppression system, door lock system kept doing out randomly and jamming the magnetic door locks on so the doors wouldn't open, air vents coated in dust, one of the bathrooms shut down for nearly a year to repair it (repairs didn't start for most of that year, and were completed in a few weeks).
Multiple employees got together, complained, and what did OSHA do?
Sent a letter that was posted on the wall for all to read that basically stated no, they would not be doing an inspection, everything was in spec per the company, and if it wasn't to please bring it in spec.
Needless to say but I'm not working there any more.
 
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49. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 21:53 Mr. Tact
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:13:
But he needs to have broken a law to be a target. Starting a business, running it poorly and having it go out of business isn't a crime, if it was no one would ever start a business. Yes, there may be some civil issues that pop up, but on the surface there's not even a hint of a crime committed by Schilling.
I haven't been following this closely, but wasn't there a charge of a portion of the loan being used to payoff some of Schilling's personal debt? Perhaps that has already been debunked, if so I'm sorry for bringing it up again. If not, depending on the specifics it may or may not be a misappropriation of funds. *shrug*

My personal spin on it, it doesn't pass the sniff test. Maybe there isn't any real "wrong doing". Maybe there were just bad business decisions and/or bad luck. It would be nice to "know" that -- I suspect we'll never know one way or the other for sure.

This comment was edited on Jun 13, 2012, 21:58.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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48. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 21:42 jdreyer
 
Creston wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 17:53:
It's just political posturing by idiot politicians who gave a shitty outfit 75 million bucks and now have to go to their constituency and tell them that they're all on the hook for it.

That's all it is. Just some fucking shitwit politician screaming fire and ordering police to "investigate", so he can pretend that it's not his fault the money was lost.

Creston

Well put, sir.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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47. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 21:39 jdreyer
 
Smellfinger wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 16:31:
The fact that a shitty developer doesn't exist anymore is a net positive. The only thing tragic about this situation is that public funds were wasted.


Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning has an 80% on Metacritic, which is pretty good for a first game. While MC isn't the end-all-be-all, it does indicate that the game was generally well-received. I would disagree that this constitutes them being a "shitty developer."
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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46. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 20:43 Shataan
 
The thing is peeps gotta r
emember... buyers and employees alike...these companies are not our friends. They are as cutthroat as they can get. Beware that honeymoon phase... and then prepare to get bent over.
 
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45. Re: "38 Studios Spouse" Speaks Jun 13, 2012, 20:40 RollinThundr
 
While it does suck, not one person thinks that just maybe they should taken some responsibility in making sure their mortgage was being paid? Was everyone who worked at 38 Studios really just not aware they were late in paying the debt and the like?  
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44. Re: "38 Studios Spouse" Speaks Jun 13, 2012, 20:40 ninepepper
 
unemployment benefits are not a "government handout"  
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43. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 20:39 Prez
 
@ Tom:

Not saying that it happening all the time makes it right, but by virtue that it does people need to be extra careful and prepare for uncertain future, especially in such a volatile field.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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42. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 20:19 HorrorScope
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:47:
However, there haven't been any stories of $100K parties with hookers and blow in downtown Providence or a $10m mansion filled with dozens of Lambos and Ferraris or anything like that, that I've heard of.

It sounds like they just overreached and fell short

At this point that is all I see as well. It does suck what happened to some families, perhaps the courts can show mercy.

But as I speak with my father, companies are inherently evil in so much they will do anything to hang on, they will neglect any law, cut any corner, burn any bridge and lie lie lie, never admitting a single wrong doing. And when you say you want deregulation or less gov't, this is the other side to that argument, no better.
 
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41. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 20:15 Tom
 
Prez wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 19:44:
This happens all the time. A company is not breaking the law by simply not being able to stay afloat. Of course the company intended to pay their people; they intended to stay in business too. It just didn't happen that way. You may not take failing as an excuse, but as the old saying goes you can't take blood from a stone. They have no money. No money means no pay.

Yeah, I didn't say they were breaking the law. I don't know enough about the law or this particular situation to know if any law was broken here. However, I feel people should be held accountable to their word. If someone says they're going to pay you, they should pay you. If they don't, there should be consequences. To just say "oh, well that's business" is not quite adequate for my tastes.

Even if they have no money and can't pay, that doesn't mean what they did was ok. They tried to run a business and failed - that's fine, it happens all the time, it's an expected outcome. But they could've run their business into the ground WITHOUT making promises they couldn't keep when it comes to taking care of their employees. For example, by being up front and honest with them.

Accountability. Where is it?
 
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40. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 20:05 Kosumo
 
Oink Oink Oink

I did not choke on the pixels but I did have a laugh over them.

If you think that it's cool to have 3 children living off one wage (The wife maybe working but I don't know about that) and then have a cry on-line when the company folds (even when it was back by government money - why not bank money?) then more power to you.

The Mum and Dad made the choice for the family, and it was a dud. Live with it. Flame me all you want, but please when you're done, send my bacon to children who are worst off in Afganaistan.
 
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39. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 19:44 Prez
 
As I understand it, it is fairly common for mid-level videogame designers often agree to work without wages for a time to give the company time to make some money with the understanding that they will be paid at a later date. It goes without saying the unwritten rule of this sort of thing would be that the danger always exists that the company may never end up being able to afford to make payroll before it implodes. I think it is extremely callous to blow these people off as getting what they deserve for being stupid, but at the same time I think everyone understands the inherent risks involved.

I feel bad for the workers no doubt - say what you want about the intelligence of their choice of profession; they still are trying to follow their dream and at this point beating them up when they already lost so much is just unnecessary piling on.

Well, failing is one thing. Telling your employees you're going to pay them and then not doing so is another. "The company failed" is not an excuse for not honoring that most important commitment.

This happens all the time. A company is not breaking the law by simply not being able to stay afloat. Of course the company intended to pay their people; they intended to stay in business too. It just didn't happen that way. You may not take failing as an excuse, but as the old saying goes you can't take blood from a stone. They have no money. No money means no pay.

This comment was edited on Jun 13, 2012, 19:49.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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