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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 3.
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18. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 16:19 Funkinator
 
Too the extent that a company is a person, or its an entity. If an individual misused funds in a way not approved by the ownership group they could be charged with embezzling funds.

That's most likely what the investigation is about. Was this just ineptness or did someone or someones drain the money illegally.

For instance Phar-Mor.

 
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17. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 16:19 Warskull
 
1AngryGamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:59:
Im hoping this brings then entire MMO clone industry to a standstill and forces people to think about releasing shit games

Like Guild Wars 2 will be

It won't, the words MMO makes investors go a bit stupid. They immediately start thinking they could be making WoW money without realizing how many MMOs crash and burn, many die before they even make release. The only really successful MMO I can think of after WoW is LotRO which managed to forge a PvE niche for itself.

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.

If he misled investors on how the business was going it can be a crime. It sounds like employees were misled. Depending on how investments were handled he could be in a lot of trouble. Rhode Island want to save face and I think we might see some of the laws they usually don't enforce be enforced.
 
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16. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:49 Beamer
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:41:
Something sounds very wrong with this story. I want to know why Atlas hadn't collected from 38 in 6 months. I don't know of any company that would let such a large bill slide that long. How could that not come to anyone's attention? Had 38 refused or even stalled they would have sent notice to the employees long before a final 10 day notice. And a 45 page moving contract? I find that highly unlikely. And Curt was entirely unaware of ANY of this??? Someone is either exaggerating or lying outright here. Several things about all of this are very rotten. I won't be surprised at all to find criminal wrongdoing here.

Not overly uncommon to have businesses behind on bills, especially for services rendered that don't need to be repeated. 6 months is a lot, but if Atlas assumed it would get paid they may not have forced it, at least for a few months, and when they got nowhere they apparently turned to the person they moved.

It all reeks of poor management, mismanagement, bad decisions, etc., but none of that is criminal wrongdoing. There's been zero sign of fraud or any other financial crime on 38s part, just a whole lot of bad decisions and broken contracts.

Could something surface? Sure. But nothing here is unusual. Companies implode daily. Employees and creditors don't get told until the day of regularly. I know people that have shown up to work and found the locks changed overnight. It's shitty and it sucks but it isn't criminal. Hell, changed locks often mean management was working as long as possible to find a way to keep it afloat (though they should have given up sooner to give employees a chance to move on.)

 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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15. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:47 jdreyer
 
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.

Yeah, I gotta agree with Beam here. When the story of the investigation cropped up, it struck me as odd as so far there hasn't been any stories of misdeeds. Now it might be "automatic" when there's millions of dollars of public funds involved in a bankruptcy to have an investigation. 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, and the government was unwilling to work with the studio to work out a more doable payment schedule.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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14. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:45 nin
 
Kajetan wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:13:
http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2012/06/04/what-happened-to-38-studios/

Nice, informative read. Sums up, what went wrong at 38 Studios.

Great read, thank you!

 
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13. Re: "38 Studios Spouse" Speaks Jun 13, 2012, 15:41 Cutter
 
Something sounds very wrong with this story. I want to know why Atlas hadn't collected from 38 in 6 months. I don't know of any company that would let such a large bill slide that long. How could that not come to anyone's attention? Had 38 refused or even stalled they would have sent notice to the employees long before a final 10 day notice. And a 45 page moving contract? I find that highly unlikely. And Curt was entirely unaware of ANY of this??? Someone is either exaggerating or lying outright here. Several things about all of this are very rotten. I won't be surprised at all to find criminal wrongdoing here.
 
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"Nobody wants to be nobody in America. Ed is the apotheosis of a prevailing American syndrome. It used to be that someone became famous because they were special. Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is its own virtue.
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12. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:30 wtf_man
 
1AngryGamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:59:
Im hoping this brings then entire MMO clone industry to a standstill and forces people to think about releasing shit games

Like Guild Wars 2 will be

Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but having actually played in the BWEs I don't see GW 2 as a clone nor a shit game. I like it quite a bit, and I've been jaded about clone MMOs for years.

The WvW is the best since DAoC RvR
The PvE is different enough to be refreshing in a stale and over-saturated genre
There is no subscription fee, nor a need to use their micro-transactions (Unlike Asian MMO's pay to win)
And they're pretty smart about keeping things populated with their design.

/shrug

As for 38 Studios, I don't they had a prayer in the MMO market, given their single player release.
 
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11. Re: "38 Studios Spouse" Speaks Jun 13, 2012, 15:17 jdreyer
 
The collapse of 38 Studios is tragic, and notable due to the RI public funds involved and "famous" person Curt Schilling. However, there have been a lot of studios being shuttered lately, and we've heard nothing of them. Is this level of suffering typical when a studio closes?  
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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10. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:13 Kajetan
 
http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2012/06/04/what-happened-to-38-studios/

Nice, informative read. Sums up, what went wrong at 38 Studios.
 
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9. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:13 Beamer
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:07:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:04:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:52:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:25:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:18:
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.

What laws do you think were broken to warrant criminal charges?

That's what the investigations are for. As I've said, I'm convinced it will happen, doesn't mean it will. Not sure if Rhode Island itself has a misuse of public funds law, if it has Schilling may have reasons to be very nervous.

Why would Schilling be responsible for RI misusing public funds?
And what laws do you suspect they broke that the investigation may find?


No idea, RI state law was never something I studied in detail. I do expect that people will want a scapegoat and Schilling is the likely target.

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.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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8. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:07 ASeven
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 15:04:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:52:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:25:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:18:
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.

What laws do you think were broken to warrant criminal charges?

That's what the investigations are for. As I've said, I'm convinced it will happen, doesn't mean it will. Not sure if Rhode Island itself has a misuse of public funds law, if it has Schilling may have reasons to be very nervous.

Why would Schilling be responsible for RI misusing public funds?
And what laws do you suspect they broke that the investigation may find?


No idea, RI state law was never something I studied in detail. I do expect that people will want a scapegoat and Schilling is the likely target.
 
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7. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:07 Dev
 
They'd better also check to make sure their previous house sold. Didn't someone say that a bank was coming after them for a 2nd home mortgage since the company hadn't sold their other house yet?
1AngryGamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:59:
Im hoping this brings then entire MMO clone industry to a standstill and forces people to think about releasing shit games

Like Guild Wars 2 will be
Why would it? Did the $100 million debacle of the APB MMO stop anyone? That was even more than this studio spent on their MMO, wasn't it?
 
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6. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 15:04 Beamer
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:52:
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:25:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:18:
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.

What laws do you think were broken to warrant criminal charges?

That's what the investigations are for. As I've said, I'm convinced it will happen, doesn't mean it will. Not sure if Rhode Island itself has a misuse of public funds law, if it has Schilling may have reasons to be very nervous.

Why would Schilling be responsible for RI misusing public funds?
And what laws do you suspect they broke that the investigation may find?

 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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5. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 14:59 Angrius Maximis
 
Im hoping this brings then entire MMO clone industry to a standstill and forces people to think about releasing shit games

Like Guild Wars 2 will be
 
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4. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 14:52 ASeven
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:25:
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:18:
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.

What laws do you think were broken to warrant criminal charges?

That's what the investigations are for. As I've said, I'm convinced it will happen, doesn't mean it will. Not sure if Rhode Island itself has a misuse of public funds law, if it has Schilling may have reasons to be very nervous.
 
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3. Re: "38 Studios Spouse" Speaks Jun 13, 2012, 14:31 Verno
 
Interesting to hear more evidence that their monetary problems go a long way back before the new Governor got involved. Not paying the months old relocation costs for employees is pretty damning and points to cash problems stretching way back. A lot of people are trying to make this a political issue but the reality just seems to be mismanagement at some level in 38 Studios.  
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Playing: Alien Isolation, 7 Days to Die, Dragon Age Origins
Watching: The Canal, Brazil, The Town That Dreaded Sundown
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2. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 14:25 Beamer
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 13, 2012, 14:18:
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.

What laws do you think were broken to warrant criminal charges?
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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1. Re: Jun 13, 2012, 14:18 ASeven
 
As I said the first time this story hit, what a mess and this really shows the damage to so many families a man with a vision but no brains to make it happen brought on them. This truly is tragic.

The more details are known the more I am convinced that criminal charges will be filed in the future when the investigations on this end.
 
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58 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 3.
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