After weeks of speculation, meetings that went nowhere, and new game reveals; it appears that this chapter of the gaming industry is coming to a close in the most horrible way possible. Reports are coming in all over that not only has 38 Studios shut down Big Huge Games, the studio who helped them developed the ill-fated Kingdoms of Amalur, but that 38 Studios itself is also going under.
Kotaku was able to get the following details from an anonymous source formely employed by 38 Studios:
38 Studios just laid off its entire staff, both Providence and BHG studios are being shuttered. We have not received a paycheck since April 30th. On May 15th, we found out we were not getting paid when our checks did not hit our accounts.
Our medical insurance runs out tonight at midnight. We found this out when an employee’s pregnant wife was told by her doctor, this was on Tuesday 22nd May this week. The company has not communicated anything concrete to the team throughout this process, leaving team members to figure out insurance stop-gaps (where people could afford it), etc. on their own.
In addition, Gamasutra was able to obtain a copy of the email that was sent to all employees today, effectively terminating them:
The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012.
This whole debacle has not only cost 379 people their jobs, it has left a horrible impression of the gaming industry to people who aren’t invested in our art form. The ramifications of what happened today will probably be felt for years to come. I wish the very best for all those who lost their jobs today, and hope that they find new homes as quickly as possible.