Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kageho

@DSookochoff
I was more meaning the issue of having to hire so many people. Of that 75 million, over the course 38 Studios has been open, you've got 280 employees who have been hired. That's my issue. If I had to hire 450+ people to earn 75 million, I would say no.

If you just go with the lowest pay that most programmers make, which is roughly 30$ and say about... at 8 hours (this is actually more like 10 or 12 sometimes, depending on how behind schedule you are) over 300 days (time off and absents that can occur) a year working and they've been open since 2006 ... wait, really? Feels less. Anyways, take those totals. And you'll come up with the following: 101 million.

I'm mostly using the rough math to show how much of that money would be eaten up just by staff, but that's my problem with it. Stupid move on both their parts to agree to have an agreement requiring an absurd amount of people being hired.

Though, I can't believe with nearly 300 employees and being open for 5 years that they only have gotten out ONE game. That's absolutely absurd.

On a separate but related note, Amalur is a commercial failure. No really, it is. For all the work that had gone into it, it only sold 410k as of April. That's almost 25 million made back. Its the literal version of a movie made to be a blockbuster, yet it flopped. Wanna know how much they needed to break even with what Rhode gave? 1.3 million copies. 3 times what has probably already sold. It would need to sell at least 3 million copies to make nearly double the amount of money that went into it.

Yes, there's Project Copernicus, but that's not out, so there's no profit from it. Even if the resources were split with 25$ million being used on Amalur and Copernicus being 50$ million, it still means that Amalur just broke even.

...wow, when I actually put that out... An Amalur sequel probably isn't happening.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
Hm. Interesting first look. Though I've only got the land to work with, the visuals are very appealing and it looks like we've just been given a tour of only a small sample of the world. Not bad. I still doubt them making their estimate of June 2013 though. Seems more like a 2014.

Wish it would've shown us like combat or stuff. Though them taking Amalur's combat and putting it in the game wouldn't surprise me.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
I would be fine with Amalurs combat system as I found it very refreshing. The complaints about it being repetitive were pretty stupid as the majority of standard RPG combat consists of selecting what to do from a menu.. If that isn't repetitive, then I don't know what is.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
Probably because there wasn't a lot of variety. People will overlook repetitivity as long as they've got tons of variety. Though its as you say. RPGs have some of the most glaring repetititivity and dullness in combat, and we really do that so we can enjoy the stories that are woven. Its quite sad, really.

Honestly I find that the combat systems I've enjoyed the most are more the (current)Tales/Xenoblade style systems.

Also, its time to get rid of the random battle generators. If I have to fight, there needs to be a reason. Not just to pad the stupid run times.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
Well, shit...

Joystiq said:
38 Studios and Big Huge Games have both let go of their entire staffs, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Joystiq. Following reports that 38 Studios stopped paying staff on May 1, and just an hour before a scheduled press conference in Rhode Island addressing the recent 38 Studios financial debacle, both the Providence, RI-based 38 Studios and the Baltimore, MD-based Big Huge Games are no more.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
Despite Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning selling "1.22 million copies in its first 90 days" according to 38 Studios head Curt Schilling, it apparently never crested the 3 million mark it needed to break even. "The game failed, the game failed," Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee told attendees of a press conference this afternoon.

According to "experts" speaking with Chafee's office, Reckoning needed to sell over 3 million copies "just to break even," never mind profit. The action RPG was released this past February to critical praise and modest initial financial success. It was credited with saving Big Huge Games from destruction back in 2009 when 38 Studios picked up the Baltimore studio, primarily for repurposing an already-in-production RPG into what we now know was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Both 38 Studios and Big Huge Games laid off their staffs this afternoon amidst major financial trouble at 38.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
:-\ Fuck me. I was hoping to God it wasn't the 3 million was needed to break even and that my 1.3 million would be the number.

And just to make the day complete is that I've read Project Copernicus was likely Amalur Online. The original game was to introduce everyone to the world of Amalur, and the MMO was to be later. So no more Amalur unless someone buys the IP from Rhode.

Apparently, they asked for tax credits that would've saved the company (or just prolonged the suffering), but they were denied them on a technicality.
 

Mik

Lightswitch Rave!
Amalur was a game just dying to be the start of a series. Too bad.

FWIW, I loved it at the beginning but I was so tired of it by the end that I didn't even get any of the DLC.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
You should check out the Dead Kel DLC, it's really awesome and the story is pretty damn good. The second one is okay, but nothing to write home about.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
I wonder if EA will get some kind of first right of refusal on buying the IP. They no doubt have the cash... I really wanted to see this turn into a franchise.
 

bps21

Integral Poster
Yeah I really enjoyed amalur. Thought it was a very good game and figured a sequel could be a great one.
 

KingPK

KingPK
It'd be hilarious if one of the questions on the '12 Rhode Island ballot was which company they should sell the 38 assets to. This is going to be a black mark on that state for quite a long time.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
Regular themed bps21 said:
Was the technicality that they already had all of the state's money?
No. Actually, it had something to do with the fact with the studio that 38 owned was in Delaware.

SAIKYO STYLE !! サイキョー流 said:
I wonder if EA will get some kind of first right of refusal on buying the IP. They no doubt have the cash... I really wanted to see this turn into a franchise.
If anything, I would expect Rhode to try to oversell it to EA, since EA has the pockets to buy it.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
Big Huge Games might not be shuttered permanently after all. A few news stories are reporting that they may be sold off. Which would be good, if it keeps the team together and employed (and hopefully that includes Ken Rolston as well).

Joystiq said:
The 38 Studios disaster continues to unfold today, as the troubled studio laid off its entire staff and may be selling off its Big Huge Games division in Boston. Boston's Fox 25 News speculates that the studio may close by this weekend.

38 Studios CM Charles Dane confirmed being laid off on Twitter: "Now on the market. I had an awesome run with 38 Studios, but this dream is now ending."

Word is that the company is also selling its subsidiary, Big Huge Games. Big Huge Games is the maker of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, 38 Studios' single-player prequel to its Copernicus MMO. This would not be the first time that Big Huge Games was sold by its parent company, as the studio experienced the same event back in 2009.

Oh his Facebook page, Curt Schilling stressed that Reckoning did quite well in sales. "I wanted to clear up some misinformation around 38 Studios' first product, Reckoning. Sales of Reckoning outperformed EA's expectations and sold more than 1.2 million units in the game's first 90 days in the market."
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/05/28/kingdoms-of-amalur-reckoning-2-was-in-pre-production/

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 was in 'pre-production'

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 was in "pre-production" at 38 Studios' Big Huge Games in Maryland before all employees were let go last week. Several sources with knowledge of the situation tell Joystiq that the company was in advanced talks with a publisher before the events that led to the dissolution of the team.

Even if the Big Huge Games team could be salvaged under a different banner, it is unlikely that they could work on Reckoning 2. The intellectual property, tech and code (the latter used as a springboard) required to make a sequel is still owned by 38 Studios for the time being, but will likely soon be owned by the state of Rhode Island. Sources close to discussions with Rhode Island tell us that the state's asking price to release assets is too high.

Elements tested for the sequel were higher graphics quality across the board, no loading screens between zones, expanded and improved combat animations, fewer branching quests and greater effect on the world by players.

"We had a good base to work from, and it was going to be all about improving everything," said a source who asked to remain anonymous, given that there's still the slightest chance the project could be salvaged. "We listened carefully to fans and critics and were going to implement everything we possibly could."

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which -- despite what RI Gov. Lincoln Chafee was advised as being a "failure" -- did have a successful launch for a new IP, with 1.2 million units sold over 90 days. We understand that Electronic Arts, the publisher of Reckoning, did pass on the sequel due to executive politics and 38 Studios was shopping around the title.


Speaking to former Big Huge Games employees, we asked what they felt was the most inaccurate portrayal of the 38 Studios implosion by the media. They expressed that Reckoning's development being tied to 38 Studios Rhode Island has been the biggest gaffe.

Former BHG employees repeatedly tell Joystiq that 38 Rhode Island did give info and guidance about the Amalur IP, but it didn't produce any assets for Reckoning. In terms of the day-to-day work, the Rhode Island team "didn't work on it at all."

"Reckoning was developed with EA publishing money, NOT Rhode Island tax dollars," a former BHG employee told us. "It had nothing to do with the $50 million dollars from RI. That money went directly to the MMO project."

The former BHG employees are thankful that 38 Studios purchased the studio in 2009 and save them. Schilling is commended for his support of the studio. At that time, the MMO 38 Rhode Island had been working on was already in production for three years and it was believed it would launch before Reckoning. That didn't happen and the latest moving target date was June 2013.

At this point, given signifiant uncertainty about the production tech and Amalur IP, the best a reformed Big Huge Games team could manage is making an RPG with a similar feel but using a different intellectual property (think Demon's Souls to Dark Souls). The team has done it before: when purchased by 38 Studios from THQ, it converted its "Ascendent" RPG to fit the Amalur world.

"Creating Reckoning wasn't a matter of simply replacing some textures and doing a search/replace on names and such," said a former BHG employee, explaining the conversion required new environments, animations, characters and voice acting. There was a foundation to work with from "Ascendent." It appears the company will have another foundation to work from with Reckoning if the team can reassemble.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
So basically the Amalur IP is stuck with Rhode Island even though not a single dime of money went to it. Well, that sucks. Which means we would've had Amalur 2 and the Amalur MMO? That would've been nice.

But wow does EA show that big publishers really only care about the next big hit. 1.2 million in 90 days is a very good thing for a new IP and since it was pretty nice, I would've bought the sequel. Hell, the original was on my next to buy list before this all came out (still is).
 

2GOLD

Integral Poster
Being in Delaware makes sense. Odds are they set up a corporate office in the state for lower tax purposes and benefits. Lot of companies have their home offices supposedly set up here. But that doesn't mean the studio was actually here.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
Yeah 2Gold, they were Incorporated in Delaware and that's the issue that stopped them from getting credits. Also Fazzle, I highly doubt it'll hit 10$ anytime before Winter. If they barely broke even and EA bankrolled the entire game, that price isn't going to drop much due to EA wanting as much money as it can.

I don't think we'll see another Amalur property for at least 10 or 20 years, since Rhode seems to even priced the IP out of EA's league.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/05/29/schilling-says-he-could-lose-50-million-of-his-own-money-in-38/ said:
Schilling says he could lose $50 million of his own money in 38 Studios implosion

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 it's near-300 person staff in Rhode Island, as well as its approximately 100-person studio in Baltimore, Big Huge Games.
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
So for 175+ million, the Amalur IP was created. Yeah, I could see why Rhode Island would say the IP failed. That's way too much money being used to produce a new IP and not enough revenue at all coming back.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
So, the majority of the leadership and team from Big Huge Games that worked on Amalur has been hired by Epic to open a new studio in Baltimore! Woohoo! :)
 

Kageho

@DSookochoff
The Amalur IP is still stuck with Rhode Island, who is trying to oversell the property at the moment at such a ridiculous price that it scared off EA. So no, right now its dead.

Though I'm happy for Epic Baltimore, aka Big Huge Games. Hopefully, they won't have to be bought out a third time around. From my understanding, Epic Baltimore will still make the games they want, but have full rights to make them with the Epic properties. Should make for some fun times.
 

vivisectvi

Integral Poster
Heck even if we get a spiritual sequel to Amalur under some name/guise, I'll be happy with that. I just really wanted that franchise to continue and grow.
 
Top