After an extensive investigation, 38 Studios – the company founded by former baseball star Curt Schilling, that made Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – has been cleared of criminal charges.
38 Studios went under in May 2012, unable to pay back the money the American state had loaned it, hence the furore.
A sizeable investigation was launched thereafter to find out whether any laws had been broken along the way, and… there wasn’t strong enough evidence to conclude they had.
That doesn’t mean 38 Studios is off the hook; the company still faces a civil litigation that will look deeply into the entire case and figure out what, or whom, was to blame.
- “The goal of the Rhode Island State Police and Rhode Island Office of Attorney General’s investigation into the funding and failure of 38 Studios was not to create the definitive history of how the legislation to fund 38 Studios came to be, why that business failed, who made poor business or political decisions along the way, or who, if anyone, should be civilly liable for their action or inaction. Those questions are for the civil litigation. Rather, the very narrow focus was to determine whether the actions of any person or persons violated any criminal provisions of the Rhode Island General Laws.”
- “Although we are prohibited by law from disclosing the content of the matters which occurred before the Statewide Grand Jury, we are confident that based upon those proceedings, and supported by the witness interviews and the documentary evidence gathered and reviewed by the investigator and the prosecutor, there were no provable criminal violations of the Rhode Island General laws in connection with the funding of 38 Studios, the disbursement of funds to 38 Studios, and by 38 Studios to vendors.
- “In other words, the quantity and quality of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”
Kingdoms of Amalur was released in February 2012, and at the time, 38 Studios was on the precipice. It needed the game to perform, to sell 3m copies – but it didn’t. It sold 1.22m copies in 90 days, which isn’t bad at all, but financially, as Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee said at the time, “The game failed. The game failed.”
Pity, because Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a good game – not a brave one, perhaps, but solid, well made. “But it’s not all elbow grease,” said Oli in his Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning review, “Kingdoms of Amalur adds a splash of colour and a lick of polish to the open-world RPG, and they couldn’t be more welcome.”
Moreover, it’s a pity because Kingdoms of Amalur was only ever really a precursor, an entre, to a fully fledged online fantasy world codenamed Project Copernicus, which we’ve since seen screenshots and a intro trailer for. There was a Kingdoms of Amalur sequel in the works, too.
All things Kingdoms of Amalur went to auction following 38 Studios’ collapse, including rights to the sequel and to Project Copernicus – but no-one bought them. Curt Schilling even auctioned off his personal baseball relic, the bloody sock.
What’s Schilling up to now? In 2016, Schilling was dumped by ESPN after sharing something on Facebook considered anti-transgender. The media company said it was an “inclusive” one and that Schilling’s conduct had been “unacceptable”, according to CNN.