Kingdoms of Amalur developers 38 Studios and Big Huge Games have laid off their entire staff, recent reports are saying. While the news has yet to be confirmed by anyone openly affiliated with either company, an affected but unnamed source has passed along the news, along with an email allegedly sent to all employees this afternoon.
The email to staff reads:
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 does come as a surprise to some, given 38 Studios' recent "Project Copernicus" MMO announcement, which brought some hope to Amalur fans concerned over the company's financial woes. The developer has been unable to pay its own employees, and still owed $112.6 million (with interest) to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.
The $75 million loan was originally offered by EDC to draw 38 from its hometown of Boston to resettle in Providence. All parties involved had assumed sales from Big Head Games' Kindoms of Amalur would generate sufficient revenue to repay the loan; while the game performed admirably for an original IP, it just didn't sell well enough.
Our heart goes out to the folks who lost their jobs today, and we hope they find new studios to call home before long. The industry is already extending invitations across Twitter.
Thanks goes to DNA2251 for the tip.